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dustin reagan

Maciejowski Bible "chopper"

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This is my first sword-length blade. Made as a "get well" present for my friend, colleague & WMA training partner, and all around badass, Carlo Arellano. It's been sitting around in a mostly finished state for awhile. I don't fully like how the handle came out, so i've been dragging my feet about finishing it. If/when I do another of these, I won't do the offset tang thing again.

 

Hand forged 1084 (Aldo's) steel, with incised narrow fuller.

Forge welded & patinated wrought iron bolster (had to forge weld two slabs of wrought together to get a thick enough piece).

Maple handle, with copper inlay.

 

Blade length: 24 1/4"

OAL: 31 3/4"

 

47247_434206028450_525818450_5042220_5252399_n.jpg

 

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60455_434206048450_525818450_5042222_7816191_n.jpg

 

Inspiration:

60477_434206703450_525818450_5042236_3987842_n.jpg

 

58192_434206733450_525818450_5042239_2445692_n.jpg

 

Thanks for looking,

Dustin

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Great sword! Looks like it'd be useful for both fighting and camp work.

 

-Dan

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That is quite awesome! Never seen this design before. It's right up my alley. Very nice execution of the design. Is there a function to the scallops on the spine, or are they decorative?

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thats very cool, I love this style

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Thanks for the comments, I appreciate it.

 

Is there a function to the scallops on the spine, or are they decorative?

 

They serve a couple purposes, as far as I can tell:

 

-They take some weight off the end of the blade, thus bringing the POB back a bit towards the hand

-They add a striking surface to what would otherwise just be a blunt edge (a quick "false edge" swing to the face/head/neck would be...ummm..."unpleasant"). They may even have had an armor defeating purpose, similar to the flanges on a mace.

 

My take on these weapons is that they were easily produced, (nowhere near as difficult as a double edged sword, with hilt and pommel), yet highly effective weapons of war. They may have also served a camp utility purpose as mentioned above (though, i feel a dedicated camp knife, hatchet or axe would make more sense). I've chopped with high intensity at a 4x4 that i planted in the ground (i use it as a pell for WMA training), and it really wants to cut/chop...and I was happy that the hilt stayed nice and tight, as well.

 

Thanks,

Dustin

 

Dustin

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I think it's about the coolest thing I've ever seen the 1084 turned into!

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I think it's about the coolest thing I've ever seen the 1084 turned into!

 

Hey thanks, Aldo! So, does this mean i win a prize!? like...some of that W-2 i keep hearing rumours about!?!? ;) I forged this out from the 1 1/4" x 1/4" 1084 I got from you awhile ago, by the way. Seriously though, let me know about that W2, i might buy some off you along with some 1 1/2" x 1/4" 1084 if you still have any of that.

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I've seen a few of those chopper reproduced; yours is by far the nicest! Good job! :)

 

Antoine

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Hey Dustin,

 

I love those choppers. Nice to see another interpretation.

 

I´ve had one of these on my to-do list for quite a while now. Got the complete Maciejowski in full color already back in -99 or -00, largely to learn more about these choppers (but also to better see how weapons in general are depicted: a lot of interesting detail is revealed!).

And that tells a lot about how I go about and pace my work... Much time spent (wasted? :blink: ) collecting materials and info... :rolleyes:

 

These blades are very appealing but also quite mysterious. Some tantalizing hints are given by other depictions in art and some rare surviving blades from later times. No original from the 13th C survives, to my knowledge. So we are left to speculation as to their actual geometry.

 

You obviously went with the straight blade style: some of those depicted in art are indeed very straight. Can you tell us more about your thinking in regards of the hilt?

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Can you tell us more about your thinking in regards of the hilt?

 

Well, as I mentioned previously, I'm not altogether happy with how the hilt came out, but, here's some of my reasoning (some of this is probably just post-facto rationalization, though!):

 

-Wrought iron collar: I wanted to get some practice at forge-welding this wrought iron, to get a feel for how it welds, the temperature required, etc. Also, the illustrations frequently seem to show some sort of simple bolster or collar. Wrought iron seemed a natural choice in this regard.

