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Found 1 result

  1. Greetings everyone, I’ve got a commission that has started me down the multi-bar road, so I thought I’d try and do a WIP. The commission is for an anglo-taxon style broken back seax with an 18” or so blade. I decided to do a basic 3 bar blade with wrought iron on the top, a twist in the middle, and high layer count on the bottom: I made my 3 bars, the middle being 36 layers of 15N20 and 1095, and the edge was 432 layer of the same. I tried using hose clamps to hold the bar together and I thought it worked really well. I forged out the blade about 70% of the way and realized I had been forging upside down - d’oh! Nice wrought iron edge. I did what I could to recover something from the mess, and ended up with these two blades: The smaller one is 6 1/4” (158mm), and the larger one is... well, larger (I forgot to measure it). I'm very happy with the pattern, thought I wanted tighter twists. Learned Lesson #1 - make sure you clearly mark which way side is the edge and which is the spine. Attempt #2: So I started again, same plan. As I was forging I realized I had a gap opening up between the edge bar and the twist in a particular area of the bar. I realized that was where the bar had not been square, but had gone diamond shaped on me. I tried rewelding it a couple times with mixed success. One spot just wouldn’t stick even after soaking overnight in vinegar and then fluxing heavily. So I had to shorten the blade to 14” (355mm) to put that spot in the tang: I hit the split with the TIG welder in the tang. A tiny bit goes into the blade, but it’s only on one side, and there is another small weld flaw a bit farther up, but again it was only on one side, so I left it. BTW, thanks to Emilliano Carrillo for coaching me through all these problems via text :-) Learned Lesson #2 - square-up your bars before welding them together. So, attempt # 3. Third time was a charm: I made sure my bars were square, cleaned the sides to be welded carefully, And hammered gently when forging until the billet had enough time/heat for the welds to really set. I did my best to normalize the blade, but I had to do it in sections because it was so long. Then it soaked overnight in vinegar to remove the scale and on to grinding. It took me about 4 hours of grinding to get it down to where I wanted it. I forged it a bit thick on purpose so I could grind past all the surface wrinkles and such caused by the patterns & welds. I ended up with this: The tang had to be cut because I can only fit 23” in my heat treat kiln. This has very light etch on it to show the pattern because the next step was a wire inlay of runes. The customer happens to be an expert in Old English, so I trade him the pattern welding of the blade for a low volume of his translation services in perpetuity. His last name happens to be Bishop, and we decided this blade would be named “Bishop’s Boar”, which he translated into “bisceopes eofor”. I printed out the runes on the computer so the spacing would be correct, and taped them to the place i wanted them on the blade. I then cut through the paper with a utility knife to mark them on the blade. It works surprisingly well, and doesn’t rub off. I cut the runes with a Gravermax engraver. They are pricey, but are pretty much the equivalent of a power hammer for engraving. You can do so much more work so much faster. My technique is pretty basic. I’m inlaying 22ga wire which is about 1mm in diameter, so I cut the grooves 1mm wide and half mm deep. As wide as the wire and half as deep seems to be a goodformula no matter what width the wire is. This is essentially how I cut the grooves. I always try to cut to another groove if I can, and i take 2-3 passes to get down the half millimeter. You have to be gentle when engraving or you snap points Once you have the grooves cut you need to make them into a dovetail to hold the wire. I’ve tried a number of techniques, but the one that seems to work the best for me is Matt Parkinson’s - just come in from the opposite side at a 45 degree angle with a chisel directed into the bottom corner of the groove. It’s nice because the metal tends to raise up when you do it so you get visual confirmation that you’ve done it. It also holds the wire the tightest according to my yank-on-it tests. I hammer the wire in with a hammer made of graver stock. Just like a regular hammer it needs a smooth face with no sharp corners. This is what I end up with. You should be able to tug on the wire and have it not pop out. If it does, clip it off, recut your dovetails, and start again. Super short piece will pull out easier than long ones, so be gentler with them. The most important detail here is that that i leave the wire proud of the grooves. After heat treat the wire will be dead soft from quenching, and you can do another round of hammering to get it just a little farther and tighter into the grooves. Here it is completed. And here are the tools I used: Channel cutting graver on the bottom right, chisel for setting the dovetails on the bottom left, hammer on the top, and flush cut jewelers snips for cutting the wire off. Heat treat was done in a kiln with an argon atmosphere. The argon prevents decarburizing and eliminates most of the scale. Here’s the inlay after heat treat and a second round of hammering the wire. This inlay took a total of 5 hours even with a Gravermax and some experience. I machine sanded the whole blade to 240grit, then started at 220 by hand and went down to 600. Etched it for 4 10 minutes sessions in ferric chloride, then hit it with a 1000grit stone and then 1500grit sandpaper. Up next is the handle, which will be cast bronze with an attempt at faux-garnet inlay and carved bog wood. We'll see how that goes...
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