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Finishing Questions from a newcomer


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Hello fellow metalworkers,


I am new to this forum so I thought it best to post in the 'newbie section', and I certainly am one compared to many people on here. Anyways, the reason I am posting is to seek some advice for a project I plan to work on this summer. The project is the sword found in the trailer for the videogame Skyrim. Here's a link to the


I had become somewhat disenchanted with the 'soulless' swords made in many factories, so I wanted to create something with some more personality and flavour. However, my inspiration was quickly met with the realization that I don't know how to do many of the finishing steps that give swords that personality, so I thought I would register on this forum and ask for some advice on finishing.


The sword appears to be around 30-32 inches in total length, with a blade of approximately two inches in width. Does that look about right to you? Here is the blade as shown in-game:

Skyrim sword.png


The next two pictures focus on the guard, handle, and pommel structure:

back sword.pnganother view.png


My question here is about the pommel. It includes a very distinctive black 'bobble' of unknown material. For the trailer they could have used anything that would glue in place, but seeing as I hope to make a functional blade, it will have to be something that will stay in place. I considered making it out of a dark stained wood and threading the tang, such that the bobble would essentially hold down the metal component of the pommel. However, I figured this might not hold up well though, and debated peening the pommel and trying to affix the bobble by some other means, but I don't think glue would do the trick. Any suggestions?

Of course, I could always do without it and just make the pommel flat on the bottom and peen the tang as normal, although it would be a nice feature to include.


The second question has to do with the handle wrap:



When I first looked at this, I thought they did it with risers. However, a closer look made me think twice about that. I'm fairly certain now that the wrapping effect was achieved by taking a strip of leather and winding it around the handle. It also looks like they folded the exposed edge of the leather over to add to raised look and increase durability and aesthetics. It looks like end of the leather rap ended with just gluing it down at the base of the handle. I was wondering if this could be improved by paring the edge and cutting it at an angle, so that there wouldn't be an edge to grab while wielding. The tip would tuck between the handle and pommel. I assume they would have to glue it while wrapping - can you think of another way to do this?


My last question is probably the hardest to answer. It pertains to the detailing on the guard and pommel:



I have been searching high and low for methods of achieving this kind of engraving. So far, everything has been very shallow in terms of depth into the metal. Does anyone know how they might have achieved this look? Can it be done without chemicals, lasers, and so on? The reason I ask is because I work at a heritage town, so we try to keep the modern equipment to a minim. I am truly stumped on this issue, and I would really like to know how this is supposed to be done rather than just taking a chisel to metal and hoping for the best.


Thank you in advance for any answers or comments you might have, and I must say I have been enjoying all of your lovely work on this site. Hopefully I will be able to contribute myself soon.




Edited by Graham
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if i were you, i would make that little "bobble" out of steel, and thread it onto the tang, and you can do the engraving with the burr bit of a dremel tool, hopefully someone with more experience will chime in on this though. Good luck though!

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Instead of engraving, you might want to consider doing some casting, which in my opinion would be considerably easier. Making the piece out of wax would require much less time and greater precision and forgiveness than starting with any sort of metal. Good luck with the project, looks promising.



Not all those who wander are lost. -J.R.R. Tolkien

-Shards of the Dark Age- my blog
-Nine Worlds Workshop-
-Last Apocalypse Forge-

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Hi Graham,


As far as carving the embellishment on the guard, engrave the edge/side cuts with a v-graver and use a flat graver to dig out the waste in between the engraved sides, not touching the outside half of the graver cut so as to leave a nice, clean edge. Repeat until you achieve the desired depth. Texture the bottom with punches. This can be done with powered engravers or hammer and chisel alone if you want to do it the hard way. Lots of practice needed, however.


Here's a link to a tutorial I did way back about carving steel: http://www.bladesmithsforum.com/index.php?showtopic=12650&st=0&p=114619&fromsearch=1entry114619


Also, you can find further discussion about carving metal on my blog here: http://sterlingsculptures.com/

Look for the section called "Cherry Blossom and Dragonfly Tsuba Pendant"

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I agree with Tom. Unless you cast it, what he described is your best route....and I personally don't like castings. It takes surprisingly less time that you think, especially with the textured backround





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Hello again everyone, and thanks for all your advice so far.


On another forum someone suggested making the pommel out of steel as well, possibly a large ball bearing, and then blackening it. I honestly hadn't even considered this, and now I feel rather stupid that I didn't think of it before. This will solve the problem of not having a peened tang, and also should help with balance as it will be heavier than the wood.


I think I will have to learn the most about engraving, thanks for the tutorial, I will certainly read up on it. Basically I just wanted to know it could be done, as you never know what's real on film.


Also, as an added question, have any of you seen the raised center line on the strong of the blade, and do you know how this is done? If no one has any ideas then I could always just take the fuller up to the guard, but it think it gives a nice touch and I would like to give it a try.


Thanks again,


Peace, -Graham

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One way to do the raised ridge on the blade would be to make it part of the guard. Another way would be to forge it in.

On the handle wrap, what I would do for something like this would be to make a wooden handle that would then be wrapped with leather. If you wanted a smooth surface on the leather you could pare down the edges where it will overlap, but the ridges add grip and keep your hand from moving. I usually put a wire wrap over the leather for added grip and to keep the leather in place. From the photo it looks like they used bicycle handlebar tape.




Refractory Supplies

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