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Two new longswords in the works


Lukas MG
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Hi guys,

 

I'm currently working on two new type XVIIIb longswords, quite similar to the last one I made but even more massive. The longer one is 57" overall with a blade length of 43", the other one has similar dimensions to the green XVIIIb (40" blade, 52" overall) but is a good deal wider. Both customers wanted blades with more cutting capability and it shows in the profile taper.

 

While they are very imposing swords, they won't be crowbars, both will be perfectly suited to the German School of longsword fencing. Big swords, yes, but with all the handling qualities of a good longsword. It helps that both customers are very big and strong guys ;)

 

Anyway, let's jump in right from the start, with the paper templates:

 

P1011063.jpg

 

Blades are cut out and the edge thickness set to 2mm pre-HT, as the rest it's all done with an angle grinder:

 

P1011084.jpg

 

P1011085.jpg

 

Next step is grinding in the distal taper. These blades sport a convex distal taper, starting at 8mm base thickness to 4mm at the tip. Massive and very stiff blades, but with excellent point control and a very precise feeling in movement:

 

P1011089.jpg

 

Finally, the blade geometry is ground in:

 

P1011146.jpg

 

At last I can put the angle grinder away. After several hours on the belt sander and some hand sanding plus filing, the blades are ready to be sent to the heat treater:

 

P1011157.jpg

 

P1011159.jpg

 

P1011163.jpg

 

As you see, I'm keeping a short hexagonal part at the base, this is very typical for these blades (could be a good deal longer as well, on some originals it spans the entire lower third). Depending on length, this helps assuring to have a very stiff base and adds some mass there but it mainly has aesthetic value, making the base a bit more interesting and visually leading over to the hilt.

 

Thanks for looking, questions, critic, etc all welcome! I'll update here as progress is being made...

Edited by Lukas MG
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Thanks guys, glad you like them.

Alan, if an angle grinder and a 40$ belt sander is all you have, you get either very good or frustrated. I chose the first one though the second one also happens occasionally :D

 

I didn't weigh the bare blades yet and they'll still loose a good deal of weight after HT.

 

The bigger one will probably come out around 2kg when finished, the smaller one between 1.8-1.9kg. The entire swords obviously, not only the blade. Most originals of this size are in the 1.9-2.3kg range.

Edited by Lukas MG
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Thanks guys, glad you like them.

Alan, if an angle grinder and a 40$ belt sander is all you have, you get either very good or frustrated. I chose the first one though the second one also happens occasionally :D

 

I didn't weigh the bare blades yet and they'll still loose a good deal of weight after HT.

 

The bigger one will probably come out around 2kg when finished, the smaller one between 1.8-1.9kg. The entire swords obviously, not only the blade. Most originals of this size are in the 1.9-2.3kg range.

Thats some impressive grinding for sure. I cant wait to see the finished swords. I mainly use an angle grinder as well, and would recommend that you try 3M's Cubitron fibre discs and a hard backing plate. I use the 36 grit ones for hogging off material. They grind completely flat, and remove material much faster than a normal grinding wheel. They leave a nicer, flatter surface as well so if you're going for a flat grind, they will really cut down on the time you have to spend filing.

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Thanks for the tip, Einar. I've tried fibre disks with backing already but found that while it does leave a nicer surface and is great for medium stock removal, it doesn't take off material as fast as the grinding wheels. I've been using it for occasions where I want to remove quite a bit of material but want more control than with the grinding wheel.

Maybe yours is better? Might have to see if I can find it here in Germany.

Edited by Lukas MG
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Thanks for the tip, Einar. I've tried fibre disks with backing already but found that while it does leave a nicer surface and is great for medium stock removal, it doesn't take off material as fast as the grinding wheels. I've been using it for occasions where I want to remove quite a bit of material but want more control than with the grinding wheel.

Maybe yours is better? Might have to see if I can find it here in Germany.

I've tried a couple of others, but the Cubitron II discs are by far the most aggressive ones. In my experience they cut much faster than a grinding wheel. They are pricey though.

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Great work! I'm with Alan, what you've done with an angle grinder is truly impressive. I look forward seeing these two progress. You've inspired me to attempt to make larger swords. I've never made anything over 42", i think I'll try 48" next, then go up from there. Keep up the amazig work! Thanks for the inspiration!

 

Steve

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  • 4 weeks later...
I'd love to see what you come up with Julien...


Anyway, I now have both blades in hand and would you believe it, they are both perfectly straight! I didn't have to do any tweaking and started with the final grind right away.

Apart from straightness, the next thing I check for is hardness, using a file and a blade of known hardness. My sharp blades are heat treated to 58Rc and tested by the heat treater before shipping them out but I always check them as well. Finally, a flex test performed. That last one has to wait until I've ground off the decarb layer on all sides. Very strangely, a freshly quenched and tempered blade sometimes easily takes a set when flexed but once the decarb is ground away, it will resist the bending and spring back to true, as is desired. No idea why but it happens.


