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  1. 16 points
    Hello! I apologize profusely for the novel that is about to come, I promise I won't be offended if you skip to the pictures I recently graduated from Hampshire College in Massachusetts. Instead of Freshman, Sophomore, etc, students are divided into Division I, II, and III. The first year you take a broad set of unrelated classes, and throughout your middle two years you hone in on something interesting you want to study. Your last year, Division III, is spent working on a thesis project that should be the culmination of the last three years of work and study, producing something wholly new, wether it is a long paper, an experiment, a novel, a play, etc. I have spent the last few years at Hampshire exploring bladesmithing, history, mythology, material culture, and how it all intersects now-a-days. When I arrived there I had never put hammer to anvil, but with some guidance from Elias Sideris and Don Dupuis, I began down the Way. Eli’s work was influenced by the Norse aesthetic, drawing from historical sources as well as wellsprings of artistic inspiration both new and old. I began researching, reading, and looking, and through other artists, like Jake Powning and Petr Florianek, I began to fall in love with that style of work. The seax and the sword captivated me and I began working to unravel their secrets and learn the proportions and geometries that make them be. I began to study Old Norse and the Icelandic Sagas and eventually became enchanted with the poem Beowulf. I first read it in high school and while I enjoyed it, I didn’t know anything about the poem below the surface. I began studying with Professor Craig Davis at Smith College who is a wonderful Beowulf scholar and knows the poem and its intricacies forward and backwards. He agreed to take me on in an independent study examining the use of weaponry in the poem. I began by isolating the four swords featured in the poem, and was later happy to see two of them brought to life by our own forumites and the crew of Arctic Fire 2016 when Dave Stephens created Hrunting, the ancestral and possibly fratricidal blade belonging to Unferth and lent to Beowulf for his fight against the mother. Then there is the Giant’s sword, brought to life by the fateful team of Jake Powning and Owen Bush, forged larger than life and more intricately than could have been imagined previously as a sword only a hero could have wielded. The Third sword is that of Wiglaf, which Dave DelaGardelle is conjuring into existence in his smithy with some steel that I forged for him. (this has been a call out Dave :)) Last but not least is the sword Nægling, an ancestral blade handed down to Beowulf by King Hygelac his forbearer. This is a kingly blade brought up earlier in the poem but used only in the final struggle against the serpent. This blade is an extension of the aged king, and carries the weight of his agency as king and protector. The blade breaks. Made by the hands of men, this heirloom is snapped when it impacts the serpents skull, too hard for normal steel. This is a beautiful moment in the poem for me. Beowulf is painted as the good guy. He has defeated monsters who wanted to destroy and cause harm to his allies. He selflessly defended the people in harms way and proved himself to be a very boastful but trustworthy and powerful man, capable of great deeds. This righteousness ends here. For all of his good intent and earthly power, the serpent IS death. Wyrd comes for all men, and soon the king too must rest. Having delved deeper into this poem I decided a year and a half ago that I would create this kingly sword as it was before it met fate. I had learned the art of hearth melting from Ilya Alekseyev, Mark Green, Zeb, Deming, and Matt Venier among others. I chose to create steel by the light of the full moon every month for a year, and that was the steel I would use to craft this blade. I created low and high carbon material from wrought iron nails, old projects, failed experiments, artifacts, pieces given to my by friends, iron and steel made by great smiths, like Ric Furrer and Jeff Pringle. I ran a melt at Ashokan, and with the help of some of my closest friends, and some wonderful new ones, I made a special piece of material that forged from a 6 pound lump into a 4 foot long bar with only a single crack in it. I helped run a summer class and taught 10 high schoolers how to run a hearth (or three) and make steel. I made material with friends and teachers and the process became as important as the result. At the end of these 12 months though I had come to the end of the easy part, and now I had to actually make the blade. The most important question was what would the blade look like? clearly it needed to be beautiful, as a kings sword would have been. It needed to symbolize the story, like the hilt of the Giant’s sword tells the story of the flood and the demise of the giants, this sword would tell the story of Beowulf and his demise. Enter in the sword from Vehmaa. Featured in the end of Pierces book, Swords of the Viking Age, almost as an afterthought, this blade captivated me since I first bought the book months after starting down this path. This incredible blade features different patterns on each side of the blade as well as an overlaid serpent in the top third of one side. The blade is broken in the top third, separating the serpent. This immediately jumped out to me as being a sword Beowulf could have carried, and the broken serpent was almost too perfect a parallel. Only one smith has been foolhardy brave enough to attempt this blade, and it's none other than my great friend Jesus Hernandez. His incredible creation, and still my favorite sword on this planet can be seen here: With his incredible example out in front I had to try and give it my best! I forged the blade, running into minor issues here and there. The blade itself I consider to be a failure, and is a practice piece for next time. the largest thing I had forged from my own steel was a small seax for Matthew Berry who graciously agreed to do a rush job on making a hilt for this crazy project of mine. I had made much of the steel I used for the sword at Matt’s house over the last year and it was fitting to combine our skills to make a sword worthy of the legendary king. So without further ado, I give you Beowulf’s sword! Just kidding WIP first! This is a small bit of the material I had made and started to refine for this undertaking. The iron and steel pieces were refined differently with an eye for what would go where in the blade. I had close to 60 pounds of material refined for the blade when I was done prep, just to be on the safe side! The billets finished and ready for welding, The leftmost is the edge wrap and the other two are the two sorts of patterned bars found in the sword. I forge welded the serpent bar overtop of the twists on one side of the blade before welding the two sides together. I apologize I don't have many photos of this all as it was a frantic and busy couple of days. The two core pieces next to each other. The original sword had an iron core, but I chose to forgo the added complication. Here the edge is wrapped and welded. It was much harder with home made material than it ever has been for me in modern steel. I'm not sure wether that was due to different expectations in workability or what. The tip weld was nearly the breaking point when I thought I had failed. Some of the pattern peeking through in the scale as I forged the fuller. The original had an iron inlay which was hard to make out. Mikko Moilanen was incredibly generous with his research and has some information on this piece in his dissertation. Skip forward a few crazy minutes and you get to the final moment. The blade was quenched in water and survived! The moon steel sword had hardened nicely. During grinding the blades edges sparked similarly to 1095 or w2 which was a huge surprise as I had never made home made steel that nice before. All of you here know the arduous process that is hand polishing. I wish I had ground it perfectly to 400 grit and polished 320 400 and then 600 and called it a day, but I don't use jigs or fixtures or whatever so I relied on free handing the rest of the geometries. This is scary and also not fun. I ground the blade near sharp at 36 grit and left it there, and polished by hand the rest of the way. This was awful, but worth it, because when I was done and left the blade in the ferric I saw something that made the years work worth it. I had finished the blade but any good blade needs a handle! I contacted my friend Matt and asked if he would be willing to make the fittings for the blade. He agreed and I sent him a photo that was included in a huge set of files from the National Museum of Sweden that he had previously sent me. The museum took wonderful photos of the sword from Vallstenarum. This was the hilt I wanted for my sword and so Matt created beautiful waxes based exactly on the original. The hilt is from a burial in Gotland and features a fabricated and rather botched ring assembly that was certainly not original to the sword. Matt began carving and in an unimaginably small amount of time was able to craft all of the parts needed for the sword and cast them. I went over to his house and we began fitting, drilling, filing, polishing, and assembling all of the parts. We did a huge amount of work and then I took most of the grip home to create the wooden components while Matt finished the pommel assembly. I carved the wooden grip and when I came back a few days later, we spent an afternoon finishing the sword. I had crafted a makeshift sheath which turned out to be hugely helpful in letting us hold the sword for finishing I brought the sword home and began finishing the sheath and the small details so that it would be ready for my gallery show. I forgot to mention I also put together a gallery show for my thesis! That was a lot of work. I had a small space that I filled with several swords and photos on the walls, and cases full of work and some artifacts. I'm sure you guys will recognize some of the pieces! I had to do a loooooot of borrowing to have enough to show I had a case full of some kitchen knives and miscellaneous pieces as well as a belt made with Matt's castings and some artifacts and the pieces they inspired. The center piece! A bit of a story board. A hammer made by Ilya, the one I use for everything along with some parts of the process. Admiring the work! The turn out for the show was far greater than I had anticipated, and it was a huge amount of fun to see so many familiar faces all in the same place. Thank you to everyone here who has inspired me to undertake this journeying to the people who made it possible, both with help researching and experimenting and with distractions or encouragement. Now my hands are starting to itch again, time to get busy!
