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Hi all, I've been a regular lurker here for years, but have only now gotten to the point where I'm happy enough with my knives to post some photos of my recent work on here. I'm a full-time bladesmith/knifemaker based in Staffordshire, England. I focus primarily on UK legal folding knives, although I also make a few historical Viking age hidden tang knives and wood-carving knives. A lot of my work is inspired by Anglo-Saxon and Viking age archaeological finds from around the British Isles & Northern Europe, and I use a lot of reclaimed old wrought iron & steel and locally sourced wood wherever I can. All of my knives are hand-forged and handmade by myself. Here is one of my latest folding knives - a dual-detente folder, forged from O1 Tool Steel with steel liners & backspacer, hand-peined stainless steel pins and brushed English white oak scales. I started off making only friction folders, then I made a few slipjoints and now I'm playing around with using detente bearings as they combine the best aspects of both styles for a functional non-locking pocket knife. You have the mechanical resistance to closing & opening, but you can still flip the blade open & closed with one hand. Second, we've got a Viking style friction folder with a laminated wrought iron & 1095 steel blade (heavily etched) and a one-piece handle hand-carved from English Boxwood. Next up, a slipjoint with a laminated wrought iron & 1095 blade with wrought iron bolsters and two-tone yew scales. Another dual-detente folder with an O1 blade - this time with a full-flat grind and slim Marblewood scales. Another UK legal slipjoint, this time with a laminated wrought iron blade, wrought iron bolsters and bog oak scales. One of my largest fixed blades that I made for a commission earlier this year; a reproduction of the Fulham seax. Laminated wrought iron & steel blade with Irish bog oak and Scottish Stag antler handle. The tang goes through the handle and is bent over at the butt to secure the brass ring. One more fixed blade; a Viking style sheath knife with a laminated bloom steel blade and a handle made from Scottish Stag antler, brass, leather and stacked birch bark. Lastly we have a different style; this is my take on the Viking age iron folding knives that have been found in Birka, Repton and Novgorod. Low-layer laminated 15N20 and 1095 blade with a hollow grind & a scrolled thumb-tab. The handle is forged from one bar of wrought iron. Both handle and blade have been heavily etched. From what I can tell, most of the surviving examples don't use a stop pin - the top of the handle is crimped slightly to stop the blade, but I decided a pin would make for a stronger mechanism. Any constructive criticism is most welcome! All my work can be found at www.willslockforge.com and I post regular updates and photos on Instagram under @willslockforge Feel free to get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks for looking! Chris
Hello, This is my first post on the forums and after lurking for a while I've come across a subject that has been spoken around the forums quite a bit but never in a very specific way.(Or perhaps it has and I just completely missed it. If this is the case feel free to post a link to such a post.) I'd like to start a topic regarding the techniques and grinding setups of the medieval period(Early or Late) to see if anyone has any information or perhaps would be inclined to share personal theories of how metal weapons/tools we're grinded in this timeframe. To be more specific, I'm very interested in understanding how long blades we're grinded on those huge water-powered sandstone grinding wheels found in europe. I myself have recently started making quite a long sword myself, and because of my fear of ruining it on my belt grinder, I decided to rough grind it by filing and draw-filing (after forging it as close to finish as possible) and although I love using files, after heat-treating the blade the files are no longer a suitable option to make the final grind on the sword. This made me stop and think, perhaps historically because of how large-scale sword production was, rough grinding a sword with a file was a luxury not available to the grinder user of the period, and on top of that once the sword is hardened and tempered there's no point ruining files trying to finish it like that. Why not just cut out the files entirely and develop the skill to use a grinder effectively from rough grind to finish. And that brings me here to this topic today. I'd like to learn (if possible as this knowledge may not be available) how exactly a skilled grinder in the medieval period would rough grind and finish grind a sword, what techniques would he use differently for a hollow grind versus a diamond cross-section and how he would hold it steady. Based on sparse images of grinding in the medieval period in addition to a few images of renaissance era grinding and so forth, as well as testing myself on how to grind a long blade only on my belt grinders wheel section I will illustrate my own theory on how a sword would be grinded, whether diamond cross-section or hollow-grinded. Following my theory will be questions on what I simply have no idea about regarding this subject. So here goes just gonna list them off one by one, So for a diamond cross section, the sword would have to be grinded vertically up and down the grinding wheel very carefully in a straight line and not follow the curvature of the wheel so as not to develop any shallow spots where the sword is held to the wheel for too long. I believe this would be the same method whether for rough grinding or finish grinding, as long as the blade doesn't get too hot on the finishing (but since grinding wheels of the time have water troughs I doubt it ever gets too hot) Hollow grind cross-section or concave would require