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Advice Needed: Gladius Hilt
Hi, I am looking for some advice regarding suitable material for hilting a gladius used for combat displays. 
My current gladius has both guard and pommel made of wood with a brass inlay in the guard. However, due to fairly rigorous combat displays, the guard splits after only a few displays, and I have had to have it re-hilted a few times now. It appears to be the force of impact on the blade (reenactment gladiatorial fighting, so seeing more sword on sword impact than a real gladius may have seen) which causes the blade to flex and split the wood, rather than it being chopped to bits. 
Can anyone suggest how to overcome this?
I wondered about denser wood, such as ebony, or using a synthetic ivory type material if one exists which can stand up to the damage. I had also seen an image of a gladius with a bronze pommel and guard, but not sure if this was a fake. I want to try and stay as authentic as possible, but need the sword to last more than a few displays. 

Thank you for any suggestions,

Marcus Tacitus
Metal grips and pommels etc are usually a very thin metal shell with a wooden core.... maybe use Boxwood?

"And the four bare walls stand on the seashore. a wreck a skeleton a monument of that instability and vicissitude to which all things human are subject. Not a dwelling within sight, and the farm labourer, and curious traveller, are the only persons that ever visit the scene where once so many thousands were congregated." T.Lewin 1867

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