  2. 15 points
    Hello! this is The Moon's Daughter, a type XVIII b sword that we started in the May Sword Reflections class of Tannery Pond with Zack Jonas and Peter Jonnhson. finally we finished it. is a pattern welded sword. (1095/1070) the thickness at the cross is 6 mm and the width is 47 mm. The length of the blade is 94 cm and it is 118 in total length. is built following the guidelines dictated by Peter J for the class, many thanks to PJ, ZJ and the classmates for such beautiful days
  3. 12 points
    Here's my latest... a custom order that when I drew options for the client, I labelled "insane" as it was an exercise more than anything in taking lines to an extreme. I was a little taken aback when he chose the drawing to proceed with. It has a 15" blade, is 20-3/4" in overall length, and the blade is 2.25" max width at the harpoon apex. It features a 9 bar pattern-weld blade, in turkish/serpents composite with explosion pattern bars for the clip and dropped edge. Completing the package are a 954 aluminum bronze guard, sculpted grenadilla handle, and 954 bronze nut for the through tang-construction. It is 1 lb. 12.3 oz. in total weight, and balanced to CHOP. Pics and a vid! Thanks for checking it out!
  4. 11 points
    My latest... I tried a lot of new stuff on it, which mostly worked out. I tried hard to minimize struggling edges... 15" dagger, midrib blade in Zanjir multibar pattern weld with turkish cores and explosion edges. Ball guard and wheel pommel in low layer pattern weld. Grip in "cage of bars" style with twisted pattern bars over leather wrapped walnut core, based an ancient hand and a half sword of Oakshotte XV typology. Through-tang peened construction with two-piece ferrules and peen block of parkerized iron. 21.5" overall, 1 lb. 8 oz. in weight. Pics and a vid... hope you like!
  5. 11 points
    As the title suggests, here is a variation on a theme. People like what they like, and it seems I have a few knives that people really like. That's fine, I enjoy making them, and I still exercise a little bit of creativity in each one. Although I totally forgot to put my makers mark on this knife, which pisses me off, but you know, it could be worse. It's really not hard to tell it is something I made... Anyhow, it is made from Aldo's 1075, which I really dig. Beaten copper, and a gorgeous piece of Desert Ironwood to finish it off. I wish pictures could do the wood justice. It glows in the light. Good stuff. Blade is 4.25" (10.8 cm) with a total length of 9.25" (22.9 cm). Hope you like.
  6. 11 points
    This was a very pleasant commission to work on for me. I could practice a little more of inlaying and the results got better than i could anticipate, even if I have much to evolve in this art. The blade was mostly done by stock removal, but the tip and the tang were forged prior to the grinding. It was made using 1070 steel. The hilt is of a variation of Petersen's type L and it's components are made in mild steel and the inlays are nickel silver. The twisted wires are also nickel silver. It was then oil coated and lightly heated to make it look darker, so the contrast with the cooper-alloy would be even more visible. It is also a good way to prevent rust. My signature this time went on the inside of the lower guard, as the blade carries my maker's name. And on the pommel is asymmetrical in decoration: one side carries a similar decoration to the guards and the other a "double Týr" bind rune. The idea of peening it on the pommel cap is also a historical method, but I made it mainly because it would be more secure than peening the upper guard and attaching the pommel cap to it. The handle is pine wood wrapped in cord and then covered with pig skin. The scabbard is also pinewood, as well as it's belt-bridge. It is lined inside with natural wool and covered with linen cloth. The chape is also mild steel and the bridge is held by leather strips. All the decorations were made to fit a late ninth century fashion, although it is a simplification of the Borre style rather than a more elaborate version. The runes on the blade are inspired mainly on inscriptions of later, 10th and 11th century blades commonly made in Latin language such as Ingelri or Gecelin, but also inspired on the famous Tizona of El Cid and the Cortana from the legend of Holger Danske when it comes in the naming process of it. The use of the runes or local language was a choice of the owner, although I'm aware of only a single sword with runic inscriptions from the period (according to Petersen, B1622), but I have no access to what is written on this exemplar. They read: ik er ulfsmoþRin (Ek er UlfsmóðrRinn - I am the Wrath of the Wolf) hioruarþR kirosi mik (Hjörvarðr gerosi mek - Hjörvarðr made me) They are all written in old norse and I used the danish long-twig young futhork to write them. The sword was exposed at one of the biggest blade shows here in Brazil, where it was awarded the prize of Best Sword of the show and is indeed a proud weapon to display, as well as is swift and powerful to wield. As usual, I wrote a short tale for this blade that can be read here: http://vferreiraarruda.blogspot.com.br/2017/08/ulfsmor-wrath-of-wolf.html I hope you like it. And here are the stats of it. Overall length: 94,0cm Blade length: 79,7cm Blade width: 5,4cm Blade thickness at the guard: 0,5cm PoB: 17,2cm Length of the grip: 10,3cm Weight: 1,150kg
  7. 11 points
    Sorry man. Locking this thread. This ain't a politics forum. It's a forum for makers who meet on the accorded neutral ground of creativity and craftsmanship. We leave our politics and flame wars at the door on the way in. Our founder, Don Fogg, set this tone from the beginning and we maintain that position. Cheers, Dave
  8. 10 points
    Hi All! Haven't been here for some time... I've been learning, and improving skills Here there is a scramasax forged out of 5 bars: 3 x twisted rods (45/68/45 layers) + spine and cutting edge of 80CrV2. The handle is made with bronze spacers, deer antler, pear wood and black leather spacer. The "eye" on the butt is brass riveted and soldered from beneath. Overall len.: 515mm/20,27" Blade len.: 323mm/12,71" Handle len.: 184mm/7,24" Width: at handle: 33,5mm/1,32", at widst point: 35mm/1,38" Thickness: 5,5mm/0,22" Weight: 483g/17oz Let's save the words, pictures show some stages of work
  9. 10 points
    Hi all ! It's my first post on this forum so I wanted to say hello and show you my pattern welded seax which I finished few days ago. Total length 47cm, blade 32cm Width 3,2 cm Maciej Leszczyński - Kuźnia Wilkowo
  10. 10 points
    As we look Back it is always hard to tell if such a knife was made for a Dwarven Hero or for a Hero of Men, often these details are lost in the mists of time and imagination. Either way this is a stout stedfast and robust knife (certainly Dwarven made) perfect for heroic undertakings, expeditions in search of gold and adventures beyond the realms of men. “If hunting Warg, or tracking Dragons,a stout knife is always a benefit. Keen of edge , a true stroke struck will not be repelled by the stoutest hide. But after the adventuring is done and mead is flowing. When the fire is sizzling with aromas , the hunters legacy roasting….Then tales are told and knives passed around the hall, adornment , edge and jewel reflected glittering in the firelight. The deeds of the day become bigger , wolves become wargs and tall tales become legends. The knife blade is made by me and the handle, sheath and all the other lovley bits are made by Petr Florianek (Gullinbursti) ( This 12” bladed knife is forged from 4 bars of patternweld, there is wrought iron on the spine and 2 bars of 5 later twisted steel. The edge is 300 layers of folded damascus steel, the swirls in the pattern showing the multitude of hammer striked used to forge the blade. The knife adorned with carved brass and antler, silver and garnet. Fierce beasts are carved into the handle and a Dragon writhes carved amidst the brass and garnets.
  11. 8 points
    A friend of mine who hails from the aforementioned Gallifrey once told me it doesn't pay to muck about with time, despite the fact that he (now she, it's a long story...) does it all the time. To that end, I got this item from an alternate timeline in which a breakaway kingdom of Saxons ended up in what we now call Scotland. We are all familiar with the other Saxon kingdoms, i.e. Essex, Wessex, Sussex, and Middlesex, not to mention Kent, Mercia, and Northumberland. In this other timeline , there was a more northern kingdom as well, Norssex. They employed the techniques the other Saxon kingdoms did, but in that other timeline they never went away. There was no Norman conquest, because King Harald of Wessex didn't have to fight the battle at Stamford Bridge, and as a result was able to beat William at Hastings. All this mucking about with time seems to have resulted in this blade, which displays an odd combination of form and technique. Basically, it seems to be in the shape of an 18th century Highland Dirk, but the blade and fittings are pure Saxon from the 6th century in Kent. If not for the hilt, I'd call it a short broad seax. As part of its unusual journey through time, some parts of it appear far older and beaten-up than other parts. The chape, for instance. It is needle-sharp at the tip, but somewhat the worse for wear. The frog has a couple of odd plaques of garnet cloisonné reminiscent of the Staffordshire Hoard. The pommel is very interesting, taking the form of a Kentish circular brooch. Together these embellishments are quite striking. The hilt itself appears to be ebony, with inexpertly produced carving, probably by an owner rather than the maker. Pity, it would have been nice to have good carving there. The blade is where it gets interesting: It appears to be a composite of three bars of interrupted alternating twists of high-phosphorus and low-phosphorus wrought iron, with a little steel for good measure, plus an edge bar of pure steel that shows a very slight hamon low towards the edge. The ferrule/bolster thingy has an integral blade collar similar to a habaki. The pattern in the blade is subtle, best seen close up. Or even closer. The shiny iron is low phosphorus, the darker is high phosphorus. The wide bands are actually shiny, but appear dark in this picture because I had to mess with the contrast to bring out the grain. Overall it's about 14" long, and 1/4" wide at the spine with no distal taper until the tip starts to curve in. My time-travelling friend couldn't say much about its origin beyond what I have related above, but I hope you will agree, it is a most interesting artifact. If you have any questions I'll do my best to answer, but it will just be me, the Doctor (as she is called) is very hard to contact when she (or he, I never know what he or she is going to look like from year to year) is off doing whatever and whenever it is he or she does. I'd love to hear your thoughts and speculations on this piece regardless. Thank you for looking.
