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Found 10 results

  1. Hello all! I'm very excited to share some details of a recent experiment in recreating a historic wolf's tooth pattern with Emiliano Carrillo and Luke Shearer. The general goal was to try and recreate the similar tooth shape, depth, and spacing as found in historic pieces, mainly referencing the spear found in Lapland (p.151 in Swords of the Viking Age). All of the steel used with exception of a bit of old wrought iron is home made, and there were a few things we learned specifically because of this which I'll get into. Because I took a copious amount of photos, this'll have to be a few parts, so bear with me! The first thought was to use a rack to press into a bar with which to form the teeth. Based on the tooth shape having a slight trapezoidal profile on one side, it seemed like the perfect fit. The above bar is 8 teeth per inch, and in person looks like it would make a nice tight pattern. However, the depth is too shallow and the spacing too tight. For reference of what that looks like in steel, look at the below sax blade that we made as a test piece. There is a faint strip of wrought between the twists and the edge, and although difficult to see at first it has a slight wiggle. Part of the problem with the rounded bits is that the blade was drawn out a little during forging, and even that deformation was enough to turn the squared corners into a sort of sinusoidal deal. Due to the spacing, another reason that this is not ideal is that the cut depth of the teeth is too shallow to reasonably achieve with a chisel without bending the previous teeth over and closing the gap. That leaves cutting them with a hack saw or modern equivalent, but looking at the originals the continuous grain patterns are mostly suggestive that they were mostly not done that way (not to say that some of them couldn't have been). The next one we tried was using a 6 tooth per inch rack. The spacing and depth is much closer, but still too tight for the reference spear. I would expect this to work better than the 8 TPI rack because of the extra depth making the weld more resilient to shape changes, but we wound up discarding this due to its size and regularity. Also, the rack forms a sort of positive die where we need a negative one. The wrought almost universally has the flats in its troughs and the edge bar has points in its troughs, the opposite of what would be formed by pressing the rack into the edge billet. While you may be thinking that we could simply press into the wrought instead, I do not think that is how they were made for four main reasons. First, the wrought is incredibly thin (not from grinding) where it joins with the next inward bar, and would not be strong enough to support being used as a die. Second, the wrought itself is fairly soft compared to even a hot edge bar, and the teeth would deform opposite how it appears in the historic patterns. Third, the tooth points are sharp in the wrought, which is very suggestive that the edge bar started with a sharp groove that the wrought filled into, which is reasonably the order it must have been done given the available technology. Last, the grain of the wrought in the teeth is very obviously continuous in most cases, which means the forging of a toothed bar at such regularity would be absurd with the relative ease of instead notching the edge bar... All that is the long way of saying that we abandoned the racks and went to something else. To get the spacing as accurate as possible, we took a 1:1 scale print of the Lapland spear and measured the tooth spacing. Because of the other indications in the pattern, I found the sections which would have been drawn out the least by subsequent forging and averaged the geometry from the two halves. The final result is a hair under 4 TPI and a depth of 4mm. On the test bar, all of the teeth were cut based on the tooth previous so any error doesn't compound and gradually increase the size the farther down the bar. Doing this enough, it would not be difficult to maintain an acceptable accuracy doing it freehand, which eliminates the need for dividers. With the lines scribed, I took a cold chisel and cut just enough for there to be an easy surface to register against. The idea is that these lines are just a guide for a hot chisel. And finally, cleaning it with a file for the sake of being tidy. Not necessary, and again another thing that would not be needed to do this with a more limited toolchest. Next post will be how we handled cutting the teeth with a three man striking team. John
  2. It took me several months to finish the project, as it wasn't one of my priorities and I had to attend to some commissions in the meantime, but at least it came out really good to me. For the first time I decided to twist a wrought iron bar to see the effects after etching. Some viking age blades were done without the need of mixing two different kinds of steel when twisting the bars and I wanted to take a look on this visual. I must say that I loved the results and I'm really planning to make it on larger blades soon, maybe even a sword. So, this blade was forged on three parts: the spine and the core bars are wrought iron from the Victorian Age England, the edge is layered 5160 and 15N20 steels. The inlays on the spine are 18k gold. The handle, as simple as it could, is a piece of maple burl treated with linseed oil. The tang was glued to the handle using a home made cutler's resin recipe. The sheath is veg-tanned leather, with iron rivets and brass washers, rings and loops for suspension. The motifs are based on finds from the 10th century York and Dublin. Overall: 21,7cm B. length: 11,4cm B. width: 2,2cm at the widest part Thickness: 0,5cm
