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Andrew W

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Andrew W last won the day on October 9 2021

Andrew W had the most liked content!

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

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  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. 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
  5. My first seax was from 1095, and I finished it about 3 years ago. You're well on your way!
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. My favorite from 2020. Bloomery steel blade with cattle horn handle.
  9. Indeed! Brian's been so helpful over the years--we've mostly chatted about spears (what I studied in grad school), so I've enjoyed going back to the swords and reading all the parts I'd skimmed before.
  10. The edge bars are a stack like this (apologies for the ugly sketch). This sort of composite edge is common in early medieval swords. The wrought I used etches up with some wild textures, so I'm hoping this will look fun when it's finished.
  11. I've never made a sword before or done any pattern welding, so this is me feeling my way in the dark. I'm having fun! I went with a simple 2-bar herringbone core. The core bars are 7 layers (1084 and 15N20). For the edges, I built a 7-layer stack alternating wrought, 15N20, wrought, and 1084 (etc). Welded up my core bars... Twisted them with my buddy's torch... And then moved and forgot about this project for 12 months So now that I'm shut in on quarantine--
  12. Success! All up and running—and safely wired and properly grounded. Thank you for your help! I’m really excited to put this through its paces now
  13. Now that I've replaced my outlet and it has a proper grounding wire, I can just splice a 10ga copper wire from my grinder frame onto the green grounding wire in the power cord--is that correct? No need for a separate grouding rod on the frame?
  14. Update: I flipped the breaker off and opened my 3-pronged dryer outlet. Turned out whoever built the house used a grounded cable for the circuit—they just didn’t connect the ground wire to anything. So I replaced the outlet with a 4-pronged 14-30 plug, checked everything with a multimeter, and now I have a grounded circuit to plug my grinder into (and my dryer’s safer too, an unexpected bonus). I wired a 20A fused air conditioning disconnect box to a plug (for the dryer socket) and a length of SJOOW cord, so I can run only as much power as I need out the window to the g
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