  12. 8 points
    Hey Everyone! I have here a few lot of photos of a commission I have been finishing over the last few weeks! It is a blade made for a good friend and client who has been amazingly patient with my slow progress. I'm happy to have it done and wanted to show it off here! First some finished shots and then the WIP shots. Enjoy! Some stats first! Blade is 30.5 inches long and weighed a little over 600 grams on its own. The finished sword weighs in at 1036 grams. It is pattern welded and made in four bars, a random edge of 300 layers and two seven layer twists with iron on the spine. The hilt fittings are iron with silver wrap. The grip is basswood covered in hemp cord and then leather dyed dark. The scabbard is made of sheepskin and poplar covered in linen and then leather, with a maple scabbard bridge. It is made in a historical style drawing very heavily on several original artifacts the client documented and shared with me. The proportions and sizes are an amalgam of several of these artifacts, mostly from Ireland. This sword is purpose built, it sings with intent and seems to pulse in your hand. It is alive and strong, quick and keen, and sings sharply as it cuts through the air. So! I started with a few billets of steel and iron and went to town; here's the WIP! The bars each received two tight twists in small sections offset from each other, trying to make a nice repeating pattern that is not matched from bar to bar. Here I have the bars laid up and ready for welding. A bar folded to 300 layers of 15n20 and 1084 and the two twist bars, seven layers of 15n20 and 1084, and then a spine of wrought iron. A kind of wonky time lapse video of forge welding the billet. Unless I am doing a small knife or seax I like to do my forge welding by hand. IMG_0694.m4v Apres forge welding! Nice and clean looking. I actually over estimated by quite a bit and the billet was about 40 inches long when finished. I cut off the excess and forged a foot long seax out of it, which I'll post about sometime later! I cut the tip and began forging the shape of the blade. The tip shape of this sort of sword is very characteristic of the style and hard to miss. Very flat spine with an often rounded and abrupt tip taper, sometimes more gradual like mine. And the rough forging is done! You can see the radius of the fuller forged in near the shoulders of the blade in the reflections of the water. I try to forge everything as close as possible before beginning the heat treat or grinding. Fast forward a little while and you get to this! I brought the sword to Matt Berrys place and used his luxuriously long heat treat kiln. I had to quench the sword 3 times because of a pretty drastic curvature that occurred. Because of the wrought iron spine the sword gained positive sori and ended up looking like a beautiful katana, which would have been great if it was meant to be a katana... So I did it again, and then a third time, with a pre forged downward curvature, which straightened out slightly and ended with a nice slightly curved blade. These blades have a very characteristic downward curvature seen in most examples. This is a pretty clear sign of oil quenching, as the quench is slower the edge pulls the blade downwards, and with water the spine cools more slowly which pulls the blade up. IMG_0762.TRIM.m4v The blade sitting after quenching and after cooling enough to stop curving up. The pattern showing through the scale. Post temper! I almost wish I could have left the sword like this. So at this point work got a little crazy and I took a break from commissioned work. I was able to begin planning the rest of the sword, but it would be a few weeks before I could work on it any more. I sketched up the hilt fittings based off a few originals my client had a chance to document, and based some of the proportions off this sword in Jeff Pringles collection. With my magical drawing in hand and boat shaped forms in my mind I began to forge the hilt components. I took a page from something Peter Johnsson taught me and made a punch the shape of the blade at the base to create my rough guard. Then it's time for drilling and sawing with a jewelers saw to create the correct slot to fit the tang tightly. I find it really nice to have a drawing to work from. My pieces aren't made perfectly in my minds eye and then on paper like Jake does, and the shapes and forms occasionally go through some changes, I find it really helpful to have a drawing that is roughly what I am after to base my work off of. Like you can see it is rough and quick but allows me to annotate and measure and riff off my design easily if need be. And shazam! Guard is polished and etched with the upper guard on the way. I chose some basswood I got from Jesus Hernandez. It is easy to work and robust, making good tight fitting channels in just a few minutes. Once the channel fits the tang properly I can glue the halves together and prepare for the rest of the grip work. I changed direction a little bit here and drilled and filed the upper guard to fit the tang and the rivets for the pommel. Here are most of the parts 'assembled' to get a feel for the size of things. A shot of the sword from the bottom, showing the character of the iron and the tang end to be peened over later. While I was working on the guards I decided to start the sheath core. Like usual, I'm starting with 1/16 inch poplar which I cut slightly oversized to fit the blade. I got some help from my girlfriend shearing some Icelandic sheepskin short enough to line the inside of the scabbard with. It is grained material, so you basically have two options, you can orient the grain in or out so that the sliding action is smooth going into the scabbard or out of it. I chose to have the action smoother for the draw, as I imagine a smooth draw is a little more important than a smooth re sheathing. The material does seem to soften up after a while, and the difference is now barely noticeable though at first it worried me. I like to use a worn out 36 grit belt and the flat platten to shape my wooden grips. I find I can make them very accurately and size them appropriately to the project. I account for the cord and then leather that will cover the grip. It should feel slightly emaciated when holding it in your hands at this stage. The beginning of the hemp wrap. And ready for leather! A leather wrap on its own is strong and can add structural strength to a grip, but cord added to the underwrap can really add a huge amount of resilience to your grip. Using hide glue and some other tips from Peter I begin to skive and prepare the leather for wrapping and gluing. After some diligent and careful work I can sleep and let it do its own thing over night. You'll probably have noticed the scabbard core. I glued the sheepskin to the inside of the poplar slats and then glued linen on top. The linen acts as a semi flexible cover to help the scabbard move and bend without breaking but allows it to remain rigid at the same time. This will be covered in leather later for durability against the elements and to further strengthen it. I have made the rough iron block the pommel will be shaped out of. I drilled holes and set pins to allow me to assemble the whole thing later. And filing time! A rough fit of the pieces to get an idea of where this is going, so far so good I think! Next I dyed the grip a nice dark brown using tape to keep dye from the pores of the iron. And the pommel is shaped and etched! Now for the silver wire inlay. Wrapped and soldered. I filed and forged in some spaces for the wire to lay, as well as the peen of the sword. And assembled! I don't have any photos of the actual assembly, it got kind of crazy and I forgot to get out my phone. So now that the sword itself was done the leather work was next. I had one bad application of leather and had to remove my work. After some careful wetting and pulling and cutting I was free of the old work, and could begin fresh. There is something beautiful even about failure. Undeterred (kind of, I had to wait a week for new leather to arrive) I began anew, and didn't take any photos of the process as leather work is quite stressful for me, and I spend most of the time the glue is malleable massaging and working the material to get it just right. I set up the risers to hug the leather cord I plan to use to attach the scabbard bridge later. I took a piece of maple I liked, and began with that worn out 36 grit belt. In about 15 minutes I was ready for filing and sanding. I use a pencil and files to mark out and create the indent for the leather cord to tie the bridge to the scabbard. And a few minutes later! Finished and oiled. Fairly low profile, to accent the graceful and quick feel of the blade. Next I finished stitching the scabbard, another fairly stressful task made more enjoyable with television and some choice beer. Late that night I finished stitching and was ready for the tying of the bridge. And finished! This sword took about 120 hours to make from start to finish. It was a hugely fun project and I hope to revisit the idea of a single edged sword some other time! For now other smaller pointy things lay in store for me!
