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WIP Roman folding knife

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Recently in history section we discussed about some Romans knives whit bronze hilt, in a photo posted by Peter Johnsson (many thanks Peter) I see a beautiful Roman bronze handle. I was very fascinated by these knives for a long time and so I decided to made one.

In this post I will describe my way for a reproduction of a lost wax bronze hilt, hoping it will be interesting.



The project is based on 3 images: one unknown (very consumed hilt), the handle finding in Ruxox and image kindly published by Peter Johnsson.





The first operation was to prepare the metal for the blade. I used wrouht iron whit 1070 core.





ok, now the more complicated work: the handle making in lost wax method. I decided to use a very hard wax.

I draw the profile of the handle and start working on wax using press drill, saw and files. when the profile is done i realize the room for the blade.





Well, now start the long task of finishing the neck with file from models, this is a long job!

when the handle is complete wash it very well in cold water and start the lost wax operations.





Now i prepare the flask, use a vacum machine to avoid bubbles in the investment, in similar models is very important. The second image show the coal forge used to smelt bronze.





I place the hot flask in vacum machine and cast bronze, sorry but I have not images of the cast in the flask because are very excited and fast phases.

OK, now the magic moment, put the flask in cold water and slowly pull out the model ... all perfect!








now i'am very busy at university :angry: :angry: soon the next step :D

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I'm very excited to see the rest of this come together. I"m rather impressed so far. Thanks for sharing.

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Thanks you very much guys!

I am happy. I love ancient reproductions and finally after a long time to learn the technique of lost wax casting, I can create works in bronze.


I didn't know the romans had vacume casters... that's my jealousy at you having one showing through..

this will be cool :) cant wait to see the progress.

Kenon, I do not know Roman vacum machine, but I assure you that my equipment is very basic and improvised...glass that you see is a jar of my grandmother's pickles :lol:

In this photo you can see my homemade vacum machine I use it for debulizer investment and casting bronze.



I will enjoy seeing this enfold!

Feeling an itch to try something similar myself.

...There are some gothic folders that are very nice and begging for a reinterpretation B)

Peter, I am very curious, I do not know these gothic folders, you have additional information?



Nice project, thanks for taking the time to photograph and share.

I'm glad Mr. Fogg thanks, during my work I always shot a lot of photos. I like to review the stages of my work.

Generally in this forum I am talking with many pictures and few words because my English is very bad...sorry -_-

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I shall locate the images and post them on a separate thread.

As is often the case with me, the gothic folder was an urge I had during a period some years back but never got opportunity (took action) to actually make one.

With you following through and making this roman folder, perhaps I´ll get a good kick in my behind and do something about the gothic ones :D;) .

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Well, a new update.

The first operation after the lost wax process is to cut the sprue and smoothing the model with very fine file. then I created the hole for the ring, I suppose the ring in second and third photo was iron and not bronze as the first because it disappeared as the blade.




Now I clean with scotch-brite and polished the model with cotton wheel. I decided to polish the edges because they were too sharp for an ancient reproduction. Mirror finish is bad, but thereafter it will be patinated ;)




Ok, 90% of the handle is finished, now I begin to work the blade.

For the shape I am based on the knife in the first image. I realize a wood model because it is easier to understand the dimensions...open and close!




When the model is excellent transcribe the shape on the metal (wrought iron and 1070 core) and finally the blade is ready for grinding.



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Excellent work Marco, I'm glad to see that your project is going so well. I'm impressed from the quality of your casting!

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It's cool don't get me wrong, but all I see is a dog sniffing another dogs butt...But holy crap did that cast come out awesome!

Edited by Mike Sheffield
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Thank you again guys,

I have been busy these days to study, however the blade is 90% complete, I hope to finish the blade this weekend and post new results.


@Mike and Sam, no problem :D

Sam, no, no spring is provided, the handle is a monolithic piece of bronze and work as a normal friction folder. The more difficulty will set it perfect.



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Well, the knife is almost finished.

These are the new pictures, I'm sorry for the quality, the colors are not very good.


I finish the blade and mirror polished, ready for etching operations in FC.





This is my first time with this wrought iron, I ecth it 2 times and surprise...i see a good pattern!





After the etching I clean the blade with fine iron whool and oil, now the pattern is completely visible and the blade is finally finished





Now the patina on bronze handle. This is very similar at etching steel. I use liver of sulfur diluted in water works very well and is very fast. Degrease well the bronze in soda and dip it in a very dilute solution, the process is very fast, about 5-10 seconds. Also the handle is ready





The last component is 2 "bronzine" (sorry but I do not know their name in English) i using 0.1mm brass plate. Are necessary for a perfect retaining and fluid blade.

I do not know if they are historically correct, but I know that Romans has ball bearings for their "ballista" ... maybe they knew that too B)





OK, the knife is almost finished, I inserted the axle steel but I need a smaller ball-pein hammer, mine is too big. Next i made the iron ring... if I'm able i use a metal very very "special" for this...soon



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Marco, seeing it in your hands, it is quite big! Beautiful work, the patination of the bronze is beautiful, It is fantastic to see an old design of knife as it would have come out brand new from the ancient knifemaker's shop.

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Beautiful! Thank you for documenting the process.


Those little things you call "bronzine" are called "washers" in English. ;) I wondered what the bearing surface would be between the blade and the bronze, if there would be any washers or something like that. Thanks for that too!

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Great looking result Marco, I'm glad that everything went so well. The WI pattern is stunning!

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Inspiring thread, wonderful knife. The patinas of the blade and bronze are beautiful together. We shall call this the 'dog sniffing dog' pattern Roman folder... :)

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