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Sielulintu: Becoming a Swordsmith


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Oh, how long I've waited to make a sword, but now waiting is over and it's time to bust my butt to make it come true. Making smaller knives, for me, was in part just to get into swords.

I don't consider myself a swordsmith, and probably won't until I make at least couple more swords, but this is where it starts.

This is a Geibig type four blade with double fullers, and it will have a 13vII pommel, I will post pictures of different historical inspirations for the Sielulintu sword.

The idea behind the name Sielulintu, which translates to literally mean "soul bird" is rooted in Finnish mythology. The ancient Finnish believed that birds were messengers to and from Lintukoto, "The Home of the birds" and carried human souls from Lintukoto, to human babies' bodies at the time of their birth, and birds also stole people's souls away from them at the time of death, and carried them to Tounela (Land of the dead). Sielulintu birds were carved wooden figures of birds that were kept next to their beds to protect their owner's soul during their sleep, so that their owners would not get lost in the paths of dreams and wander into Tounela, and to make sure his soul wouldn't get stolen by another bird while we sleep.

So I thought of what else someone would keep next to their bed, to make sure their soul isn't relived from their body while they sleep. For me, a weapon of some sort, for the ancients, that would be a sword, and the Norse were noted to never be more than a footstep away from their weapon at all times. I also have a beautiful wooden Sielulintu bird that my friend gave me, not for superstitious reasons, though.

Sorry for ranting.

I would, as usual, like to credit all of the people I drew inspiration from when designing this sword: Jake Powning, David Delagardelle, Neils Provos, Petr Florianek, Peter Johnsson, Dave Stephens, and Rob Toneguzzo. I also learned tons from Dave and David's WIP for Ealdric and Rob's WIP for his sword, Monsoon.

Here are some pictures of my progress thus far, and my historical inspirations:

A shot of the whole blade, which has a 27'' blade, that is 1.5'' wide at base, 1/4'' thick at base, 1/8'' thick before tip, it only weighs 675 (1.5 pounds) grams with the scale and everything, and has a burnt off tang, thank God it was just the tang, and I'm going to leave it that way until after HT because it just happens to fit in my oven now. :lol:
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Here's a shot of the as forged grind lines, this has not touched a grinder at all:
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Almost finished drawing of the hilt (the one on the left), not sure what design I'll carve on the grip, but I'm thinking it will look good in black, whatever I go with:
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Here's the guard, I'm going with the double fuller motif, with Elder Futhark runes inside the fuller motifs, and their names on the corresponding cross guard arm, so that they will read toward the center. Runes on the right side will be mirrored, to read from right to left, the ones on the left side will read left to right. There will be eight different runes shared between the cross guard and pommel.
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Here's a historical Scandinavian sword with double fullers:
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And a historical sword that I stole the pommel shape from:
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The Sountaka sword, because the shape of my guard will be like this sword, just scaled down a little:
6d867194b7eb48551c30776c69bb5d74.jpg

And a rather pointy Scandinavian sword, because I want my sword to be pointy :D
a3ef94464080d5e60bf9e8cc34878ec4.jpg

Thanks for looking! I hope you'll follow my progress, I was going to finish my last WIP, Krellr, before posting this one, but my forge broke, so I can't HT and finish Krellr yet.
Any advise, comments, criticisms, compliments, questions, wisecracks, and insults are welcome as always!

By the way I have some crappy WIP pics of the forging, if you'd like to see them, and I could also post a picture of my Sielulintu bird, if you guys would like to see it as well.

IMG_0426.JPG

IMG_0427.JPG

Edited by Collin Miller
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Looking very good so far.. Best of luck.

Love the fullers. Did you do those with a spring fuller maker of some kind?



The darn triple fullers are kicking my butt!! Time to break out the dremel I think. :)

 

 

I have those Sountake hilt fitting on my sword that Jeff Pringle made from my steel. One day I will change them out, but they look good.

Edited by Mark Green
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This is looking fantastic so far..great job forging those fullers( I know how hard one was let alone 2) and the blade and intended design look great..All the best as you continue along your journey.

 

I look forward to seeing it progress.

 

Thanks for the mention and proud to be of help in any way as to me that's what this forum is all about...learning and sharing.