the blade to be pushed side to side horizontally on the wheel until enough of a concave shape is acquired. Whether this was done for finish grinding AND rough grinding I'm not sure. I've seen people say that for heat treating it's best to keep it diamond in cross-section, then grind it into a hollow grind shape afterwards. Also I'm unsure when grinding this way if it is preferable to grind the top bevel (in the bottom illustration as 1.) or the bottom bevel (number 2.) on the grinding wheel. Perhaps one of them is more stable than the other? I've no clue. Finally after the finish grinding is complete the edge must be grinded as well. Although there are many different edges found on surviving medieval swords I will try to illustrate the three types I know and how I think they we're made. For hollow grind and appleseed edges, I believe they we're made horizontally on the wheel. Whereas for a straight flat grind edge I believe would have been done vertically on the wheel. Then I believe the blade would be clamped and polished on a bench of some kind thereafter with some form of gritty substance on a rag, brought to a desired shine or buffed on a water powered polishing grinder and assembled with it's corresponding parts for final sale/use. That is as far as I know, how grinding would be done for this specific period, please do correct any faults or misconceptions in my theory. Now for what I really have no clue on; 1. Did they free-hand grind these long blades or did they use a jig? I'm not sure how much force a gigantic grinding wheel spun by waterpower has, but I'm assuming it must have some bite to it. If it indeed does, how would the user keep the blade stable enough in their hands to grind clean bevels? Does anyone believe with practice one can have enough stability to get the job done, or are there any photos/evidence of jigs being used? 2. Is there any images or evidence of blades being handles vertically on these grinding wheels? Although my drawn examples have worked for me to work a diamond cross-sectioned blade vertically on the wheel, I have yet to see any evidence of it being done this way. Images of grinding swords are rare but so far I've only seen blades held horizontally or at a diagonal. This makes me wonder if it simply wasn't held vertically. (This might be vertical, but it looks diagonally placed on the wheel to me. I can't ask the artist to explain in detail what he meant unfortunately.) 3. Lastly, I believe I've read somewhere on the forums how the blade could be held on the thighs of the user to stabilize it for grinding on the wheel. Can anyone confirm this or am I just making stuff up at this point. If you've made it this far I thank you for giving my post a read. If you have any ideas or theories please do reply, I'm keen on knowing more about how grinding was done historically. Likewise any corrections are appreciated. Best regards, Spencer Farrell
Well, here goes. After a long, long time lurking, here's something I should finally put up to be given a mauling... a falchion made for sale at the Deutsches Klingenmuseum, Solingen “The Sword: Form and Thought” trade show later this month: A 14th century reverse-edged falchion, based upon but not directly copying the two surviving examples of the type, found in the Legersmuseum, Delft, and the Musée de l'Armée, Paris, this falchion is part of ongoing research work into Medieval European single-edged weapons that I've been undertaking for the last few years. This distinctive falchion type can be dated with a high degree of precision due to its short period of use. First appearing in manuscript illuminations and marginalia around the 1320's, they appear to have remained in use for only around 50 years, with the last depictions being found in the 1370's. They appear to have developed as a response to the increasing use of plate defence, and the need for a narrower thrusting tip than the previous generation of broad, cleaver-profiled falchions of the later 13th century, but were rapidly made obsolete by the rise of the Oakeshott type XV double-edged swords. The blade is made of EN45 carbon steel, with a medial taper, rather than the conventional distal taper of most swords; measured in cross-section, the blade thickness narrows from 5.0mm down to just 2.0mm towards the widest point of the profile, before flaring outwards to form a 4.5mm thick reinforced tip and features an asymmetric fuller on one side only, a feature to be found on the example in the Legersmuseum, Delft. The blade is marked with a cross potent within a circle, inlaid with 24-carat gold wire. The steel cross, of oakeshott's Style 7, is based on that of the surviving falchion in the Musée de l'Armée, while the type J pommel, hand-cast in bronze, is based on proportions of other, two-edged swords dated to the mid-14th century. Through the use of an aggressive taper, the sword is significantly more agile than its appearance would suggest, the balance point is just 110mm from the cross, and its overall weight is just 1,132g, significantly reducing its polar moment of inertia, and making it a frighteningly fast weapon in the hand. While the concave edge is the true edge, and sharpened for its entire length, the false edge is also sharpened to a little less than half the blade length, allowing its use in binds with the false edge, making it well-suited to its purpose in cutting against un-armoured targets with impunity. Dimensions: Blade length: 726mm, Overall: 882mm. Blade width at widest point: 57mm. Cross width: 186mm, Pommel: 47mm diameter. Balance point 110mm from cross. Weight: 1131g Overall view: A closer view of the hilt and blade inlay: And a couple of small detail shots of the lines of pommel and tip. I'm fairly satisfied with this one. There's only one problem. How the hell do you make a secure scabbard for a sword that's wider at the bottom than the top?!