Jump to content
Jim Walker

Sword or Bust

Recommended Posts

I've been kicking the idea of making a sword (again, but the first doesn't bear mentioning), so here goes. This will the be first sword that I actually have thought through, sketched out, etc. and also the first that I intend to lavish all the time and skill it takes to attain a decent result.

 

This design is heavily influenced by Tolkien, specifically Glamdring.

 

Any and all critique and advice is most welcome.

 

Blade is 37" from the shoulders and leaf-bladed, 2 10/16 at widest and 2 inches at thinnest width.

 

For the guard and pommel I'd like to use bronze with a green leather covered hilt for contrast.

 

I'm also still pondering the right size and type of steel to get to make this, I'm thinking either 1080 or 5160, and I'd like to start with a bar no less than 10/16 inch thick, is this about how it should be?

 

hopefully the pictures came out well. I've only drawn one side, but it will be symetrical when I make the final drawing and template. Again, any suggestions are welcome.

 

Edited to correct bar thickness from 5/16 to 10/16, I don't know why I said with that, that would way too thin. =P

IMG_1569.JPG

IMG_1570.JPG

IMG_1571.JPG

IMG_1572.JPG

Edited by Jim Walker

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like 10xx steels myself, but 5160 is a lot less likely to give you a hard time in heat-treat if you have not done stuff in this size range much yet. That's a big sword man.

 

Cool, Give er!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks! I anticipate this is going to be the hardest fun I've had in a while.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

sounds like you got a lot ahead of ya and hardest fun indeed. Also i use 5160 a lot and it indeed if very forgiving to us guys with little sword making experience and i find it easy to forge as well but that might just be me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really like the shape of the blade, looks great B) Depending on bevels and how much you forge v. grind, you might get some funky sori though. I'll be watching!

 

John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really like the shape of the blade, looks great B) Depending on bevels and how much you forge v. grind, you might get some funky sori though. I'll be watching!

 

John

Sori?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll be following this one. That sword looks awesome, going by the measurements there, it's going to be a beast.

Sori is a term used in Japanese swordsmithing for when the tip of the sword curves up in the quench, Katana blades are straight until they're quenched, the sori is established by the timing of steel expanding when it's heated, and contracting when it is being cooled. So you just need to make extra sure that both of the bevels are even thickness and they're both heated totally evenly when it's going into the quench. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cool project Jim, as regards the sori, quench it point first in a steel tube of oil, and plunge it in all the way as quick as you can, this should help keep things straight! Good luck and keep the pics of your progress coming...

-Miles-

Ps John tought it's a single edged blade, (which will actually look cool! Think I may do half your design, if that's ok?)

Edited by Miles Hebbard

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cool project Jim, as regards the sori, quench it point first in a steel tube of oil, and plunge it in all the way as quick as you can, this should help keep things straight! Good luck and keep the pics of your progress coming...

-Miles-

Ps John tought it's a single edged blade, (which will actually look cool! Think I may do half your design, if that's ok?)

 

It's alright as long as you post some pictures!

 

Thanks for the clarification on that term- I'm not really familiar with Japanese sword-making terms.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

my only suggestion is one you have already come up with - make a template for half the blade and flip it to make sure everything is symmetrical. Leaf blades are hard, otherwise.

 

A leaf blade that long is going to be quite heavy if you aren't really careful.

 

keep posting. This is a neat one.

 

I would suggest 80crv2 over 5160 but it is just a personal bias.

kc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

yeah, I'm going to need a good distal taper to keep it from being too blade-heavy, even then it will still be better balanced for the cut rather than the thrust.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ambitious!

 

Prepare to measure the time, for each grit, in days instead of hours. On the plus side, after it is done, you will not look at going through the grits on a knife quite the same way, ever again! I suggest picking up a set of EDM stones for the finishing, way cheaper than sandpaper. The orange ones, that I linked to, seem to work the best. An advantage to using the stones is that you can put a towel or two on your lap, plop the sword down, and work on it while watching movies with the family. The stones need lubrication, some ammonia, watered down and with a few drops of dish-soap added, will work. You can also use oil or kerosene but, I wouldn't bring that into my house. Use fresh lubricant with each grit to avoid cross contamination issues. I use the stones different than most, preferring to use the small end of the stone to finish a small area and then move on to the next small area until it is done. They will wear in and it is handy to keep a diamond sharpening stone nearby to re-shape the stones. Others use the entire length of the stone. That technique will give a flatter, surface free of minute undulations but, takes longer. The stones are available in a range of shapes and sizes so you can find something to work on the fullers that you drew as well as the flats.