  13. 8 points
    In another topic I document the progress of a rapier blade, here I will post pics and progress of a hilt that I wanted to make for a long time but did not dare because of the incredible time and effort needed for such a piece. I am no artist and not very artistically talented, so the result will not look like if Cellini or Negroli had made it . However, you have to start at some point... This is the original that it is based on: I will modify it because this is basically a sidesword hilt that doesn't give enough protection in the right spots for rapier fencing. The mods will become clear as I go along. Here is the humble beginning, just bent bars of carbon steel (the originals usually are made of softer steels, because it is easier to work with and they didn't have tools as good as we do). Furthermore I will heat treat the hilt so it is more resilient to damage when sparring. This awful lot of work should last at least some time. Next is lots of filing. I am using small machinists files, precision files and needle files (all from a very very good german company, St.Egydyer files). It looks quite rough in the beginning, and gets finer and more detailed later on. This project also made the decision to finally buy a pneumatic engraving system. We went for the Enset machine, because it can go at slow speeds and can chisel with power. So this another area that needs practising! This is going to be a longterm project, so please have some patience... If you have any hints or techniques to speed things up, please let me know!!
  14. 8 points
    So Emilliano had this blade he wasn't sure what to do with, and i had this set of wax fittings I'd been carving for a while as a side project, and Ashoken was 2 weeks away... The fittings started out as an attempt to reproduce these Z type fittings: For those of you who have Fedir Androshchuk's book Viking Swords, this is sword Dr12. Roughing in the parts: and the basic shapes finished: That was a crap load of work and I was getting ideas beyond reproducing the original, so at this point I made silicone rubber molds of the parts so I could take them in different directions. I like carving wax, so I decided to just kinda take off in a Urnes direction and carve up one set with intertwining serpents. You'll notice that the pommel pictured here is not the one on the sword. I carved it, but to my mind it wasn't working with the other parts the way I wanted. It was right about here that Emiliano and i decide to create Fingrbitr, so I had my work cut out for me. This is the pommel we ended up using, prepped for it's silicone mold. I could have cast the original carvings, but that can be risky and I thought i might want to use this set again so I made molds. The waxes are then fit to the blade. You don't have to do this, but it cuts way down on the fitting work when they are bronze. The bronzes were cast from the copies: Once cast there is a decent amount of clean-up to do - cutting sprues, removing bubbles, etc. Then it's back to fitting the parts to the sword again. Fitting them in the wax means that all I really have to do is some filing to account for the 2% shrinkage of the bronze. unfortunately I didn't take pictures of the handle process. Basically it's 20ga wire wrapped around a fitted wooden core with bands on the end to hold the wire on. I did smear the core with acraglas before winding, so it shouldn't move. After doing this core I'd recommend thinner wire for wrapping. 20 ga is very hard to work with even dead soft. I'm going to drop to 24ga for the next one, and looking at the few originals I think their wire might even have been thinner. So the friday of Askhoken this is where we were at 9:00am. Our mission? Get the damn thing put together quick enough that we wouldn't miss dinner. This is when Fingrbitr really earned its name... T
  15. 8 points
    Hi All Here is a new one, 3 bar blade cutting edge O1, 1095, 15N20 Total length 25.5 cm blade 13.5 cm, deer antler handle with bronze fittings (manufactured from out of circulation coins)
  16. 8 points
    Hello, I would like to show you a few of blades that I welded in a last couple of months. Everything is welded from S235 low carbon steel and 50HF spring steel. Only axe is made of C45 steel and 50HF welded into the cutting edge. First I want to present viking sword blade, the core is made of 2 bars with separate sections of twist pattern and solid blades. It is 75 cm long, 5,2 cm wide and the thickness starts from the 7mm near tang and ends at 4mm at a tip. Next one is the long knife with wolf teeth blade, 42 cm long and 3cm wide. It is welded from 2 twisted bars, wolf teeth blade and solid thin plate on top. 2 little knife blades, with the simillar structure to the long knife. The small one's blade is around 7 cm long. And the last one, welded axe from the folded piece made of C45 and piece of 50HF inserted into the cutting edge. The handle is made of ash wood. Axe head is 14,7 cm long, cutting edge is 8,8cm long, and the handle is 56 cm long. The weight of the whole axe is 680 g. Regards and thanks for watching, Rafał Garbacik.
  17. 8 points
    My latest. The client is from Kentucky, hence the name. I thought it sounded mean too It is a harpoon point fighter that he commissioned. Some knives are a struggle and fight you ever step of the way. This one didn't. I mean, there were moments that it pissed me off, but it was never a struggle. The steel is differentially heat treated W2, so there is a hamon. Too bad the pictures are garbage for showing it. It was etched very lightly, so the hamon is frosty. Guard is of course, rust blued mild steel, which I never use Seppa is bronze, and so is the pin. The spacer is polished bone, and the handle is stabilized maple burl. Anyhow, here are some stats. Let me know what you think. Blade Length: 8.75" (22.2 cm) OAL: 14"
  18. 8 points
    As the title implied, these knives were born at the same time and came from the same design. I must confess, they are stock removal, but please be nice to me; I promise the next ones are forged. Stock removal knives are faster though (or fast for me which isn't really fast), and I had two commissions that needed to be made. So here they are. Steel: 1075, differentially hardened and etched. The pale knife's hamon is much easier to see in person. It's just a mild etch. Wood: Twin 1 is Cocobolo and Twin 2 is Stabilized Buckeye Burl. The lanyard beads for each are made from the same wood as the handle. OAL: 9.25" (23.5 cm) Blade Length: 4.5" (11.4 cm) Hope you like.
  19. 8 points
    As of yesterday - I hope you don't mind the big picture.
  20. 7 points
    What you didn't learn on "Forged in Fire" Everyone needs to read, https://www.bladesmithsforum.com/index.php?showtopic=3328 This thread you are reading is basically an update in some ways. It reflects some changes in equipment and is a reaction to a new generation of "knife curious" potential bladesmiths and knife makers. There have been some new developments and perhaps more consensus on some things has emerged in the past 13 years . This is not meant to be any definitive everything for everyone project, merely a common and basic starting point for someone who wants to give it a try. Most of what is here can be found in threads throughout the forum. I just thought it would be nice to have some of it in one place. The answer to almost any knifemaking question can easily be found on this forum by a simple Google search of the forum--- key word (s) site:bladesmithsforum.com" (The forum's search function is not really the best way to go) My goals are to answer some often asked common questions, provide a loose framework for someone to work within to make their first knife as far as the steel and its handling goes. The actual " shaping" of the steel is only going to be lightly touched on. It seems to be a small part of the questions and new threads started on the forum. There are plenty of threads about that part but there are too many details to do the subject justice. There are some things that are absolute, some very flexible, and some that are strongly suggested. Absolute is safety. Please read and familiarize yourself with the topics in the "Shop Safety" section of the forum. They are there for a reason. One of the warnings that has arisen of late concerns galvenized metal. DO NOT attempt to heat galvenized metal in a forge or otherwise. It produces toxic fumes and can be deadly. Besides that, the steels that are galvenized are not of much use in knifemaking anyway. To begin with, have every detail of the design worked out before anything else. Besides the fact that it will keep you from having an "uh oh" moment with a handful of wet epoxy and parts it will also allow you to see what is actually possible before you paint yourself in a corner and not have a way of accomplishing what you started out to do. A common example of this is in the area of guards and scales or handles. Study these things on knives you can actually handle and see why some have "stick tangs" or "bolsters" or how "pommels" are attached. One thing that commonly happens is someone who gets pretty far down the road working on a blade and they ask "what kind of edge should I put on it?" This should really be a big part of the project from the beginning. There are may options Scandanavian, convex,hollow ground etc. The maker should have their choice in mind from the start. It would probably be a good idea to get in the practice of examining every knife you can to determine the type of edge it has and how that fits in to its profile, design, grind the bevels and their purpose. A piece of steel may be used to make a cold chisel, a hatchet or a skinning knife. Each may work well at its intended task but their interchangability is limited in part by edge geometry. All of the types can be searched for and their are some excellent graphic examples on the internet waiting for a general search. When you have that clear in your mind it is time to assess your equipment. Do not let a lack of "professional tools" slow you down. Remember great knives were made by bladesmiths for a long time with little equipment. Here is where a divergence occurs and you must be aware of it and the implications of your choice. There are generally two ways to make a knife from piece of steel: stock removal or forging, but bear in mind the two are not completely mutually exclusive. For instance even if you are a great 'smith you are still going to use tools in finishing that are also useful in stock removal and in fact you are "removing stock" in the final steps. Conversely if you are stock removing when you get to the heat treating, hardening and tempering you will need some type of forge that would also be suited to forging. So let's take a look at an idea for stock removing from a very basic tool level. A bench vice would be close to neccessary but if the right sturdy bench is available clamps and a support board under the blade will do. For shaping or "profiling" a bench grinder, with the stone wheels would be a nice thing to have, again elbow grease and creativty will do. Perhaps using a hacksaw to cut sections close to the profile might be a possibility. We should wander into