 

-Handle: I originally wanted to do an 'umbrella' shaped handle, and forged in an offset full tang with this shape. Then, I reasoned that these were most likely *not* slab tanged weapons...I modified the tang to more of a hidden tang configuration and was going to carve a piece of wood into the appropriate hooked shape. But, I couldn't find an appropriately sized piece of wood for this! So, i just decided to have a little fun and do some simple carving/shaping (i'd never carved wood before, so this was a first). The tang wasn't long enough at this point to do a through-tanged construction, with a peened end-cap (as it looks like some of these hilts were), so I decided to keep a substantial chunk of wood as a counter-weight and hand-stop. Basically, I didn't spend enough time planning the hilt ahead of time. Next time...

 

-Copper inlay: I had just been reading about doing wire inlay in wood and wanted to try it out. The "squiggly" line motif is very common in the Maciejowski bible (every weapon type from sword to chopper to polearm to axe seems to be decorated with this motif), so I used that. It's pretty sloppy! Again, not too happy with how it turned out, but it was good practice. Also, by my reasoning these tend to be "common" weapons, and wouldn't be highly or professionally decorated (again, more rationalization!).

 

Next time, I'm definitely going with a simple through-tanged, very slightly waisted hilt with wrought iron bolster and end cap (peened). I'll probably leather wrap the hilt and include 1 or 3 simple risers.

 

Thanks for the comments,

Dustin

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Dusitn, I like the copper inlay. It adds good character to the hilt. I also appreciate that you departed from the classic form with your hilt design. It is good to explore like this, and next time you will have stronger ideas and new perspectives. I look forward to see your next one :)

It is a worth while blade type to work with, I think (although I have yet to do any kind of serious attempt: your work may finally push me into motion)

 

About the hilt: I am thinking about trying hot forming horn. Either water buffalo horn or, if I can get it, thick walled and large cow horn. Possibly rams horn if a good sized one is available. Rams horn may be more difficult to press into shape. Cow horn is difficult to get in big enough size (I suspect) and while buffalo horn may be large enough, it is not "period correct". I will see. There are some good tutorials about hot forming horn on sites on stick making. I am curious to try this.

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Cow horn is difficult to get in big enough size (I suspect) and while buffalo horn may be large enough, it is not "period correct". I will see. There are some good tutorials about hot forming horn on sites on stick making. I am curious to try this.

 

 

You could always use buffalo horn and call it Aurochs horn... ;)

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About the hilt: I am thinking about trying hot forming horn.

 

Aha! Now that sounds like a very good insight into how the "umbrella hilts" were made. I had wondered how (baring a slab-tanged construction) a wood "umbrella hilt" would hold up to abuse. It seemed to me that they would be liable to crack. But, shaped horn! Now *that* is a very durable material. I think you are on to something here.

 

Thanks, I look forward to hearing more about your experiments with this.

Dustin

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I like that thing it really makes you want to make one.

 

I have a customer who wants me to make him a walking stik with one of these sheep (umbrella) handles.

Have a look at this site it might give you a few more answers.

 

http://theshepherdscrook.net/

 

Richard

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Either water buffalo horn or, if I can get it, thick walled and large cow horn. Possibly rams horn if a good sized one is available.

 

I just had a thought...all of my family comes from Texas, and I just recalled the long horned cattle of this state: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas_Longhorn_(cattle)

 

I wonder if their horns might be suitable for this sort of thing? They are certainly long and thick enough...I just don't know about their material properties.

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Alan: You know, I was actually searching for an excuse along these lines -_-:P! Apart from perhaps being rather non-authentic in looks, I think it *would* look very good with the black and perhaps some light streaks. Especially if a ferrule of bronze (or silver!) is used in front toward the blade.

 

Richard: after having searched information on hot forming horn, I now see that stick making looks interesting! Now a walking stick with horn crutch and hidden sword is on the to-make list...

I found this site that had pretty clear description on forming water buffalo horn: http://www.woodlandsticks.co.uk/buff.html

 

Dustin: Longhorn horns would fit the bill very well, I should think. There you have the perfect substitute for Aurochs! You want a long solid point and a hollow section with thick walls. You press the hollow section to fit the tang and form the solid point into the crook. After the horn is pressed to shape, you can round the shapes & file and carve for any decoration you want. At least that is how I imagine one would go about this. Benefit with the Long horn is that you get a color scheme with dark browns, tan and cream that would be very attractive and authentic looking. If you do research on this material, could you please let us know the results?

 

Pic below from woodlandstick.co.uk

 

hornpress.jpg

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