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John Page

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John Page last won the day on May 10

John Page had the most liked content!

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About John Page

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  • Birthday May 11

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    Half way between somewhere and nowhere
  • Interests
    Bladesmithing, blacksmithing, Norse mythology, archery, cartography, woodworking

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  1. John Page

    Pattern Welding Explained

    This is fantastic!! If I didn't already know they were CG, I would never have known they are not real. Great stuff, there's an insane amount of potential in this sort of reconstruction and the value it provides to the community. Cheers!
  2. John Page

    This can't be right, right?

    Very interesting stuff, thanks for the insight gents! I'll never cease to be fascinated by the depth of society that humanity has created and being able to look in on our past as though it were the history from another world for all its mysteries
  3. John Page

    This can't be right, right?

    A little off topic, but when is it generally accepted that carbon content was deliberately used in hardening? There would be the unintentional results of carbon in alloying that contribute to toughness, etc. without heat treating compared to steel closer to pure iron on the spectrum, but that doesn't mean they were trying to get martensite. Also different alloys (carbon, phosphorous) would create visually distinct patterning without hardening, so that might not have been the original contributing reason for intentionally using different material layers. Is there a definitive or even vague period where the transition went explicitly into 'using higher carbon steel because it hardens'? Just a curiosity from a modern perspective... John
  4. John Page

    How to make a serpent pattern seax

    Way late to the party with this one, but I tried an experiment on this line of thought with a spear last year and had mixed results. The overall effect was what I was going for, but the deformation of the serpentine was not quite there. I think with a little refinement it would be right on with the amplitude and wavelength of historical serpent undulations. I really do need to finish the dang thing... https://shardsofthedarkage.blogspot.com/2017/02/the-serpent-spear.html John
  5. John Page

    Forging a Broadaxe

    Thanks folks! Much appreciated for the information, and I think I have a solid idea now on how to approach the construction. I hadn't thought of doing a sort of hotdog in a bun type situation for the eye, that makes a lot of sense. And doing a stacked poll too, much better than drawing out cheeks from something 3" thick I always wondered how those sockets were done like in the top of that post, Alan, thanks for that! And also that book, I was looking everywhere for historic examples of forged decorations, but I didn't know what to call it in a search and came up with some really weird things... I think I'll reattack this in the next few weeks and try and recruit a few strikers to make things easier!
  6. John Page

    Historic Wolf's Tooth Pattern

    Right on Justin! I didn't realize you were that close. I'll give you a ring next time I'm over on the east coast
  7. John Page

    Historic Wolf's Tooth Pattern

    Thanks all! The teeth of the edge bar were cut in by hand, and the wrought hammered down into it once the edge was cold again. Having the wrought of the teeth start out as an extremely thin layer coupled with working hot allows for the wrought to fill all the way into the teeth of the edge bar. It acts sort of like a one use die to shape the wrought, and because there is naturally going to be variation in the edge bar grooves because of how they are cut, the wrought will theoretically always perfectly match each tooth. Hope this helps! John
  8. John Page

    Grimfrost Books

    A little late to the party, but I've got a copy of the Vaesen and the Norse Gods books, and they're both fantastic! The illustrations are beautiful, and I believe done by the author himself. They are a bit expensive, but it's because they do their own printing in house as far as I understand. All in all, the two I have are great books and I'd highly recommend them for what they are. John
  9. John Page

