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Wallace Collection Spadone A473

Florian F Fortner

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As I have some time, I'll post some pictures of my current project which nears finishing: A nice Spadone from the Wallace collection. It is 178cm long, 2,7kg weight, with a quite narrow hexagonal blade. The handling is unbelievable for a heavy weapon like this. So it has to be made!




Let's start:


The blade has been waterjet cut out of 1.5026 (european name) spring steel. then I ground the distal taper on the belt grinder with our trustworthy distal taper jig.




In the breaks I started with the wooden grip. A friend of mine brought a nice piece of acacia wood:




Here is the rough shape, cut out with a japanese saw, the two halves glued together with fish-glue and further worked with a japanese saw-file:




Next step in the making of the blade is the bevels. These I do on the belt grinder with the goniometer I described in an earlier post.




From there on it's filework by hand :D


As I do not own a forge (and doubt I'm skilled to use it) ,I went the cheap route and bent the side rings for the hilt around a wooden mold covered with thin steel sheet to protect it from the heat.





Then I warmed the carbon steel in the oven to an orange glow and hammered it crudely around this form. It looks like this:




The steel bar I had was not wide enough, so I had to tig weld on some strips to the sides (nowadays I do all the welding of 0.45 carbon steel with a tig welder and the same material as filler, which gives a stronger weld than 316 stainless and, most importantly, can be blackened later)




After some rough shaping:




Welding the hilt parts together:




In the meantime I smoothed down the grip further:




Here is the miraculous saw-file:




FInally the grip gets a wrap of linen thread, some risers and is covered in black leather:




The blade is coming along, now finally ground, decorated with some chiseled lines and a nice inscription. Heat treatment went well without any warp (thank god!). Waiting for the final polish...







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tell us more about the file saw thingee. How does it compare to a cabinetmaker's rasp?


great work so far. I am impressed by the tig welds. I haven't ever learned to do that (but I am a forge-welding fool!).

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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The saw file is the coolest tool for woodworking that I ever used (a friend of mine who builds bows for archery gave it to me). It lets you shape the wood freestyle with accuracy and speed, much much faster than a rasp. Perfectly for organic shapes like this grip. It also has two different sides with fine and coarse teeth. After this just a few rubs with 80 grit sandpaper and it's ready for the thread wrap.




My heat treatment is done like this: https://www.bladesmithsforum.com/index.php?showtopic=31525&hl=

The most important thing for long blades (I'm mostly doing long, narrow rapier blades) is to cover them with scale-protection-coating (to prevent burning of carbon in the thin debole) and then let them hang in the oven for at least 10 minutes to get to an even temperature along the entire length. This ensures little warp (if it's in the oven for just 5 minutes or so, the point and tang are slightly darker and the temperature difference along the blade makes it bend when you dip it in the oil).


The rings are just a rough finish in this picture. I'm still working on it, plan to finish the hilt today. Then I'll post more photos.

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Most impressive! That thing is huge!


Kevin: do a search for "Shinto saw rasp," they are readily available. Florian, thanks for that. I have known about those for years, but was afraid they would be too aggressive. I guess I need one now!

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Today I've finished the hilt, blackened it and put the thing together. Only the pommel is missing, a friend of mine does all the lathe stuff, so this is the easy part ;)




And here you get an idea of the length of this monster:



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  • 2 months later...

I forgot to take pictures of the finished sword, here they are! It handles nicely and, like the original, the blade bends a little bit under its own weight yet when you swing it it stabilizes itself perfectly. 



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That one starts an urge to hack my way through a line of bodies......B)

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Beauty. I look and this and wonder it "it will cut" and if "it will keel" :P - couldn't help myself. 

Great work thanks for sharing. 

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How did you do the lugs? Tig?

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Lukas, The blade is not sharp as it is intended for sparring. I might make one more with a sharp blade for test cutting in the future.

Al, the lugs are not welded on, it's made from one piece of steel. I also do not weld on the tangs or the tang threads. It is much better to cut it long enough and thread the tang directly.

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So how wide was the original bar?

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Amazing work! You make it look easy. Also, I can't believe nobody asked this already: What does your distal taper jig look like? How does it work?

“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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Al, the stock material was 2000x100x9mm, I had this blade, two rapier blades and two daggers waterjet cut from it. It was quite efficient this way with little material remaining. The rest can always be used for springs (will need some soon for a wheel lock anyway)

Collin, look here: 

Jonas, consistent blackening is like a secret to many but actually easy. Just heat the parts to about 500-600°C (a grey color, temp depends on the steel composition) let them cool slowly and when they are below 200°C (or lower, I had success with room temp. as well) rub them with a rag dipped in linseed oil. The steel will turn to a nice black color, I don't have an explanation for what goes on there, but it works like a charm. This can also be repeated when the black comes off from sparring. 

Another, historically applied method, is rubbing the steel with a linseed oil soaked cloth at constant higher temperatures, for example a breastplate with the rearside in the fire, rubbing the front. You build up layers of not properly-burnt oil that looks a bit like tarmac. This has been used on cheaper armour and weapons as a good rust protection.


Edited by Florian F Fortner
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I'm actually very interested in this sword - so much so a few years ago I made a wooden replica (model or whatever you want to call it).

something I did a little differently - I had a second sword with comparable dimensions, of which the pummel was a little more 'squished' and working from the same picture you have in the post there, I assumed the pummels were shaped the same. I've never seen the original in person, but the slight difference in the pummel I believed makes the cut draw a little better as it seats to the off hand.

of all things, I'm really pleased to see that you kept the original geometry of the sword, which should give you a true feeling of the harmonics of the sword, something I've been wondering about.

wonderful job.

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