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Am I the only person who preferes to forge the fuller into the blade?

You can make jigs for your hardy holes from my understanding, Foxfire5 goes into great detail on these jigs.

I see everyone grinding them into the blade, what are the benefits of this?

Does it affect the structure? or just as long as a fuller is there, its there and serves its purpose?

I also thought it was better for blade structure to have everything forged, vice removed.

Edited by Eric Leonard
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For pattern-welded blades, sometimes you want to grind them for a specific effect in the pattern. An example is the stars, chevrons, or eddy patterns in a twisted core billet on Migration-era stuff.

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historicaly fullers are both forged and ground/ scraped in to blades.

I have much better control grinding them ie I can alter depth by a fraction of a mm and width by same. I have never managed to get that controle forging by hand or under the power hammer.

also i like to Ht before fullering as I get less warpage that way.

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Yea, i figured the grinding was not just preference, but for patterns.

So there is a greater chance of warpage with a fuller present during ht?

 

Scraping a fuller? Thats one hard piece of steel to do the scraping, is that pre or post heat treat?

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Scraping a fuller? Thats one hard piece of steel to do the scraping, is that pre or post heat treat?

I scraped one, and it was pre HT. I went about it all wrong, at first, but once I built a sen, it went much faster. The blade was short enough that there was no warpage, but I have a feeling that if it was much longer, I would have had a casualty.

 

John

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I make my scrapers out of 1095 or the like (I like w2 for them, too). I harden them, but don't bother tempering them. After one phenomenal screwup, I do all my scraping pre-heat treat, after sanding the blade to 220 grit (the traditional Japanese method is to scrape after heat-treatment, but that doesn't work so well with 5160). If I were to do a wider fuller (all mine have been narrow so far) I would be tempted to forge it in, then clean it up with the scraper or a small wheel.

 

Scraping a narrow fuller in an unhardened blade does not take long, it is the clean-up that takes forever...

 

Owen has it right, historically they were done both ways. I recall reading somewhere that, concerning the viking age patternwelded swords, they can tell to some extent where the blade was made by whether the fuller has been ground/scraped in or forged in, as different schools of smiths used different methods, which in turn affected the final pattern. I do not recall where I read it or the particulars, so take it with a grain of salt...

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Even with forged fullers you are going to face a lot of grinding. With my set up I am just quicker grinding the fullers than first forging and then grinding. Sometimes fullers has to be forged in. A forged in fuller will likely be slightly uneven. This can be a desirable effect if you want to go for that kind of look. Depending on the construction of the blade billet you may have to forge fullers to a great extent, to avoid exposing hidden layers by grinding. Or you may have to grind quite a bit to expose layers in pattern welding.

 

It all depends on what you want to achieve I guess. If you go with a non traditional take on fullers, you might want to keep the forged finish in the fuller. It can look very dramatic against polished edge bevels.

 

I do not think fullers will induce curvature more than any other cross section. That is, if you get them symmetrical. If not, you are bound to get curvature and/or sabering. But that is true for any cross section: you have to get the blade even and symmetrical with the same surface finish all over and exactly the same edge thickness on both side, if you are to avoid too much sabering and curvature. This becomes very obvious in longer blades.

 

EDIT: going back and thinking about it, I must say I agree with Owen: fullers may play more with curvature from heat treat. I think this is because it is difficult to get them perfectly symmetrical. Even a small difference will have an effect.

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Thanks everyone for helping me figure out what process to use in forged vs scrapped vs ground fuller.

Peter, I associate much of your work with that of Albion, do you advocate the milling method of blade profiles? I have been under the impression that the forging process made a stronger blade.

And with fullers, I would expect a stronger fuller that was forged, over a ground fuller, but this is based upon knowledge I read somewhere, perhaps in "The Complete Bladesmith" or "Foxfire 5".

 

I saw a photo of an interesting viking sword (It could be migration), the fuller followed all the way through the tang stopping only at the pommel. This is something I find fascinating, and I want to re-create this blade (different blade fittings).

Despite my efforts, I cannot find this gallery of 'found' viking weapons anymore. It was either shared on this forum, or on the knife maker's group on facebook, but neither is yielding any good results when I search.

My question is.

With a spring hardy fuller jig and careful control, would it be possible to keep warping to a minimum? And how could I combat sabering with that?

I thought about "strapping" the blade to a thick/flat peice of steel for heat treat purposes to not only combat warpage, but sabering as well.

Also, would using a hot salt HT method like Albion uses help combat these deformaties?

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The gallery is pinned in the History forum here, called "Vikverirs resouces page" or something like that.

 

Forging versus grinding fullers has approximately zero effect of the strength of the finished sword, that's solely the result of heat treating procedure. Salts do help prevent warping to a great extent due to the uniformity of heat minimizing operator error.

 

Finally, ALL post-Roman pre-renaissance single-fullered European swords have the fuller running through the guard and at least halfway up the tang. Just the way it was done for some reason. ;)

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I again bow to your memory and knowledge Mr. Longmire.

I have a question about the 'fuller extension' I shall call it for now.