  3. Happy Thor's day fellow bladesmith's! I recently returned from a trip to Oakland to the James Austin's Wrought Iron Academy. Jim invited me out to and hosted my teaching a flint knapping (prehistoric stone tool making) course which gave me the perfect opportunity to take another class with Jim (see Two stories in one; James Austin's Viking age ax class and my first time at the forge). After teaching my course I had the week to spend with Jeff Pringle and Jim Austin...it was torture I tell you!!LMAO I had the opportunity to finish drawing out my ax bit that I made in class with Jim last year (first picture after initial class last year...next picture after latest work...profiling and final shaping yet to come). As this was my second time forging I was eager for Jim's masterful teaching as well as being able to assist him preparing for the upcoming class I was taking with him (making a multi-bar Viking age sax/seax). After gathering all the materials I assisted Jim in forge welding the materials into packets that would be forged out and twisted to create the decorative strip on the top of the blade (this was done ahead of time to save time during class). Class started Friday morning and we hit the shop floor running!!! Jim was once again assisted by Chalie Hsu who helps Jim with most of his courses!! We started the class by forging out the laminated packets into long squarish bars to facilitate the twisting process...here is Jim overseeing fellow classmate Greg Hudgins at the forge. After the laminated bars were forged out we got them ready for twisting...then the twisting began...several heats and final adjustments with the torch and we have a twisted laminate bar! The bars were then forged flat on all four sides and ground on the bottom edged that would be forge welded to the blade edge material... Yours truly grinding my laminate bar prior to forge welding. (photo credit Greg Hudgins) Not ever being a timid person I volunteered to be the first to forge weld...of course some fun was had too...I think Jim wanted me to hit it right in that spot on the anvil...you know us military guys and visual aids!!LOL After the welding process was complete everything was evened up (grinder) then forged out into a billet... The tip was bent up to enable the pattern to terminate or fade into the tip. If this step wasn't completed the pattern would appear mounted and end abruptly on top rather than looking as if part of the blade. The distal end/tip was then formed and the initial bevel and taper was forged into the blade...I decided to go aim for a pre-Viking age, late Migration period sax with a blade of about 10 1/2" inches x 1" wide...after all there was a lot of material!!:0) Next we started to established the tang. ...and finally the tang was fully formed, any blade twists or other major forging defects were addressed Mine is the one on the left side.... As I have a kiln and grinding equipment at home I elected to let others who didn't have those resources get their grinding and heat treating completed. I have since returned home and have cleaned up the blade...I will update this with a picture of the blade once it has been final profiled, ground. polished and etched! Bottom line do not hesitate to take a class with James Austin, in fact I highly encourage it. I have only forged twice in my life this far and both times with Jim...he is one of the most talented blacksmith/weapon smith's in the world and both beginner and advanced smith alike can glean much from his vast knowledge base and easy to understand teaching approach. These classes are well organized, well paced, lots of fun, and too damn responsibly priced to pass up the opportunity to study with a master such as Jim! I will continue to go out and study with Jim...whether basic blacksmithing or an advanced Viking age ax class Jim offers world class master level teaching to the all who are eager to learn. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about Jim's classes!!! Special thanks to Jim and Anna for hosting me and my flint knapping class (Jim was one of the star students of the knapping course by the way..no surprise there) as well as all the hospitality as always!! Special thanks to Jeff Pringle for EVERYTHING, as well as Charlie Hsu for all he does as well!! Happy Thor's day!!!!
  4. Hey, folks. This knife was a real pleasant work to do. Although unexpected, it came out better than I could have imagined. About the blade, it was handforged with a wrought iron spine and a bloom steel edge. The bloom was made by accident when I was trying to produce some shear steel with a wrought iron bar. The iron box in witch the wrought iron was simply melted down and so did the wrought, and then it all became a strange looking bloom with just a little slag from the refractory mantle that melted too. Then I refined it and found a very good amount of carbon in it. After that I covered it in clay and quenched in brine. You can see the hardened line quite well. The handle is made of a karelian birch burl. The pin holding the ring holder is iron, the holder is nickel silver and the ring itself is brass. The tang was glued to the handle using a pine resin based glue. The sheath was the most laborious part of it all. It is made out of vegetable tanned cow's leather, about 2mm thick. Then it was tooled with Borre styles mottifs on the front and geometric patterns on the back. The fittings are made from nickel silver, with brass rings and iron rivets to add some contrast. This is by far the best knife I made till now and I'm kind of proud of it and I hope you like it as well. Any advices and critics will be very welcome. Overall: 25,5cm (including the holder, without the ring) Blade length: 13,7cm Blade width: 2,0cm at the widest part Blade thickness: 0,5cm
