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James Simonds

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  1. Well, i know two of the bronze grades forge very well. the phosphor bronze and the aluminium bronze. Yes, it is true that not all grades do, and i think the SAE660 lead/tin bronze will not forge. Very interesting idea to see if i can semi-cast a combined metal. i could do that with a crucible or more likely a tray type arrangement in the heat treating oven. i had not considered that approach. it would have the advantage of being totally gap filling aswell. if i did that with the phosphor and aluminium bronzes, then i could forge the resulting billet and have some very cool possibilities patternwise with appropriate forging and grinding. Thanks
  2. Hiya bladesmiths. So, i am equipping my new tiny backyard workshop with a paragon tempering oven, i dont have room/capacity/safe environment for a gas forge. its a very VERY closepacked residential area. one of the plus sides to this is that i really am enjoying experimenting with bronze for blades as well as fittings. A tempering over is perfect for forging bronze. One of my long term quests is to make bronze pattern welded blades that are hardenable, or san mai style with a hardenable core and softer outsides if 2 hardenable types dont exist with enough constrast perhaps. I know that some grades of aluminium bronze are quench hardenable, and that most are work hardenable to some extent. so, i think it should be possible to make a pretty decent blade with bronze pattern welded material. There is almost 0 info out that on the wide web about bronze forging blades in general, and pattern welding it specifically. i've looked at various mokume gane tutorials, and i guess they have relevance, but has anyone here tried forging different bronze grades together? im considering various methods. 1. Heat them while they are loosely held together and hit them with hammer. 2. heat them while the are compressed together with a screw plate or something, then hit them with a hammer 3. brazing and then hitting with a hammer. not sure that works, because forging temperature is a bit high to allow a brazed joint to be forged? 4. screwing them tightly together and simply holding them at forging temp for aaaaaggggggggggeeeeeeesssss. but, pattern welding that way would be a slow process So, does anyone have any expereince or tips? my paragon will arrive in a couple of weeks and i can start experimenting. i have two types of phosphor bronze, PB2 and PB102. i have copper, regular brass, Aluminium bronze (CW307?) and some SAE660. i also have some 'ancient' style bronze casting that i can play with. now, i have been told the ancient style bronze wont forge, too much tin content, and that the same is probably true of the 660 although higher levels of lead might make it ok. the PB102 forges absolutely beautifully, its gorgeous to work hot and i've done some stuff with it already, and the aluminium bronze forges well too, although not tried this grade. Any other tips, advice, info etc. would be appreciated.
  3. So, i got mine in the UK but i know several suppliers in the US who do that stuff or similar things. https://www.instagram.com/exotic_blanks/ https://www.instagram.com/derangeddonkey/ the first one is mostly just stabilised wood, the second is amazing, but very expensive. this is probably the best because they do all sorts and i beleive they take custom orders. https://www.instagram.com/derangeddonkey/ And yes, they are all instagram links but its the quickest way to show you what they do. Not my forge! I was at a friends forge, but yes, it would be better not to be exposed to that stuff.
  4. Yeah, its quite 'out there' and not very traditional. but, the final set, man, they just work. and its about 3 times better in real life rather than the phone photos. the copper glows and works really well with that highly figured wood. and the resin has a cool holographic swirly effect in the light.
  5. and if it wasn't i'm sure he wouldn't be doing it that way! its just quite amusing to see a man stab a power hammer with a glowing sword.
