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Cutler's Resin Recipes

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Do we know what kind of glues the central Asians of the period used for making composite bows?

I've been told it should be fish swimbladder, since it has a longer open time before gelling. But replicas have been successfully made with hide glue.

Whether Asian hornbow or Sami or Norse tvíviður (tvividr if you want to google), and whichever glue, they would be covered with something (skin, birchbark) and rubbed with something.

I don't see how this could be done with hair.

 

I would like to chime in with Randy Tibbs, have anyone tried birchbark pitch? All my sources say it's far less brittle.

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Animal glues go back far into prehistoric times. There's ancient Egyptian furniture that is still held together with it's original animal glue AFAIK. Here's some info: http://www.bartleycollection.com/the-history-of-glue.html and more: http://tinyurl.com/n8gu35p

Edited by Jeroen Zuiderwijk

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I just rediscovered this thread.  I want to try it, and perhaps others do to.  There are a bunch of recipes on the first page.  Is anyone using this sort of thing?  Do you have insights to share?

 

Geoff 

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Thanks for reviving this thread Geoff. I have a bunch of pine  tar(?) or pitch I saved from my charcoal making and was meaning to try some cutler's resin on my next seax. 

I also watched a few more of the videos in that series. Splendid stuff.

Eager to see what other folks may have in the resin works.

 

BTW- for those who don't have the means or desire to make your own pine tar, it is readily available at most farrier supply or horse veterinarian supply stores.

Edited by Joshua States
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On 1/31/2020 at 2:55 AM, Geoff Keyes said:

There are a bunch of recipes on the first page.  Is anyone using this sort of thing?  Do you have insights to share?

Geoff,i wanted to,but failed.I mixed some up using all the cool local materials,charcoal dust,bear fat and spruce pitch,but went too heavy on the fat,and more than a year later it's still tacky!:)

(so follow the ratios carefully).

I don't make knives myself,but have friends locally that are making these culturally-appropriate ulu-type things,and i tried to influence them in direction of even further "authenticity"(i've seen some very old ones with brownish-colored resin,holding up great after some Very long time/hard use/outdoor exposure).

Anyway,i failed to make it look convincing after coming up with an "unhardening" version:)

BUT-it looked Great.Very smooth(self-leveling),jet-black,glossy...Very fine looking stuff.   

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Jake, even failed (or maybe, especially failed) experiments are good.  Now you know what not to do,  So less fat seems to be the key?

I read something last year about making polishing waxes.  I like to used carnuba on many woods, but straight carnuba is brittle.  I found a person who had done the experiments and found that a 3-1 mix of carnuba and bees wax makes it slightly soft, but thin layers will dry hard.

How much fat was too much?

 

Geoff

 

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3 hours ago, Geoff Keyes said:

How much fat was too much?

Aw,man...That's the trouble,Geoff,i didn't really measure...:(

Want to say a quarter of entire volume?

And yes,it'd stand to reason the more fat=more flexibility...People always had to vary their ratios for climate,the hotter  outside the stiffer your mix had to be...you didn't want your sword blade dropping out of the handle in use...

I believe in S.E.Asia even today you can buy this uber-expensive pitch of a certain,near-sacred tree(forgot the name of course...getting old:(

But it was The thing to use(shamshirs and the like...where the handle was hollow,and some gems for unknown ritual reasons were also submerged in the cutler's compound).

Much historic precedence to the method,sorry to have no solid info...

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I think pine tar may be the problem. I mix pine resin (authenticly sourced from ebay) and boiled for a while to evaporate the terpentine. and bees wax  with finely crushed iron oxidea little finely crushed charcoal I also add a little caranuba wax which helps with the polishability. Iron oxide needs to be flour fine or its excessivly scratchy I have tried brick dust and i find it much too scratchy. exact mix will depend on batch but start with 3 to one. Ive made it with red iron oxide too and its a beautifull color. needs to stay solid enough to survice quick submertion in how water or a hot day! I love the stuff and use it on all my kitchen knives.

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Owen is that 3:1 pitch to wax? How many parts dust?

 

Years ago I made a batch according to some ye olde recipe, it had a ratio of rosin in it, which smelled nice but made it quite brittle. I do have a knife fixed with it in my kitchen, though, still sound years later, but it was a tight friction fit “wa” handle.

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