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AJ Chalifoux

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Everything posted by AJ Chalifoux

  1. Straightened a small Messer (top) and got a second one (bottom) almost done forging. I may tweak the bottom one a bit before heat treating, but we'll see. They're part of an experiment I want to try concerning short Messers/Hauswehr carried by peasants as can be seen in various medieval paintings.
  2. Those look great! Based on the thickness at the base, I'd bet they're pretty light too.
  3. Looking good. I also agree that the bend-and-file fullering method you show looks brilliant.
  4. That's also one of my favorites. I just know of it as Moesgaard Viking sword. There's not too much information available, but based on the hilt design and narrowness of the blade, it's probably a later piece (10th century maybe?) https://www.kulturarv.dk/mussam/VisGenstand.action?genstandId=6416382
  5. I can't remember off the top of my head how shear looks in cantilevered beams (I went into engineering for manufacturing, not structural dagnabbit), but technically a large enough guard should serve as an anchor and create a node there. Reasoning through it, I suppose it would put a lot of shear at that spot. I would think, though, that the looseness of the guard will only matter when it's so loose that it's just rattling around anyway. Then again, nodes could be anywhere on the handle depending on the type of sword, so while the guard will have an effect, the node will not necessarily be there and it should behave just like any other spot on the sword under vibration. Al, to add to your post, many guards were fitted so loose that they shimmed them to get a tight fit to the tang. I've seen wood, copper, steel, etc. shims used for exactly this reason.
  6. Peter Johnsson designs anything made by Albion, so they tend to be good references as far as reproductions go. Other than that, surf around on MyArmoury to get good examples of period examples. Generally speaking, an earlier long/great sword like this will have a simpler, straight guard and some variety of wheel pommel. If I were you, I'd see if bronze or brass pommels were common for this type (can't remember off the top of my head), since they're easier to shape and look great. The grip will generally be of wood wrapped in cord and then leather wrapped around that.
  7. Got the big billet of crushed Ws I'm working on cut, restacked, and first-pass welded on Sunday, and today I got it mostly drawn out. I had to fight it for a while to make the cross section look like a rectangle rather than a parallelogram, but I think it's all set now. It's a lot of work just to lift this thing up.
  8. That's a good idea. If he polishes the face he could also use it as a leatherworking anvil.
  9. How good are you with drilling and tapping? The only use I can see you getting out of it is if you made up dovetails that bolt on, then basically make a large power hammer die to serve as an all-metal stump anvil. Personally, I'd just give it to a machine shop.
  10. Finally finished drawing out this billet. It's at 1x1.5x33" after I cut the ends off (started as 1.5x3x12). Now I need to cut, stack, re-weld, and draw it out all over again for crushed Ws.
  11. 90+% of machine tools, from mills to lathes to drill presses, use standardized tooling tapers. It sounds like the shaft could be just a bit too beaten up, or else the angle is off which will keep it from getting a firm hold. Neither the bearings nor the tool (chuck) holders on drill presses are designed to handle radial loads like in milling, so it may never sit right for that. You may be able to press it more firmly into the female end by drilling big holes using a lot of pressure. Otherwise, measure it up, see what you've got, and maybe get another tool holder or see if there are variations that enable a draw bar. Edited to add: using a drill as a lathe will eventually damage the bearings. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machine_taper
  12. Looks good so far! Are you going to polish the guard? A quick note on torch tempering: like many I've found it to be inaccurate, but you can improve the accuracy considerably by getting a multimeter and a surface probe thermocouple to check the temperature on both sides of the blade as you go.
  13. Spent a chunk of yesterday and this morning making a set of dies for the hydraulic press. I tested it out quick on a piece of scrap and it seems like the cylinder will do the trick, but it's admittedly slow so I'll eventually need to change it out. I've only got 4" of clearance as it is, so I'd like to get a shorter cylinder eventually anyway. I never realized how much heat those press dies can suck out of the steel.
