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Viking archaeological trowels in progress...


Alan Longmire

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Some of you may remember many years ago I made a pattern-welded 4.5" pointing trowel for my mentor on his retirement, loosely based on Viking style spearhead designs. Recently another archaeologist contacted me to ask if I would make one for his own mentor's retirement. I agreed and made one blade. Thought it wasn't good enough, so I made another. And another. And one more... :wacko:

 

I'm finally almost happy with them. One has a muddy pattern and I don't like it. One has a prominent weld flaw, and one has some pitting. One is almost perfect, although they all have good and bad aspects. I am going to keep the weld flaw one for myself as a working tool, sell one, and give one to my current boss when he retires next year. Dunno about the runt, it's perfectly useful but ugly. ;)

 

Group shots:

 

trowels 1.jpg

 

trowels 2.jpg

 

And few closeup glamor shots of the bottoms:

 

trowels 3.jpg

 

trowels 4.jpg

 

trowels 5.jpg

 

and top sides:

 

trowels 6.jpg

 

trowels 7.jpg

 

trowels 8.jpg

 

Specs on these are 4.5 to 5" / 11.5 to 12.5 cm) long from heel to point, 1.75 to 2" (4.2 to 5 cm) wide at the shoulders, and THIN full flat ground faces, around 0.046" (0.85 mm) thick. Steels used include for the center core either 1095 or W2 (some of each), 1018 for the wide white band, 7-layer twists of wrought iron, 15n20, and 1075 for the patterned part, and 1095 edge. Tricky little buggers to weld up and forge to shape, and a pain in the neck to grind, especially with that little spearpoint reinforced junction between tang and blade. HT was straightforward, although with a pucker factor in case those thin blades warped. I got a couple with slightly raised tips, but they straightened out nicely after tempering. They ring like bells, too. B)

 

I'm trying to decide between antler or curly maple for my handle, with a silver ferrule of course. Other guy is providing some elk antler for his.

 

Thanks for looking, I'm just trying to show I do still make stuff! ;)

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If there had been a trowel in the Mastermyr chest, it would have looked like one of those.

 

Excellent.

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Awww, they are cute , especially all together like that.

Are you going to make seax like holsters with brass work for them?

I like them a lot.

forging soul in to steel

 

owenbush.co.uk

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I made one trowel, maybe 14 years ago. The only cool thing about it was the inscription (hot stamped letters) "Loess is more". Geologists will get it.

 

This is a whole different plane of existance, though. Thanks for sharing. They're beautiful.

Edited by Christopher Price

The Tidewater Forge

Christopher Price, Bladesmith

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Jim beat me to it- unconventional use in an interesting project. I'd be terrified to heat treat something that thin, but it looks like they didn't smell much fear on you this time B)

Inspiring to say the least!

 

John

Not all those who wander are lost. -J.R.R. Tolkien

-Shards of the Dark Age- my blog
-Nine Worlds Workshop-
-Last Apocalypse Forge-

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Wow, almost makes me ashamed for all the times I abused one of their lowly cousins! Alan, that is awesome, and don't worry about the runt somebody always loves the runt of the liter!

 

I can't get over how much work you put into those, I have always looked a trowel as a tool but, heck those are pieces of art! bow.gif

Edited by C Craft

C Craft Customs ~~~ With every custom knife I build I try to accomplish three things. I want that knife to look so good you just have to pick it up, feel so good in your hand you can't wait to try it, and once you use it, you never want to put it down ! If I capture those three factors in each knife I build, I am assured the knife will become a piece that is used and treasured by its owner! ~~~ C Craft

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Nice! What method did you use for the tips of these? Wrap around, fishmouth, hairpin?

“If you trust in yourself. . . believe in your dreams. . . and follow your star. . . you will still get beaten by the people who have spent their time working hard and learning things, the people who weren't so lazy.” ~ Terry Pratchett

 

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That is just plain cool...I love seeing different things and these sure are....fantastic works of art..Awsome stuff Alan.

 

I have to agree with Jesus about the arrow heads...scaled down they would be the most fantastic broadheads...perfect shape for it.

Edited by Rob Toneguzzo

"Old dogs care about you even when you make mistakes" - Tom HALL - Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon wine.

 

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Thanks again, gentlemen!

 

Alan, as a former archaeologist, I salute you! These are excellent. Not that they need anything else, but if you ever got bored, you could always add 'Marshalltown' (or maybe Alan-town?) in very tiny, individually-welded runes :D

 

Michael

 

I actually thought of that, or at least inlaying brass that said "45-5 USA" (that is the model number of Marshaltown pointing trowels we prefer) but recovered my sanity in time not to do it. :ph34r:

 

Nice! What method did you use for the tips of these? Wrap around, fishmouth, hairpin?

 

Mostly pre-pointed hairpin, but I did a couple of them as wraps. The hairpins welded better, driven point-down into a V-block for the first weld. I did them in stages working out from the center. The twists were the painful part, since they are two pieces and can't be hairpinned. Lots of innovative wiring to get them to hold on to a triangular billet... ;) No welding rod was harmed in the making of these. Oh, and the bars were 1/4" (6.5mm) thick during the welding process, later forged down to about an eighth inch before grinding.

 

Very elegant. They are going to make their future owners very happy.

Can you make me a few arrow points like these? ;)

 

HA! The mere thought of scaling these down to broadhead size makes me take your name in vain. :lol: Although it would be seriously cool...I suppose one could make a 1/4" thick one and saw thin slices off...NO! stop thinking about it! Aaaaaagh! :wacko:;)

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Just goes to show, everything is better patternwelded....:)

I've never lusted after a trowel, until now.

George Ezell, bladesmith

" How much useful knowledge is lost by the scattered forms in which it is ushered to the world! How many solitary students spend half their lives in making discoveries which had been perfected a century before their time, for want of a condensed exhibition of what is known."
Buffon


view some of my work

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HA! The mere thought of scaling these down to broadhead size makes me take your name in vain. :lol: Although it would be seriously cool...I suppose one could make a 1/4" thick one and saw thin slices off...NO! stop thinking about it! Aaaaaagh! :wacko:;)

You know you want to! Give in to the insanity!!!!

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