Edited by Rob Toneguzzo
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Like Mark I would love to know what you used to get the fullers forged out. I'm betting his guess of a spring fuller is correct. One fuller at a time, or both together?

 

Also, how are you planning to do your guard and pommel? Lost wax yourself? Carve? Sub-contract?

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Thanks guys!

Love the fullers. Did you do those with a spring fuller maker of some kind?

 

It was a spring fuller in the hardie hole, 1 & 1/8th inch round stock cut in half and welded to a spring, which was welded to a shank. The tool did the fullers one at a time, but I did a heat on each fuller before moving up the length of the blade. It went a lot better than I had even hoped, and gave me a half inch in width, and another inch in length.

This is looking fantastic so far..great job forging those fullers( I know how hard one was let alone 2) and the blade and intended design look great..All the best as you continue along your journey.

I look forward to seeing it progress.

Thanks for the mention and proud to be of help in any way as to me that's what this forum is all about...learning and sharing.


No problem, Rob, you deserved it! I'd need both hands to have enough fingers to count all the times read through every word of your thread.

 

Also, how are you planning to do your guard and pommel? Lost wax yourself? Carve? Sub-contract?

 

My plan is to carve them out of copper or bronze billets, with files, saws, sanders, and a dremel. I would kill for lost wax set up, but it looks like you either have to mess up a lot or spend a ton of money, and I can't afford either!

Edited by Collin Miller
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Hi Collin, awesome looking blade!

 

One bit of advice is when dealing with wide fullered blades, you have to be extra careful to keep the edges the same. Not only in width but also thickness, more of a volume thing. When the blade goes into the quench if one edge has "more volume" either thicker or wider the sword is likely to take of a saber effect (I learnt this the hard way) I'm sure you have some time in front of the grinder ahead of you

 

Also curious how your gonna get a tang back on that thing? forge weld :D

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Thanks guys!

Also curious how your gonna get a tang back on that thing? forge weld :D


Machine weld, not very traditional, but i've seen at least two very reputable smiths (Owen Bush and Tony Swatton) do it that way. Forge welding would be awesome, but I want to wait until after heat treat, because I just found out that this now fits in my kitchen stove with about half an inch of clearance. :lol: It'll be nicer to pein mild steel, too.

Thanks, Alan. I put a lot of care and work into the forging, I forged the tip, then spent a lot of work with the tapers, then the bevels, straightening, then the tapering, and then more bevel work, then fullering, then bevels, then fullering, more bevels, then I tightened everything up with the fuller and the bevels, and then straightened. All this over about three forging sessions, so it all took probably fourteen to eighteen hours.

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Collin, really beautiful work!

 

I've been slowly getting my stuff together to make a nice spring fuller with interchangeable heads to do single through quad fullers, and this is definitely inspiration to keep building it!

 

Your forging has gotten better and better and the crispness of your as forged lines is really admirable!

 

The only criticism I have is the lines of the guards as shown in the drawings seem too angular to me, not in the geometry of the guards themselves but in their curves if that makes any sense. If the two guards were slightly more boat shaped I think it would really evoke 'viking sword' a lot more than 'fantasy sword' as to me as least fantasy swords are very angular and sharp looking while historical swords had much gentler curves generally.

 

That's just my personal aesthetic taste, though! I'm super excited to see this project progress :D

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Collin, really beautiful work!

 

I've been slowly getting my stuff together to make a nice spring fuller with interchangeable heads to do single through quad fullers, and this is definitely inspiration to keep building it!

 

Your forging has gotten better and better and the crispness of your as forged lines is really admirable!

 

The only criticism I have is the lines of the guards as shown in the drawings seem too angular to me, not in the geometry of the guards themselves but in their curves if that makes any sense. If the two guards were slightly more boat shaped I think it would really evoke 'viking sword' a lot more than 'fantasy sword' as to me as least fantasy swords are very angular and sharp looking while historical swords had much gentler curves generally.

 

That's just my personal aesthetic taste, though! I'm super excited to see this project progress :D

 

 

Thanks a lot Emiliano! The fullering tool I made is about done just after this sword, if I get into forging a lot of fullers I'll have to make a nice tool as well. Do you usually forge fullers, even on multibar swords? Most people I've seen who have the equipment will grind fullers when they can.