  6. Bit of an update to this. I re-finished and improved this set, re-doing the brassing, etch and handles for better refinement. The handles have been slightly re-profiled and much better finished, they are better profiled and are polished. I re-etched using a longer and more elaborate process for much better results. copied the process Kyle Royer uses in his youtube videos on the subject. doing the etching in small stages not one long one, and then coffee etching for final colour. the results are awesome. check this out. The contrast and detail in that etch is just so cool. Also got the brassing much more consistent. I also decided that these blades needed Sayas. so i got a large custom block made to match the handle materials. I did something i havent seen before, i made the 3 sayas out of a single block, so that you can lay them side by side and see the features flow from one to the other. the end result is just way too cool. To add a level of aesthetic and complexity, and also to match the copper bolsters in the knives, i put two perpendicular copper strips into the saya block. that made making them an utter headache, but the results are well worth it. Here is the assembled blank block, with all the saya's marked out on it. Then the 3 profiled blanks pre-splitting Here is the nearly finished split saya with the hollow carved out. SUCH A NIGHTMARE with the copper strips in there to get this done evenly and correctly fitting. wow, so much worse than i thought. You cant work on the copper for more than a few seconds with power tools otherwise it overheated and melted the glue holding it to the wood (happened twice) and with just hand tools it took untold hours. wow, i will do this differently if i do it again! probably pre-cut the copper half strips and glue them into the wood, then carve the wood to match. but having the soft plastic, the medium wood and the harder copper all at once..... oh my. All worth it though. the finished result is so cool. The matching between the two materials from two suppliers is spot on. that was cool. And then, the crowning glory, the matching of the patterns across the 3 sayas. MMMHUMMMM did that come out well. i couldnt be more happy. there is even this central blue river that winds across all 3 sayas with the copper strip too. just blew me away. i sat and stared at them for ages. Could'nt be happier with this set, my first set of kitchen knives. loads of details could be improved. there are flaws, mistakes, inaccuracies etc. but aesthetically it was everything i hoped for and more. i have an instragram account where i documented and detailed each stage of the process of making the blades, handles and sayas etc. so if you want to know more, head over there and have a look, its way too much to copy here bit by bit. the series starts here: Let me know what you think bladesmiths.
  7. Its been a while, but its update time! The materials for the sword were selected and forged/cut/mashed with a hammer by @owen bush. The sword is a 3 bar construction. a central core of mixed bloomery iron, meteoric iron and wrought iron to form a soft core with a bright etch finish. Here are the materials that are going into the core: The meteorite is the shiny bits, the bloom at the top and the red is the wrought iron. So that is the core. Then a bar of flame pattern wrapped around that core, Owen has been experimenting with some flame pattern, then the edge is formed from a bar of random pattern wrapped around that. This is a test blade he made using that combination of bars, single edged not wrapped. One of the really cool things about this blade so far is the number of elements going into it. the core using meteoritic iron mixed with bloomery iron Owen smelted himself is very cool. it will have so much subtle figure in it i imagine. This week, Owen is putting it all together into the blade blank. he is using high precision, craftsmanship, 20 years of experience. Nah, he is bashing it against the side of a powerhammer. whatever works! So you can see here the sword's 3 bars are all being welded together. not long now until there is a blade blank to look at and some time after that a ground blade, ready for the master @Petr Florianek to furnish, doing the finish, hilt and scabbard and some other cool details i will hold back for now. Very exciting stuff. Its all i can do not to hop in the car and drive down to the forge and watch. but Owen made me promise not to do that...........
  8. I took one look at that build and mentally ran for the hills. nope. nope. nope. The engineer in me came back and thought, hmmm. how can you cheat this. first thing is for sure making it out of multi parts and brazing or otherwise joining them. might make it a lot easier. or, if you really want to apply modern techniques, 3D printing could do that, as long as you hand finish it. and find someone to do the model. CAD design would also help a lot with the complex curves, doing that on paper will be super hard. then again, you might not want to use the modern techniques in which case, i dont know how to make it more doable!
  9. here is the one i made at his class. a really worthwhile expenditure i assure you! it was partly for fun, partly as research for my books. if i am writing about a bladesmith i thought i should know about it first hand. makes writing about Norse smithing a lot easier when you have hand made some pattern welded steel yourself. very happy with my desk ornament i am too.
