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Swords of the Cross


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I have a really big project I want to undertake. Its a long term thing, and quite a bit above my current skill level....hopefully it will be a very positive growing experience.

 

I want to make the Swords of the Cross from Jim Butcher's "Dresden Files". I've been obsessed with these books for a while now, and since nobody else seems to have taken the initiative...I'll be an arrogant ass and do it myself. :P

 

I would really love any design help you guys are willing to offer up. There is very little in the way or fan art or anything like that, so getting a good visual is going to be an issue. I'd like these to be as true to the books as possible.

 

Probably going to start with Fidelacchius since it will require the least complicated furniture to produce. I have a couple bars of Aldo's W2 just begging to be used for this.

 

What do you guys think?

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good luck. thats a lot of culture in 3 blades. i personally couldnt forge a rapier

 

You referring to Esperacchius? Pretty sure it's supposed to be a sabre. Although, he also described it as being Durendal...which I thought was supposed to be more of a cruciform. I was going to probably ignore the reference to Durendal and just go with the sabre design. But I have some tooling to acquire before I can make the fittings and scabbard for that kind of blade. I plan to work on a vacuum casting setup this winter.

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I think my biggest hurdle with Fidelacchius will be getting it straight enough to be suitable for shikomizue mounting, while having a decent hamon. I'm guessing it'll have to be pre-curved before the HT. I'm sure it will require several tries.

 

Anyone know how to make a katana come out straight-ish?

Edited by David M
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Very cool. I have just recently been hooked on these books. Good Luck. :D

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leave the edge fairly thick - 1/10th - 1/16th", quench 2 1/2 seconds into water then immediately into slow oil - i never get any change in profile doing this.

 

Do you clay as normal with this method? What temp would you suggest for the oil?

Edited by David M
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yeah, just clay as normal, and i just use vegetable oil at ambient temp. water from the hot tap with a little dishsoap as a surficant - brine would probably work better at speeding up the start of the quench, but i've never bothered...

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I suppose the first thing I really need help with will be the type of kissaki (point) to use on the sword. I really like shobu-zukuri, but probably cannot get away with that since the sword was described more than once as having a "chisel" point.

 

Do you think I can get away with unokubi-zukuri?

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if it were me i'd go with a large chu- or small o-kissaki shinogi-zukuri, which would allow you to have a similar profile to a shobu-zukuri but with a chisel point (a term that leads me to suspect that the authour doesn't know much about Japanese swords...). Unokubi-zukuri always looks a little off to me on blades longer than wakizashi sized.

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That would probably work out a bit better. The unokubi profile gets just a bit wide....but then again...I'm really only concerned with the kissaki right now.

 

Yeah. He mentions at one point that this is supposed to be the Kusanagi. Which we all know is a very archaic form, and would have been double-edged. But its all in good fun. :P

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well i don't know the source material, but if i were to make a shikomizue, i'd be inclined to make it pretty short, because the saya has to be quite sturdy and yet narrow to maintain the illusion of being a cane, so the blade has to be narrow as well, meaning it has to be short if it's going to look proportional. This one, for example, has an 18 1/2" blade, but looks longer:

 

sword cane.jpg

 

remember also that shikomizue don't have to be straight, as long as the illusion is maintained:

 

sword cane 2.jpg

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some have habakis, some just a friction fit where the mouth of the saya fits into a recess in the tsuka - my favorite solution is this one which uses both:

 

sword cane 3.jpg

 

there is a nice habaki, and a heavy seppa which is hidden by the cherry bark saya covering...

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I've been working on the same project for awhile now. I haven't been able to put hammer to steel though, as I'm currently half a world away from my shop. For Esparracchius, I went with an early frankish sabre design. Which is totally different than what Derundal is said to be. I wish I could post some pics, but either this isn't letting me or I just can't figure out how to use the editor now.

 

 

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And for Fidelacchius, I'd reccomend using bloom steel or something to that effect. If your goal is to stay true to the books, the sword of Faith is described as having water patterned steel. Which is common amongst Katanas forged from tamahagane. Can't wait to see your designs!!! :Dsrc="http://forums.dfoggknives.com/public/style_emoticons/default/biggrin.gif">

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And for Fidelacchius, I'd reccomend using bloom steel or something to that effect. If your goal is to stay true to the books, the sword of Faith is described as having water patterned steel. Which is common amongst Katanas forged from tamahagane. Can't wait to see your designs!!! :Dsrc="http://forums.dfoggknives.com/public/style_emoticons/default/biggrin.gif">

 

I have a chunk of oroshigane I was considering for this. But I'm not certain I can get it to work with the dimensions of this blade and the tricky HT. I think Also's W2 is going to give me less grief.

 

Started the preform today. Didn't get a chance to work on it yesterday since we decided to rewire the garage. Don't have to worry about burning down the house when we run the grinder now though...yay.

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20121209191457%5B1%5D.jpg20121209180655%5B1%5D.jpg

 

Didn't remember to take pictures as I go. Here is where I stopped last night. After this pass is finished I figure it will take two or three more to get everything where I want it. Then I have to figure out what to do about the nail.

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That cane sword above in Jake's post, was my sword for many years. It is a full katana, and very stout shinto period lines. It was near flawless. Not a lot of sori. That is the most important part of a good cane sword.

It is a beauty. The plum/cherry bark saya, must have been wonderful in the day. Likely some old Samurai that just wouldn't give up his sword, after the ban.

That sword has a full habaki, and a very nice inset holding collar, where the handle meets the saya.

Mark

Edited by Mark Green
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Ok. So. I'm still trying to work out the nail aspect of this project. I have a rough plan, but I'm not sure how feasible it is.

 

Assuming I cut a nail shaped hole all the way though the blade....just in front of where the habaki ends...and get a near perfect weld. What percentage of the width of the blade could be replaced with wrought iron without an unacceptable loss of strength?

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Got everything straightened out and began attacking it with the sen this weekend. Now I have it cleaned up to the point where I can figure out where to put the nail. After I place the nail I'll finish up the nakago and make a final pass with the sen and the files. Here are a couple pics the wife took of me ruining my back with the sen.

 

20121216_163350.jpg

 

 

20121216_163339.jpg

 

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Normalized tonight. Three cycles at descending temps. Made a quench tank as well.

The clay is drying. Tomorrow we will see if this blade wants to be born...or if I get to start over. I hate this part.

 

Here are some pics of tonight's normalization.

 

738394_10151232252519543_958823751_o.jpg

 

 

738306_10151232252334543_2144807710_o.jpg

 

 

735730_10151232253934543_2113438599_o.jpg

 

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