  14. Very nice looking bunch of knives. I have to admit I've never seen a tang like the bottom one. Is that a common style? How do you mount a handle on it, if at all? Very cool
  15. Looks like it will be a fun project to get it all freed up again. It's hard to tell what the pitting looks like on the vertical column (the tube). Try just soaking it in penetrating oil and letting it sit for a while first, then some Scotch Brite if it won't budge. I've always been advised against sandpaper (and sometimes even the Scotch Brite) because it might damage whatever non-pitted surfaces remain and cost you some accuracy. It might be splitting hairs on really old iron, but food for thought, anyway. Nice looking mill, though.
  16. These two paired Scottish dirks were done as a personal project for Christmas presents. They went to my sister and her husband, who had their wedding in Scotland last year. The blades are 5160 steel with dramatic distal and profile taper. I don't think these typically had distal taper, but I decided to do something a little different. One blade was forged by me, and the other was forged by my girlfriend as a fun couple's project. She also polished the blades while I worked on the hilts. The guards and pommels are solid brass, and the woods used are padauk and wenge.
  17. I may also be a bit biased, but I'll echo Will in saying I'll take a large mill that's hard to move over a small mill any day. I've got two for general machining (and smithing); my bigger one is about the size of a Bridgeport that I got for $600 and it still has frosting on the ways, and the small one is still about 1,000lbs which I scored for $125. The rule of thumb is, the bigger the machine, the better the deal you can get because they're just hard to move. If you find something like a Bridgeport, it's perfectly doable with a Uhaul trailer and an engine hoist, especially if you break it apart, but it's still a pain. Food for thought. Then again, what kind of space do you have? If it's downstairs and only accessible through a bulkhead, I wouldn't recommend getting a bigger machine...Food for thought. Also, always remember that tooling will double the cost of the machine, so if you can get a big machine with lots of tooling, that's the jackpot right there.
  18. Rough ground one dirk blade, other to probably follow tomorrow. It turned out thin at the tip, but given how I forged it I expected as much. It's not too thin given the taper and length, so I'm not worried about too much flexion. At least they're both already heat treated so warpage won't be a problem. Edited to add: I don't believe dirks had much of anything in the way of distal taper, but I opted to not concern myself too much with historical accuracy (not my usual mindset) and emphasize feel and utility. They will be presents and the most I'd expect them to be used for is vegetable chopping, which they'd be great for.
  19. I went and picked up a nifty little four post press today. I then spent the next two hours trying to get my truck out of the mud in front of my workshop because I backed up to the overhead door to unload it, unaware 1) that it was more muddy than I expected and 2) the four wheel drive in my truck wouldn't engage. I will probably swap out the air/hydraulic cylinder I got with it in favor of a Harbor Freight purely because they're shorter and will actually allow me to fit dies in there. Right now without a ram, the gap distance from plate to plate is 18 3/8". Take out of that 1.5" per die and 5" final daylight, and I've got just over the 10 1/4" needed for the Harbor Freight cylinder.
  20. Those are really, really nice. They're a great mixture of rugged and clean. I've never had the urge to make a folding knife until now. Well done!
  21. Oh that is just incredible and I love it. Great job!
  22. Well, I read that in his voice...
  23. Does she want the cross obvious, or can it be hidden? I've done holy symbols on the tangs of swords so the only people that will ever know it's there are me, the customer, and whoever finds the sword in 200 years after the grip has fallen apart. Some like that idea, some don't. If obvious is the answer, an etched cross in a fuller is kind of a nice look. The dagger sounds like a good idea too, especially with brass bolsters/guard to really bring out the green. There's a great catalogue online of all the daggers in the Metropolitan Muesum of Art, which shows a crazy amount of variation.
  24. A folding utility knife has been my go-to for 5 or 6 years. Then again, my day job is making utility blades, so that tends to lend itself well toward keeping one on me all the time.
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