 

The 80CrV2 that Kevin recommended is available from Aldo Bruno. I have not used it but, it looks like a very good steel and I have been thinking of giving it a try. It is said to harden up like 5160 and be, perhaps, a little tougher. Some steels with Vanadium require a longer soak at austenitizing to harden, I do not know if this is the case with the 80CrV2 or not. The advantage to using a deeper hardening steel, like this one or 5160, is that you do not have to use water or buy a specialty quench oil such as Parks 50. An 8" diameter cylinder, full of peanut oil will work and, if you can heat the oil, you can also temper in it. I say peanut oil not because, it is the best oil to harden in but because, it will harden and, has a high enough flash point that you can also temper in it. This is a huge advantage and will save a lot of hassle and money. You will want a thermometer to measure the temperature of the oil and some way to heat it. I used a portable burner, like a turkey fryer and stacked cinder blocks around it to contain the heat and prevent the tube from tipping. Of course I had the cinder blocks laying around!

 

Instead of 5/16" thick, buy your steel 3/8" thick, you will be surprised how much you can loose going from rough forged to rough ground. The blade you have drawn has the potential to be very heavy. Done well (as light as possible) I think you could get it down into the 3-4lb. range. A good amount of distal taper will aid in getting the blade to feel faster and lighter in the hand, as will some mass in the handle end to balance the weight of the blade out. I like swords that balance right at the guard. Starting from thicker (3/8") steel will allow you to keep more mass at the handle end.

 

~Bruce~

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Never handled a sword with the pob at the guard, i would think that would make a sword virtually useless.

But hey what do I know.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The steel I've bought is 3/8 thick 5160. It should be here within the week.

I'll keep the stones in mind for when I get around to polishing, that's still a ways off!

However, I definitely see the advantage of having an abrasive that lasts longer than sandpaper, they're probably more cost effective too.

I'd like to get my hands on some replica swords to get a feel for the balance before I decide where this balance point should be, as that plays a huge role in the use of the blade.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A lot of fencing blades and rapiers have balance close to the guard for more control of the point (that's my thought anyway).

Edited by Jim Walker

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Close, as in 2 to 3 inches perhaps. Rapiers are very specialized.

For a sword like yours I would expect to see a pob around the 6 inch area perhaps.

A sword with a balance at the guard will present little power to the cut, only what your arm can provide.

Which is not much. With the balance point out into the blade, the momentum and weight of the blade come into play.

To far the other way, towards the point, the sword becomes difficult to move and to stop and over powers the swordsman.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's all a balancing act, well illustrated on historic sword styles, i.e. rapiers and smallswords are weightless point weapons and longswords are balanced further out the blade for a good cut, and grossmessers are balanced well forward for a king-hell slash. Your issue here is to balance a blade type that never existed: the leaf bladed longsword. Ought to be a great headsman sword if you get it thin enough.

 

Personally I would have started with 1/4" stock, but a lot depends on how clean you forge so you don't get deep hammer marks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm decent, but it's always easier to take off steel than replace it, so I'll start a little thick.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Leaf bladed longswords never existed in period (for a reason?) so there are no originals you could draw information from regarding distal taper, harmonics, etc. If I were to make a leafy longsword, I'd go with a slighter leaf shape only (which the original Glamdring also has, btw). The problem with your design (as with all leaf blades though it doesn't as matter much with the historically accurate shorties) is the mass at the tip. You have to go very thin to make the design work. Longswords are generally very agile weapons, not heavy clunkers. With your design, an aggressive concave distal taper is necessary IMO. I'd probably start out with 8mm-ish at the base, quickly go down to 5.5-6mm over the first few inches and then gradually thin it down to at least 3mm at the widest part (middle of the swell). Before the tip you should be at around 2-2.5mm. With such a wide tip, you can go thin.

 

Btw, the PoB isn't important. It's merely the result of how you place pivot points and nodes. As I said, leaf longswords didn't exist but let's take a XVIIIc longsword for comparison's sake as it'd closest to your blade shape. I'd aim for a forward pivot point at or close behind the tip (the corresponding pivot point behind just behind the guard), with the hilt node at about a third to the middle of the handle. Not sure if this is be doable with a leaf blade but it's what I'd shoot for.