    Forging a Broadaxe

    Thanks Josh! It's good to be getting some solid time in the shop again, even if it is sort of an anomaly with the work situation. I had another day to work on this beast today, and I'll preface this with I learned an incredible amount on how these things were likely made sans modern equipment. That caveat becomes necessary because I'm probably going to start over. This one is not necessarily a goner, but there are enough small things piled together that I want to make a more deliberate approach at the construction. First was folding the eye piece and getting all the holes aligned. It wasn't too bad of a process, but I did need to forge down a small rod to use as a follower, hammering the tapered end through the holes to force them into alignment. Once one side of the pair was straight, I pushed the rod out with the foot of the rivet to take its place, threading it through all three layers. Once that rivet was in place, I did the same thing with the second set of holes. This one was the trickier of the two because one of the holes on the eye side constricted slightly while getting the surface back to flat. But, with a bit of persuasion and tapering the end of the rivet slightly (long enough that it would be cut off later) it went together nicely. Now, where the problems really began. Getting enough heat through this much material was extraordinarily difficult. The size of the firepot in the forge I was using is not large enough to really accommodate this wide of a surface, and because it is also so thick, I had to worry about burning off the thinner bits of the eye piece. So naturally, it was quite a long soak, a literal mountain of coke, and repeated flipping over to get both sides hot enough that the middle piece for the body would reach welding temps all the way through. I think it took around two hours from when I lit the forge to really get up to temp and set the first of the welds. Because of this, the layers of scale falling off the steel were by far the thickest I have ever seen, somewhere in the neighbourhood of 2mm Thankfully the rivets did their job splendidly and held it all together long enough to set the welds, one side at a time because of the size of this thing. However, the time and temperature working in the fire caused some of the eye to thin down to precarious dimensions. Specifically, near the corners where the eye meets the body. This is most likely due to the thinness of the material and it heating up much more rapidly and staying at those temps longer because it doesn't have the thermal damper of the body piece against it. In an effort to stop the damage and repair the weakened metal, I forged a narrow wedge cross sectioned bar to stick in the void, then welded it in place using tongs to pinch-weld it together. It looks gross in the above picture because I was in the middle of trimming off the excess that held it in place while heating, but it looks a little bit better now. Without a way to hammer on that geometry, however, it's about as good as it's going to get for now, but is structurally sound and will be hidden entirely by the handle anyway, So here is the thing with the welds set. There isn't really any blending at this point and it needs a lot of shaping, but the next thing I want to talk about is the eye geometry. I learned a lot about how not to preform eyes for this sort of axe, and I'll bring you along on the journey of what and why I'm ultimately going to start over (at least with the eye, I might hot cut this one off and save the body). First, the opposing shoulders thing used in symmetric eyes (as more clearly explained by the last picture of the first post from a few days ago) is not conducive to having an asymmetric eye. I thought I could overcome this by being careful with how I set up for the weld, but it did not work that well. The corners tend to buckle rather than accept a gentle curve needed to form the D shape that the handle will have at the eye. The poll section was lopsided and almost impossible to correct after it was welded to the body. Also, there is little to no margin for error with regard to the lengths of the two sides of the eye. In spite of measuring, the top piece came out too long, and so the poll tended to want to roll downward in order to give the bottom section more material. That in itself is not necessarily a bad thing, but then the radius of the curve on the round section is still far too large. Second, having a flat back that smoothly transitions in plane to the back of the eye is difficult to achieve with this sandwich type weld. That bit of steel underneath wants to have the blade centred on the eye, and coupled with the asymmetric eye makes for some really funky forging. Meaning, it is not easy to forge on both sides of the weld without having a lot of overhang (the entire eye) off the edge of the anvil. While this is not as much of an issue for two or more people working on it at once, for one person it is unruly being so heavy and so incredibly hot. The radiant heat that this put off when welding was unbelievable! Third, not having the eye fully shaped and locked in that geometry by a weld somewhere along the seam means any future shaping runs the risk of splitting it back open due to the relatively heavy deformation required. Since the seam was not perfect, there is also a bit of a channel shaped void in there. Originally I was going to come back with a chisel and cut it clean a'la Jim Austin, but at this point I have figured out how to avoid the problem altogether for the next one. What this all means going forward is this- a radical redefining of the eye geometry and processes in shaping it. I'll post a sketch eventually that will better explain the differences, but until then I'll try and do it with words. First and foremost, I'm doing away with the hard shoulders. This was the main source of all my problems. For the poll end, I'm going to have a swept taper that curves down into the cheeks so that the thinnest part is in the centre, then thickens again towards the body. Likewise for the body side, I'm going to have the same radius, but more severely on the top half. This way, the pinched D shape or flattened teardrop thing is easier to manage with respect to keeping the back side flat. Next up is the junction with the body. I thought about doing it like an inserted bit where there is a V groove on the eye piece and a matching taper on the body, but I don't particularly like this for two reasons. First is then having two thin pieces on the eye that I have to get a large/deep welding heat on, and the other is how to match everything perfectly in such a way that it seats right but the transition above and below the eye into the body is not thinned. Third (I lied, there are more than two) is that it does not solve the problem of having extra material on the back side from the eye that needs to go somewhere in order to make it flat again. While that's not the worst problem to have, I found that it is most cumbersome at the corners where the eye flange is thickest. So what to do then? I think the answer is going to be weld the entire flange of the eye, then forge a step on the back side somewhere along its length that the flat body piece can lap weld into. This way, I don't have to worry about having to heat the middle of something so huge, instead likely using two forges to separately heat the two pieces, then drop tong/jump weld them together. That leaves the eye geometry in tact and leaves the weld with a more or less plane surface that requires no additional forging to blend and relieve excess material. Once that operation is done, the rest is (hopefully) relatively easy. Welding on a high carbon steel bit is not too difficult because only the edge needs to be hot, and that will certainly fit in the forge even if I have to do it in sections. Anyway, I'd love to hear your thoughts and see if there is something else I am missing that will make the next round more successful. John
  10. John Page

    Historic Wolf's Tooth Pattern

    Thanks folks, much appreciated!
  11. John Page

    Forging a Broadaxe

    In spite of only having used solid fuel for the last few years, I almost forgot how much I enjoy it after the brief interlude to the east coast Propane is good and all that, but coke is great! I'm really excited to (hopefully) have a few extra days this week to do some more heavy forging, hopefully sans sledge-hammer-inflicted incidents...
  12. John Page

    Single Edged Viking Sword

    This feels so good in the hand! I usually have a bit of reservation for how people approach single edged swords from this era but this is so beautifully proportioned and balanced! Thanks for all the WIP pictures, that was cool to see. The inside of the wire wrap makes a lot more sense now, seeing how it is soldered together. Great stuff, try and get a few photos of the belt if you can! John
  13. John Page

