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Parazonium


Christopher Price

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This was buried in the Design section, forgot to show and tell it here.

 

Over the summer a colleague asked me to do a historical piece for her husband, as a Christmas gift. He's big into Roman antiquities, and after much consternation, an example from one of Peter Johnson's most excellent threads was chosen as the model. The only image I had to work with was this, and dimensions were largely guessed at, with a little comment from Peter himself since he took the photo:

 

P1010689-L.jpg

 

 

 

The blade was forged from some low-layer shear steel I'd done up as a demo a few years back, which really seemed appropriate for this piece, giving lots of character to the blade. The handle was the real killer, requiring me to take everything I knew about bronze casting (which you could fit into an A4 crucible) and work out a bit from there. I carved the wax, my first attempt at a complex 3-d carving, and was pretty pleased overall...

 

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The real challenges came in getting it cloned, and I learned the hard way, and four 2nd degree burns from hot wax later, that a much softer injection wax was needed to make a clone from so I could preserve the original. I also took 3 attempts and a whole jug of silicone rubber to get a mold I was happy with, that didn't have too many bubbles or flaws, which I could use over and over as I refined my wax technique.

 

Finally, I got a bronze pour I could live with, though I wasn't happy with it... the customer was thrilled. Once I stepped back from the project a bit, I realized that an imperfect bronze on the intact steel was a nice mirror image to the original, which has a nice clean bronze with a rusted relic of a blade.

 

I also hand-carved the scabbard, something I had to invent, with a pair of Latin motto scripts, from Spanish Cedar, the throat lined with fleece, and an antler frog attached with soft leather strap. The wood is oiled with linseed, and hold the blade secure. A little wood burning to set off the carving, and it was done the day before the client was leaving town - nothing like working down to the last minute.

 

 

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While I have all the material I need to make another one of these, or several, I'm not really excited about a duplicate at the moment. Maybe someday.

 

Full image album here. Thanks for looking.

The Tidewater Forge

Christopher Price, Bladesmith

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I'm thrilled to see it done! The wax carvings were awesome to see in person, and I wish I could have seen the casted bronze, too. I'm nearing my first experience with casting, and I've learned a lot from watching you go through the process.

Congrats!

 

John

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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Thank you for all the kind words.

I'm finding carving to be something I really enjoy, and hope to incorporate it on much of my future work. This piece challenged me in new and interesting ways, which is always good, and my search for an authentic look goes ever on and on.

 

This was perhaps the most challenging piece I've done to date. I shudder to think of the one that will top it, so I'm off to easier pastures for now.

The Tidewater Forge

Christopher Price, Bladesmith

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Seems a shame not to, with all the work put into this one, the rubber mold for new wax clones, and I've saved the master wax as a show-and-tell. The blade was easy by comparison, and the scabbard simple and straightforward. Just not this month. wink.gif

 

I appreciate your encouragement, though. Your work and approach to craft keeps the fire under me burning.

Edited by Christopher Price

The Tidewater Forge

Christopher Price, Bladesmith

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Well done indeed! Having seen the master it looks to me like the project went off well. If you don't mind me asking what is it about the bronze casting you're not happy with? Feel free to P.M. me or just tell me to shut my pie hole!! I think it looks quite in keeping with your historical bent for the original concept, myself.

Denis

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well done. what an impressive undertaking. ambitious, and you pulled it off!

kc

please visit my website http://www.professorsforge.com/

 

“Years ago I recognized my kinship with all living things, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on the earth. I said then and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it; while there is a criminal element, I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.” E. V. Debs

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When I melted out my wax, I got it too hot, too fast, and it boiled. I tried to cast with the tang hole filled with satin-cast, so I wouldn't have to drill it out, but that thin "stalactite" of material shattered, falling into the mold, and there are depressions in the bronze where those fragments prevented it from flowing to the as-carved surface. They appear as dents, or just voids where there should be bronze but isn't. From a distance it makes it look beat up and time-battered, which the customer was apparently thrilled with, but it's not what I wanted to have happen. If I do another, I'm using proper soft injection wax (5 pounds is already in the mail for more projects I have lined up) and heating the mold slower, as not to disturb the material as violently. I can see why people use an electric kiln for burn-out - but I don't have one, and a gas-air forge is just too much too fast. I'm going to look into using my bbq grill for a slower, more controlled heat... but I really don't want my next steak to taste like candles. laugh.gif

The Tidewater Forge

Christopher Price, Bladesmith

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Ok, I broke down and ordered 5 pounds of soft pink injection wax, which arrived tonight, and I have poured another handle. Maybe this time I can get a cleaner cast from it, which would please me and urge me to forge a 2nd blade... there are bills to pay.

The Tidewater Forge

Christopher Price, Bladesmith

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Oh my. Just pulled the new wax, and it is sooooo much better than the hack blend I'd made up to compensate for machinist's wax's faults. Not quite flawless, but good enough I can continue without further fiddling and know I'll get a better cast than version 1.

The Tidewater Forge

Christopher Price, Bladesmith

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I've been watching this one, and I'm glad to see it finished... you did a very nice job on the handle, and the blade, but for some reason the proportions seem a bit off to me... I think a slightly wider, slightly longer blade would go better with the handle, but them maybe I've been looking at too many seaxes... :rolleyes:

George Ezell, bladesmith

" How much useful knowledge is lost by the scattered forms in which it is ushered to the world! How many solitary students spend half their lives in making discoveries which had been perfected a century before their time, for want of a condensed exhibition of what is known."
Buffon


view some of my work

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It could stand to be about 1/4" broader, maybe that much more in length - but seeing how far gone the original is, it's within interpretive boundaries. I made a full-scale print of that original photo, and sketched several possible profiles on it, and when I laid the forged blade down, it was "close enough." With some of these old things, especially forms that aren't arch-typical, one must take certain license with a reproduction, and just do one's best to be faithful to the idea of the original blade. I think I accomplished that in version 1 - it was the bronze I was unhappy with, but hopefully that will change tomorrow night if I can get a pour in.

The Tidewater Forge

Christopher Price, Bladesmith

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