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Rapier Blade WIP (Vienna Armoury A572)

Florian F Fortner

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Two weeks ago I started another rapier blade. This time a little more elaborate, based on an original I measured in the royal armoury in Vienna. It is a blade made by Juan Martinez of Toledo, in my opinion the best bladesmith in the late 16th, early 17th century in Europe. It will take some time to complete, so I will update with new pictures until finished.

This is how it should look like when finished:



The waterjet-cut  blank first gets a distal taper on the belt grinder, then the bevels are roughly ground with the goniometer (see older thread on this). After this it looks like so:



Next step is scraping the fullers. First, I mark the fuller centerlines on the blade. As this blade has two fullers which are not parallel, but taper in width and are at a slight angle to the centerline, this needs to be corrected by placing the blade at an offset and angle in the scraping jig. It is also very important to get the fullers on both sides to align well for proper cutouts.




When the fullers are finished I mark and drill holes for the cutouts. Then I join two holes with a jewelers saw:





The secret to make it look elegant and the remaining material thinner than it is (actually 4mm), the corners need to be filed in a pointy shape which gives a dramatic difference optically (cutouts to the left compared to the ones on the right):


Still filing the tiny cutouts, so stay tuned... :D


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Super cool.  That original blade is great, looks like you are well on your way to doing it justice!

Please come and waste some otherwise perfectly good time, looking at my knives!


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Here is a small intermediate update. I had to file the blade down in thickness a bit to make it flexible enough for sparring (1/20mm makes a difference here, thickness affects the bending-behaviour with a factor of x^4, but doesn't change the moment of inertia much), otherwise my training partners would not be happy fighting me :-)

Filing is finished now, the coutouts too. Next step is shaping the ricasso, decorating the forte and lots of sandpaper.


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I really like your fuller scraping jig, would you mind sharing details?

No one said this would be simple...

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11 hours ago, Sean H said:

I really like your fuller scraping jig, would you mind sharing details?

I second that.  It looks like a very refined version of what I use, without the duct tape, rust, and bad machining...

Most impressive work...

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."

view some of my work

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  • 3 months later...

Parallel to the work on the hilt, I also spend time on finishing this blade. 

I used the awesome "Steel Master" rotary bits and discs from my local goldsmith's supply store to finish the fullers. This saves a lot of time and works much better than carbide or sandpaper drums when a smooth finish is required. They can also be easily ground to a shape on a carbide wheel.



Next up is the inscription in the fullers. Here I use a combination of punches (square, triangle, line and circle) and engraving. This time it's quite tricky because the letters are really small (less than 1/8"), so it's optivisor time! :D

The inscription reads "VELIS NOLISVE" (Whether you want or not - Camillo Agrippa's motto)




Next step is heat treatment, suspense guaranteed... :P

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  • 3 weeks later...

Finally I can call this finished. 40 hours in total, sanded to 600grit (more than enough for sparring abuse :P). Overall length is 120cm, blade length is 105cm and the finished weight is 620g. Like a good swordblade should be - it handles nicely without a hilt and a pommel (if it doesn't, it's usually a hopeless case...) The rest of the weapon I will document in the hilt WIP. Thanks for watching!



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Nice Florian. Congratulations, that looks awesome.

"The way we win matters" (Ender Wiggins) Orson Scott Card


Nos qui libertate donati nescimus quid constat

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