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Isaac Humber

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Isaac Humber last won the day on November 14 2020

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  1. I can't say no to free tools. When considering the purchase of a lathe last year, the seller offered to throw in what he called a 'surface grinder' to sweeten the deal . That machine ended up being a Fox Machine Co. horizontal mill from the turn of the century, and it's turned out to be a remarkably useful implement. Yes, I love to do things by hand as much as the next craftsman, but there's nearly equal satisfaction in using a 130 year old piece of machinery that rolled off the foundry floor when swords were still being carried as sidearms. Blade fullers were never something that I was quite happy with when done by hand … or at least my hand. Painstaking, and always just a bit wavy or crooked or just...off. Some folks here do incredible fullers done free hand, or with basic jigs, though perhaps they have secrets they keep to themselves. *Note* photos shown were taken after the job was complete. I haven't fully tooled this mill as can be seen by my poor excuse for a vise, but that didn't stop me from proceeding, as this was largely an experiment that happened to yield some satisfactory results. The tapered blade profile was aligned parallel with the table/grinding wheel by carefully placed copper shims in the vise jaws,and slight manipulation of the vise itself, followed by checking the alignment at both ends of travel. Machinist's jacks and blocks supported the blade from underneath on either side of the vise. This fuller is of a set depth, so that made horizontal alignment easy. If grinding a steep distal taper, I'd need a tilting vice for proper orientation. The grinding arbor I custom made from 0.5" stainless to fit the tool holder and mount a ¼" thick by 3" abrasive wheel. These are typically used in a small arbor on an electric drill or similar hand tool… I can change out wheels of different thicknesses for different width fullers. Currently, the mill is only running a single speed at around 400 rpm. This is slow for grinding, but actually worked nicely to keep things cool . I roughed out the general line of the fuller free hand with an angle grinder first to save time before mounting the blade on the mill. As with any machine tool, the setup is the hard part… after flipping the switch, it was just patience. I had some slippage of the wheel in the arbor but other than that the old girl powered through flawlessly. I think each fuller was 4-5 passes for a finished depth of around 0.06".
  2. Interesting issue. Could be a number of things ... what exactly is your quenching medium? 'Canola- water' ... ? As you mentioned, I don't think the blade decarburized enough in your gas forge to not be hardening at all. The brand " Save Edge" sounds like a newer ,cheap import tool... I would suggest that there is the possibility of some inconsistency in the steel itself. That would explain why the other blade hardened. There is also the consideration that you are working with an unknown alloy. It is very possible that your quench process is not ideal or even close to what is needed to correctly and fully harden the blade. Did you only file test the edge, or did you also try along the spine to see if the thicker section hardened ? Have you tried breaking a section to to see what kind of grain structure you are getting?
  3. Neat choice ! One does not see a walloon sword being chosen as a project very often. You did a very nice job capturing the overall feel of the sword, very stout appearance, though the hilt proportions seem a bit overly large. The wire wrap is especially clean, that takes a good deal of patience... Did you braze the perforated shells in place? I thought I could see traces of copper brazing in the photos.
  4. Incredible craftsmanship demonstrated in this WIP. The technical aspects of folders have always frustrated me, you definitely encourage me to give it a try. Great thread.
  5. Great advice from these guys. One thing I would like to expound on is the fit of the tang. It's really easy when you are burning the slot to burn TOO much material out and end up with a very loose fit. Naturally, you want a little bit of space if you're going to be using an epoxy. It sounds like you may just be using a pin, so in that case it is extra critical you do not have a loose fit. My method for getting a tight fit is rather simple. Instead of the tang having a flat end, I round it. Then, when I burn the slot, I make sure there is a gap left between the guard and the handle. Approximately 1/8" . With the touch up filing, and charred wood being removed, the slot is naturally lengthened. That 1/8" of space is nearly taken up, and with a few good hammer taps,the rounded end of the tang compresses the remaining wood and you have a very tight fit.
  6. Really clean looking grinds. I am surprised no one commented on these. The sheep's foot profile is nicely executed, but my favorite is for sure the bottom design, looks like a fantastic chopper/ camp knife. Are you planning on doing an edge quench/hamon on the sheep's foot?
  7. That is a fantastic piece ! Absolutely in love with the organic tones and texture, and the general flow of the whole weapon. The idea of the falcon and his 'collar' neat bit of creativity. Would you be willing to share a bit about your methodology for getting that incredible,crisp hamon ? I have some W-2 from Aldo I've been experimenting with, but haven't been able to get anything so stunning.
  8. Great job, Tre! Makes one appreciate how much work goes into forging tools. A lot of bladesmiths have little understanding of the much broader craft of blacksmithing, its excellent that you are learning both.
  9. Incredible piece ! Definitely an addition to my list of favorite rapiers... a wonderful execution of the 'Pappenheimer' hilt form. I also love the dark and subtle low contrast blade. Over 4lbs is a hefty rapier. Seems it would easily adapt as a horseman's sword or a cut and thrust. How does it balance?