  10. I am fortunate enough to be fulfilling a childhood (who am i kidding, lifelong) dream. I am having a sword made for me by some truly talented craftsmen. They don't need much introduction to anyone immersed in the world of bladesmithing, and i'm not going to try and speak for them. if you are lucky they might say a little here and there about this project themselves. Owen Bush I know because i took two courses at his most excellent school of bladesmithing in east london. I was already mulling this project over before i met him but i hadnt decided on the details or on who i wanted to make it. I only knew that i needed someone very familiar with historical pattern welding techniques and patterns, and someone with a passion and love for history and a little of the fantasy edge. We spent about an hour during my week long pattern welded seax class discussing the correct length of seax for killing various types of Troll in various situations. (the conclusion was my seax was correctly sized and designed for new-borns, sleeping, with parents out gathering villagers for food). After that week, i knew i had found the right man for the job. i think owen has a little of that Norse dwarven-smith blood in his veins. who better to forge a mythical Norse Sword? Petr Florianek i know only from his work and reputation. Owen was adamant, if i wanted a superbly fitted out and decorated blade from him, Petr was the man to share the project with. I have looked at what examples of his work i can find, and i cannot dissagree! Petr makes some absolutely gorgeous swords, he has a longstanding history of collaboration with Owen to produce some wonderful historical and fantasy blades. he is just finishing one at the moment and it is stunning. check it out on his instagram: gullinbursti_pf So, a little about the project. This isn't just any reproduction viking sword. This is a sword with a song to sing, a story to tell, a name and a 'history'. As well as being a new amateur bladesmith (you can find some of my work gumming up the 'show and tell' thread) I am also a part time author. I have been planning a series of historical fiction, based in an alternate reality of the viking age, for some time. I won't go into the books or the story too much here, this is a bladesmithing forum after all, but i will tell a little of the story of the sword, probably bit by bit as it is being made. we shall see. The sword is named 'The Light of the North'. It is a bright blade, made for dark times. The sword is carefully designed to tell the story of the time is was made, the features, pattern in the steel, the guard, the hilt, all play their part in telling that story. how it does this will be explained as we go along. This sword was made (so the saga says) by a famous smith fighting for the Northmen against invading forces from mainland Europe. with his world being destroyed he makes one final blade and then casts his hammer down, swearing never to make another until the north is freed again. His masterpiece, his final blade, will come to be a symbol of his people and a talisman in the resistance against the foreign foes. the legend says that as long as the sword is wielded by a loyal Northman, their people have a future. So, this is no ordinary sword. I will be exploring a little more of the 'history' of this blade and the meaning of its design as the project slowly moves forwards. Owen started some test pieces for the blade this week so I am getting my first excited look at some of the patterns that might end up in the blade. its like being a child at Christmas I can tell you. What are those patterns for and what do they represent? what materials will be used? how will they be assembled? Stay tuned for the answers... or for pretty pictures of a superb sword being made, whichever interests you!
  11. Its unlikely to be indian. the indians used various versions of the British lee enfield from the late 1800's to almost present day. and that isnt an enfield bayonet. it doesnt look like a european type bayonet mounting at all, not from the major powers anyway. i cant rule out there is some eastern european rifle i have never seen that has that huge parralel lug on it. interesting find.
  12. John, as someone who just made a feather pattern chef's knife. Wow! that pattern is so beautiful and subtle. it is patterns inside of patterns. mine was very stark and basic (as i specified, i was going for a very bold aesthetic with my flared tip and bright blue handle etc.) and yours is just the other end of the spectrum. All grace and subtlety. what a lovely Knife.
  13. rovtar forge in croatia. and yes, its very nice looking. also, works well too. well balanced and good weight, head size and form seems to work well. the edges are very nicely shaped and i can use them well for peening. it is the hammer i used for 80% of the above work. yeah, it was a nightmare with 3 of the 4 billets. both big ones split badly and i had to work around them. i think at first we were simply powerhammering too hard, causing too much lateral stress at the junction between what had and had not been hammered. i think alternating drawing out hits with upsetting hits could have helped. anyway, manged to get away with it. one of the blades had a tang that split like a tuning fork, but we bashed it back together and welded it up, its got brass finish, which is lucky, because it wouldnt take an etch now!