the area of steel choice for a moment because one of the first thing most everyone does is get their first piece of steel. Brand new steel is STRONGLY suggested for several reasons: in our modern era cutlery steel is downright cheap (in the long run) ,although it generally has to be ordered in around four-foot sections and shipping is positively ridiculous, it pays for itself as opposed to going somewhere scrounging to get a piece of mystery steel who's use history and even actual composition is questionable. REMEMBER not all leaf or coil springs are 5160, not all saw blades are L-6, not all bearings are 52100 not all files are W-2, and on and on. Once the steel has been made into something, unless the steel type is marked on that object there are very few sure things. These differences are critical when heat treating or even just deciding whether a piece of steel is worth bothering with. It is also significant to remember that salvaged mystery steels are most likely already hardened and tempered for their original use, now you have to figure out how to anneal it, which will be specific to it's alloy, which you don't know for sure, before you can work with the piece (reasonably for your tools) or heat treat or harden and temper. Yes folks HAVE worked a blade out of mystery steel without annealing but to advise someone to start that way is like helping them learn how to cook an omlette by starting out with " first gather firewood and build campfire...". If that isn't convincing enough think about when something goes wrong and you have to ask for help on the forum. It is about a 50/50 chance that the problem is related to the steel alloy ( or the answer to the question is) without knowing the steel for sure answering is problematic. A problem with a "known" steel will get a useful answer quickly. Each alloy has its own "language" and most makers speak several but have no idea what language your mystery steel speaks. A word on "stainless steels" not reccomended for beginners- most difficult if even possible (depending on alloy) to forge. Heat treating properly is complicated and not for a beginner or anyone with just basic equipment. Yes, you can get some stainless to "harden" but what is the grain structure like ? What percentage of the carbides did you get into solution? Stainless steel blades, not optimally heat treated, hardened and tempered, are not as good as a basic carbon steel properly treated with basic equipment. No equivocation about it. Period. It only takes one learning experience to prove the value of buying new steel. Even when everything has gone right using mystery steels, I have lost track of the number of people who have said "....but it was sooo much easier the first time I used new steel." If I had to pick one power tool that I personally would want first I would have to say "some form of electric drill", for me at least. I think I have probably put more things in the chuck of a 3/8" hand drill and used trying to make a knife than anyone I know. Stones, sanding drums, flap sanders, all with limited success but I have yet to find anything that drills a hole better than a drill, imagine that. A drill press is great but I and others have managed with a hand drill. Files rank up at the top of the neccessary list. Do a search on the term "drawfiling" and learn. If you already have a couple then use them for the first blade. If you are using new steel you will know quickly whether they are working or not. Also do a search for "filing jig". I wish that idea had been around years ago. There are many types of files and different price and quality levels. Use what you have or do your research before buying. "Wet or Dry" or similar abrasive paper in grits up to 600 or 800 are good to have as well. Of course the upscale option is the belt grinder. It is a toss up between forges and belt grinders as to which is the most talked about tool on the forum. Anvils are nipping at their heels . There are so many options if one wants to acquire a belt grinder it would take a book to cover the topic. The only thing that comes even close to a majority agreeing on is that it is probably best to start out with a 2x72 from the start if you can. The benefits to the most popular size just plain outweigh the advantages of any other size. Past that, 2 wheel, 4 wheel, home made, store bought, all reliable brands, each category has supporters. Again, there is a ton of information on the forum waiting for a Google search. ( I do feel compelled to give one warning at this time. The Oregon Blademaker models have been getting good reviews and as a result knockoffs cheaply made overseas have been showing up. These low grade copies are not even trying to offer themselves as cheaper alternatives. They have even copied OBM's advertising and are similarly priced. They are very close to being some form of fraud. I don't own an OBM, although it was a top contender when I upgraded, I ran into the copies, which have horrible reviews from those conned into them, while comparison shopping.) We do not really need to discuss forges in depth. Lord knows there are some very good threads about them on the forum including the pinned threads. Let it be enough to simply and broadly cover the options. Solid fuel forges, be they charcoal or coal are the oldest type obviously and they have their strengths and weaknesses. If one of these is chosen "for economic reasons" beware. You still have to feed the beast that means buying coal or charcoal or taking the time and expense to acquire proper wood and build a method of converting it to charcoal. This takes time and bites into the economic reasons. It is also an outdoor only option unless suitable hooding and vents are built. (which doesn't do much for the economics argument.) You will also need a suitable air supply, some form of electric fan "plumbed" in. Many of us started that way, some continue to do it. If the circumstances allow there is absolutely nothing wrong with it at all. It can be a great choice. It just takes the right situation to actually make it, either financially or time efficient. If you have the desire, your climate and fuel supplies allow don't let the "old fashioned" factor cause doubt. Many fine blades are still being made that way. It is a good way to "get your feet wet" at the least. If it's your best option then go for it. Propane forges come in two, general, flavors: "blown" where a fan is used and "venturi" or naturally aspirated. Each has their own advantages and disadvantages. It is quite possible to build some designs very cheaply and rival a solid fuel forge in initial building cost. The physical and practical difference between the two is in the burner. A "blown" forge has a very simple burner and the flame is pushed by the air thrust in the burner by a fan of some sort. The "venturi" forge uses a bit more complicated burner with a small jet that uses the pressure of the propane tank and the vacuum effect to draw air into the burner. There are seemingly endless debates over which is "better" or "cheaper to run" . I have come to the conclusion that the quality of the construction and design has much to do with it. A good one of either is better than a poor one of the other and if both are set up optimally in equal forges and used by the same person the difference would be minimal. DIY versions built "for cheap" depend on what YOU have or can get "cheaply" . If you work area has electricity and you can get the fan cheap a blower might be the way to go OTOH if that isn't the case then you may want a venturi. If you don't feel comfortable building the burner part (which is dirt simple with a blower) and you want to buy the burner I would suggest a higher end venturi model from one of the folks that make reputable forges. This is because there are very few, if any, blown burners being sold seperately that are "plug in and play" ready. There are several people making cheap venturi burners but great care should be taken, if one goes that way, to research the "customer satisfaction" level and bear in mind the level of experience of those who report. Someone who just built the first forge they've ever used may not realize that the burner hasn't been set up optimally or efficiently. There are a lot of poorly designed forges out there that are being sold cheaply. Let us say "under $200". These are almost always "venturi" type since they don't have to include a "blower" which allows them to be cheaper. The pity is that some of them contain most of the material that would be used to make a much better forge IF they were designed properly. It is a "buyer beware" situation. To actually "beware" you have to be educated. That is where Google searching this forum comes in. If you decide to build your own do not just copy what you see on someone's advertising site. Just because they have pictures on Ebay does not mean they make a good forge. At this point in time we have at least one member here who is very generous with his time, sells many of the materials needed to build and would be glad to help. You really need to set aside a few hours, wash your "Google-Fu" uniform, tie your sash properly, sit down comfortably with nourishment and refreshments and start with " forges site:bladesmithsforum.com" While we are on the topic of heat we can, very simply, handle the tempering issue. You must, in the vast, huge, majority of cases "temper" the blade immediately after hardening. This, at the very basic level, involves "baking" the blade in an oven at a specific temperature depending on the steel and the hardness desired. It is entirely possible to use your kitchen oven but not a great idea for a few reasons. There is a simple alternative. A cheap, used, thrift store toaster oven, a cheap oven thermometer (found in the grocery store baking aisle. Ovens of all types are just not to be trusted to work as accurately as a cheap, grocery store thermometer), a tray that fits in the oven filled with sand and you are good to go. Whether the kitchen stove or toaster oven is used the sand tray preheated as the oven heats will level out the up and down cycles of most electric ovens of all types and makes. A thin fire brick can be used in place of the sand tray if that is easier to acquire. When we get to the "forging tools" side of things everything said before about tools applies. The only other things needed, since the forge is already on the list, are an anvil-type object, something to hold the hot steel, and a hammer to hit it with. The dead simplest and cheapest "tongs" I ever used were a long handled pair of plumber's " channel locks" . Those and my upgrade to "vise grips" taught me to "move with a purpose" when handling hot steel. But, there has been nothing better when I've used my little "one-brick forge" .The hammer is only slightly more complicated. It should really be a hammer designed for hitting metal. Sometimes Dad's old carpenter's hammer will work and sometimes it's an old "rim tempered" make that does not like to be smacked on steel and will dangerously shed chunks eventually. It should also be, as well as can be done, matched to the object used as an anvil. If you end up improvising a 20# stump anvil a 4# hammer may may