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Shouldn't have read through those sword topics...


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Ok, so I'm all stoked to make a sword. My first inspiration came while I was on a walk, and found an antler that had a very inspirational branch-off that I immediately imagined as a sword grip. My second came from seeing a lot of pictures of the Ulfberht style blades and I'm considering doing something longer like that. The thing is, I'm not sure if the antler section will be thick enough to hold up to a sword blade of a little over a foot long, which is what I'm planning. The antler is about 3/4ths of an inch across the shortest point and 1 inch across the widest.

 

I'm suspecting getting a bit o' 1084 from Aldo's for Christmas, so I'll wait until after then to begin, or order the steel. So, details about my two options.

 

Antler Handled Blade. Blade will be a little over a foot long, similar in shape and size to the 2013 Arctic Fire blade, though the style of the antler makes me think of an arrow shaft, and so I'm considering a hint of an arrow's barb at the corners near the guard. A part problem will be balancing it out; antler is not very heavy and I do not really have ideas for additions to add to pommel weight, without destroying the pointy ends of the antler. For both blades I'll probably (unless I figger a way to cast bronze copper or pewter) forge the guard from steel, or copper if I can find enough. Width of the blade in front of the hilt about 4", while most of the blade is about 1.5"

image.jpg

Ulfberht Style Blade. Most of my inspiration comes from the Bragi sword that was recently finished and the sword currently under construction by Rob Toneguzzo. I'm planning on forging the guard and pommel, either cocobolo or bubinga wood handle with mebbe a bit of carving. The blade would be 2 feet long, 2 inches wide at the hilt and slowly tapering to 1 inch where the point is then rounded. The length of the wood handle would be 4.5", the guard also 4.5" image.jpg

image.jpg

So, which one should I do? I plan on keeping at this, though it'll probably take a few months. Any tips or suggestions before I start out? Design tips?

 

This is a big project and maybe too big for my britches, but it'll be fun (hopefully), stressful (almost definitely), and I'll learn a thing or two.

 

I have to get the photos off of an Ipad so I may not have them up immediately.

Edited by Caleb Harris
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Good for you! Now you are lost :-)

The antler hilted sword looks like a fun project and a good one to start with. As you wrk with this you´ll appreciate different ways to make a long blade light and agile without the help of a pommel to act as counterbalance.

 

This is very useful, since all blades should be made agile enough that they do not need to pommel to "save" them. The blade itself should be lively and the pommel is used to adjust the way it moves.

Looking forward to see your progress with these!

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Hi Caleb, I understand now what Peter said "now you are lost" I have been lost since starting mine months ago. I am not by any means the most qualified to give you advice but here goes..in no particular order...Be safe (actually it is in sort of an order as that is the first thing..be safe)don't rush, don't be afraid to ask questions or start over if you are not happy with something. Know when to walk away from the thing..I made that mistake yesterday trying to push through making some fittings and waisted 3 hours work. If you are not in the right frame of mind just walk away and come back later..learn to love draw filing....and make sure you get a good heat treat..last thing you want is a sharp brittle blade snapping...In any case mate you have youth and enthusiasm on your side...if you can see it in your mind and want it bad enough you can do it..All the best,

Rob

Edited by Rob Toneguzzo
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I love antler, sadly I can't get much of it, so I hoard what I have till I get the right blade for it! If you carefully remove as much of the pith, you will have enough space to add some lead shot to your epoxy mix, giving you a bit more weight on the handle without sacrificing strengh, I use a casting resin, but general purpose is strong enough I think, just make sure you line it up perfecly,'cause it's a bugger to get off if you need to! I'm currently working on a blade that is almost a twin of yours! (Great minds etc.)? Have'nt decided on a handle yet, want something unusual, still experimenting, I'lltake a pic of it tommorow, not working today, and post it here for you to have a look at,regards M

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The antler hilted sword sounds like a fun project! As others have noted, you will soon be hooked...there is no turning back now. The one suggestion I would make is to use a ferrule ring at the base of the antler to help keep it from splitting or cracking. Keep us posted with your progress...

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Gosh, just realized the pictures are upside down. No matter. I'll wait till after Christmas to start forging, unless I can find some other steel before then. Thank you so much for your support! I think I'll work on the antler handle.

 

I've also got a good theme/saint/god thing for the blade, which could inspire carvings. When looking at the antler what was brought to mind is a legend I read a long time ago of some saint seeing a cross between a stag's antlers.

Edited by Caleb Harris
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Hey Caleb,

 

I feel like I've seen a number of first sword posts lately, which excites me. I'm planning to make my first sword starting next year as well, and will be posting some designs soon.

 

I like the first design with the antler, it has more character stylistically; the other seems a little plain Jane. I'm also curious about Peter's comment regarding weight and balance. You might consider adding some kind of a guard or bolster of copper or brass to the antler to make a nice transition and add a little weight.

 

One thing I would recommend is working on your design skills. The more I work the more I realize how important design is. It's like hammer control in some ways. When forging a square, one blow off center can cause a horribly deformed bar if not fixed right away. The more precision I put into design at the beginning, typically the more beautiful and useful the final product will be. Besides, I'm just not great at eye-balling things yet.

 

I wish you well on your sword journey!

