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Jeroen Zuiderwijk

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Jeroen Zuiderwijk last won the day on January 31

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    Bronze age, iron age, early medieval.

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  1. Sorry, mixing up glue abbreviations. I meant of course CA. And then the low viscosity type.
  2. How about inserting some thin liquid PVA? Through capillary action it should suck it up, and fill any void.
  3. In the following years, I cast the other bits for it, the tunkou (blade collar), hushou (guard) and bingtou (pommel), if I get the Chinese terminology right. I've started working on these parts, but still quite a bit of work left to do: The grip is where I'm going to do the most guesswork. I saw that on one example, there is an imprint of a textile band having been wrapped diagonally over the tang. I will do that to bulk up the grip, and finish with a leather cord as final wrapping. Such leather cord wrappings I've seen on earlier Warring State swords as one of the options. Anyway, still a long way to go to finish it. Hopefully not another 15 years.
  4. Almost 15 years ago I cast the blade. This was the first time I started casting using more modern techniques, with the intend to reproduce swords and other artifacts that I couldn't do using bronze age technology only. That way I could increase my own collection of reproductions, as well as sell some (which I don't do now, until I have a lot more time available again). There is a funny story about when I started to try and cast it. In the living history center, there was the running joke amongst casters that a failure was "casting a dog". A previous bronze caster wasn't getting very good results, but a blob of bronze that landed on the ground was dog shaped, so he jokingly said to the public: "Look I've cast a dog!". The first attempt of the blade I cast during one of the beer & bronze evenings we had after closing hours in Archeon. Somehow I miscalculated the amount of tin, and the bronze was so thin that ran straight out of the mould. When I opened the mould, me and another caster looked inside, saw a piece of flashing and we both said at the same time: "it's a dragon!". It was a wiggly piece of bronze with a head shaped end that just had an uncanny resemblance to a Chinese dragon. We considered this the Chinese version of casting a dog. And since Chinese dragons are associated with luck, we saw that as being given a blessing The second attempt was more straight forward, and resulted in a fine blade: The only thing was that the blade had bend as I took it out of the mould when it was still fairly hot. The blade is cast in 20% tin bronze, which apparently is quite bendy when hot. But I've managed to straighten it out after heating it up again.
  5. From the blade itself, the outline of the hilt edge on the blade and the rivet size. I took further information from contemporary bronze hilted swords, such as these from the Dystrup sword hoard:
  6. I've just restarted on another project that I started 15 years ago, the reproduction of a Han Dynasty ring hilted bronze dao. This is a type of sword that oddly enough gets very little attention, while being historically very significant. These are the earliest single edged long swords in East Asia, making them the ancestors of the later dao and quite likely also the katana. But at the same time, these were also the world's last bronze swords. Nevertheless, information about these swords online remain very sparse, though that may be my language barrier. At least I see very little new info on these swords since researched them 15 years ago. There are two basic types: the thick and heavy variant with multiple fullers, and they very thin, single fullered variant. I am making a reproduction of the heavy variant. The example I'm reproducing can be seen on this page: http://chineseswords2.freewebspace.com/photo6.html Other examples can be found here: http://thomaschen.freewebspace.com/photo.html and https://new.qq.com/rain/a/20221114A05XEC00 and https://www.sothebys.com/en/buy/auction/2021/important-chinese-art-5/an-archaic-gold-inlaid-bronze-sword-dao-han Since the information is very sparse, I have to do quite a bit of estimation/guesswork. I know that one example of such a sword is 93cm in length, so that's what I used. I have no data on thickness, weight etc. From the photo's on the site above, I estimate that the thickness is around 8-9mm. Contemporary steel daos have spines 10mm thick. Since bronze is a bit more dense, that brings it approximately to the same weight, though the fullers reduce the weight of the bronze sword a bit further. Also interesting is that the heavy bronze dao is the first sword to include a habaki (not sure how this is called on Chinese daos). Photos will follow
  7. Yay, I have something to post again! I cast this blade over 15 years ago, when I was still doing living history in Archeon. The blade is based on a find from Monnikenbraak, Netherlands, dating to 1800-1500BC (probably the latter part of that). It's a so-called Wohlde type sword (analog to bronze age rapiers from the UK). The blade was cast in a clay mould. The mould halves were made from a 50/50 mix of clay sand, that was first dried to leather hard and then had the blade carved out. I don't know if this method was used in the bronze age (rather then using wooden models), but it was something I wanted to try out. Both halves were then assembled, and then wrapped with a layer of clay/sand/horse dung mix. The mould was further dried and fired. The casting was done 15 years ago in Archeon, using a bronze age style pit furnace. This is the only sword blade that I cast that way that was sort of decent. Here you can see the cast straight from the mould, with flashing and sprue (at the tip) still attached. I had started finishing it authentically, but I found that the cast was still not good enough to complete it that way. So it ended up in my pile of unfinished casts, where it stayed for 14 years. Last year I decided to start and finish this one, starting out with making the hilt. The slot for the tang was burned into the wood. This took a few attempts until I had a hilt I was happy with. Mostly because the first piece of wood appeared to have a drying crack in it, which I found when I started carving the hilt from it. This was actually great though, since I could split open the failed hilt and see the result of the burning process from the inside. I was quite surprised at how clean the burn was, since there was only a very thin layer of blackened wood on the inside, only a few tenths of a mm deep into the wood. The burning was done with the hilt plate being still below red hot, and the wood quenched in a bucket of water after each burn. The final hilt was made from a piece of hazelwood. The real challenge was lining up the holes in the tang with the hilt and the slot, which I fortunately got right. Having a drill press being able to drill straight and precise holes helps a lot. No idea how they managed that in the bronze age. Well, I have some ideas, but never put it into practice to see if they work. The hilt is fastened not just with the rivets and washers, but also with a resin/charcoal dust/fat mixture. I've found in the past that just rivets aren't enough in this construction, as the slightest play between the rivet and the holes would result in quite significant movement of the blade inside the hilt. And if you look at the originals, the rivets are anything but a tight fit inside the holes. The finished result:
  8. Not so much, but that's because I'm well aware of what they could do
  9. Just tempering expectations The most fun years I had casting were the first years just messing about. I didn't get many good results yet. But just playing around trying to melt and cast stuff was great. When you don't expect anything, any result is awesome. When you expect good results, you just get very frustrated at all the failures
  10. It's much harder then it sounds, particularly when you are going to make crucibles and moulds from clay. Forging iron is so much easier. Also brass is a tricky one to melt, without turning it into sticky goo. And don't breath in the fumes, zinc fumes are nasty. It is good fun though.
  11. In general no wooden cores. But you may just be working with too soft leather. Depending on the tanning process, leather can be really hard and stiff, even more then rawhide.
  12. I agree. The gating has to be as smooth and compact as possible. At every edge of the sand, the metal will pick up oil that will result in bubbles in the cast. You won't see that on the outside, but when you start filing or coldworking that's a problem. It's tricky enough as it is to get a casting with oil bonded sand that is solid enough. Rather then scraping channels, I use a smooth antler point to press the gating, and make very sure that the gating is completely smooth with no sharp edges or loose bits of sand.
  13. That does indeed look like two parts. I stand corrected
  14. Yeah a bit like that, f.e. like 3. I'm not fully certain, as I can't find any good images of loose examples at the moment. But one thing I've learned is that metalwork from that period is a lot thinner in general then you expect. If they could make anything hollow or thin walled then they did it to use the material as efficiently as possible. If I recall correctly, with type of rivets with the three holes in them, there are examples with the edges folded down, making them look thicker then they really are.
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