not be as useful as a big ball pein hammer. Remember that heavier is not always better. Anvils are definitely a topic all of their own and that is just the ones designed to be anvils. It is impossible to list all of the things in the world that could be used in place of an "official" anvil. The existing threads on anvils are worth reading BEFORE buying ANY anvil. Some "improvised" anvils are much better than some of the "Anvil Shaped Objects" being sold today. With all of the improvised options it is not that hard to get by quite well, making blades, for a long time while searching for a good anvil ( based on the advice in the threads) at a reasonable price. Just as a small example of an improvised anvil, one of the best is a section of a forklift tine. That would work much better than some of the cheap, new "ASOs" out there and a lot of the older anvil as well. Once again there are a multitude of threads on the topic. Now we can focus on steel choice. Again, to make sure it set in, you CAN use mystery steels especially if you HAVE EXPERIENCE judging spark patterns on a power grinder and if you know how to make a test piece, harden it, break it. This will just make sure the steel is hardenable, THEN, you can make another piece and this time go through all of you proposed heat treating steps harden it, break it and then, if you again have experience, you can examine the grain structure and figure out if you have the ideal heat treat dialed in. If not you get to try all over again. From there you have to research the proper tempering temperature for the Rockwell hardness level you want. Bear in mind that there are some steels that will "air harden" this is an important thing to know. It can be very frustrating to try and do something as simple as drill the holes for the pins to hold the handles on if the heat from drilling hardens the very spot you are drilling. If it still seems to be worth it to use mystery steel, fly to it. First however go to the "Metalurgy and other enigmas" section of the forum and read the pinned " Junkyard Steel Facts" thread to get an idea of what you are dealing with. OR You can start with a new, known steel and enjoy the fact that all of that has already been done for you and the optimal methods are easily found and monotonously repeatable. Salvaged mystery steels can have a place if you are willing to work at them but I, for one, would like to see every beginner have a successful experience their first time out. It makes it easier to retain the positive lessons learned from success than dwelling on the causes of failure. The craft is about constant improvement and it is difficult to be consistent in developing skills with unknown variables being tossed in the learning mix. It is almost unanamously the suggestion that, for a novice using new steel, 1084 steel is the optimal choice. This steel is equally as good for forging or stock removal. It can be heat treated very close to perfectly with simple equipment and it will produce a knife ( when well designed and executed) that will be equal to most all factory made carbon steel knives, by most practicle measurements. In addition it is a "language" that most makers speak and diagnosing issues is rather simple given all of the combined experience available. It gives a common foundation to discuss the various adpects of bladesmithing/knifemaking, so that other useful things can be learned faster. One of the most often mentioned alternatives to ordering 1084, and a very good option, is finding a spring shop in your area and seeing if they use 5160 steel and if it would be possible to acquire some of their "drops" or cut offs, scrap. For our purposes it works well and the heat treat methods for 1084 are compatible. If available it's an excellent option if it is true 5160. To give just the most cursory view of steel without getting bogged down in creating an encyclopedia I will use the already mentioned 1084 steel as a basic example. The "84" references the fact that the steel contains .84% carbon. This is about all the carbon needed to form a good cutting edge. It as the highest level of carbon that will go into solution without other elements to make it complicated to deal with. Most steels that have more carbon than that become "complex steels" due to other alloying elements added for various purposes. These elements, in most but not all cases, add complications to the heat treating process among other complications. Bear in mind that very few steels are intended primarily as "knife steels". Most steels are designed for industrial, manufacturing, production, construction and such uses. "We" just borrow them and adapt them to our purposes. The very basic makeup of 1084 makes it easy, relatively, to heat treat, harden and temper. The same applies to 5160. BTW your local Ace Hardware or Home Depot does not carry steel stock that is suitable for making decent knives. Naturally the choice on dimensions for the new steel is divided again by " forging vs stock removal" . This is subdivided on an individual basis by the maker's design. Remember, with forging you will be moving steel, with stock removal you will be removing steel. For starting out forging I think 1/4" is about the right thickness if you remember that you don't need the piece to start at what you want for a finished dimension- you are going to move it to those dimensions. For stock removal I have to go with 3/16". This of course will be a bit thin for a " Rambo kills two bears, three bad guys, and drops a fir tree " knife but let us think about this for a moment. New to making, do you really want to invest the steel to make a 4 1/2" (minimum) handle, 9" + blade on your first try? Wouldn't it be more practical to make a smaller, 4" bladed skinner/ hunter/EDC, where you have smaller dimensions to deal with? Match the width to your design. Get your "chops" down on smaller designs and save the "impressive Bowie that will make men jealous and women swoon" until your making skills are... well... "impressive". It is probably a good time to point out that trying to start out making "Damascus" multi layer/multi steel blades from the "get go" is not a very good idea at all. Rather like having your first driving lesson behind the wheel of a triple trailer semi. Too much going on at once. Imagine that you are trying to learn two new languages at once. You have to be aware that some steels will not readily weld to each other and, in fact, some steels don't want to weld to themselves. Better to have a good foundation in what to do with a simple piece of steel, and do it properly without excessive complications. If you are stock removing I will mention a "Flintstone era" trick I used for my first few stock removal blades. Without having any machinists layout dye I took a sketch I made on paper and then wrapped the steel in white painter's masking tape and transferred the design to the tape with carbon paper. The tape didn't last long but it allowed me to set in the lowest points, where the most stock had to be removed, first and they, then, served as reference points. It also gave me the chance to evenly start the pullouts on both sides. ( the "pull out"is the point, in front of the ricasso where the taper of the blade, from spine to cutting edge begins, or lower than the spine if the design calls for it.) It is reccommended for a first knife to bypass the instinct to make a "sabre ground" blade and go to a "flat ground" design however. Getting the bevels on both sides of the blade to match up precisely is more difficult than it appears. A few other commonalities between stock removal and forging need to be addressed. the need to, whenever possible, plan ahead and drill any needed holes BEFORE heat treating and hardening. The reasons should be self evident. Although hardening does not always include the tang it will have been subjected to the heat treat and may not like the drill. There are ways to do it. The other thing is "distal taper". This the tapering of the blade from its start at the ricasso to the tip. Most knife designs include this feature save for some with a "Scandanavian" blade geometry and inexpensive kitchen knives. A very important thing to bear in mind, no matter how you are making your blade is to avoid having any major sharp corners on the blade when going into the heat treat and hardening. Hardening is extremely stressful on the steel. If, during or after the quench, the stressed steel encounters a ninety-degree corner it is going to want to crack at that point. This is most common in stick or hidden tangs with a shoulder behind the ricasso. Don't square these corners until after the stress has been relieved by the tempering cycle (s). Another thing to mention is to not get the cutting edge too thin before the heat treating work. Too thin and it will lose its useful carbon in the heat treat. About the thickness of a dime or a hair thicker should do. The old instructions for carving a bear from a block of wood applies, " simply look at that block of wood and cut off anything that doesn't look like a bear." Forging a blade to shape is a bit more complicated and very difficult to try and teach in words. Fortunately there is ample advice on this forum that's just a Google search away. . I would suggest learning about pre-forming the tip shape as this generally causes the first "What the ????" moment for the first time 'smith. Understand that hot steel has its limits. It will not tolerate being hit when it is either too hot or too cold. If you get it too hot it may crumble under the hammer. Too cold and you will create microfractures (cracks) that will surprise you later on during the quench or when you are finishing the blade. It is difficult to describe steel temperatures by color because everyone "sees" color differently and different light conditions in different shops affect how individuals perceive colors. This makes describing "too hot" problematic and we have to rely on safe generalities. To be safe, for the inexperienced, let us just say for now, when the color changes from bright orange to a yellow is a good place to "stop heating and start beating". Too cold is easier. "When it loses color and stops moving under the hammer stop hitting it." Moving hot steel with a hammer isn't difficult, just hit it and it will move. The trick is to get it to move how and where you want it to. Practice is the key for those learning on their own. Keeping it simple and getting it right is the best way to learn. Let's jump over the actual shaping of the steel by either method at this point and move to the heat treating because this is a common constant no matter how the blade is shaped. Besides that IMO it is pretty difficult to give a lot of advice on shaping a blade by stock removal or forging without having the reader just copying the favorite design of the writer and there is a massive amount of info already on the forum for those who are willing to search. There is also a certain " I know what I'm going to make" factor, which after all, is what you want to do . I am going to avoid using technical jargon any more than is absolutely neccessary. I know some folks dote on terminology but I also know that other folks eyes glaze