With this extension, Would there be any particular benefit to extending the fuller through the full length of the tang? Part of me thinks that this particular sword (I cannot find in any of these galleries this sword) had this feature out of necessity more than much else, I know fullers are used to reduce material used, perhaps this sword was running a tad bit short on the anvil of material, so the smith used the fuller to bring the tang to optimal width?

Also, the longer tool in this photo. Could it possibly be a scraping tool for fullers? I desire to make one at least, as I do not particularly care for grinders, NOR do I have one other than my 10" bench grinder.

255894_3419282331945_1047566537_o.jpg

Edited by Eric Leonard
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Eric, if you have access to a mill or even a CNC machine, you can certainly use it for shaping the blade blank of a sword. It helps keeping things consistent, but there is quite a bit of fiddling to get a mill to produce decently shaped blade blanks for swords. The shapes that a mill tend to readily produce are often lacking in subtlety compared to what a skilled blade smith can forge. Or is it that the running of the mill will invite you to think in shapes that are not really like what you see in a forged blade? You can naturally get the machine to cut all the essential forms of a forged blade blank, but there is a level of abstraction and translation needed to get a cutting machine to get close to a form that is shaped by plastic deformation.

 

Once you have the milling worked out (and have a skilled machinist running the tool/machine) you can produce many high quality blade blanks in the same time it takes to forge a single one. If control, volume of production and consistency are your goals, I should say a CNC machine is ideal.

 

At Albion, the blade blanks are cut with a CNC machine. It has taken *a lot* of time to work out methods that result in good blade blanks. There is nothing automatic about it. It is all about awareness of form and knowledge and skill in using the CNC machine. The machine does not add anything apart from consistency. You have to make it do what you want, and look after it, so that it keeps doing it. This takes skill and attention.

 

After the blade blank is milled, the last 20% of shaping is left for the grinder. At Albion this is a skilled artisan who works by hand on a belt grinder without guides or jigs of any kind. This is real handwork. Anyone who makes things knows that the last 20 % of the form is 80% of the work. It is this work that matters, if the blade blank is to become a good sword or remain something that merely looks like a sword.

 

As blade smiths we have a strength that the CNC machine lacks, and that is that we can easily change most all aspects of the blades we make, every time and do it on the fly. There is also not the translation problem to get the idea from the head of the designer, via a program, to the finished form. A smith works intuitively from his store of insight, experience and knowledge. It is the uniqueness of the hand made blade that charges it with its value and meaning (the way I see it). As artists or artisans we can even turn our personal shortcomings, quirks and possible lack of skill in some techniques to our advantage, if we work this into our pieces in a deliberate manner. I am not saying lack of skill is a good thing. -We all want to develop and grow as makers. But it is good to know ones strengths and weaknesses and work with this. The result can get a quality of "aliveness" that often grabs people. It can shine with a certain kind of beauty. In this day and age many people find this quality of hand made work fascinating.

 

Sorry for preaching :-)

I normally do not talk about my work with Albion on this forum, as I am here in my capacity as swordsmith.

 

About fullers running into the tang: it is traditional with european style blades over long periods of time. Fullers are about saving material, not about adding strength. Today we tend to obsess with the strength of a sword blade. It naturally has to be resilient, but if made correctly observing temperature whilst forging and properly heat treating afterwards, the steel and the blade will be plenty strong, performing anything a sword may reasonably be asked to do.

Forging is about forming: giving shape to the blade. Shape is of paramount importance for a sword. We can learn this from ancient blades, that were often made from what today would be seen as substandard material. They still made excellent swords and this was because they knew how a sword must behave in motion. This is defined by its three dimensional shape.

 

Traditionally the design of the fullers has a lot to do with how the blank was gradually formed into a blade, I think. Fullering was used to push material sideways, broadening the blade without making the billet thinner. I think it was helpful to let the fuller run into the tang for several reasons, but this is from speculation more then direct personal experience, as I tend to grind fullers rather than forging them. If I was working with home smelted steel, I might do more forging in the shaping of the fullers, to save material and to avoid the risk or grinding into a void or gap inside the billet.

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To show how extending the fuller into the tang might help with forming the blade I post three photos taken by Lutz Hoffmeister of the Deutsches Klingenmuseum, for an exhibition we made on the making of a sword.

 

ränna.jpg

A top and bottom fullering tool is used for the forging of the fuller. You can see that the tang has been forged first and how the fuller helps widen the tang to the same extent that the blade widens, This helps to keep the form consistent.

 

DSCN0389.jpg

Next the edge bevels are forged in. This will widen the blade considerably (depending on how they are forged naturally).

 

finsmide2.jpg

Finally the blade is forged to shape by mild taps under moderate heat. This blank was made with a soft iron core and I did not want to risk exposing the core by grinding away uneven forge marks. That is why this blade was forged so close to final shape.

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WOW! thats just incredible Peter!

Thanks a million, this REALLY exposes a lot into how a sword should be forged, I was going off the pretense that the bevels were forged, THEN the fuller. I am also making note of the jig being held by a post vise instead of a hardy attachment.