 

Thanks also for sharing your opinion, I have to admit though I was kind of going for a more angular look, I guess it does look a bit fantasy, but I'm happy with that. I wanted a sword that looks like it would be owned by an old Shaman or Rune Master. I will definitely consider that when I'm getting closer to the end, though. If it starts to look like something at a gun show with a "Made in China" sticker on it, I'll have to make some design changes.

 

Edit to add: I finished the drawing of the hilt, please excuse my closet lighting, not the best for taking good pictures.

I'm going to try to keep the wood simple, because I'm not really skilled at more complex carvings.

IMG_0442.JPG

Edited by Collin Miller
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Do you usually forge fullers, even on multibar swords? Most people I've seen who have the equipment will grind fullers when they can.

 

I think it makes sense to forge them whenever possible because when you go to grind your grinder will have a guide to help you get a really great crisp fuller ground in. That's assuming you don't have a jig setup for it. The other reason could be pattern manipulation when grinding the fuller in will open up the starts too much and you only want a chevron pattern to show.

 

So far all of my grind work has been free hand for fullers, and I'm planning on building a nice jig for fullers, but I think forged fullers would kind of act as a jig too you know?

 

The sword I'm working on now is a double twist cored viking sword which will have two fullers on one side and one on the other, so I will try and forge them all at once and then save myself a little time when it comes to grinding. I don't foresee any problems with delimitation because of the forge welded construction, though. What I plan on doing is grinding the scale off to check the welds and then normalizing a few times before the forging of the fullers just to make sure as much stress is out of the blade as possible. I think thats pretty much the best way to assure smooth forging of a patterned blade like that.

 

We'll see how it goes I guess!

 

 

Either way you take the fittings is gonna look awesome though, I'm excited to see your progress :D

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I think it makes sense to forge them whenever possible because when you go to grind your grinder will have a guide to help you get a really great crisp fuller ground in. That's assuming you don't have a jig setup for it. The other reason could be pattern manipulation when grinding the fuller in will open up the starts too much and you only want a chevron pattern to show.

 

So far all of my grind work has been free hand for fullers, and I'm planning on building a nice jig for fullers, but I think forged fullers would kind of act as a jig too you know?

 

The sword I'm working on now is a double twist cored viking sword which will have two fullers on one side and one on the other, so I will try and forge them all at once and then save myself a little time when it comes to grinding. I don't foresee any problems with delimitation because of the forge welded construction, though. What I plan on doing is grinding the scale off to check the welds and then normalizing a few times before the forging of the fullers just to make sure as much stress is out of the blade as possible. I think thats pretty much the best way to assure smooth forging of a patterned blade like that.

 

We'll see how it goes I guess!

 

 

Either way you take the fittings is gonna look awesome though, I'm excited to see your progress :D

 

I agree, and you can start from less stock when you forge them in, I started from 1'' x 1/4'' 1084 and it spread a lot, I could have gotten another 1/4'' in width, had I wanted to. I almost tried to pattern weld this sword, and talked myself out of it, because I know I'm not that good at pattern welding yet!

 

That's awesome about your asymmetrical fullered blade, I really like that layout for fullers, I'm surprised at how little people do that these days. I almost did asymmetrical fullers on this blade, but decided on double fullers instead, maybe next time. ;) If it turns out, make sure to post your sword, I'd really like to see it.

 

Thanks! I'll try to post some progress on the stock removal tomorrow, if I get any done, I have to clean out my garage a little first, I'm starting to go crazy working in there now!

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Sorry I didn't post any progress yesterday, I got to cleaning out the garage and just decided I may as well go full bore and get it cleaned out right.

A little bit of progress on the grinding. I'm not sure how to keep going about cleaning out the fullers, the lines seem very washed out, and it's not going as fast as the bevels are. I'm using sandpaper, wrapping it around the same size round I used when I was forging them, and it doesn't seem to be removing much of any metal. Advice here would help a lot.

anyway, here's a picture:
IMG_0449.JPG

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Normalizing the blade a few times before sanding and clean up work it a really good call, just to make sure it's as soft as can be!

