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As some of you may remember a little while back, I was asking about steel types for a rapier project.  Well, I opted to use what I have on hand, spring steel.  To refresh everyone's memory, I included pictures of my design drawings along with progress pictures.  The design drawings show a general idea of what I want to accomplish.  In the second drawing, I zoomed in to show the basket.  rp rendering 1.JPGrp rendering 2.JPG

 

The next pictures shows the start of the build.  I started off with a long leaf and split it length-wise.  Starting with the tang, I drew it out to roughly the shape and size I need then proceeded to start the blade taper. 

rp 1c.JPG

Next, I started to refine the shape on the anvil before any grinding.  During this stage, I noticed what seemed to be a few small inclusions and possibly a small crack starting.  Genuinely concerned, I chased the inclusions with an angle grinder and found the small crack and inclusions were only surface deep.  Relieved, I decided to begin the cleanup grinding.

rp 2.JPG

 

During this part, the length of both the blade and tang was fine tuned.  The blade length is 38" and the tang is 8" to give an overall length of 46".  So far, I have about ten hours logged in for this.  There will be more pictures as more progress is made.

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Thank you Steve.  It seems it is so far, and hopefully this project will be as smooth as possible.

 

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Looking good so far!
I'll be interested to see how you keep the whole thing straight and symmetrical :D 

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Its a very good start.
I will make a suggestion since I've attempted two of these and snapped the tip off both.
Forge thick, Grind thick.
Heat treat thick, grind post heat treat to final dimension.
They have a tendency to get a bit noodle like in heat treat.

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3 minutes ago, JJ Simon said:

Its a very good start.
I will make a suggestion since I've attempted two of these and snapped the tip off both.
Forge thick, Grind thick.
Heat treat thick, grind post heat treat to final dimension.
They have a tendency to get a bit noodle like in heat treat.

JJ, I thought about that, and right now, the blade thickness is about 1/4" or so.

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47 minutes ago, Collin Miller said:

Looking good so far!
I'll be interested to see how you keep the whole thing straight and symmetrical :D 

Yeah, this is going to be a challenging build, and my motto for this is 'slow and steady'.

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I started to grind the bevels in today.  The work you see done is after about three hours, so yeah, I still have a good way to go yet.  The only problem with a blade this long, one goes through abrasive materials, even on annealed steel.

rp 3.JPG

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Looking good so far!  

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Very keen to see how this one comes out. Following with interest. GL.

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Oh boy.   Time to click that follow button again.:D

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Nice to see that others also make rapiers! I suppose this one is not designed for fencing? 

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1 hour ago, Florian F Fortner said:

Nice to see that others also make rapiers! I suppose this one is not designed for fencing? 

No, this one and the next one are based from the rapiers from the Elizabethan era, so these will be ceremonial blades but still functional (sharpened).

 

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More progress today.  I got the bevels defined and did a basic cleanup.  I still have another hour or so of some fine tuning then the nervous part...  heat treating.

rp 4.JPG

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That looks scary fast, maybe not as fast as a bullet, but still scary. lol :P 

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6 hours ago, Jeroen Zuiderwijk said:

Wondering how you will heat treat that, without it warping under it's own weight as you lift it.

The only answer I can give is; very carefully.

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Do you have any possibility to heat it in vertical position? I can really recommend this for long blades, I did 6 foot blades without warping in my vertical kiln.

 

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11 hours ago, Florian F Fortner said:

Do you have any possibility to heat it in vertical position? I can really recommend this for long blades, I did 6 foot blades without warping in my vertical kiln.

 

Unfortunately no vertical heating, but I did take delivery of my coal fired trough forge today.  A good friend of mine welded one up for me as he had the plate steel.  The panels are all 3/8" thick with a 3" diameter air inlet.  I still have some tuning to do to it and hope to have it up and functioning soon.heat treat forge.jpg

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19 hours ago, R.W. Deavers said:

The only answer I can give is; very carefully.

I guess straightening post heat treat is pretty much inevitable on such a long thin blade anyway.

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A word or three to the wise on that trough forge: Use charcoal.  Much more forgiving and faster to use than coal.  I have heat-treated all my long blades in a charcoal trough.  Well, trench in the flowerbed, but same idea.  Two sets of tongs, one to grab the tang and one to support the middle of the blade when lifting it out.  Practice the motion of getting a smooth lift and quench before the blade is hot.  This will show you where the danger zones are for putting a bend in a hot blade.  Finally, double-edged blades must be quenched vertically.  Plan accordingly.

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3 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

A word or three to the wise on that trough forge: Use charcoal.  Much more forgiving and faster to use than coal.  I have heat-treated all my long blades in a charcoal trough.  Well, trench in the flowerbed, but same idea.  Two sets of tongs, one to grab the tang and one to support the middle of the blade when lifting it out.  Practice the motion of getting a smooth lift and quench before the blade is hot.  This will show you where the danger zones are for putting a bend in a hot blade.  Finally, double-edged blades must be quenched vertically.  Plan accordingly.

Thank you Alan.  To me, this is priceless advice and I will take heed.  Also, The only quench tank I have big enough is my vertical tank, so overall a few practice runs will be done (okay, maybe more than a few).  Again, your input is GREATLY appreciated.

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Well, today was heat treating day for the rapier.  I must say, my nerves have never been so frazzled over a heat treat.  But, the good news is, this step is done.  Tomorrow begins the cleanup and final grinding.  In the picture, you see my hand cranked blower, the trough, and the vertical quench tank.  The skinny piece in front and center of the trough is the rapier blade.  The trough is made from 3/8" thick plate and the quench tank is 3/8" wall square tube. 

ht 1.JPG

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Congratulations. By the way, what do you use for tempering? My kitchen oven would be a bit small.

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