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Jeff Pringle

Construction clues from artifacts

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Veeeery interesting.... :blink:

 

Obviously a grave find, but was it in the ground or in a crypt? Plus that splice in the wire is not something I've seen before...

 

Either way, it's pretty darned cool! B)

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Alan, a well-preserved grip on an 11th C sword is not something I’ve seen before! :D

This one has part of the belt preserved as well. B) Definitely in the ground, there is a lot of dirt attached. The silver did a noble job keeping the grip intact.

A similar wire joint is re-illustrated in Lech Marek’s “Early Medieval Swords from Central and Eastern Europe,” originally from an article on Slovakian swords by Ruttkay.

Peter, the blade is entirely preserved as rust, should be about 84 cm long. Maximum width near the hilt, 5.8 cm, but that measurement is the current rust outline, when the blade was metal it could have been a bit smaller.

 

SWD670.jpg

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This poorly-restored 9th hilt was exploding with rust, and when reversing the bad restoration work & stabilizing it what did I find, but copper alloy in the pommel cap, either a counterweight right where you'd want it, or did they braze the cap to the u-rivet?

P-701a.jpg

I think the former, but will investigate more. :ph34r:B)

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The u-rivet or staple was brazed to the pommel cap.

Estimating back from the current rust, the cross section of the staple was an oval ~ 3x wider than the 2-3mm size of the rivet sections that go thru the pommel bar, and forged to close agreement with the curve of the upper section of the cap and the lower ends.

I always thought just gluing the cap on with cutler’s resin sounded a little insecure…I wonder if you could braze an inlaid hilt without messing up the inlay? Probably not. So this hilt was inlaid after assembly…

The grey turd-like thing is epoxy that the “restorer” squirted in there to anchor the tang recostruction.

P-736.jpg

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Veeeeeeery interesting..... :huh:

 

And exactly how I'd probably approach the issue, given the challenge of slapping a hollow pommel on top of an upper guard with rivets that never show from the top. Then again I braze a lot of things, so it's just part of my arsenal of assembly tools.

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The u-rivet or staple was brazed to the pommel cap.

Estimating back from the current rust, the cross section of the staple was an oval ~ 3x wider than the 2-3mm size of the rivet sections that go thru the pommel bar, and forged to close agreement with the curve of the upper section of the cap and the lower ends.

I always thought just gluing the cap on with cutler’s resin sounded a little insecure…I wonder if you could braze an inlaid hilt without messing up the inlay? Probably not. So this hilt was inlaid after assembly…

The grey turd-like thing is epoxy that the “restorer” squirted in there to anchor the tang recostruction.

P-736.jpg

 

Wonderful Jeff!

Good photo and description.

 

May it be possible that a lower melting allow was used for the inlay...much like soft, medium and hard solder?

I am not aware of any specific chem tests done on this.

 

Ric

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So that the inlay was melted on after the braze? I don’t think so, at least it would have been impossible with most of the hilts considering the mixed metal designs. Or the other way, so the braze was lower melting temp than the inlay metals? - I’m sure it was, but you’d get a eutectic mess where the different inlay metals met on the surface, especially doing it as Theophilus describes.

The book “Metallteknik under Vikingatid och Medeltid” (Oldeberg 1966) refers to the Vikings doing hard/soft solder with different silver/tin alloys and high-zinc bronze alloys, there are lots of analyses but no inlay-specific ones that I have been able to dig up yet…

;)

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So that the inlay was melted on after the braze? I don’t think so, at least it would have been impossible with most of the hilts considering the mixed metal designs. Or the other way, so the braze was lower melting temp than the inlay metals? - I’m sure it was, but you’d get a eutectic mess where the different inlay metals met on the surface, especially doing it as Theophilus describes.

The book “Metallteknik under Vikingatid och Medeltid” (Oldeberg 1966) refers to the Vikings doing hard/soft solder with different silver/tin alloys and high-zinc bronze alloys, there are lots of analyses but no inlay-specific ones that I have been able to dig up yet…

;)

 

Jeff,

I have seen some pommels where the rivet "U staple" was held in pace in some way..braze sounds good to me..since the connection is mechanical holding the pommel end to the pommel base oval I see no reason that the inlay could not be done after brazing...BUT

in this example it appears that there is no "U staple" and the braze is attaching the sword tang to the pommel...yes?

 

Question:

Why is the copper based material so clean looking? Should it not be green as the iron pommel is so corroded? Did you scrape clean the copper material or is the pommel cross-sectioned in a way so as not to cut the iron? I see what look like copper shavings on the epoxy...all just odd without context.