    Forging a Broadaxe

    This time I did measure! Although I think the thickness is actually 3/8 based on what I wrote a while ago in the first post in the thread. Because it needs to start as the thickest part of the body and a lot of it will be thinned out, I cut it short of the final length by about 2". In order to account for the change in shape, I marked both sides before forging anything. Namely, how far to forge in the taper that will make sense in a minute. In short, the two top corners will come down to form a lenticular shape rather than rectangular. In the middle, it will stay straight for the eye to weld onto, tapering down to give it extra length without so much extra mass. I heard once that if you could sit on the anvil for lunch, you weren't working hard enough. Now I know what that means... Forging this shape was trickier than I expected, mostly because of how unwieldly it is. Getting the corners to drop down without jutting out in a weird fish mouth situation was easy for the first side because I could stand it on end and just hammer it away, but due to the slant it wasn't as easy for the other side. This is also where the hot cut issue came in. Because the edge was slanted, getting a nice line was difficult because the upsetting in the corners from forging down the width accentuated the thinness in the middle. Eventually I just got it really hot on the end and hammered into the piece using its mass as its own anvil. To get the thing to stay together long enough to weld it, I'm going to use a pair of rivets. Originally I intended to use our cool mechanical drill press, but there weren't any sharp drill bits close to the shank diameter of the rivets. So instead, I punched all the holes. They are a little off kilter, but the rivets virtually disappear when welding, which is neat. The two things I am concerned with while doing this are that all three sets (one for each side of the eye and one for the body) match up, and that the body lines up with the shoulders of the eye pieces when the rivets are in place. To do this, I made the first two holes on one side of the eye, used that as a template for the body, then flipped the body over and used that for a template on the second half of the eye. While I could have folded the eye over and used it for its own template, I decided to leave it flat for now so I can go in with a top tool and true up some of the lines prior to welding. In order to guarantee the holes were aligned, I used the template side to mark the first hole in the next piece, then punched it all the way through. Once it was able to accept a rivet, I dropped one in and aligned it for the second hole. That way. the spacing cannot be out of alignment. And here is the lot of it at the end of the day. There is a double distal taper forged into the body piece as well as a pair of opposing tapers that go from the eye out to the edge, then from where the eye overlaps with the body backwards towards the centre of the eye. Hopefully I'll be able to get into the shop sometime this week to weld it, clean up the geometry, and weld the last piece on for the edge. Cheers for now! John
  14. John Page

    Forging a Broadaxe

    So this took a bit of a hiatus due to accidentally tripping a breaker somewhere in shop trying to use a chop saw a long while back. It took a lot longer to figure out where the problem was than anyone thought, then I had to leave for a while, and the comedy of errors combined their powers to shelf this project...until today! This is without doubt the heaviest thing I have ever worked on, and the forging was equally formidable sans power hammer or press. All in all, it was an extraordinarily productive day and I'm about ready to sleep for a week Where I left off, this bar for the eye was about 3/4 of the way cut through, the other side being scored across to both edges. Instead of trying to repeat the debacle from a few months ago, I used a hot cut instead and sledged my way through. The thickness is 3/4" by 3" wide and I think I used maybe 12" in length, but I'll have to go back to the pictures from when I first started to cut it. Also months ago I centre marked all the spots for the shoulders, which didn't show up on this photo, but I have all the maths from that somewhere too, and when I find it I'll post it. Hot cutting is wonderfully fast and fairly clean, although the not-square edge became a slight problem in the second bar I cut for the body which I'll get into later. Because I'm working mostly by myself with the occasional striker on a top tool, I had to think through how I was going to address all the pieces of the puzzle. For setting shoulders, I used this hot cut/butcher that has a straight, almost chisel grind on the cutting edge. It makes it extremely easy to get a square shoulder and a taper into the section that will be forged down. After using this to mark the lines, I could register it against a sharp corner of the anvil and do the rest there with half faced blows. This is the rough shape, noting the asymmetric eye. There are a few historic broad axes in the shop circa 1850 or a little earlier that I'm referencing for some of the dimensions, and the working length I came up with for the curved side is 3,5" and 3" for the flat side of the eye. There is also a drift (poking out in the bottom left corner of the picture) which I used to find dimensions. Using a piece of wire, I have a sort of story stick with all the important measurements. One side has two bends, one bit for the long eye, one for the short, and on the other end I have the overall length marked from one cheek to the other (both halves of the eye plus the width of the poll). After a bit more cleaning up and evening out the thickness of the eye, it's time to move on to the body piece.
  15. John Page

    Designing a Damascus Pattern

    Fantastic stuff! Hope you'll be feeling better soon I'm a huge fan of your pattern welding and watching it all come together. It's wild how much variation can come from simply stacking different kinds of stuff and hammering it in different directions. Thanks for sharing the process, I'm excited to see what you do with it! John