over when a paragraph is filled with words they've never heard before. The proper terminology is available with a search if one is so inclined The basic idea is as follows ( remember BASIC). A piece of steel has to be hardened to make a useful knife. It has to be tempered to stay in one piece and not be brittle in either the body or cutting edge. A piece of steel should be heat treated so as to have the size and orientation of its grain optimized for the purpose of making a good knife. "Heat treating" is actually a rather broad term used to describe any application of heat, prior to hardening and tempering, intended to have a positive effect on the finished knife. Heat Treating can also be applied to the whole process to include the hardening and tempering but most 'smiths prefer to seperate the hardening and tempering into their own discussions for clarity. A good idea. There are two other terms that one runs into in the heat treating realm " normalizing" and "annealing" the first is pretty straight forward. Take the steel up past the "decalescence point" ( discussed in the upcoming pararaphs) and let it cool down in still air. This is comparable to a "neutral " state for practical purposes.True annealing, or softening, is more complex that it would seem. Just as there is no "across the board -works on everything" method or temperatures for heat treating and hardening, (with the exception of the decalescence point for most, but still not all steels)softening, or annealing, has the same complexities ( sometimes worse IMO ) there are a ton of "old wives tales" methods that are called " annealing. Most really aren't actually annealing though they MIGHT make a given steel easier to work by a little bit. Beware however that some of these "backyard" methods, when used on some steels, may actually have the opposite effect. Complex, air hardening steel can actually be made harder to work by some so-called "annealing" methods. ( been there, done that, got the T-shirt, burned a hole in it.) Using a new steel annealing need not concern us but normalizing is not a bad idea at all for a blade that is done with the forging process but needs machining or heavy filing. It would do no harm at all to normalize before the full heat treating process and a good case can be made for doing so. Heat treating a steel like 1084 is fairly straight forward . Many say that, if it has been purchased new from certain dealers and used for stock removal it doesn't need heat treating prior to hardening. Others say that if the steel has been forged then the forging and heats will have done it as long as the steel wasn't overheated. Who is right ? I am not sure but I do know that if I give every blade at least a couple of heat treating cycles, regardless of forged or stock removal, I feel like I have done the best I can. Just as the debate about "if" heat treating there are debates about "how" most folks have a favorite technique but all of them will depend on one big word that the new 'smith must learn " decalescence". This is also crucial to the hardening process. When a steel is heated up to a certain point a visually observable change happens. It is perfect indicator that the steel has reached the proper temperature for quenching but it is also a point to look for in heat treating. Observing the steel in the forge one can see, somewhere in the orange/yellow level, shadows start to dance on the steel. This indicates the structure of the steel is changing to a form to a point that it is ready for hardening and, as luck would have it, for making a good blade. When the heat increases the shadows disappear and the intensity of the glow increases notably. This is full decalescence. For heat treating 1084 I would suggest taking it to the full decalescence, letting it cool to ambient temperature the taking it up to a point where a magnet doesn't want to stick to the steel but not near decalescence, let it cool again and the heat it to just where the eye can detect the beginning of a dull red color. I would do this cycle twice. There is some debate about whether a magnet is useful. It is NOT an indicator of proper quenching temperature for 99% of all blade-use steels no matter what the guy down the street says. I am of the camp that thinks it makes a good way to help determine the temperature of any magnetic steel because unlike decalescence, which varies widely with the steel and its alloying elements, all steel loses its attraction to a magnet at 1417 F, or very close to that. If one observes the color of the steel at that point, in those conditions, one has a visual mile marker for temperature. If one decides to do the heat treating cycle with the second step below non-magnetic they the have a visual reference. This can be established on the way to decalescence. Assuming 1084 is being used then the hardening and tempering couldn't be more simple. Also assuming the reader is on a budget they are in luck. It does not require an expensive quenching oil. Simple canola oil does very nice. It just needs to be heated, by a hot piece of scrap steel, to around 120-130 F or just hot enough to be uncomfortable to the touch. It should be pointed out that in most cases water is not worth considering as a quenching medium and certainly not for a beginner who has reached that point with all of the work they have put in. Water just loves to crack blades. No matter what the specs on a steel say, their suggestions are based on a thicker piece for different applications. Blades are thin and don't like the stress of hardening. There are ways experienced 'smiths can use water for some steels and some purposes, but you can bet that several broken blades were made before the 'smith was "experienced". Have the oil heated in a metal container deeper than the length of the blade. Wear heavy gloves, watch the blade heat to full decalescence, with a simple steel hold it there for up to 5 minutes if you wish, some do some don't, then quench tip down in the oil. Do not move the blade from side to side unless you really want it to warp. Hold the blade in for a " 6 Mississippi" count. Pull the blade back out for the same length of time then back in the oil 'till it cools. Of note, and a good reason for the gloves, check the blade visually for any warping when you pull it from the initial quench. Very often a warp can be straightened by hand, in gloves, before its temperature gets below about 400 degrees F. With heat more is not better. Unless you are working with a complex steel with special requirements because of its alloy taking a simple steel too far above the recalescence point after heat treating will defeat the goal of making a good blade. The grain will grow too large to make a good cutting edge and the blade will be fragile by comparison to a properly treated blade. If you have used a known steel and if you know what decalescence looks like and it was above that point when you quenched it in an appropriate oil then there is little need to file test it for hardness at that point. There are a couple of reasons not to, the first being it wastes time when you should be getting it in the tempering oven and the steel is still brittle. In order to actually test the steel you have to file through scale and a thing called "decarborization" on the blade. That is hard on files and you really shouldn't put much pressure on an untempered blade. Now put the blade in the oven that you cleverly preheated to 400 degrees . Put it on the sand tray or brick already mentioned and preheated in the oven and give it two one-hour cycles cooling to ambient out of the oven in between. When you take it out of the oven for the last time, it's intact and hardened and tempered you have cleared most all of the hurdles in making a knife. A note for those interested in trying to produce an " Hamon" on their first knife. Resisting the urge to mention it's not a good idea, it is best to use a different steel than 1084 or 5160. It would most definitely be best for them to start with a new, known steel. Many steels including most mystery steels do not make good hamon. A new piece of 1075 plus a good deal of reading threads on the topic would be a good start. Hamons are largely decorative only on a knife-sized blade. If you are convinced you want to try, again, Google search the forum. Bladesmiths here have more experience and success than any other place in the world IMO. Polishing and cleaning up a blade with start up tools is pretty straight forward. Use a file to get the unwanted crud off the blade and bring it out of its "shell" . When you have filed what you want as smooth as you can then bring out the abrasive sheets (sandpaper) back the paper with a rigid backer and set to work. It is advisable to use some form of lubricant with the abrasie paper. A light oil or some use "Windex" since it cleans up easily. Start with one grit in one direction and one orientation (along the blade length or across it) when you have gotten the finish as uniform as possible go to the next higher grit and sand in the opposite direction and orientation. Keep repeating through your various grits. Every option for putting the "furniture" on a blade (handle, guards etc) deserve its own thread. Fortunately there are plenty of those no further away than a Google search. A few very general observations about techniques and materials. Seriously consider moving away from the "5 minute" epoxies. Yes we are all in a hurry when we get that close to the finish line but quick setting epoxy gives little margin for error and induces stress to future projects after you have your first epoxy "whoopsie". "Stabilized" products are no better than the material stabilized. To put it in basic computer speak " garbage in, garbage out". You really shouldn't use anything because it was stabilized that is too fragile without stabilizing. Pay as much attention to the feel as you do to look. In the long run I find knife making by any method to be very similar to what I learned when I started out as a residential/commercial painter. The prep was everything. As my boss said. "90% of the skill is in what you don't see when you look at it." That is my idea of basic information that could be helpful to a person who wants to make their first knife and it might be useful to others. It is a tiny fraction of the information that exists, little of it is even very original. Further information on anything knifemaking related is available on the forum for the time it takes to do a Google search. There are always folks here who are willing to help and give you advice and share their experience.
  21. 7 points
    Haven't posted on here in several years, but I thought this might be a fun blade to jump back on here with. This tanto was made from an Enfield Mark III barrel with a mild steel core forge welded into it. The idea was to mimic the kobuse forge welding scheme used in many Japanese swords. It was kind of an interesting process getting the hot core down the barrel during welding. If I did it over again, I might have done a few things differently in the forge welding process, but it seemed to work out okay. I did a video on my Youtube channel. I can add the link if anybody's interested in seeing it.