 

Other than that, I'm not sure what would help. For the flats just use something long that you can get a good amount of pressure on so it removes material evenly. You're doing the fullers the same way I do mine, it just takes a long time :wacko:

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Well, I guess I'll have to get a sword forge set up, I never got a chance to anneal it properly because my forge broke on the annealing heat.

forge a dog leg in a round file, and re heat treat - filing will go a lot faster than sanding...


Thanks, I'll remember that. I think I may make a tool kind of like this, but with a half round file, so it fits the fullers.

Edit to add: This is not my tool, it was somebody else's idea.

Fuller2_zps9cd56946.jpg

Edited by Collin Miller
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That's brillant! Why didn't I think of that after hand-sanding/dogleg filing at least 12 sets of fullers or so over the years... :wacko:

 

I like the way the blade is looking in that other pic, too. Looks like an artifact.

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Nice work! Although, on the topic of welding the tangs... be sure to normalize the area afterwards, otherwise you are in for a break. So far I have always ground my fullers, freehand. Maybe you could try to use a scraper?

Anyway, I am lookin forward to the result!

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Hey guys, I made the tool, and it kicks butt. Think of draw filing, only faster and less tedious. The only thing, make sure you use a good file, because it will dull out pretty quick otherwise.

I don't have any pictures right now, but I'll take some tomorrow when the sword is more complete. It's feeling much lighter, it's down to 628 grams.

I'll make sure to normalize the tang, it would suck (by suck, I mean like, kill the puppies suck) to have the sword put together, go test it out, and have it fall apart in my hands.

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Really like the forged in fuller and the clean up tool, this should turn out really nice!

 

From a welder angle, make darned sure you ground off all the burnt metal from the tang, and construct the tang in a way that mechanically holds it in place, something shaped like this at the weld intersection for example < .. ha. And what method of welding are you using? Tig would be ideal, but you should be safe with mig or stick as long as you grind bevels for the weld to fill, gap it, and maybe run the machine a little on the hot side for full fusion followed by a quick normalization run.

 

Oh, and preheat the two pieces to be joined a bit (low cherry red), carbon steel can be finnickey, especially welded to mild.

 

My two bits ;)

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Really like the forged in fuller and the clean up tool, this should turn out really nice!

 

From a welder angle, make darned sure you ground off all the burnt metal from the tang, and construct the tang in a way that mechanically holds it in place, something shaped like this at the weld intersection for example < .. ha. And what method of welding are you using? Tig would be ideal, but you should be safe with mig or stick as long as you grind bevels for the weld to fill, gap it, and maybe run the machine a little on the hot side for full fusion followed by a quick normalization run.

 

Oh, and preheat the two pieces to be joined a bit (low cherry red), carbon steel can be finnickey, especially welded to mild.

 

My two bits ;)

 

Thanks for the insight on that, it helps a lot. At that point I may as well forge weld it. I was going to put bevels on the surfaces, and TIG weld it cold, then back fill. But if preheat is necessary to get sufficient strength, then would it be best to forge weld? A preheat would ruin HT on the blade, as would forge welding. So I will most likely just figure out how to fudge another few inches into my kitchen stove, or torch temper it, temper in the forge, something like that.

 

One thing that's different about this sword than the other knives I've made is, I never get tired of working on it, I just want to keep working and making more progress. I'm even having to restrict myself from working on it if I feel like I'm not going to be able to do my best, like I did today.

Edited by Collin Miller
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If you are tig welding and shape the tang so that it mechanically fits into the sword you should be fairly safe doing it cold as long as you normalize. Tig will sort of preheat as you go as its a slower process. If you can, even a quick preheat with a propane torch up to 300-500 degrees or so would be more than adequate with tig, and you can control the heat by wrapping the blade with a soaked rag, as long as you are careful to keep the water away from the weld.

 

Main things to be aware of are penetration and grain structure which you will manage with the normalization.

 

I love tig :) you should be safe even without the preheat going that route

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Colin - I am sorry I missed this (death in family lately).

 

1. Hell yeah! that forging looks great

2. the fuller tool with epoxy is ideal. I wish I had thought of it for the narrow fullers in the daos I make. I was doing the bend thing, too.

3. no advice on welding a tang on. You should consider brazing post heat-treat. Maybe you already have considered it and I missed that. Just a thought.

 

great work. thanks for sharing.

kc

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