  10. I have never used EcoPoxy, nor read of anyone else using it on blades. Generally, this is another one of those topics everyone gets hung up on. Some people swear by Devcon, others by G Flex or JB weld... I definitely believe there are superior formulas, but I don't think there is "The One to Rule them All " so to speak. I've used Loctite's Industrial grade epoxy for several years with good results. The point is, don't get pulled in all directions trying to find the best epoxy and lose valuable time you could be spending making blades. Buy a reputable brand, and as long as your knives aren't intended for extremely harsh abuse, the bond will be more than adequate.
  11. Neat pieces , indeed. The table is actually my favorite as well ,very cleanly carved. The enamel work on the one pommel, as well as your tapered fullers are also nicely executed. For mostly doing Migration Era work, you certainly seem to enjoy single hand swords from the medieval period ,too ! That last blade , your 'personal' looks familiar. Do you have any ties to Last Days Tribe forge?
  12. Nice shape ... Is that a rivet through the head?
  13. Good perspectives, Jake. The photo you attached is especially helpful . I believe that Jake and Alan are both on the most probable track, that the grain structure of the break in a properly heat treated sword reflects light differently than one with improper heat treatment ( as Alan suggested, large, crystalline-looking sparkly white) .I especially like what Jake said about "white" in most languages referring more to brightness than to color. Excellent observation. I may have to accept the above theories as the most likely explanation, unless anyone has thoughts to the contrary? As a side note, I still hold to the idea that the breaking of the tip was indeed a commonplace practice in that time period,at least in France. Further research has indicated that a second French fencing master ,Sieur de Liancour, also mentions the practice of breaking the tip in his treatise, published in 1692.
  14. Thank you for the replies so far... Ruben, you bring up an excellent concern. I am not a scholar of language, however a very kind French gentleman on another forum posted the text in question in the original French translation , as follows: "La troisième remarque c’est de faire emousser ou casser la pointe,si dans l’endroit cassé elle est de couleur grise, le fer est bon, si elle est blanche c’est le contraire " His own response to the possibility of mistranslation was such : The third observation is to have the point blunted or broken [The use of the French indirect mode "faire emousser ou casser" may imply to ask the maker of the blade to do it himself and show you the section, which may imply a somewhat less destructive precess than the one explained in the English translation]. If where it is broken the colour is gray, the iron [sword in this context I think] is good, if it is white it is not" So even from an individual who speaks French fluently, the word still translates as "white" . Interesting notes by John in regards to cast iron... still a mystery though . Anyone have any more ideas from metalugrical standpoint?
  15. Many people on this forum craft swords. We make them for many reasons : for the sheet enjoyment of it, for the furthering of craftsmanship, for historical interest, and some of us for a source of income. Yet, there is one reason we will never be able to experience... making swords that are intended to do what the sword was originally made for : to defend life, and to take life. No, a customer purchasing a sword from you will never trust his very life to it. I have been researching this forgotten perspective lately. I teach historical fencing ,and will be giving a presentation at a local sword symposium about historical necessities that are no longer part of practicing the art . One of the topics I am covering is the gentlemanly choosing of a sharp sword for dueling and defense purposes. Several historical treatises address this subject, but my chosen source is 17th century French fencing master Monsieur L'Abbate's Sur L' Art En Fait D'Armes , translated into English in 1734 as The Art of Fencing,or,The use of the Small Sword. In the first chapter , L'Abbat gives us a very practical premise , as follows below : " Courage and Skill being often of little use without a good Weapon, I think it necessary , before I lay down the Rules for using it, to shew how to chuse a good Blade ,and how it ought to be mounted..." He later continues on ,giving his opinion on the proper methodology of choosing a good blade: " ... In order to chuse a good blade, three Things are to be observed : First, that the Blade have no Flaw in it, especially across, it being more dangerous than Length-way. Secondly, That it be well tempered ,which you'll know by bending it against a wall or other Place; if it bend only towards the Point; 'tis faulty , but if it bend in a semi-circular Manner ,and the Blade spring back to Straightness, 'tis a good Sign; If it remains bent it is a Fault ,tho' not so great as if it did not bend at all; for a blade that bends being of a soft Temper, seldom breaks; but a stiff One being hard tempered is easily broke .." The next section is what I am particularly interested in : " The third Observation is to be made by Breaking the point, and if the Part broken be of a grey Colour , the Steel is good ; if it be White 'tis not : Or you may strike the Blade with a Key or other piece of Iron , and if he gives a clear Sound, there is no hidden fault in it.... " So there we see a most curios practice . A gentleman would not be found at fault or thought abusive if he snapped the point off a sword he was interested in. Talk about tire kicking ! My specific question : What is indicated by the steel color L'Abbat describes? All broken steel I have seen has been a grey color. What would 'white' coloration indicate about the heat treatment? Is that a flaw that does not exist in modern alloys? I've always thought in terms of grain structure, not coloration. I am planning on actually breaking a sword tip as part of the presentation, so I would appreciate a scientific explanation. Any other thoughts on all this is most encouraged !
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