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Hey everyone,

 

This is my first post here so I figured I would start off with a bit of information about myself.

I'm a first year at Hampshire College in MA and have recently started learning the craft of blacksmithing. Shortly after beginning this endeavor I began to itch after my own blade. I have been interested in swords and knives since I was very little, and the realization that I had all of the resources I needed to make my own available to me sent me right on to making my first knife.

 

Needless to say, my first knife blank was pretty bad. Mild steel and a pretty rough grind.

The second and third pretty much followed this pattern. All mild and varying degrees of straightness, evenness of grind, and aesthetics of proportion.

 

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First and second, top to bottom

 

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Second after final grind

 

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Third all finished up

 

 

These all served well enough as first knives and none are any good at holding an edge or for much of anything else really.

 

Luckily, there are two blade smiths at my school who are both huge sources of inspiration, and I chose to take a page from one of their books and try my hand at making a seax as my first real knife.

 

 

The blade is local wrought iron with a middle bar of 15 layers of 1075 and 15n20, twisted in alternating directions from the middle, then folded to make a 30 layer twist bar for the center of the seax. The edge bar was originally 324 layers of farriers rasp, but due to a bunch of mistakes I made during the forging and grinding, I had to take away a lot of the edge material.

 

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The farriers rasps, the wrought iron, and the alternating twists folded and welded together.

 

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Test etch after the bars had been welded and shaped. I twisted the wrought iron spine to see what it would look like.

 

At about this point in the process, I had the 324 layer bar that I welded on to use for the edge, but it was too long so I had to cut a bit off. I decided to use a bit of wrought iron and that edge bar steel to make a companion knife for this seax.

 

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Attempt at a wolf tooth pattern.

 

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Both blades test etched and ready for heat treat.

 

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Heat treated both seaxes and a viking sword at the same time, I love the colors that come out of the heat treat.

 

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After some stoning, which was mostly done in the shop, but also in my room watching a movie, I was ready for the final etching and sharpening.

 

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A nice picture of the wolf tooth seax after sharpening and etching. This little guy got sharp, and can easily shave an arm!

 

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Another shot showing the pattern on him. The wrought is really beautiful, and I definitely look forward to using more of it.

 

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A shot showing the two together. The next step is working on the handles! Both will hopefully follow the same motif.

 

And advice or criticisms are more than welcome!

 

Hope you guys enjoy what I've done so far!

 

-Emiliano

 

 

 

 

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Welcome to the forum Emiliano! I remember when I first posted on this forum and I was a little nurvous about the responce I would get. But the guys here are awsome and I just can't seem to stop posting things now!

 

I think your first blades looked great for beginer work and the progression from those first ones two the paturn welded seax blades is very impresive! I have done a couple atempts at forge welding myself but was unsuccessful due to my old feriers forge that was horrible for doing any kind of seriouse forging. Your post has kindled a fire in me to atepm some patern welding in my new forge soon!

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Dave, you're totally right. This forum is an amazing place to learn and get inspired. After I did my first forge welded billet it was like catching some kind of bug. That first big bar was twisted and then squared, but will soon be the middle bar for a viking sword if all goes to plan. I definitely say try some pattern welding! It's addicting :D

 

Matt, I totally agree. The pattern turned out really well, and there is definitely something to be said for the simplicity of a pattern like that.

 

Miles, thanks! I'm hoping to finish both off with handles made of bog oak and wrought iron. Three bolsters of wrought with silver linings and engraved runes and then have the tang peened over. The tentative parts right now are the tang being peened over and the runes. I'm not quite sure that I have the amount of metal to peen them over right now, and further forging it out of the question. As for the runes I will add them if they feel right after the rests of the handles are finished.

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Great work for so early in the game. The pattern weld on those two blades is increadible. The shape of the blades, compared to historic seax, looks a little off but, that is a nit picky detail!

 

~Bruce~

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Thanks so much guys!

 

The seax shapes were inspired by a few I saw in pictures from a museum in London, though I had originally wanted to break the back earlier on the larger one, I lost a lot of material due to mistakes I made in the forging and grinding stages :\

 

I have a few new projects in the works now too. I'm planning on forging a bunch of pieces and then moving into handle making mode afterwards. I'm attaching a picture of the latest piece I am doing, any guesses as to what it'll be?

