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Finished: 3 Bar, Blackwood Leaf Dagger - Jachelt


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There have been some incredible blades shared on the forum this week. Here is my humble contribution to them.

 

I've finished this leaf blade short sword/dagger I've been working on since April. I'll post the finished photos, and then a bunch of "making of" photos.

 

Jachelt is the Scottish word for a tree shaped by the wind. As you can see, I themed the piece after this concept.

 

The scabbard was the most challenging part of this project. The carving has a lot of empty space, so it highlights errors like neon lights. Also, forging the chape absolutely gave me fits. Multiple ruined bits of pattern weld are in the bin in my attempt to forge and weld it together.

 

•3 Bar Pattern Welded Blade of 1095/15n20

•Two outer bars of 200 layers

•Inner bar of Crushed/Twisted "W's"

•Pattern Welded Guard/Pommel/Hilt Furniture

•African Blackwood Grip/Scabbard

•Copper Leaf Inlays

•18.25" Overall Length

•12.75" Blade Length

 

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Here's the text associated with the piece from my website:

 

Jachelt is a word the Scottish have for a tree that has been shaped by the wind. In my hometown of Cordova, Alaska we had many such trees. I’ve always loved them. I am fascinated by the way in which something as insubstantial as air moving past and around an object can shape and mold objects and entities.

In some ways, the concept of a Jachelt reminds me of the process of swordsmithing. As I grow in this craft, I find myself moving further away from power tools. While at the rough, formation stages of a project there are still hydraulic presses, and belt grinders, what tends to take up the majority of my time on a project now is the slow, the methodical: the pass of a file, the scraping of a chisel, the endless sanding. The challenge of this is patience. Rushing through finish work is a sure way to ruin or flaw a project that has taken months of your time. I find the metaphor of the wind slowly sculpting an object is a good mental picture to help cultivate patience.

 

Thanks for looking!

 

Dave

 

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LOVE IT! the fit finish and theme ! my favorite part has to be the sheath work~ amazing love the tree. Love how it is loaded with subtle details but isnt TOO busy! nice contrast!

 

would you say thats almost a roman-gladius type sword?

Edited by Gabriel James
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Great WIP Dave :-)

A few good tricks to steal. Thank you!

You get very clean welds and crisp patterns. A leaf blade with a fuller is not an easy combination to pull of, but I think you did very well.
Makes me eager to see where you will take all this next time.

 

-Something to ponder in Solingen or Storvreta perhaps? :-)

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Bravo! there have been several contributions to this site in the last few days that I have to place in my "Maybe I can tackle that in 10+ years" category, and this is one of them. (And my favorite so far :) )

 

The furniture has almost a copper hue to it. I take it you did a different etching treatment on those parts than the blade?

 

Thanks for the WIP pics. They are very helpful.

Edited by Brian Dougherty
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Simply stunning, just absolutely beautiful. The tree on the sheath and handle I think are my favorite parts, along with that serious fuller groove and how it sets off the damascus pattern. Even the hilt and end cap on the sheath have a nice pattern, awesome attention to detail.

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Thank you everyone!

 

Brian -- The furniture is heat colored (497 degrees F). The blade itself also has a slight golden heat color, to enhance the "autumn" feel.

 

Peter -- I'm excited I have a trick that you didn't already know! I look forward to discussing the next blade in Solingen!

 

Dave

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LOVE IT! the fit finish and theme ! my favorite part has to be the sheath work~ amazing love the tree. Love how it is loaded with subtle details but isnt TOO busy! nice contrast!

 

would you say thats almost a roman-gladius type sword?

 

Gabriel -- I wouldn't call it a gladius, although it is roughly the same size. This is a fantasy piece.

 

Thank you for your kind words.

Dave

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That is awesome! Easily your best work yet. Leaf blades are difficult to profile well, and this one turned out great. Was the decoration influenced by Jim Kelso? It looks like something he might inspire (In a good way of course) and the leaves are a very nice touch.

This forum seems to have exploded with ridiculously high end work lately...

