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Adam Betts

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Everything posted by Adam Betts

  1. I am seeing that I took too many liberties with the design and it no longer bears any resemblance to a baselard. The sax-like blade is probably all of my recent work bleeding into what I'm trying to do now. Sax on the brain. Anyway, to go back to the first post for a moment, does anybody have a suggestions for what a lord's huntsman might have carried 13-14thC? I thought "baselard" because it isn't a fancy man's knife, and something single-edged made sense for the concept, for the same reasons many outdoors knives are single edged. I clearly missed the mark when I mushed those ideas together. Ballock dagger maybe?
  2. Thank you, Alan. I didn't realize period glues were strong enough to hold such a large blade without mechanical reinforcement. That's amazing! As an aside, I am really geeking out that you responded to my post. I learned to make tomahawks and axes mostly from your posts here (and also Jim Austen's). It's been a while since I dabbled in the middle ages, as I've been in a Viking rut for a while. My post-Norse history must have gotten rusty. Thank you both for your wisdom. I'll have to do some re-research.
  3. A full list of references is impossible, simply because I can't easily find them again. I saved a couple of images, though. These examples have the classic I-shaped baselard hilt with single-edged blades. Another single-edged baselard, with a false edge and fullers, apparently in a museum in Verona, from 13th-14thC England or Germany. All I did for my design was take a similar single-edged blade and put it on the OTHER common handle from what I've seen called baselards- the handles that are mostly wood and curvier. Single-edged versions of most of the classic medieval daggers are extant, so I didn't think it was a stretch. Clearly I am not fully-versed enough in blade history to pick up some of these distinctions. That said, I'm not working to strict historical standards, nor am I aiming to reproduce a specific piece. My guidelines for "historical" for this piece are pretty much what I've said so far: as long as I've seen a particular design element in art or artifacts from the period I'm roughly aiming for, I'll consider it fair game. I know single-edged rondels existed, but were usually, I think, narrower than my design, with a thicker blade. I can see that my design work is lacking when viewed by other people; in my mind the hilt, viewed from the end, is an flattened oval section, not round like the rondel. Apologies.
  4. Greetings, fellow smiths. I'm beginning construction of a baselard-type knife of dubious provenance. It's a chimera as far as design elements go, but I think it's within the realm of plausibility for England and northern Europe in the 14th-15th centuries (please correct me if I'm way off-baselard here). I was inspired by several museum pieces that had imposing single-edged blades, so that was the central element I designed around. I've forged the blade already, and I'm planning on making the guard and pommel out of steel (I'd love to use wrought iron, but have none). I'm not sure what wood to use for the handle, but I was leaning toward oak, because I'd like the final finish to be fairly dark. I also have a stockpile of birch, cherry, mahogany, ipe, and maple, but I'm not sure what would be appropriate for the area and time period I'm roughly aiming for. Aside from general design commentary and criticism, I was also wondering what my options for decorating the hilt are. I was thinking I would do some very basic filework on the guard and/or pommel, but on daggers with this type of handle, those pieces generally seem very plain. I also love me some carved knotwork, but I have a feeling that might might not be period appropriate-- for example, the ubiquitous ballock dagger doesn't seem to feature knotwork during its evolutionary lifespan until it morphs into the Scottish dirk, and I'm wondering if knotwork fell out of favor as a decorative element after the Norman conquest of England. Anyway, feedback on these things, and any other suggestions for basic ornamentation would be welcome. This is supposed to be a huntsman's weapon, so it shouldn't look very high end. Final question: On a dagger like this, I would assume the tang goes through the handle and is peened over the pommel, right? I've done this a few time on a small scale, but have not come up with a good way to secure the blade/handle assembly to keep the blade from being beaten right back out of the hole. Thank you for reading!
  5. I read about these blades for the first time with breakfast this morning, and now a new one shows up here. Funny how that works. Looks great so far!
  6. Beautiful work, and thank you also for the video. The use of stainless steel hose clamps to hold things together in the forge was kind of a eureka moment for me.
  7. Your aesthetic sense for handles is really spot-on. I particularly like the one with the scalloped handle (that last one in the sheath). Is it comfortable to use?
  8. Thank you all for the warm welcome! It feels good to be part of the community instead of an onlooker.
  9. Hail and well met, fellow smiths! I've been consulting this forum for years now, having long since realized that it is above and beyond most of the rest of the internet in the intelligence, thoughtfulness, and helpfulness of its members. Many of you have been inspirational to me as I have developed my craft, and, while I still have many, many questions, I finally feel that I might be able to contribute in a positive way to the community, so here I am. As for me, my name is Adam, I have a bachelor's in English, and I'm a lumberjack for a struggling family tree company by day. Money is tight, but I do get a lot of time to pursue my smithing, so that's something. I draw inspiration from history, particularly ancient Anglo-Saxon and Norse culture, and the American colonial period. My goal for this post was to briefly (seriously, only 10 pictures) summarize my work through the decade-or-so (I didn't realize it had been that long until just now) I've been working at this craft, in hopes that it might comfort those newer to smithing that progress is not always fast, but it happens eventually if you keep bashing metal together for long enough. First knife, made ten-ish years ago. Cut from a cheap, modern circular saw blade before I knew better. Several unremarkable blades made from circular saws occurred here. First forged knife, seven years ago, from 5160. Forged on a stump using a hardwood fire. Took forever. Several failed and/or abandoned attempts at very primitive forging happened next. Somewhere in here I got my anvil. It's a piece of crap and the horn is broken and there's only one sort-of-flat spot near the heel, but it's way better than a stump with an I-beam bolted to it. First knife I sold, four years ago. Forged and filed from a lawnmower blade (it hardened, really). Made before I had a belt grinder, and I did all the shaping with files. I still regret putting the serrations on the spine. Also, this was the first knife to be made in my gas forge. This is when I built my 2x72 belt grinder. It's made of stuff from the scrapyard and includes parts of a bandsaw that my grandfather also built from scrap. It is crappy and beautiful and way better than no grinder at all. First successful slit-and-drift tomahawk, made from a broken wrecking bar. Made two years ago. This was preceded by three or four botched attempts. First successful wrap-and-weld hawk. Mild steel with a 5160 bit. Made two years ago. Oddly, I got the weld the first time. I haven't been able to get one right since. This one got donated to a silent auction for Two Coyotes Wilderness School, where my fiancee teaches. This knife was a prototype for a "commissioned" piece of which I have no photos, made last year. Blade is 80CrV2 from Aldo Bruno. This is a neat little one-piece craft knife I made last year when I was obsessed with the kiridashi-type blade. W2 steel. These are my most recent tomahawk and most recent knife. The hawk was a jeep axle in a past life. It is holding a great edge. The knife is my first attempt at a Scandi grind (I'm having a lot of trouble with it), in W2 steel. The knife is considerably smaller now due to my repeated, failed attempts to correct the edge. The handle is spalted birch from a tree that almost destroyed the garage at the family homestead. I just made an axe-eye drift (though I think it has some issues), and have been playing with it a lot. This is my crowning achievement so far. It is my first top-hafted axe (long, teardrop-shaped eye, wedged in place from the top of the handle). It used to be a jeep axle. Weighs in at 1.4 pounds and balances just at the front of the eye. The handle is ash from a tree I felled last year. ...and then it was now, and then I don't know what happened. Thank you for reading, and thank you all for being here and being part of my journey. I will see you in the design and critique area shortly!
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