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Do you know the blades of Andrea da Ferara (bladesmith of XVI century)?

 

He mades some of the finest blades of his period and was able to export his products in Scotland (some of the finest mortuary swords have a Ferara blade) and other countries...

I have read some stories about this man and his brother Giandonato: someone think that Andrea worked in England or some of his blades are german blades remarked with this name... Someone else thinks that the marks Ferara are only " good quality marks"... Someone else thinks that Ferara is a Spanish bladesmith...

 

The reality is that Italy and in particular Venetian territories was famous for its blades and poleweapons for centuries (I have found belunese marks on the pole weapons Henry VIII personal guard). You must consider that Venetians are first great traders and for me there is no surprise that we can find venetian blades in Anglosaxon territories.

His blades was considered good for centuries and we can find fake Ferara blades all around the world (I have seen fake Ferara in Russia!).

Another prolem are the marks...You know that when you find a wolf on an ancient blade you are sure that is a German (Passau) blade, but you do not know that during the XVI century the belunese copied this mark and put it also on his blade (with the intention, I think, to made fake Passau blade). And so you can find blade that shown together Ferara marks and the Wolf...

 

Well...Sorry for my little digression but I am very proud of my traditions and the history of Italian blacksmithing. ^_^

 

Here two old photos of the Andrea and Giandonato workshop in Belluno (with water-powered triphammers of course! B) ) he works until 1930 (agricultural tools production in particular).

resized-officina-fabbrile-a-maglio-meccanico-del-busighel-belluno.jpg

resized-officina-fabbrile-a-maglio-meccanico-del-busighel-interno-belluno.jpg

There is a document, dated 1583, that certifies the purchasing by Andrea and Giandonato of this workshop (the venetian documents and maps about water-powered workshops are full of informations).

 

Cheers

Giovanni

Edited by Giovanni Sartori
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That is fascinating! I wish there were old abandoned shops near me -_- It is awesome to see this sort of history though, and the Belluno is incredible! I had no idea they would have that many waterwheels for one shop, although I see now why it makes sense. Thanks again Giovanni!

 

John

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I'm blown away by all of this. Just amazing pictures and history. Thank you.

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  • 2 months later...

Wow! Thanks for that video Giovanni. The last bit where the workings of the hammer are shown in motion was incredibly informative.

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  • 1 month later...

Hello there,

 

the Bienno hammers are really amazing- especially the museum workshop which is still showing the manufacturing of buckets. Why especially that one? Because it shows a way to manufacture helmet bowls made in one piece in a reasonable amount of time. Even armour experts who are familiar with forging processes (there aren´t that much around :) ) still think the only way to get deep bowls is via raising by hand. Looking at a barbute, for example, you have to work at least two days only for the rough shape- that´s not the way you can provide thousands of helmets in months, as Milan and Brescia proved to do. As Giovanni stated, the region is famous for its arms and armour production history, and you doesn´t need much imagination to see what that workshop produced in the 15th century. As far as I know, it is the only surviving forge that you can connect to medieval armour production.

I really love to see that there is a young team that keeps things running, and, even better, get knowledge from the old masters- thanks, Giovanni!

In my region (Black Forest in Germany, that is) there are several trip hammers still running, one of them claiming to have made weapons in 16.th century, but that´s nonsense. One of them has been laid down and was rebuild in an open-air museum (Vogtsbauernhof Gutach), I try to get this one running the next weeks. If you manage to come to Alsace one day, don´t miss this one: http://www.klingenthal.fr/museum.htm A real amazing museum, you can follow all the manufacturing processes for 19th century blades and cuirasses. They have a magazine as well (only in french), don´t miss the CD at the museum shop.

Here are some images of the hammers in my region:

 

 


Hammerschmiede Litschental.jpgHammerschmiede Muckental.jpgHammerschmiede Reichenbach.jpgHammerschmiede Vogtsbauernhof.jpg

 

Cheers,

 

Peter

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Hey Peter! Thank you for the compliment and thank you to sharing your knowledge about german triphammer! I have a very few informations about it and the photos that you share are very interesting to see differences between italian tipe and german tipe!

I am waiting for other photos! ;)

 

Greetings

 

Giovanni

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  • 6 months later...

Hi all,

I found other, more recent photos of the Ferara's workshop in Belluno (Busighel).

 

This is the poor state of the buildings and machinery in the 80's.

 

I hope to come in Belluno the next spring and to visit this workshop and made other photos.

 

Cheers

 

Giovanni

 

 

 

 

 

Busighel.jpg

Busighel 2.jpg

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Great to come back to this thread.

your estimates for hammer power and anvil size correspond more or less .to modern hammer requirements for a slow hammer.

Exiting to see your area is a siderite area.

Do you know of any accessible local siderite ore sites?

I have been collection and smelting wealden (kent and sussex UK ) siderite, and would love to compare it to your ore. my source is manganese rich but also has sulphur in it making it quite weird to work with it is orange short but can be forged white hot or dull red.... not in between.

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Hi Owen! I know two (or three maybe) areas where it is possible to pick up some siderite ores... ^_^

I have picked up some ores during my walks around this sites... ;)

 

This is a siderite mine, used from the roman period to the 70's, near Bienno. It is possible to visit it.

 

Cheers Giovanni

 

Ps. Would be nice to organize a bloomery event in Italy! ;)

 

 

 

 

 

 

954764_509597909117986_1475627865_n.jpg

1003028_509598045784639_753352533_n.jpg

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Thank you so much for sharing. That's pretty amazing. When I see something this way I always wonder how they made the gigantic hammer heads initially.

 

Good stuff!

 

Gary

Incremental production seems the most likely. Cast or forge a "small" hammer head, use it to forge'n'fold (refine) wrought iron and weld up a larger head, use that one to... "rinse and repeat"...

James

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They're usually cast iron, sometimes (often) with a dovetail for steel dies. Still doesn't explain the ones they made before the blast furnace and cast iron became common in Europe, but the built-up method does. James is right, in other words. ;)

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