  5. This is my first post on the forum, and by way of saying howdy I thought I would post some pictures of my latest work. (I'm not real good at forums, so hopefully the pictures show up.) I've been making knives on and off for about 15 years, if you start counting from the first knife-shaped object I made. Started forging blades about 8 years ago. I moved to a new place last spring, and have only lately started getting my "shop," such as it is, back together. These are the first blades I've forged in about 3 years (made a lot of knives from factory-made scandi blades in between.) After cruising through posts on the forum, I caught the sax fever, bad. So naturally that was the first piece. Once I had that one forged, I started on the sort-of skinner blade. The first picture is after I finished forging each piece. Dollar bill added for scale. The sax has an 8-inch blade, the skinner is about 4. The second pic is after rough grinding, heat treating, and some finishing. They are only sanded down to 100 grit and not sharpened yet, but I must say that both pieces came out with the nicest convex grinds I've ever done. I use a Kalamazoo 2X48 grinder and cheapo aluminum oxide belts, not the best setup but it works for me. Both are forged from 3/16"X1" 1075/1080 from Admiral. (That's what they call it, maybe they don't know which it is.) Did a full quench in vegetable oil heated to about 135 degrees F, measured with my highly calibrated fingerometer, and tempered to a purple color with a propane torch on both blades. I usually go for the "soft-back draw" effect, but for some reason the color came out evenly on both, even though the torch was applied to the spine. I'm not super thrilled with either blade, but it sure does feel good to get back to forging. The skinner ended up with a very fine crack in the spine, about an inch back from the tip, running about 3/8" into the blade. I believe it was caused by quenching the tip in cold water while trying to heat the blade up evenly. I was going to scrap it, but decided to keep going to see what would happen. I thought the tip might break off when I hardened it, but it didn't. I'll finish it eventally and do some testing with it, possibly to the point of destruction. The sax blade is probably not too historically accurate. I feel like the blade should widen progressively towards the tip. The tang doesn't look much like the originals either. I ended up shortening the tang by a couple of inches for a hidden tang handle, and now kind of wish I had left it long so I could rivet it over a steel butt plate. I should have put more time into the finish forging. Particularly, I wish the clip came out more sharply defined. The biggest problem with it came from my wobbly improvised grinder stand. Every time I got to the tip, the grinder wobbled slightly and the edge came out slightly off center at the tip. You have to carefully sight down the blade to see it, but it bugs me. Didn't seem to be a problem on the other blade, aparently because of the length. A sturdier grinder stand is definitely in order. I still had fun making it though, and will probably finish it with a simple handle, as I imagine some Saxon farmer's working knife to be. I've also started work on a spear-pointed sax with a 12-inch blade, inspired by an original from the Netherlands, and a little 4-inch broken back sax that is small enough to be legally carried. I don't suppose there is any cure for the Sax Fever, just a lifetime of treatment. Next thing you know, I'll be pattern welding...
  6. Hello Gentlemen! i am here afain to share completed work- this time a generous commission. its a sax wit 10 inches long blade made of of wrought iron and hearth steel. there are 3 grooves and three inlayed rondels in fine silver. Handle is reindeer antler chip carved in deep relief. fittings are silver and are reinforces with chased ridge. Pomel is cast silver with engraved sides and garnet set in the bezel. scabbard is leather over wood core. Inside is lined with felt. Leather is carved, incised and tooled. Fittings for the scabbard are moose antler and silver I would love to read your thoughts and criticism. its my first chip carving of this type and i love it, i will use it often from now on Petr
  7. hello Gents! i offer you a sneak peek to my latest accomplishments all coments are welcomed
  8. Well... despite the title of this thread, I do know the Sax is not an African design. My brother is moving to Africa in a few months, courtesy of Uncle Sam. A few weeks ago he purchased a Savage Long Range Hunter rifle, the week after that he bought a Range Rover. Obviously the next thing he will need is a knife capable of taking care of, well whatever chores might happen to go along with a plains game rifle and a Land Rover. So I imediately knew I had to do a Sax, mostly because I haven't yet had the pleasure of doing my first one. Maybe second, but not sure I should cound my first since it has a RR spike handle...but that is a different story. Anyway I sat down to sketch it out and after a bit of fiddling, this is what I have: (Handle is drawn "transparent" to allow me to fit the tang into the image.) The drawing is full scale on the paper so I didn't think to put measurements on it. As currently drawn; Blade is 7 inches tip to guard/ferrule OAL is right at 12 inches. Edge to Hump on spine is 1.75 inches. The notation on wood choice (Afromosia aka African Teak) is my nod towards the blade's destination, it also happens to be georgeous and nearly as hard as steel. I am actually quite happy with the design so far, but I am debating a couple items, Layer count in the edge (288 or 576) Twist counter-twist or twist and split for cores Brass vs Nickel Silver for furniture and Oval or Octagonal cross section for the handle and furniture. Ok so thats more than a couple... I welcome any and all advice or suggestions, especially if your beard is blazing when you give it! Thanks, James
  9. I've been working on this narrow sax (did I get it right, blade taxonomists? ) for a while. 17.75" OAL, 11" BL, 5/16" thickness at the handle. Handle is walnut, maple, and browned wrought, built with reference to one of Petr's pieces that I admire a lot. Tool steel. Sheath is maple, browned mild steel rings, bronze nails and a little leather at the top. The carvings are inspired by some very old designs found in Ireland but I tried to give it a little more Urnes. Not everything went right with this but all-in-all I'm pleased and I learned a lot. I hope you like this..... thanks for any advice and comments!
  10. Hey Y'all, I just quenched this one an hour and a half to two hours ago! It has been oil quenched and I'm pleased with it. There is a little warpage on the spine. I heard that one could straighten a blade with a vice and pliers. Is this true? should I do this before or after tempering? Anyway I hope to clean it up more and put on its scales and let y'all see them. They'll be blue! I'm so freaking excited! Cheers!
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