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Supremely cool pattern, Dave! I love the imagery of the Jachlet, although I must admit I had forgotten the word for that sort of wind sculpting for a good many years. Out of curiosity, how durable do you find the heat patinas? I have found that they fade quite a bit over time, but it could be post finishing finishes that cause it to tarnish differently. Also, I absolutely love that jig you have with the chain for holding weird shaped things!! It's brilliant! All in all, you did a fantastic job of doing justice to the theme. I'm glad to see it done, and thanks for the wip photos!

 

John

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Dave that is awesome. The degree and quality of the work stands out in your work. It is the small details that make a piece stand out and this one has so many. It is like a buffet for the eye, just about the time you see something you are in love with, you notice another part that is even better and you just hadn't seen it yet!

 

Love the clamping jig you have made up for clamping odd shapes, may have to borrow that idea! I would like to see more of it! It looks like it adjustable for width as well!

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Thank you guys! I appreciate the kind words. It's one thing to get a layperson's comments on a piece, it's quite another to get feedback from fellow smiths engaged in the same struggle. Your words mean a great deal to me.

 

John and C Craft: I think you may both be referring to the clamp with the bicycle chain. That is a commercial jig that I purchased from Sheffield Knife Supply.

 

I've had the thing for years, but this is the first time I used it. I'm sorry to report that it kinda sucks.

 

While it looks like a brilliant solution, it takes far too long to adjust each screw to hold the piece securely. Plus it doesn't open wide enough. Plus a few other annoyances.

 

I have found it far easier to just grab some soft, cheap 1" thick wood and cut a custom die with the bandsaw. If you are using a hardwood for the grip, just clamp the heck out of it with those soft wood inverse dies and voila, you have a fast, disposable version of the expensive, tedious die you see in the photos.

 

John -- In terms of heat patinas: I find that they are durable to regular wear, but very delicate to abrasive wear. In other words, you can wipe them down with oil, you can handle them with your hands, you can buff them with leather, but you cannot take a bit of 000 steel wool to it if it develops a spot of rust. It's definitely a finish that I would use on a display piece, but never on a utilitarian piece. But, I suppose this is the same for any surface patina, such as liver of sulphur or FC.

 

Again, many thanks for the comments, guys. They are truly appreciated.

 

Dave

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challenging project, and you did quite well. I love the inlayed leaf.

 

You just keep leaping forward, man. This is really slick looking. I wish I had it and you had a better one :)

 

bring it to Ashokan next year, please.

 

kc

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What a great piece Dave. I never heard that term for trees like that. I love how different cultures have single words for things we cobble phrases together for.

Great workmanship and your carving is very expressive of the totrured elegance of the Jachelt.

 

Great job!

 

Jim

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Kevin -- I will definitely be at Ashokan next year. I can bring this along, unless something better is an option!

 

Jake -- Thanks, bud. Yes, the chape is overlapped and welded at the bottom (the tip). I used the induction forge, a lot of flux (since it was an open, oxidizing environment), and did a "pinch" weld with tongs.

 

I make it sound very controlled and easy, but in reality it was like a 3 stooges film: just panic and dropping things and cursing. (:

 

Jim -- Thank you very much. As I wrote you, I've been very inspired by your work.

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That's too bad about the jig, it looks so awesome! The functional limitations do make a lot of sense, though, now that you describe them. Thanks for the feedback on the heat patina too. It has been a while since I tried one, but for the abuse through normal use I think I will hold off. It's a shame though, the variance you can get from heat alone in the same steel is incredible, and with a fantastic consistency none the less!

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Wonderful work Dave! I think this is my favorite thing you have made thus far.

This forum is funny. There are slow weeks and then there are weeks were so many wonderful things get posted. This is one of those weeks.

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Excellent work Dave! That steel turned out really pretty. The crushed and twisted w's turned out spectacular, of course now I need to use it in a project. Maybe it is time to come out of retirement....

Thanks Michael! Although, in terms of pattern weld, this is a bit like Tiger Woods walking up to a guy at a miniature golf range and saying: "Dude! Nice, putt!"

 

And . . . yeah! Of course you should come out of "retirement" . . . What other answer did you expect from this crowd?!

 

Grins,

 

Dave

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Dave,

 

The best work yet, no doubt. The steel work is great as always but is it's the venturing into carving (cool theme too) and inlays that sets this piece apart in many ways.

 

Beautiful piece bud.

 

Shane

Thanks brother.

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