  14. So, with that prototype done, i moved onto the wedding set. i wont go into so much detail because of the similarities. here is a quick photo progression of the build and the end results. the set is a paring knife, a chef's knife and a carving knife (which will also be the cake cutting knife). firstly the steel. here is what i started with, 2 of each. feather pattern, simple and beautiful for a swept profile knife like these. The handle material is ash burl with swirly blue resin. super cool, dont know the maker as it was supplied through a middleman. Drew them out and basic profile under a powerhammer. however, i did as much forging as i could by hand, because i just enjoy it much more. Chef's knife and: Carving knife And then i drew out the tangs, finished the profile, stretched the blades out and hammered in the bevels by hand. i even hammered in the plunge line on the carver, because why not. it didnt all go perfectly. here is me having a 'man, i don't need that much tang' moment and an 'ah, that is pretty bad' moment. (i manged to save this billet, just cut around the failure and worked out just fine. that is the chef's knife now, its just smaller than intended) Starting to see the pattern come out in the forge scale. innit pretty? then, blades are forged in rough and ready for heat treatment paring knife makes an appearance: and the whole set, including hunting knife and bowie knife blanks that i made from other bits because, you know, the forge was hot and i like hammering. dont judge me ok! the one at the bottom is a scriber that i made from the offcut of that blade with the split in it. and very cool it is too. Post hardening and that cool pattern starts to emerge. to the grinders! i wont bother showing pictures of grinding. we all know what sparks and dust look like. so, approximately 4.2 years of grinding later (8 straight hours) The chef's knife has no mini integral bolster, the material i needed for that had to be cut off because of the split. the paring knife also developed a crack in heat treating, but right near the top edge. i turned this into the 'feature' of those little shaped cut outs, which i really like. i might do them again deliberately! turning problems into features is a linking part of this whole project. Taped up, handles rough burned on, ready for finishing and. yes, the carving knife does have a flaw in the centre. yes i did cry for a while. no, i decided not to throw it away as it seems to be stable. obviously for a outdoors knife, a chopper, a bowie that flaw would be terminal. for a cake knife? its ok. with the block handles and rough copper bolsters Detail here of that quirky double plungeline/mini integral bolster thing i am doing. its odd yes, but i like it. i tell you something, its either a lot of fun to grind, or a total pain, depending on your perspective! And now, all major stock removal done on the handles/bolsters but still rough. blades finished, brassed and etched Then handles 95% finished and done in the forge. more finishing to be done back home. some nice parting shots in the forge for 6 days of hard, hard work. (does this forum have a picture per post limit? lets find out) including the other stuff i did (2 part finished blades with wooden handles needed re-finishing, the bowie has a rough handle not shown here), here is the full results from those 6 days. not a bad haul at all eh? So, after a bit more work, edging, fine sanding etc. insert mental drumroll tada! Still actually need to tidy up the finish on the handles (re-shape the top one, because its too blocky and big in the hand), and possibly play with the etch (re-etch the centre one because the etch finish was damaged by an errant edge grind slip up), but we are nearly there. Need to polish those handles too, to make them super deep and lustrous. all in all a very satisfying set to make, super happy with the result. shout out to Dave Budd, whose workshop i used and who kept a eye on me and helped me not make a mistake i couldn't come back from. The style of these blades is very odd, with the combination of feather, blue/burl handles, brassing, temper colours, odd double plunge lines etc. but hey, unique is often good? they are so nice i might struggle to give them to my sister. that is going to be a tough one. As a bonus extra: what did i do with all the offcuts i hear you ask? i made a set of marking tools: a sort of kiridashi type thing (before and after etch, because its so shiny) A ground and etched centre punch (god i love this one, the pattern lines up so perfect its unreal) A forge finish centre punch, very different, and very cool. only ground the ends and etched lightly. so that shape is 95% hammered in and a double ended scribe/marker thing. Massive post i know, but that wasnt even all of it. 11 'things' made in total in one extended session. might update when some of them are 100% finished and polished and loved a little more. if you read this far, you are a champion sir. i have no idea how to get rid of this photo below, its an attachment i made by accident and it wont die!
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