 

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-Emiliano

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It's the core for a viking sword based after the one found at the Svere farm in Norway. Not quite a serpent pattern in my mind, though. It was the first pattern welded bar I made, and it was twisted, then squared, then twisted back the other way, then squared again. So now it has this weird undulating pattern to it, similar to the serpent but as I said not quite proper in my eyes.

 

-Emiliano

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Any pics, or links to, of the original? I've seen a number of different techniques used to create the "serpent" in swords. I was thinking you had done opposing, lazy, twists over a large distance. The way you went about it seems like it would take the straight lines of the layers and make them even more organic than just working the billet under a hammer.

 

~Bruce~

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The original wasn't pattern welded to my knowledge, though it is to me the archetypical viking sword. It's what I think of when I think of that term.

 

This is a picture from the book the sword appears in. This is the only reference I have found for this particular sword unfortunately. It's from Ian Pierce's book Swords of the Viking Age.


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To my knowledge this sword wasn't pattern welded, though I thought it would be a fun twist to give to this project.

 

I drew out the bars I had welded up for the edges today, there are two of them, one for each side. They have 13 layers of 1084 and 15n20 each and I will be doing a fish mouth weld at the tip of the sword. I'll be welding them on to the core tomorrow hopefully.

 

As for the twist in the center, it does have a really organic look to it. It is very gently undulating, I think due mostly to the fact that it was about 11 inches long when I first twisted it, so the counter twist and then subsequent drawing out let the pattern do what it wanted.

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Where are you out of Emiliano? Update your profile - hint, hint :P

 

I took the liberty of hijacking a photo of some broken back seax that has been posted multiple times here and added some straight, yellow, lines with Paint. The broke back shape is full of subtlety and can really trick the eye, giving the impression of straight lines when none of the lines of the blade are typically straight! Adding the straight, yellow, lines gives the eye something to compare the outline of the blade to.

 

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There are some generalities that become apparent after staring at enough of these blades though: The edge is always curved, it may not have much arc to it but, it is always there. The widest point of the blade is always at the break. Divide the length of the blade into thirds and the break almost always falls somewhere on the middle third. Also, the thickest point of the blade is at the break and there is taper to the tip, along with reverse taper towards the handle. Information about the tapers comes from Owen Bush, who has access to the BM. The tapers give some insight into the forging process to arrive at this shape.

 

Looking forward to seeing some progress photos of the sword!

 

~Bruce~

Edited by B. Norris
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Just did! :P

 

Thanks for the prompt to do it, I had been meaning to but alas time is never on my side.

 

I had read a bit about the lack of straight lines on here, but I hadn't really realized how thoroughly unstraight these all were! That visual is really something. I'll definitely be taking this into account for the next seax I forge, hopefully this time I won't lose a bunch of material!

 

If all goes well I should have a few picture of the welded up sword blank today ;)

 

I'll keep you posted!

 

-Emiliano

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey everyone!

 

It's been a little while since I updated any on this project, but I have made a ton of progress, so I will do so now!

 

I have worked only on the little seax and the viking sword. The Viking sword will get it's own thread here soon, so for now I will only talk about miniseax.

 

Here goes!

 

These first two are pretty self explanatory, I started with some moose antler a friend gave me and started making the hole for the first bolster

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Once I had a few cut to size I started getting the black walnut for the handle ready

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This was my second time using wood like this, both attempts on this seax. The first time the wood splintered and split all over the place, but this attempt was far smoother.

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Glued on the front and back bolsters and ready for cutting the middle out to add the other one.

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After a bit of super glue and a few minutes on the belt grinder I was left with this.

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Not too bad so far!

 

 

After this I took a break for a few days and focused more on the inscription the handle was going to bear.

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Crummy close up of the expertly lettered pencil runes :P

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I refiled the handle to be a slight bit smaller and now it's ready for the runes.

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Here we see James doing what comes most naturally with a miniseax, eating an apple!

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The beginning stages of the carving.

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A magnifying glass is definitely the way to go for something like this; so much less stress on your eyes.

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That's all for now!

 

I finished the carving yesterday in one shot and should be dying the runes today. Afterwards I'll be stoning the blade again and re-etching it while I make sure the fit is perfect, then I'll epoxy the entire piece together and then do some final sanding. After that the seax will be finished save for the scabbard.

 

 

Any comments and ideas are more than welcome!

 

 

-Emiliano

 

 

 

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