Anyway, here's a quick pic. Not too much to see though:


IMAG0016.jpg


The white residue on the blades is salt, my heat treater uses salt baths for tempering which allows for a finer edge before quench and guards against brittle spots. You can also make out the metal loop that is welded onto the end of the tang to avoid having to drill a hole in the sometimes very slender tang.

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that is impressive, no matter what type of grinder you use. Really cool. thanks for sharing your process with us.

interesting tip about the decarb, too. Never had that happen, but I will try to remember.

kc

please visit my website http://www.professorsforge.com/

 

“Years ago I recognized my kinship with all living things, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on the earth. I said then and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it; while there is a criminal element, I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.” E. V. Debs

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Thanks, Kevin.

It is weird, indeed. First happened to me on a longsword, I did a quick flex test right after I got the blade back from HT and it took a set rather easily. I was shocked but after some searching I found a post of Peter Johnsson discussing that exact phenomenon. Needless to say I was much relieved and after the decarb was ground off, the blade did indeed perform perfectly.

I don't know if every blade does it, I've since stopped doing any flexing post-HT until I've finished the final grind (before I start hand sanding). It sure is good to know though!!

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  • 3 weeks later...

I finished the final grind on the bigger blade. Hard to see much of a difference to the pre-HT pics (other than the hexagonal part ground shiny) but anyway:

 

DSC_0011.jpg

 

The blade is edged now but not actually sharp. That will come as I polish it by hand. Blade weight is 1600g right now, the end weight will be around 2200-2300g I think. Bit more than my first estimate but well within historical parameters for swords of this size.

You can also make out that the end of the tang is being worked on to fit the pommel slot.

Tomorrow I'll post some pics of the guard so stay tuned...

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Interesting! They are going to be awesome!

To become old and wise... You first have to survive being young and foolish! ;) Ikisu.blogsot.com. Email; milesikisu@gmail.com mobile: +27784653651

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Thanks ;) The guard is still very much a work in progress...

 

Finished the blade. It will still get the final honing and polish but it's 99% there. Next to it the "little" brother. Notice the width difference, especially at the tip. It's obvious that this blade is much more cut-oriented yet still retains a well defined point.
DSC_0025.jpg
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Sooo... the guard is a huge pain but I'm getting there:


P1011189.jpg


P1011187.jpg


P1011184.jpg


P1011185.jpg


P1011186.jpg


Obviously the side rings will be mirrored on each side, I'm just lacking the fingers to hold more than one in place. I did underestimate the amount of work it takes to get everything fitting and lined up. Whew. Also, I had to buy a new welder and relearn welding (did a course some years back but am pretty rusty) since this proved too complex to have it done by some other guy. This can't be done at once and takes frequent checking and more checking. Oh well, gotta keep pushing yourself with each project. Though I tell you, once these two swords are done (thankfully the other one is a lot simpler regarding the guard), I need to make something small to remind myself how it is to finish a piece in a few days... :D

Edited by Lukas MG
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I hate using an angle grinder. Like, freaking hate it. Looks like you've spent a good deal of time getting good at it though.
Nice swords, they look awesome. I really like that cross guard!

“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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  • 3 weeks later...
So, the pommel is fitted. I still need to finish the peen block that I'd like to add (waiting to hear from my customer if he wants it, we haven't discussed this possibility yet). I put the starter material for the peen block on the tang to give an impression, it will of course be shaped much further.


You can see how the round section that runs through the pommel is shaped directly from the tang itself (as it should be) and that the transition from round to rectangular is also inside the pommel. That is very important to ensure a durable construction. The fit of the pommel is such that it slips on easily 3/4 of the way but has to be hammered down the rest, wedging tightly in the process. Even without the following hot peen that pommel would not be coming off in use.


I also narrowed down the tang some more to loose some excess material. The 8mm thickness allows to go quite narrow. Really doing everything I can to keep the weight as low as possible...


P1011192.jpg


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P1011200.jpg
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All components of the guard have been welded together:


P1011202.jpg


P1011206.jpg


P1011209.jpg


P1011203.jpg


Arc welding isn't ideal here nor am I the best welder out there so I'll need to do a lot of clean up but as long as the welds hold and clean up fine, I'm satisfied. The finials on the side rings mirror the shape of the guard's ends (and the pommel). They were formed by welding a disk onto each end and grinding it to shape.

Edited by Lukas MG
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Guard is cleaned up but not yet polished. It will most likely be blackened as well.


Obviously it will be seated right at the blade's shoulders once mounted but the final 2cm it needs to be hammered down, wedging tightly in the process. That will be done once everything is polished and ready to be put together.


P1011216.jpg


P1011212.jpg


P1011213.jpg


It's coming together...


P1011219.jpg

Edited by Lukas MG
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