  22. 7 points
    Hi All This was supposed to be a feather damascus blade, well that worked on one side but I really liked the other side so I continued with it. Total length 48 cm (19 inch) blade 35 cm (13.75 inch) Stabilised Elm burr capped with brass fittings. I might have to have another go at the photo's and a detail shot. Richard
  23. 7 points
    Greetings everyone, I’ve got a commission that has started me down the multi-bar road, so I thought I’d try and do a WIP. The commission is for an anglo-taxon style broken back seax with an 18” or so blade. I decided to do a basic 3 bar blade with wrought iron on the top, a twist in the middle, and high layer count on the bottom: I made my 3 bars, the middle being 36 layers of 15N20 and 1095, and the edge was 432 layer of the same. I tried using hose clamps to hold the bar together and I thought it worked really well. I forged out the blade about 70% of the way and realized I had been forging upside down - d’oh! Nice wrought iron edge. I did what I could to recover something from the mess, and ended up with these two blades: The smaller one is 6 1/4” (158mm), and the larger one is... well, larger (I forgot to measure it). I'm very happy with the pattern, thought I wanted tighter twists. Learned Lesson #1 - make sure you clearly mark which way side is the edge and which is the spine. Attempt #2: So I started again, same plan. As I was forging I realized I had a gap opening up between the edge bar and the twist in a particular area of the bar. I realized that was where the bar had not been square, but had gone diamond shaped on me. I tried rewelding it a couple times with mixed success. One spot just wouldn’t stick even after soaking overnight in vinegar and then fluxing heavily. So I had to shorten the blade to 14” (355mm) to put that spot in the tang: I hit the split with the TIG welder in the tang. A tiny bit goes into the blade, but it’s only on one side, and there is another small weld flaw a bit farther up, but again it was only on one side, so I left it. BTW, thanks to Emilliano Carrillo for coaching me through all these problems via text :-) Learned Lesson #2 - square-up your bars before welding them together. So, attempt # 3. Third time was a charm: I made sure my bars were square, cleaned the sides to be welded carefully, And hammered gently when forging until the billet had enough time/heat for the welds to really set. I did my best to normalize the blade, but I had to do it in sections because it was so long. Then it soaked overnight in vinegar to remove the scale and on to grinding. It took me about 4 hours of grinding to get it down to where I wanted it. I forged it a bit thick on purpose so I could grind past all the surface wrinkles and such caused by the patterns & welds. I ended up with this: The tang had to be cut because I can only fit 23” in my heat treat kiln. This has very light etch on it to show the pattern because the next step was a wire inlay of runes. The customer happens to be an expert in Old English, so I trade him the pattern welding of the blade for a low volume of his translation services in perpetuity. His last name happens to be Bishop, and we decided this blade would be named “Bishop’s Boar”, which he translated into “bisceopes eofor”. I printed out the runes on the computer so the spacing would be correct, and taped them to the place i wanted them on the blade. I then cut through the paper with a utility knife to mark them on the blade. It works surprisingly well, and doesn’t rub off. I cut the runes with a Gravermax engraver. They are pricey, but are pretty much the equivalent of a power hammer for engraving. You can do so much more work so much faster. My technique is pretty basic. I’m inlaying 22ga wire which is about 1mm in diameter, so I cut the grooves 1mm wide and half mm deep. As wide as the wire and half as deep seems to be a goodformula no matter what width the wire is. This is essentially how I cut the grooves. I always try to cut to another groove if I can, and i take 2-3 passes to get down the half millimeter. You have to be gentle when engraving or you snap points Once you have the grooves cut you need to make them into a dovetail to hold the wire. I’ve tried a number of techniques, but the one that seems to work the best for me is Matt Parkinson’s - just come in from the opposite side at a 45 degree angle with a chisel directed into the bottom corner of the groove. It’s nice because the metal tends to raise up when you do it so you get visual confirmation that you’ve done it. It also holds the wire the tightest according to my yank-on-it tests. I hammer the wire in with a hammer made of graver stock. Just like a regular hammer it needs a smooth face with no sharp corners. This is what I end up with. You should be able to tug on the wire and have it not pop out. If it does, clip it off, recut your dovetails, and start again. Super short piece will pull out easier than long ones, so be gentler with them. The most important detail here is that that i leave the wire proud of the grooves. After heat treat the wire will be dead soft from quenching, and you can do another round of hammering to get it just a little farther and tighter into the grooves. Here it is completed. And here are the tools I used: Channel cutting graver on the bottom right, chisel for setting the dovetails on the bottom left, hammer on the top, and flush cut jewelers snips for cutting the wire off. Heat treat was done in a kiln with an argon atmosphere. The argon prevents decarburizing and eliminates most of the scale. Here’s the inlay after heat treat and a second round of hammering the wire. This inlay took a total of 5 hours even with a Gravermax and some experience. I machine sanded the whole blade to 240grit, then started at 220 by hand and went down to 600. Etched it for 4 10 minutes sessions in ferric chloride, then hit it with a 1000grit stone and then 1500grit sandpaper. Up next is the handle, which will be cast bronze with an attempt at faux-garnet inlay and carved bog wood. We'll see how that goes...
  24. 7 points
    Hello! Some time ago I have started the project of wolf teeth spearhead that Niels Provos had posted, and I discovered that in the middle of process So firstly, I want to show you ready spearhead, and then photos of process of forging step by step. Please enjoy and comment The spearhead's socket is 21cm long and blade is 45cm long and 7cm wide, socket is forge welded from old iron, blade is made of 50HF spring steel and low carbon S235 steel. Each teeth is welded from separate piece of tooth. Firstly , I drew the project in the 1:1 scale with every dimension: Then I cut the pieces from steel sheet for blades, twist and core. I used S235 and 50HF 2mm steel sheet. Billets ready for welding, 2 on the right are made of 20-layer only 50HF steel, next is made of 16 layer S235/50HF for twist and the last one on the left is made of 26-layer S235/50HF billet for the core. Now after the first welding, everything is ready for cleaning and cutting. The bar for blades was cut in 5 pieces, so after welding it has 100 layers, The billet for twist was cut into 2 pieces and there was added a solid piece of 50HF steel in the middle, and the bar for core was cut into 4 pieces, so after welding it has around 100 layers. the bars are ready and the longest one will be twisted into 4 separate pieces, on the left there is the test piece for socket to check the dimensions that i need for welding. Preparation of core, shorter pieces are made of s235, loger ones of 50HF steel for contrast. The bars for blades are cut into 3 pieces each, so now they will have 300 layers.. Core is ready and 2 billets are made of 2 pieces of twist There are 2 pieces of welded twist and a piece of bar made of old iron After cleaning and cutting I made a billet from old iron,and also I cut the twist and welded it on the core. The twist was welded with core, and old iron plate for socket is ready. I forged the blade bars into square, 2cmx2cm. Now i forge the shape of blades, after that I cut the teeth in it, and from the piece of round bar s235 I forged the bar, grinded it to shape that matches the teeth grooves, cut it into small pieces, placed it into the grooves and welded it to the blade. There you can see all of the pieces that were used for the welded spearhead. On the right there is the mandrel for welding the socket. Teeth welded into the blade bars. All of the pieces for the blade are welded and ready to forge, The plate for socket is cut and cleaned. And this is the blade after welding it into one piece. There is the plate after rolling it on the mandrel. And this is how it looks after welding process. I welded on the swage block, before welding I heated the mandrel up to the orange temperature, and when socket reached welding temperature, I placed the mandrel inside it and welded it on the swage block, after each welding I removed the mandrel, heated up the socket and so on. Then I welded the socket into the rest of the spearhead, grinded it and heat treated. This is how it looks after the heat treating. And ready for etching the spearhead. Regards, Rafał Garbacik.
  25. 7 points
    This sword was the most challenging piece I made so far and it really let me with a wish to achieve some more on my next swords. The blade was mainly made by stock removal, except for the tip and about 10cm of the cutting edge, as the owner wanted it to have some forging on it. It is 1070. Guards and pommel are made from a piece of British wrought iron from the Victorian Age and the inlays are brass. They are heavily inspired on the designs from a type S sword from Gjermundbu, Norway, but it is not made to look like the original. As some of you may notice it also resembles some interpretations of the Gjermundbu sword made by Patrick Barta, although I'm really far from his skills with inlays. At least I have the chance to practice more of this amazing technique on an actual piece, rather than on scraps and left overs. The handle is karelian birch burl from Russia, with one of the most outstanding patterns I've ever seen. The wood was ground to shape and then spent a whole week submersed in linseed oil for stabilization and it got this darker orange-ish color. On the scabbard I used pinewood and it is lined inside with natural wool. Outside I covered it with linen and then painted with very dark brown. The chape is mild steel and the belt bridge is maple wood and although it is glued with modern methods to the linen cloth for safety, the leather strips would do the job alone fairly well. I loved the final result and it really made me feel like a talented crafter, even with all the flaws it have. This excitement is the best part of being a blacksmith/bladesmith. As i usually like to do with swords, the is also a short tale I wrote about it that can be seen in my blog. Here is the link for this sword: http://vferreiraarruda.blogspot.com.br/2017/04/type-s-viking-sword.html Overall length: 94,5cm Blade length: 78,5cm Blade width: 5,3cm Blade thickness at the guard: 0,5cm PoB: 18,0cm Length of the grip: 10,0cm Weight: 1,240kg
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