Might I inquire as to how you would recommend making a jig? Im thinking a piece of, say, car spring, with a bit of tool steel for the heads?

Thanks again for showing those photos, also explaining that this was done due to the blade make-up.

With the blade being forged in that manner, how would you say it compares to not only mono-steel blades machined by Albion, but also the better condition historical blades that you have handled in the past?

Edited by Eric Leonard
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To me this is slightly offensive, who are you to say how a blade should be forged?

 

I, for one, do not like arguments or attacks on my opinion.

I refuse to apologize on a forum of like-minded adults because one is offended by my opinion, I learned that in the Grow up class in the school of Life.

Please retain these thoughts in the future, Not once did I say this was the one and only correct way. Not once have I ever stated that I know how to forge a sword, I am learning from everyone and myself here on the forum's and in the real world, hands-on, experience I slowly obtain.

Peter was kind enough to show everyone his personal work's photographs on how he forges fullers on blades, and as the Genius behind many many many blades and is quite the, well to me, expert on forging sword blades. (If memory serves, his re-creations to the finest detail hang next to the originals in several museums.)

Please read my posts in further detail and realize that while I do believe in my personal opinion on swords should retain forged fullers, and I do not particularly care for grinders (mainly perhaps due to my lack of owning a belt grinder). I do NOT know how to forge swords, the longest blade I have forged had about a 10 inch blade, plus tang.

So for my statement of (the entire quote now)

"Thanks a million, this REALLY exposes a lot into how a sword should be forged, I was going off the pretense that the bevels were forged, THEN the fuller."

This is not only a statement of my learning the craft, it is also a statement of me learning from, again in my opinion, one of the greatest Blade-smiths I have ever had the honor of learning from. I do not see how this statement is indicative of how everyone should be forging blades. This topic is the discussion mainly on how one would forge a very straight and accurate blade with a forged, not ground, fuller.

Edited by Eric Leonard
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Peter, I have another question, this time more on the actual forging technique and not particularly on fullers.

With your last photo posted, the heat color begs a question in my mind. Is it best to 'smooth' the finish with light taps at a slightly lower than normal forge temperature? (referenced to the middle photo with what i suspect the normal forge temperature to be where the tang meets forte)

I hope my inquiry was understandable.

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Hello:

 

There are as many different ways to forge something as there are folks who do it. Some work better than others.

 

As one of the "Original Renegade" bladesmiths I busted the art wide open some 25 years ago with my first book. ALOT of folks loved the fact that things were explained in terms they could understand. Some were not happy and some went to the extreme and called me everything but a human. SO WHAT...This isn't high tech secret stuff...

 

 

When I got my fly press I pretty much quit hammering fullers in by hand..the fly press gives me so much more control and feel. I think once I get my hand taken care of I will be doing a couple of more videos once book IV is done..

 

Still even with forging, if you want a smooth and shined up surface you will have to do some sort of grinding or scraping.

 

Some fullers were scraped in, some forged. No one "right way" to do it.

 

JPH

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Some fullers were scraped in, some forged. No one "right way" to do it.

 

JPH

 

 

I have been feeling this way after the discussions.

You mentioned a press, do you have a set of dies for pressing fullers in?

I have been thinking of a set of spring fuller jigs (starting with various widths, some for tangs, some for mid blade, some for tapering, and some for the tip)

But all that starts with having a proper anvil (which may not be too long from now, got a guy who has one locally, still gotta take a look at it.

 

 

 

 

I too would be interested in seeing jig examples, even Peter's :)

 

 

 

 

Thanks guys for sharing the info.

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Eric:

 

I most certainly do...all they are are sets of 1060 round stock of the correct diameter that are welded to stubs (I use 1" hex bolts cut to length), heat treated and tempered back to blue.. that fit in the ram and base of the press... I just squeeze the fullers in..you have such control and you can actually "feel" the steel move. Doesn't take half as long to fuller a sword as it would with a hand hammer. I will post some pics next time I am fullering...

 

Right now I am more or less working one handed until I get that surgery I need which is scheduled middle of this month..

 

JPH

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Eric: The control you get using a fly press is simply amazing. I can "feel" the steel move. you can use a small amount of power or go whole hog and really smash it. Before my hand was giving me problems I was starting to experiment in welding under one using flat dies. Have a little multi core Seax I was starting up and was going to use the press to weld the cores together...

 

Fullers are a breeeze with a fly press (if you have one that is big enough) and punching holes and hot cutting..NOT a problem.. Very handy piece of equipment.

 

Ref the hand..I am waiting a call for the day (on or about the 19th) for the (hopefully) last surgery to get this thing dealt with. It's more of a PITA than anything and the tumor is now again bigger than a chicken egg but this should correct it and prevent it from coming back.

 

actually have been able to get some srtuff done..just takes a bit longer. Workig on a Bizen style Tachi with 1 1/2" sore in Unokobe-Shobu Zukuri (can ya all tell I like that particular blade style???) done in red andwith gold leaf...Should be finishingup the ito in the next couple of days.

 

Back to subject. If you can..get a fly press...they are neat pieces of equipment indeed, very versatile and quite handy

 

JPH

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