~Josh

Edited by Joshua Snead
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Thoughts? Simple Simple Simple. Your first long blade should have a simple and clean a design as you can imagine. Waisted blades, odd curves, fancy grinds... they are all a recipe for disaster, in my opinion. There's already enough to go wrong without adding more to the mix. Even the "blandest" of swords is still gonna be a tough nut to crack, so to speak, with plenty of challenges and frustrations.

 

I prefer to the second design for its simplicity and traditional look. The tines on the antler are sure to dig back into the user (probably why handles like that were never used on working weapons) and I think the piece is a bit small in diameter to fit the mass of the blade. There's just nowhere left to shave and shape to blend it in to the guard and the lines of the blade. Not to say that an antler can't be found that would work, but that the piece shown just isn't right for the project.

 

Good luck on your journey. I'll be looking forward to your progress pictures.

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This is what I've got so far, I'm thinking of a carved steel handle, not sure I can do what I want to, but I'll give it a bash! I've scetched a very abstract fire breathing dragon...hope I can pull it off!IMG-20131220-00090.jpg

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This is what I've got so far, I'm thinking of a carved steel handle, not sure I can do what I want to, but I'll give it a bash! I've scetched a very abstract fire breathing dragon...hope I can pull it off!

That's bronze I assume? I'm imagining a carved, flowy elvish style maple handle would look good on that blade as well.

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No, you will have to heat treat or the tip will roll over if dropped, if you haven't got a big enough forge, cut a small slot in the back so you can move the blade in and out to heat the whole thing, it takes a bit more time but does work. After you can make a plug to close the slot. That's how I did my Arkansas toothpick, blade+- 2 foot long!

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Thoughts? Simple Simple Simple. Your first long blade should have a simple and clean a design as you can imagine. Waisted blades, odd curves, fancy grinds... they are all a recipe for disaster, in my opinion. There's already enough to go wrong without adding more to the mix. Even the "blandest" of swords is still gonna be a tough nut to crack, so to speak, with plenty of challenges and frustrations.

 

I prefer to the second design for its simplicity and traditional look. The tines on the antler are sure to dig back into the user (probably why handles like that were never used on working weapons) and I think the piece is a bit small in diameter to fit the mass of the blade. There's just nowhere left to shave and shape to blend it in to the guard and the lines of the blade. Not to say that an antler can't be found that would work, but that the piece shown just isn't right for the project.

 

Good luck on your journey. I'll be looking forward to your progress pictures.

:blink:

never used on working weapons?!?

Bronze age:Asiatic Bronze Sword.jpg

Early Iron age:Celtic Antenna Sword.jpg

 

Caleb,

Like Peter and Rob said, you are now a hopeless case. Welcome to the club.

Go for it, looking good so far.

And yes you will need to quench harden and temper, Iron does not work harden nearly as well as softer metals.

I also like the ideas of hollowing out the pith in the center of the antler and back filling with epoxy when seating the hilt and adding a ferrule to the antler to inhibit any tendency to split. Save the lead shot idea for a backup and try reducing the weight and adjusting the balance within the blade contours and such like Peter suggested, then add some weight if needed in the hollow of the antler once you have done all you can with the blade.

Good luck and keep us posted!

James

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Those designs are better Caleb. The specifics on dimension and taper are good. I'm not sure what you mean by "linked together by either soldered brass, copper, or silver." Are you referring to soldering the nonferrous element to the blade/tang? Soldering something with the antler in place could potentially burn your antler (especially if you are using jeweler's silver solder), or cause epoxy to break down so keep that in mind.

 

Look forward to seeing your progress.

 

Thoughts? Simple Simple Simple. Your first long blade should have a simple and clean a design as you can imagine. Waisted blades, odd curves, fancy grinds... they are all a recipe for disaster, in my opinion. There's already enough to go wrong without adding more to the mix. Even the "blandest" of swords is still gonna be a tough nut to crack, so to speak, with plenty of challenges and frustrations.

 

I must say this is going to be hard for me. My designs keep getting more and more complicated and I like the challenge...

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Those designs are better Caleb. The specifics on dimension and taper are good. I'm not sure what you mean by "linked together by either soldered brass, copper, or silver." Are you referring to soldering the nonferrous element to the blade/tang? Soldering something with the antler in place could potentially burn your antler (especially if you are using jeweler's silver solder), or cause epoxy to break down so keep that in mind.

 

Look forward to seeing your progress.

 

 

I must say this is going to be hard for me. My designs keep getting more and more complicated and I like the challenge...

This is what I meant:

 

Here are some progress pics, along with one of the steel I'm using. It's thick and short, so it'll take a while, but I'll get there eventually. Meanwhile work on the guard: (Im glad I wasn't as rusty on my silversmithing as I had thought) image.jpgimage.jpgimage.jpgimage.jpgimage.jpgimage.jpg

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Gosh, drawing this out is gonna take a while. A power hammer would be nice just about now.

 

Your anvil looks like it would benefit from being resurfaced. Good luck with the sword!

 

Niels.

Yeah, I'll have to do that sometime. A few of the marks are just me figgering out the hammer strokes.

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Niels, you should see mine! Nice idea Caleb, looks interesting! I,m going to try a steel handle,see if I can get it soft enough to try carving it! This may take some time!!!

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Just take your time, and think ahead, planning always helps...never rush! Hope you have a great christmas and that fellow in the red suit delivers all you need!

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I cut out my steel and have begun forging. I may have to shave off a centimeter or two on either side near the guard, as I didn't cut quite wide enough. Despite that, it's going well!

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