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Sean Manning

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Everything posted by Sean Manning

  1. What kind of wrought iron is it? 19th/early 20th century iron or modern bloomery iron? I hear that some of the first kind can be nasty to work with, but modern bloomers find that good soft iron is hard to make.
  2. I find that maker communities online often feel right for me. Maybe because to make something good with your hands, you have to accept the limits of your skill and your knowledge? And its hard to slip into 'all talk and no action.' The social media era does fund people like Tod or Dimicator do to cool research that academic institutions won't fund and rich patrons won't fund. But I don't think that the personalistic kind of marketing which social media reward is right for me or for many of the makers I respect.
  3. The ArmourArchive thread Traditional Armor Finishing Processes might be helpful, it has primary sources and posts by people like Robert Macpherson.
  4. http://myarmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=37332&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=100 It has the same aggressive distal taper in the first 15-20 cm, which fades to a gentler distal taper for most of the length of the blade, as the early 17th century rapiers in Vienna measured by two Austrian rapier fencers. Quoting the owner, Adam Simmons:
  5. There are some things where the videos of the smartphone era are very helpful. Today we can watch people in Turkey or Pakistan who practiced a craft since childhood practice it! We don't have to learn everything from other amateurs or old books. Without videos we might still believe that medieval helmets were raised like coppersmith's work not squashed by teams of beaters or trip-hammers. But I also find that when I want factual information from the Internet, its usually either a site by a major institution, or an 'early web' site or forum. FB etc. are useless as places for finding inform
  6. I can't think of anyone sensible who boosts ideas like "a good sword should be able to chop down a 3" tree without damage!" but for random people on the Internet to push back against a giant, well-funded media machine is not a fair fight! There was a period when YT wanted a lot of "pointy things" vloggers, and then a period when they demonetarized most of them. A lot of history vloggers are moving to independent sites because mentioning Axis atrocities or showing dead bodies in a WW II documentary can get them put behind an age-restriction wall and hidden from searches. A three-perso
  7. Darrell Markewitz of Wareham Forge has some rants about social media culture and the culture of turning everything into a side hustle before you have learned the craft on his blog https://warehamforgeblog.blogspot.com/search/label/comentary I miss the open Internet too, and it was really important for people in rural areas or stuck at home, but all I have energy for these days is keeping up my sites and behaving in ways which make sense to me. And haven't we all told ourselves that we are wasting too much time in front of a computer and should get up and make something? I notice
  8. Denis Topal has some well-illustrated articles on western akinakai in English (ResearchGate). Here is some data on one from a dealer in Iran. The style of decoration and the ring pommels on the small knives said 'eastern steppes' to me.
  9. Now that I can't rightly say, usually photos and museums give a 'side on' view so it can be hard to see details like that. I have seen medieval knives where the end of the tang was just bent over the butt of the handle, and occasionally a full-length whittle tang / hidden tang is peened over a button or an end plate for a little extra decoration. Wade Allen has a selection of originals from the Thames and the Netherlands here (link) but he's more of an armour person. The Met has this one with a snazzy rock crystal handle (link). The fun thing with European knives from this perio
  10. Enjoy! I don't see a lot of modern knives with that grip construction, it could be a fun way to use up some scraps of brass sheet and bone / horn (or something from the local gem and stone show). I fixed the link to the 'theory' article with diagrams. Edit: here is a link to the photoblog on how he makes those many-part grips. He cuts the holes for the tang in all the grip elements and stacks them, inserts the blade, peens it if it has a full-length tang and glues it if it has a short tang, then files the handle to shape.
  11. The Viennese bloggers at https://neuesausdergotik.blogspot.com/p/messerertisch.html have a series of posts on their replica knife projects. They concentrate on Austria in the 13th and early 14th century and on the style of knife most associated with that place and time: whittle tang / hidden tang / Griffangel knives with the handle assembled from many discs of different materials (Griffplättchentechnik). If you read German, the knifemaker has a good post on the development of the Griffplättchentechnik which is clearer and more complete on this style of knife than some of the academic studie
  12. If you're interested in medieval European knives, you probably know Cowgill et al.'s book on knives from London and the Archaeology of York volumes on early medieval and late medieval knives from Coppergate, York. A little less famous in the English-speaking world is a PhD thesis by Gerhard Folke Wulf Holtmann. It covers 1300 knives from the Netherlands, both Germanies, Poland, the western former USSR, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. The typology is a bit opaque (88 categories with names like IIIb1.1 which become 17 Auswertungsgruppen!) and the drawings are not as nice as in Cowgill's book, but i
  13. From what I have read (and I am not an archaeometallurgist just someone with high-school physics and chemistry who tries to read the literature) we still can't push quenched steels much back before Philon of Byzantion around 250 BCE and the La Tenè sword that Peter Connolly saw. And in Luristan the same people seem to have been working bronze and iron. What I don't know is if the Near Eastern and Greek mines had anything like the "phosphorous irons" in northern Europe which get harder than mild steels without quenching. The Italian, Greek, and Iranian iron just has not found its Pleiner yet
  14. There are also issues with what happens to iron when it has been in the ground for so long which I don't understand, the archaeometallurgists throw around terms like mineralization. And the way the rust eats away at the surfaces and the thin parts, which is where we would expect them to put the hardest iron and any quenching to have the most effect, is tough. I might be able to scrape up some grant money for X-rays, CT-scans, or archaeometallurgical tests in the early-2020s ... but I don't want to be the kind of academic who walks into the salle or the shop, walks out a few months later and a
  15. Thanks Alan. One reason I posted here is that Jeroen Z. still hangs out here (he has come over to the dark side of that other metal!) It would be great if one of the primitive smelting folks like Lee Sauder could write up a book (or if Peter Johnsson could finish his!) The thing is, I am an armour and textiles person, so I would have to cut one of the trades I already practice out of my life to learn another (grinding a couple of blades out of mild steel or 1045 or taking an evening class in blacksmithing is one thing, but that just does not make you a bladesmith any more than taking one
  16. In my academic work I come across information about western ferrous swords in the middle of the first millennium BCE. There seem to be a lot of misconceptions about these in the English-speaking world, partly because they are located in places like Greece, Iraq, and Iran not Sweden and Wales, partially because they are just so old and so badly corroded, partially because they didn't leave us the stories that went with the swords. (So far the metallurgy is not so exciting but we don't have our Pleiner yet: akinakes and lancehead with Gärbenkonstruktion). But I have seen swords fro
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