Edited by Lukas MG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with making the curves from the leaf shape a little less dramatic, it will work fine as is, but it'll be a lot harder to balance it with the curves this dramatic, you can make the narrow places wider for a more acute bevel and sharper sword, or you can make the wide places skinnier for a lighter and more agile sword, or of course you could leave it or anything else you want, it's your sword :) . A good idea would be to try to balance it as close as you can to a Claymore, similar size and from what I can tell that's about how you would want to use it, like a giant longsword.


Lukas, I have to disagree with you on this, the balance point IS important, it's like playing baseball but holding the bat at the fat end and swinging the skinny end at the ball. And coming from a bow making standpoint it's a bad idea to jump to different thicknesses (not width) dramatically, swords do a lot of flexing when in use, and the width doesn't matter a whole lot when it comes to flexing, when you double the width it doubles the force to bend it, when you double the thickness it takes eight times the force to bend it, so it needs a constant and even in distal taper, so the flex doesn't become isolated to one spot in the sword and is distributed evenly throughout the whole blade, otherwise that would cause a lot of stress in that one point and become very fragile in use. If it were me making a sword like this I would probably tiller it until I got the right flex and distribution of mass on the sword.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think I will make it a little less dramatic, but I still won't be using this in combat, so if it's a little unwieldy I think that's ok. Of course perhaps that's part of the deal, you make a sword that longs for the thrill of a battle it will never taste, but to make it incapable would dishonor it.... I'll have to ponder this.

 

Anyway, my steel arrived today! I'll probably upload some pictures Thursday; tomorrow looks to be a whopper.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cool! Looking forward to seeing it, I'm getting excited.

If you're not sure about the size you want it, it would be good to make a (or two or three or four) quick wooden model out of plywood to give you an object you can actually swing around and stuff to give you a feel for the real size of it, it won't be actual weight, but you can make it the right size and wrap wire around the pommel end to give you the balance you want.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I intend to do just that. It'll also give me a more durable pattern to work towards.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lukas, I have to disagree with you on this, the balance point IS important, it's like playing baseball but holding the bat at the fat end and swinging the skinny end at the ball. And coming from a bow making standpoint it's a bad idea to jump to different thicknesses (not width) dramatically, swords do a lot of flexing when in use, and the width doesn't matter a whole lot when it comes to flexing, when you double the width it doubles the force to bend it, when you double the thickness it takes eight times the force to bend it, so it needs a constant and even in distal taper, so the flex doesn't become isolated to one spot in the sword and is distributed evenly throughout the whole blade, otherwise that would cause a lot of stress in that one point and become very fragile in use. If it were me making a sword like this I would probably tiller it until I got the right flex and distribution of mass on the sword.

 

I see it differently. The PoB is an easily measured parameter, that's why people go on and on about how important it is. It really isn't. Or not in the way that when making a sword you should decide "I want a 4" PoB so I'll take the blade, put on the guard and see how heavy my pommel needs to be to get a 4" PoB". The way I do it (I got that from Peter Johnsson and Angus Trim, not my invention) is this: I take the finished blade, make the desired guard as light as possible and put it on. Then I experiment with different weights for the pommel until the harmonics (pivot points, etc) are spot on. I don't even measure the PoB. The blade needs to be good in itself, a pommel can only tune, not turn a bad blade into a good one. Though some people try to do exactly that, they take a clunker with no distal taper to speak of and slap a hunk of metal at the end so they can say "look the PoB is close to the handle, the sword handles great". That's not how it works and goes a long way to show how the PoB does not necessarily give an accurate impression of handling. It's an indicator, nothing more. Cut-oriented swords (let's say a XII war sword) often have a far PoB but only because the harmonics are layed down in a way that results in a far PoB. The PoB is just the result of the important stuff falling into place.

 

Regarding dramatic distal taper: well, many originals disagree with your opinion. Distal taper is very often non-linear. Let's take this one as an example: http://www.zornhau.de/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2011/05/ZEF-3.pdf

Thickness at the base is 7.5mm, over the first third it tapers to 5mm, over the second to 4mm and at the tip it's 2.5mm. Classic concave distal taper that puts mass at the base while removing weight from the top half. This makes for an agile sword with a pivot point close to the tip.

This sword is just one example, there are plenty with much more dramatic distal taper (and also some with less of course).

 

It is true that a sword should bend smoothly and evenly over the last half/third. Carefully removing mass is important to get this right, your comparison to tillering is spot on. But limiting oneself to purely linear distal taper means there are many sword types one can't do properly. I highly suggest studying originals (or good replicas) to get a feeling for what kind of distal and profile taper is needed for a certain sword.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...