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Jeroen Zuiderwijk

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Everything posted by Jeroen Zuiderwijk

  1. I'm guessing the owner must have lost more then just his knife.
  2. Not that I know of. The blades are pretty corroded, and I see no sign of patternwelding.
  3. Exactly, and a bit oval in top view.
  4. And just for fun, here's one of the most extreme original examples. Max blade width 87mm! Blade length 415mm.
  5. Just for completeness sake, here's a picture of what it's like finished. I've finished it many years ago but never uploaded photos to this thread. Just to be clear, while the blade is based on an original, the handle isn't and most likely was just a straight, longer hilt much like on other seaxes. However, more complete examples need to be found to be certain about that.
  6. And there's also one with horn hilt plates remaining, but the pommel not preserved. I've reproduced that hilt on one of my Ewart Park swords (blade cast by Neil Burridge).
  7. I only just see this thread now. You're not far of, but some differences in shape were used with regards to the pommel shape and the hilt ending. Of the Ewart Park style sword, several examples have been found where the hilt was made either partially or entirely of (hollow) bronze, which show what the hilt shapes would have been.
  8. It's a pretty common practice among antiques dealers to put fake hilts on authentic pieces. A complete looking piece sells better then an incomplete one. There's even a seax in the National museum here that has various bits of belt plates etc. glued together to form a hilt. The one with the bronze hilt I am pretty certain that it's a fake, inspired by the wooden hilted one. The blade is probably real, but the hilt certainly isn't. It's a broad seax with an iron bolster. Iron bolsters on broad seaxes are fairly rare, except on Langobardic ones, where nearly all of them have an iron bolster. So there's a good chance that the blade is Langobardic. The one with the "wooden" hilt may be the real thing. But I strongly suspect that the hilt isn't wood. It looks more like bone or horn to me. But anything that doesn't come through official archaeological circles I automatically assume to be a fake or messed with, unless there is very strong evidence to prove otherwise. And anything that does come through archaeological circles that looks off, I still don't trust. Much of the collections of museums also comes through antiques dealers or from private owners, and a lot has been messed around. Provenances are falsified, bits are "restored" or faked and sometimes the entire artifacts are highly questionable, even in official museum collections. This is why artifacts are found by archaeologists and properly documented are so much more valuable.
  9. That's not the case. Copper alloys can take up hydrogen and oxygen. Hydrogen causes brittleness and oxygen causes porosity. So you need to ensure the metal is in a reducing environment (preferably have some charcoal floating in it if you use a gass forge), and don't overheat it. The hotter and longer the metal is heated, the more gasses it absorbs.
  10. Here's Jake Powning casting bronze with a more shallow crucible, probably such a ceramic one: I'd advice though to make tongs that enclose the crucible, rather then grab the edge, as it make it less likely that the crucible will break and fall.
  11. That won't work. Cast iron will melt along with the brass/bronze. Even regular steel won''t last well, as it dissolves into copper alloys well below the melting point of the steel. An alternative just getting a much larger crucible, and cutting it down. I know there are bowl shaped ceramic crucibles available, which are used f.e. for gold and silver casting. I don't know if they exist in the size you are looking for, such as: https://sunnymountain.net/products/alumina-ceramic-crucible-3-inch
  12. Interesting. Also that they are getting brass straight from ore. I don't know of any occurrences of copper and zinc ore that you can smelt directly into brass, but that's based European ores. Also interesting to see they use sandcasting, and a wooden stick as a core to make the socket. I'd like to try that someday early copper age shafthole axes. Also interesting to see some tools are exactly the same as I used in my prehistoric bronze casting, like the wooden tongs, while others are quite different.
