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Andrew W

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Andrew W last won the day on March 21

Andrew W had the most liked content!

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    Gainesville, FL
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    Historical metallurgy, early medieval archaeology, Anglo-Saxon spearheads

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  1. I forged up some leftover bits of twisted bar into two little knives:
  2. I glued the hilt together last night. I cheated with epoxy (the originals probably used pitch). Today, I trimmed the tang down to 1mm and peened it over the pommel. I considered using a washer here, but most of the finds I’ve seen are just peened like this. It worked well and feels secure! All that remains is to finish the hilt with linseed oil and build a scabbard.
  3. Saturday, my wife and I took the dog for a walk in the swamp. Then I got back to work on the sword I ground it up to 400 grit on my 2x72, then switched to hand sanding up to 1500. I didn't finish until Sunday. Once it was polished, I gave it a light etch in ferric chloride. I etched it 4x 3 min. You can see the pattern wander from where I got it off center, if you look closely. The blade has lots of small flaws on the surface. These are normal on all the real blades I've
  4. I got off work early on Friday, and fired up the forge to harden the sword. And that's when everything went horribly Fine. It was just fine. Bloomery steel is super easy to harden. I did have trouble with the blade sagging under its own weight while I was normalizing it. I had to forge out a bit of a sabre bend at one point. I think I may need to build an oven to hang these vertically if I make many more of them, because it was very annoying! I ended up putting a piece of 2" angle iron in my forge and using that as a track to keep the blade strai
  5. That, above, is where I stopped working on this project last spring. Life happened, I got COVID, etc--and this got pushed back into the pile of half-finished things. Last weekend, I found it again and decided to finish First, I cut a notch into the tip of the blade and welded it shut: Then I forged in the distal taper. I followed Peter Johnsson's advice in this thread, which was extremely helpful: Next, I forged out the blade. The thin layers of pattern welding (basically just a veneer over the iron core) made this unusually
  6. Sorry y'all, I got very distracted by life! Let's resume where we left off--with me twisting lots of tiny little bars. I eventually finished enough unbroken bars to make the central core (I kept all the broken fragments to use for knives). I decided to weld the faces on one at a time. Here's two of the twisted bars welded together, strapped on to the central iron bar (to which I've already welded the other pair of twisted bars): They welded together pretty well! But I did make my first mistake her
  7. Twisting, twisting, twisting... The bar on top isn't twisted tight enough yet--I took this photo between heats, then kept twisting tighter. The 1/4" bars are so easy to snap while I'm twisting them! I may have had to scarf weld a few back together. I've twisted 3 of the 4 bars. I'm hoping to do the last after work tonight--more updates coming!
  8. The core bars [Feb 2021] For the twisted core bars, I used more hearth steel (carburized bloom) + some nineteenth-century wrought iron that has a moderate phosphorus content. The last time I used this combination I got a great color contrast, so: fingers crossed? 1.5lb (700g) of hearth refined bloom steel + about as much phosphoric iron, ready to weld: Heating it up... Success! And drawing it out into a 1/4" (6mm) square bar: This netted me enough for 2 bars.
  9. Making Hearth Steel [Feb 6, 2021] For the blades of the sword, I wanted high-carbon steel. I decided I'd make that by melting my scrap into a charcoal hearth. I recorded a video of the process: 2lb (.9kg) of scrap, plus a copious serving of high-iron bloomery slag, gave me nearly 2lb of high carbon steel. Hopefully that'll be enough for my blade edges!
  10. Here goes nothing--let's see if I can make a sword from dirt. [Jan 2021] The Plan I'm aiming to reproduce a sword that you might encounter in late 6th- or early 7th-century lowland Britain (ie, an "Anglo-Saxon" community). I want to make something typical of archaeological finds from the period, an "average" sword rather than a reproduction of one specific find. I'm going to make it from ore, with maybe a bit of nineteenth-century wrought iron mixed in for fun and contrast. Sources The best survey of swords fro
  11. My first seax was from 1095, and I finished it about 3 years ago. You're well on your way!
  12. They're extremely common, but not much talked about outside technical archaeological reports. Browse through the organics analysis chapter in site reports from early Anglo-Saxon period cemeteries, and you'll find that almost every knives and seaxes in England from the 6-7th centuries had a horn handle. Sometimes they can even tell what species the horn came from--both cattle and sheep/goat, it appears (see the report from Finglesham, Kent for both species of horn). Interestingly, you see more wooden handles and very little horn in France during the same period.
  13. Some WIP photos of my latest, a short-narrow seax based on archaeological finds from early medieval England. First, I smelted some steel. I used 55lb (25kg) of "Spanish Red" iron oxide (powdered hematite), and got a very dense 15lb (6.8kg) bloom. It was mostly steel (medium-high carbon, enough to harden), and very easy to forge. After 3 folds, it was a solid bar. I stacked the bloomery steel with some medium-phosphorus wrought iron from an old fence (for color contrast), forged it into two 1/4" (6mm) bars, and twisted them opposite directions.
  14. My favorite from 2020. Bloomery steel blade with cattle horn handle.
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