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Aiden CC

Taking a Crack at Wolf's Tooth

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I've been doing a lot of stock removal lately, so I figured it's about time to do some fancy forging. I have a 14 layer billet almost drawn out to 3/8" square for twisting and a wrought iron bar forged square, and I decided to try out making a wolf's tooth bar for the edge. Part of the desire came from the wrought iron "filling" I gave another blade.

 

Bar and Filler.JPG

First I forged down some W2 to the right thickness, making the end that will be the tang a bit narrower with it wider towards the tip to try and match the way the pattern flows in some historic examples. Next I forged out some wrought iron into a thin bar to make the teeth and marked the spacing between them with an angle grinder.

 

Notches Cut.jpg

I used a hardy hot cut to make the notches. If this turns out well, it may be worth making a simple jig to cut the notches the same size. I managed to get about two done per heat, so it didn't take too long.

 

Next I need to weld in the teeth and draw out and twist the bars for the herringbone part of the pattern. Thanks for looking, this is uncharted territory for me and any advice is more than welcome.

Edited by Aiden CC

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I'm guessing this is going to be a seax based on the teeth being individual? Great start at any rate, excited to see the result!

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Out of left field, but could a piece of straight ' Rack' gear be used as a simple press or hammer fuller tool on both mating surfaces ? Possibly reducing the edge thickness a little to compensate for any upset.

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If you go for individual teeth, you need to change the shape of the grooves. With such a wide angle, the pieces won't stay in, unless you weld them in individually. On the orginals, the grooves were nearly rectangular instead of V-shaped, as they were cut with a blunt thin chisel. That way you can hammer in all the pieces at once, and weld it up in one go.

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Out of left field, but could a piece of straight ' Rack' gear be used as a simple press or hammer fuller tool on both mating surfaces ? Possibly reducing the edge thickness a little to compensate for any upset.

That's an interesting idea, though to use a jig like that to cut multiple teeth at a time would definitely take a press. If I make a jog for this it will probably have one or maybe two teeth (to automatically set the spacing).

 

Thanks for the warning Jeroen, I ought to be able to widen out the base of the cuts so the teeth can stick better. My current plan is to heat and flux the tool steel bar, clamp it in the vice, hammer in the wrought iron very hot letting the cold groves shape it, then heat the whole thing up and weld the whole thing at once.

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If I was doing a ' proof of concept' , I would mill 3 or 4 square teeth across a bit of 5/8 X 2 flat bar and weld on a hardy hole spigot. Take off the top corner so they didn't gall the bar. With 3/8 square and a welding heat a heavy had hammer should set the 'teeth' . If you mated two, 3/8 bars to form the 'Wolfs Teeth' , then bending and welding this strip to a core and edge is no ' biggy' and would allow the pattern to run around the tip of follow a curve without any tricky manipulation. Since the edge would be drawn from this point, the 'bottom' of the teeth will spread and give a more toothy look.

Essentially , make a 'Wolf tooth' strip that could be welded into any project, knife, sword or spear.

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That's an interesting idea, though to use a jig like that to cut multiple teeth at a time would definitely take a press. If I make a jog for this it will probably have one or maybe two teeth (to automatically set the spacing).

 

There is a short discussion of die/jig making for wolf's tooth patterns on the Spear thread in the History forum:

http://www.bladesmithsforum.com/index.php?showtopic=30844&page=4

 

 

I am psyched to watch this develop. Go get after it Aiden!

Edited by Joshua States

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I thought about the gear racks myself, but have yet to find one just the right shape... I'll probably end up making a fullering die next time I decide to play with the teeth.

 

You're off to a good start!

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Thanks for the encouragement and suggestions! Something I've been wondering: would it work have all of the grooves pre-fluxed before I form the teeth and just leave each tooth in its slot after forming then heat up the whole thing to weld them, or would it be worth it to remove the teeth after forming them to clean everything up?

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I am just along for the ride on this one. I don't have any good advice to give, but i am ecouraging you to keep going. It is a great project!

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Looking forward to seeing how this works out Aiden! Wolf's teeth patterns are fascinating.

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I've tried several different gear racks before, and it did not work at all. They were too thin and deformed past their usefulness because of radiant heat and the force of hammering onto them, even using a gentle hit with the power hammer wasn't salvageable.

 

What I recommend would be to keep the edge bar as is, and heat up a bar of wrought iron and smack it into the cold edge bar as hard as you can. After that heat the whole thing up and weld. After this if you draw the edge with a peen and try not to stretch it you'll get a fairly good wolfs tooth. The chisel I used was far thinner than the ones used on historic examples and because of that I ended up with a few imperfect welds in the bottom of the teeth where the iron could not squish all the way. Using a slightly larger chisel with a blunter edge would solve this issue fairly well.

 

Anyway, it's looking good so far! My big mistake going into this was overthinking everything and I overlooked how simple the original construction was. The last multi bar billet I welded was about 1/4 of an inch at the thickest before welding, and it was hairy but possible. I think many of these originals would have been welded at a similar thickness, and for a wolfs tooth pattern that means that the iron would be easier to squish into the grooves. Your chisel may be too sharp, beware of what you're asking the iron to do, because while it is quite ductile it cannot squish so far without considerable help (strikers or a press/power hammer)

 

If you're doing single teeth then the shape of the chisel for the individual teeth is definitely wrong I think, and you should inlay them separately like Jeroen suggested into basically square or rectangular channels. As far as I know the only wolf's tooth seax we have a good radiograph of shows this sort of construction, while spears are in the method I described above and the 'seax of Charlemagne' is sort of a lazy wolf's tooth by the looks of it, and is more akin to zig zags cut into two mating pieces of material.

 

Anyway, forgive the long rant, you're on the right path, can't wait to see more!

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