  13. These are pretty. While the modern made exceptionally finely finished examples are beautiful, the more free hand formed and decorated old ones have their own charm. Plus I can do that easier then a perfect fit and finish
  14. Quite a few things. First thing that I've been wanting to do for quite some time is patternwelding on my own. I did a first attempt: My welds were succesful, but a flaw in the wrought made this blade a failure sadly. However, considering the circumstances where I made it, I was pretty pleased that it worked: It was during a Viking event. And I was limited to what I could bring on my bicycle, including clothing, sleeping gear, forge, bellows, charcoal etc. So with just a 2kg anvil, few bags of charcoal I did get quite far. Which makes me hopeful that I will manage when I'll try at home with fewer limitations. I'd really like to work more with wrought iron, shear steel to make a series of seaxes, patternwelded or otherwise. Once I finish the Nijmegen reproduction, I need to start a second one, to include everything I've learned about the original since I started my first reconstruction: I'd also like to have a go at non-ferrous wire inlay on seaxes. I was well on my way learning to make seaxes, but right when I got to a level I was happy with, I lost the opportunity (time mostly) to go further with it. There are also various swords still on my wish list. The early iron age sword of Oss for example: Reconstructions have been made before, but there is new information found, which has not yet been included. Further more, a Frankish patternwelded sword is also on my wish list, this particular one: I've known that sword from the other side of the glass for about 25 years now, and I will try to make it some day, even if it takes me another 25 years or more (which is not unlikely considering the length of some projects I've already started ) In bronze, I'd still like to make a bronze hilted central European style sword, and if possible from ore to sword, similar to these: I'm already part way there, I've smelted a sufficient amount of copper, and some of the tin I need. I still need to make more tin, and I have the metals. I do have enough tin ore, but it's of such a difficult to process quality that it will take me a few hundred hours of pounding it to dust and panning to separate the ore from the matrix. So I'm looking for a higher grade ore. Ideally I'd cast it in bronze age moulds, but if it must happen in a modern mould, I'd still be quite pleased. But first challenge is to go and forge again in the near future. First plan is to just make a small knife. Once available forging time increases again, which may take some years, I will pick up more challenging projects. At least my hands are itching to start playing with fire and hot metal, and I've been working my way up to the point of being able to spare a few hours here and there again!
  15. In the early phase I had a lot of help from verious other casters. Before I did any casting, I did a bronze sword casting course with Neil Burridge (http://www.bronze-age-swords.com/). Not only was it was my first experience casting bronze, the site in Cornwall was absolutely magical. Traveling on a road through an ancient forrest, we arrived at an ancient site that looked like a place from Lord of the Rings, with visible remains of the bronze age and reconstructed roundhouses: He's since become a good friend, and we exchange a lot of thoughts. This was before he had started selling swords, but he had some years of experience casting reproductions and doing courses. I learned a lot from him and getting some first hand experience casting helped me on my way. He's definitely also set the bar for high quality cast bronze swords, not just in accuracy and quality visually, but also mechanically. I've not been able to reach his level mechanically due to limitations I have, but I always try to push it as close as I can. In recreating the bronze age casting process, a dutch caster Erik Schouten was a great help. Being able to see him do it and the equipment he used meant that I didn't have to reinvent everything myself. He left Archeon (the living history center where I did my casting for years), just before I started casting, so after that I had to figure things out on my own. Erik at work (in a different living history center): During that time I ran into the problem what many people trying to do authentic castings: bad quality castings, bubbles and what not. I got the golden tip from Anders Söderberg (it's caused by lime, either find a lime free clay, or fire for at least 4 hours at over 800C), a Swedish bronze caster with a lot of experience in Viking age casting. His site: http://www.vikingbronze.com Later I met him when taking part in the Irish bronze casting group Umha Aois. Umha Aois has been a very inspirational yearly event for me as well, a gathering of archaeologists and artists, gathering together at least once a year for one or two weeks. With regards to forging, I spend a lot of time looking at the medieval smiths working in Archeon and bugging them with questions. That helped me get started. Furthermore I've been wanting to start in patternwelding. While I already had a bit of experience in forge welding, I thought it would be a good idea to do a course from Owen Bush. That did help me move forwards in practical knowledge with regards to patternwelding. I still need to find the time to go further with it myself. At the moment I don't prefer to focus on personal projects, rather then joined projects, so I can work through them at my own pace. However, I do much enjoy events with lots of metalworkers present. At the time being I don't have the time for it, but events like Umha Aois, the bronze sword gatherings in the UK, Owen's forge-ins etc. When I have the chance, I'll definately like to do more of that again. It's highly inspiring and a lot of fun to be working along with similar minded creative people.
