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Florian F Fortner

WIP Chiseled Manieristic Rapier Hilt

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In another topic I document the progress of a rapier blade, here I will post pics and progress of a hilt that I wanted to make for a long time but did not dare because of the incredible time and effort needed for such a piece. I am no artist and not very artistically talented, so the result will not look like if Cellini or Negroli had made it :D. However, you have to start at some point...

This is the original that it is based on:

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I will modify it because this is basically a sidesword hilt that doesn't give enough protection in the right spots for rapier fencing. The mods will become clear as I go along.

 

Here is the humble beginning, just bent bars of carbon steel (the originals usually are made of softer steels, because it is easier to work with and they didn't have tools as good as we do). Furthermore I will heat treat the hilt so it is more resilient to damage when sparring. This awful lot of work should last at least some time.

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Next is lots of filing. I am using small machinists files, precision files and needle files (all from a very very good german company, St.Egydyer files). It looks quite rough in the beginning, and gets finer and more detailed later on.

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This project also made the decision to finally buy a pneumatic engraving system. We went for the Enset machine, because it can go at slow speeds and can chisel with power. So this another area that needs practising!

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This is going to be a longterm project, so please have some patience...

If you have any hints or techniques to speed things up, please let me know!!

 

 

Edited by Florian F Fortner
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BTW, I did a testpiece where I made the relief first and then tried to bend this U-shape, yet it didn't bend uniformly because of the varying diameters and made some kinks and the shapes distorted. So for now it seems the better method to bend first and then do all the shaping (so no preshaping on a lathe, boo!)

I wonder how they did this back then, because from the few hilts where I definitely know how they were made, they did all the shaping and then bent the bars at quite high temperatures before forge welding them together. Yet, these hilts were much simpler designs with just geometric decoration.

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Fantastic project indeed, I look forward to seeing it come alive.

I think there are too few people doing elaborate iron carving these days, one day I'm going to try stuff like this myself.

On bending these, it is also possible that they heated the parts unevenly, In essence the thicker parts are made hotter so they will bend as much as the thin parts, sounds a lot easier than it is though

 

 

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Great WIP... Very nice. Looking forward to seeing it completed. 

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This is a fine exercise in patience :P. The pas d'ane rings are roughly finished, now I am filing away at the crossguard. It is a very dynamic shape, because it is bent, tilted 30° and twisted around the axis by about 40°.

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Bending the carbon steel rods did work fine cold, to my surprise, even though the material is a 14mm diameter.

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I hope it doesn't get boring, yet the steel only reveals the final forms slowly. Here are some more pics:

Bent the end of the knuckle guard

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Rough shaping

 

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An idea of the shape

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The blue contrast color is a huge help to see the depth of the relief, and the file marks of course :P

 

 

 

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I'm not bored however it would be interesting to know how many hours you have in this handle so far? 

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Not boring at all, in fact I'm on the edge of my seat... I need popcorn I think.

I can hardly wait to see this one finished.

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What everyone else said; this is not boring at all, but incredibly educational.  In fact, I wish you could post faster.  But I take what I can get :)

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I am in. Although, I will have to stick to engraving by hand. I am eager to learn some from you by watching.

kc

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Thanks guys! So I'll keep on posting then!!

Chris, this is the first hilt where I write down every hour spent working in detail (as a reference for future projects, we all know the "I think it's a week's work... and then it takes a month :D). 35 hours so far. I just tacked the first pieces together. It's 90% filing (all by hand) and 10% chiseling. My estimate for the whole hilt is 100 hours, so I am curious how far I'll be from that number.

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I am getting wore out just watching the work you have in this piece already!! This is one that you have to be all in and you Sir seem to be "all in". I will definitely stay with this one, as the progress continues!! Excellent work so far!!

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They are just big gravers, used in the tool and die world before EDM came along to cut the impressions in the die steel.  Picture a hand graver with no handle, but about six to eight inches long and 1/4 to 3/8 inch diameter.

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Too many fencing events, too little time for sword making...  After welding the parts together with the ricasso-block and some fiddling around I could do a first test fit of the hilt on the blade, which is a critical thing because the pommel will not be peened in place but detachable so I can put the blade on its own in a tube for travelling. No wobbling allowed :D

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Been forever since I stepped in here and daaaaaaang. You're getting me excited!

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P1070707.JPG

A handy thing to test hilt bar placement and bends is to use electric cable with solid wire core. This is a good diameter, bends easily and stays in shape well for testing hand clearance and looks.

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I probably need to get a forge and proper anvil soon. It took me 2 hours to bend this 13mm round rod into a rough shape...

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Now back to grinding and filing... :D

 

 

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This is starting to take a wonderful and graceful shape. Kudos to you mate. Keep at it. :)

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This project has been amazing to see so far. It looks beautiful already can't wait to see the final assembly. 

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Florian, "not artistically talented", come now being humble is good but you should be very proud of this. It's beautiful.  

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