 

Ric

Edited by Richard Furrer

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No, there is a U-rivet - check out this version of the image, I’ve outlined/highlighted the pommel cap cross section and staple where they are visible after removal of part of the cap. The copper alloy is clean from micro-blasting (25µ Aluminum oxide); it originally had a thin black oxide coating. I would not expect it to be green, though- due to galvanic corrosion, the copper alloy is preserved by preferential oxidation of the iron when they are in good electrical contact, in this example the cap and u-rivet were 99% turned to oxide while the pommel bar still has a good amount of iron left.

 

P-736b.jpg

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That clears a lot up Jeff...thank you.

 

Ric

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getting back to the file marks... did europeans use scrapers for finish work? and could those marks be deep scraper marks that were not sanded all the way out? Would they have left scratches to save the time of taking them out on a working blade?

 

Dick

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Richard - I don't think scrapers make that kinda mark, or at least the ones I've used don't. Can't say if they were a part of the Euro tool kit either...

Myles - No, it is still in there , nice and stable - in other news, today I got results from a radiocarbon lab on the belt that came with the other sword above - 1250 AD +-30, cool! that is some old leather! B):D

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Is "Die Eisenfunde von Haithabu" by Petra Westphalen loaded with pictures? My German is nicht so gut, but pictures are usually in English.

It has lots of pictures but most of them are about tools and not weapons. However, Geibig has a new book on analyzing the weapons found at Haithabu, but I have not seen it yet.

 

Niels.

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Jeff you sound really knowledgeable about restoration and handling ancient materials in general, but one technique I'm not sure if you've heard about or not is the use of acetone. Acetone should dissolve artificial substances like epoxy and acryloid lacquers without harming the metal or any organic remains. The acetone will evaporate off the artifact in a pretty short time and leave no residue. Just a thought for how to get that epoxy out. No idea if the artifact would hold together without the epoxy's support thought, since that's why the restorer put it on in the first place right?

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Thanks for the suggestion! I’m well acquainted with all manner of industrial solvents, and I’ll probably use acetone or methylene chloride, but want to test & make sure the epoxy (which has some filler material mixed in too) won’t expand during the treatment before I dive in. I think the big glob was more to hold the tang & rest of the hilt in position than to hold the pomel and bar together.

Niels – are you referring to “Das archäologische Fundmaterial VI -

Die Schwerter aus dem Hafen von Haithabu/Pfeil und Bogen in Haithabu?” Or is there something more recent?

I like how carefully they rendered every single rusty rivet and nail in ‘die eisenfunde..’

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Niels – are you referring to “Das archäologische Fundmaterial VI -

Die Schwerter aus dem Hafen von Haithabu/Pfeil und Bogen in Haithabu?” Or is there something more recent?

That's the one I meant. Since it was published in 1999, new was a misnomer on my part. Coincidentally, I received it in the mail yesterday. It's very text heavy but it has a few nice pictures. One of them is an x-ray of a pommel which shows how the u-shaped rivet is brazed to the bottom of the pommel.

 

Niels.

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In the grand scheme of archaeology texts, 1999 is 'new' to me ;)

This does look like a braze, doesn't it?

Geibig 99 t13.jpg

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Searching for scabbard examples, I stumbled across this one from "Franken oder Sachsen."

 

Pommel.jpg

 

It seems like the rivets were separately brazed?

 

Niels.

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Here are two toothy spears, both show deformation of the internal metal texture on either side of the weld, though the highly refined steel edge metal shows it less than the grainier iron. There are some interesting differences between the two spears in the joint zig-zag that might need some explaining…

 

wolf-812s.jpg

 

wolf2-814s.jpg

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are you thinking the core is welded first in one packet... and the toothed edge is welded in another packet...then both are combined in final product?...

- and the straight line boarder looks to have been part of the edge packet.. i think

 

 

i think these are really beautiful weapons.. i've got to make one for myself.. outstanding !

 

any pictures of socket?

 

 

edit... after looking abit closer there is a roundness to the bottoms/valleys of the teeth on the top spear?.. it looks to be deliberate instead of just the result of forging

 

also top spear has abit of an undulation to the tooth packet/ core packet boundary.. . could have been that area was forged abit more than it should have been.. maybe difficulty in getting the initial weld ??? just a guess

Edited by Greg Thomas Obach

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Jeff, have you got any close up photos of the zig zag joint in either of these spears. The bottom one looks very interesting.

 

Mick.

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Veeeeeeery interesting...... :huh:

 

I can't tell much about the top one, but the bottom one showing the forging deformation in the layers does not appear to show it all the way up the edge steel teeth. What that looks like to me as that maybe the bars were cut (chisel or saw, hard to say) or filed into teeth and then were forged together at a less-than-welding heat to get everything evened up before the final welding pass?

 

I'll be pondering that one a while...

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