  16. I've never understood what longer duration does either. As far as I've experienced, tempering is pretty much instant. If you only for a split of a second get your temperature too hot, your hardness is ruined. Might it be that the time does not really reduce hardness, but due to allowing more time to let the atoms find the least stressed state, it does keep on increasing the toughness?
  17. Yeah, I had even one involved in a little experiment, using his 3D printer to print out a 3D model of an artifact found online, which I then cast in bronze. The conclusion was that the models and printer did not give the quality in detail required. It would have been a lot easier and more precise to make the model from scratch.
  18. Pretty sure I'm not going to write a book When I happen to have free time, I will much rather spend it on metalworking then writing a book. Right now free time is a very precious luxury that doesn't come around very often. P.s. for historical bronze casting, this is also a good place to have a look: https://www.facebook.com/groups/experimentalhistoricalbronzecasting Also check the files and photos, where I've uploaded all sorts of info.
  19. Sand will just blow allover the place and create a mess. When using clay, mix in a good amount of sand. If you have horse dung to mix in even better or if you are squeamish about that, hay or other organic fibers. It will still form cracks though, but if it can crack without falling to bits, the cracks are not really a problem.
  20. Well I'll end it with a last piece. Pretty much all I do is reproductions of ancient artifacts. I've been toying with personal designs, of which one I materialized, sort of. I had more plans with enlaying the hilt with scrimshaw decorated bone and metal wire, inspired by 18th century gun grips, but that I had to skip to finish it at some point. But it made me realize I'm not really in my element designing blades myself. I'm so used to not using personal inspiration, but instead sticking to archaeological evidence that I find it very hard to just let my fantasy run wild. I'm much happier just stealing the work of smiths from millenia ago This did make me appreciate those bladesmiths who can design blades from scratch, and even invent whole new styles.
  21. The patterns are not an easy one to survive in the archaeological record, but we do have these wooden patterns from Ireland: Also, sword moulds have been found which clearly have the imprint of a wooden pattern being used: Further, I've been using dried clay patterns as well. These have not been found, and would not survive due to turning back to clay in the ground, but were a very helpful tool that could have been used: But for thinner shapes, I've also carved the shapes directly into the clay. And for lost wax, you have to make the wax each time you make the mould, although there are some ways to copy the waxes as well.
  22. Practice And I learned a lot from various other casters: Neil Burridge, Erik Schouten, Anders Soderberg and the Irish group Umha Aois. A lot of early things were not so good, but with experience I got better at it. The advantage is that I started the hard way, with bronze age means only. From then on using modern means to simplify things made the rest feel easy. It's a lot harder to cast a simple flat axe the way they did it in the bronze age, then a sword with some help of modern tools and materials. Simply things like a silicon carbide crucible and steel tongs already made casting far more reliable, taking care of the whole issue of melting the bronze and getting it out of the fire and into the mould in time.
  23. A so-called "scramachette", from Lithuania, 7-11th century AD. Hilt and (unfinished) sheath not based on finds: Eating knife: late 14th century AD, London, UK. Laminated wrought and spring steel:
  24. And now for some iron, starting with seaxes. Short seax, Weingarten, Germany, mid 6th century: Type II narrow seax, Krefeld-Gellep, Germany, late 6th to early 7th century: Broad seax, Germany, mid to late 7th century: And some broken back style seaxes, 8-11th century, UK:
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