A fellow blogger, author of Xena Prop Treasures, had sent me some reference photos of Gabrielle's first standard issue fighting staff (no not the Amazon one with the bird on it, although I may do that one when/if I make the Amazon Princess costume).
The series 1 staff differs slightly in colour and materials. The wood, twine and leather are darker and the middle section with the overlapping spiral whipping appears to be a mottled bronze colour with a metallic shine. In terms of construction this middle section is also shorter, with longer grips, and the leather sections are in between the two, as opposed to at the ends.
I wanted this staff to be suitable for use and so rather than choosing the dimension to match the one on screen, I veered towards a thinner wooden dowel which would move faster and be easier to handle. And I happened to already have one of these - my ORIGINAL Gabrielle staff which I made when I was 13.
I had often planned to recycle this as scroll materials so it would eventually see use as a Gabby prop, but this seemed more fitting. I stripped away the old wrappings and started work on it again.
The staff is already painted a darker brown than my newer one, so I left the colour alone and applied new trimmings. I started in the middle with the fabric, then added the twine. In the interests of making the staff easier to use for fighting and display, I deviated from the original and centered the twine grips at distances of 1/3 along the length of the staff. These are the points where one is supposed to grip a staff, so having the twine in the right place to grip will give my a sensory indication of whether I am holding the staff correctly.
To keep the middle section shorter, I made the grips 11" long and the centre section 8". I left a 1" gap between each section to be covered with a 2" strip of black leather to hide the gap. The middle section still looks too long, but this is partly down to the narrower dimensions of the wood and the fact that I wanted to keep the grips in a suitable grippy-place.
I then painted the twine a darker brown, matching the on-screen colour as best I could and giving it a grimy, weathered look. I also painted the centre section, using a combination of black and cream paint in dry brush strokes, then over spraying it with gold spray paint to soften the strokes and give in that metallic sheen.
The fur section on the end was wrapped and secured with superglue, and discoloured a little with weathering spray like last time I then added the 2" strips of leather either side of the fur, and over the gaps between the wraps.
So I now had a staff and a costume ready to go!