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ZebDeming

Bronze Sword dimensions?

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Like the title says I'm looking for some rough dimensions for a period correct bronze sword. The leaf style swords are what interest me the most. Even if I could find a picture with one dimension, I could scale from the pic, length and thickness would be great. I'm fixing to make a pattern from wood and use a two piece clay mold. I'm not looking for a really long blade, something nice and simple for the first try.

 

Thanks

Zeb

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Like the title says I'm looking for some rough dimensions for a period correct bronze sword. The leaf style swords are what interest me the most. Even if I could find a picture with one dimension, I could scale from the pic, length and thickness would be great. I'm fixing to make a pattern from wood and use a two piece clay mold. I'm not looking for a really long blade, something nice and simple for the first try.

 

Thanks

Zeb

Anything from 18-25" overall is roughly correct. Remember to have a fairly thick spine and that these swords were usually "full-tang" with a relatively short grip, 3" or so.

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Awesome! That's exactly what I was looking for Jeroen. I may make the blade a bit shorter, but not much. Heating the clay mold is usually necessary to pour something this thin, correct?

 

Zeb

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Awesome! That's exactly what I was looking for Jeroen. I may make the blade a bit shorter, but not much. Heating the clay mold is usually necessary to pour something this thin, correct?

 

Zeb

Well, yes. But do you have experience casting in clay moulds? Do realize what you're getting yourself into. It's a very difficult medium to work with, particularly if you're going for swords. Just to give a hint at the difficulty, Neil Burridge has cast probably thousands of bronze swords in stone moulds, and it took him about 7 years or thereabouts to get a good result out of a clay mould using various modern aids in the process. I've practiced practically only on clay moulds for about the same time using bronze age tools and methods only, and got nearly there (with many failures still).

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Well, yes. But do you have experience casting in clay moulds? Do realize what you're getting yourself into. It's a very difficult medium to work with, particularly if you're going for swords. Just to give a hint at the difficulty, Neil Burridge has cast probably thousands of bronze swords in stone moulds, and it took him about 7 years or thereabouts to get a good result out of a clay mould using various modern aids in the process. I've practiced practically only on clay moulds for about the same time using bronze age tools and methods only, and got nearly there (with many failures still).

 

No expirence in clay molds to speak of. I'm not thinking, or even hoping I'll be successfull the first, or even the hundredth time, it's just more of a challenge that I want to try to tackle. The nice thing about casting is I can just remelt and try again :) I'm more than likely going to start small, before even attempting to try something big like a sword. Would normal greensand work better than clay for something like this? My expirence has been that casting thin sections in green sand to be very problematic, which is why I was thinking that a clay mold that could be heated would be a better approach. But I've never played around with a clay mold. Any tips or hints to get me pointed in the proper direction?

 

Thanks

Zeb

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Here's a start, one of the earliest attempts I did at casting a sword in a clay mould:

http://1501bc.com/bronzes/nf_carps_tongue_zwaard_eng.html

 

I highly recommend trying to find a clay that doesn't have any lime in it. That would save about 90% of the trouble. If you don't know the chemical composition, the only way to find that out is by casting in it. If you get a very rough surface, with lots of holes in it, or very bad detail, then the clay probably has lime in it. You can work with it, but it's really difficult. Without the lime, the firing becomes much easier, as it only has to be baked up to about 700C for 1 or 2 hours rising in temperature very gradually, particularly slowly when it gets to the boiling point of water. The last part I have a lot of failures with, which result in the clay flaking inside the mould if the temperature rises to fast, and the left over water (after fully airdried) in the moulds starts to boil.

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