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MLenaghan

The Lake Sword

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Well this is a here we go again kinda thing! Last summer I started a project for a blade rooted in history but also very much hidden in myth at the same time. Dave from Cedarlore is letting me use one of his iron age sword designs which is something that I did not want to take lightly or waste such a chance, which is why you'll see this is my third try at the blade. The first attempt although is a nicely shaped iron age blade is mostly wrought iron, was too slender and spent the winter in a snowbank... it can be found here

The second try the blade profile just didn't fit and was made from modern steel also dint seem to work with what the goal seemed to be and so here we are!

 

This started at my parents cabin out in the Canadian wilderness, on the shores of a lake with a small hearth furnace melting down old rusty nails and bolts into 3 rather solid higher carbon blooms  that each ran about 3.5 pounds 

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Didn't get much done for most the summer at this point but the wife and I where lucky enough to get to go to Ireland later this summer and in the National Museum of Ireland there was inspiration!    IMG_20170818_080346_594_1506466399059.jpgIMG_20170818_154307_306_1506466399243.jpg

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So once I got home the forge was fired up and the slow process of folding and refining the hearth steel started! the 3 different blooms all behaved differently, a lower carbon one was really solid after only 4 folds, the edge bar which is really high carbon took over 7 folds and adding bits of the other pieces to it before it wanted to be agreeable. This is not a very exciting part but found it very relaxing the drawing out and folding of the bars. IMG_20170804_180234_796_1506466397322.jpgIMG_20170902_200221_191_1506466398135.jpgIMG_20170804_180234_795_1506466397506.jpg

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Now it's been a couple years since I've made a multi bar sword, and never done of with hearth steel so this was a rather interesting attempt! bars were drawn out into 4 core bars, one bloom in the center with a very slow twist as the material didnt want to go much tighter without shearing off, most likely needed a couple more folds. The out side of the core was little tighter twist with a couple intrupted sections   IMG_7047.JPGIMG_7061.JPGIMG_7064.JPG

 

The bars ended up only about 3/8th square and rather rough I wasnt going to weld everything at once and did the blade in several stages. At this point I had about 4 lbs of steel and started off with about 11 there was a ton of scale and slag all over the shop!

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Edited by MLenaghan
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Now for some reason I never got any pictures of the edge steel getting welded on, but the bars flared out with a larger amount of material around the core so that once it was welded together and drawn out the core steel would have some distance from the tip of the sword. Also at the point some of you will notice I'm not going for the classic viking or migration sword profile! I wanted a 6 bar sword(my favorite!) orishigane steel(favorite next to real bloom steel) and a bronze age leaf blade(my favorite) and some how make them all work together and fit the profile of Dave's design!

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Now once the scale was off I had to take a look to see if there would be a pattern and was shocked at the amount of contrast from steel that I thought would almost be the same! But the high carbon edge bars came out nice and dark, and the little bits added to the core show a slow twist! and this was only at 60 grit

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Now the part we all dread was the quench... I really want sure what to do or expect with the steel or like my last try and not harden at all so I went with hot oil at first it worked and with only minor warpage too (got in trouble from the wife with the fire ball but totally worth it)

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Edited by MLenaghan
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Up to the point of the forged blade was 20 hours at the forge, now onto the boring part of grinding a polishing... it would be so nice to hand this off to another craftsmen at this point! But the sword has really come alive, what started at 11 lbs is now less then 2 and is a joy to swing around! Also Daves awesome Design has me really excited to get to work on it!

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well this is the handle and currently where I'm at in the project, there will be a mix of antler, black walnut and bronze used. As excited as I am at this point there is a need to slow down and make sure the rest of the design is well thought out as the carving is going to be challenging!

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Dude!  This is epic!  I see a serious smoke cloud on the northern horizon...

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Oh man, this is shaping up to be great.  Thanks for sharing the process Michael!

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This kept me reading, wow work will continue following this post !

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Wow, I had to pick my jaw up off the keyboard to type this.  Awesome build.  Thanks for documenting it so well!

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Amazing work so far. Can't wait to see that blade polished up! 

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I was seriously wondering where this project went.......I am so glad this has resurfaced. I am also really digging that hot-box sword forge/heat treating thingy you have there. Any chance we could get a few more photos of that? I'm intrigued by the simplicity of the design. How is it heated?

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This looks awesome! I've always wanted to try one of these, thanks for the walk-through.

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Super cool work, way to go with the hearth steel and successful quench!

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Catching up after a week away. Awesomeness B)

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Wow, coming along very well!

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I bet you got some unique smudge marks on your ceiling!! 

Are you going to stabilize the antler. My concern would be that it would be brittle in its present state but, I may be talking out of turn here as I have never used a piece for such a use! The pith or core of the antler caught my eye in this pic. Never would take it upon my self to give advice on swords and I have never attempted one! I have been told that Moose antler has no pith but, can't confirm that as I have never used Moose antler. 

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Hope you don't mind a few questions as these kind of builds always get my Adrenalin running and then my inquisitive side kicks in, and I re-vert to the young child that asks why!! I have a two year old grandson and some days he about drives me crazy with why!!

Love how this is coming. So I got to ask the question I don't ever think I have heard asked! What drives someone like you to make a sword like this? Is it just something inside that feels like it has to get out?? Or is it a custom build for a client??

Edited by C Craft

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Thanks a lot everyone!!!

Current state is just polishing everything up and refining the handle to a point of carving. Also plans for making a disc style pommel means I need more metal then what I have so the plans to make a bronze/silver alloy but having broke my last crucible last night and waiting for 2 new ones to dry out before firing them.

 

 

 

On 10/1/2017 at 11:25 PM, Joshua States said:

I was seriously wondering where this project went.......I am so glad this has resurfaced. I am also really digging that hot-box sword forge/heat treating thingy you have there. Any chance we could get a few more photos of that? I'm intrigued by the simplicity of the design. How is it heated?

Hi Joshua, it's a sword heat treating kiln I had a local pottery place make for me years ago. No different then any other electric kiln except it's 6" x 6" x 48" and has a digital controller that holds within +/- 5 degrees at 1500f and doubles as a tempering oven once it cools down. it would have been nice to be able to hang blades rather then lay them down to prevent some warpage but been able to work out a system that seems to work for me!

 

21 hours ago, C Craft said:

Are you going to stabilize the antler. My concern would be that it would be brittle in its present state but, I may be talking out of turn here as I have never used a piece for such a use! The pith or core of the antler caught my eye in this pic. Never would take it upon my self to give advice on swords and I have never attempted one! I have been told that Moose antler has no pith but, can't confirm that as I have never used Moose antler.

Hope you don't mind a few questions as these kind of builds always get my Adrenalin running and then my inquisitive side kicks in, and I re-vert to the young child that asks why!! I have a two year old grandson and some days he about drives me crazy with why!!

Love how this is coming. So I got to ask the question I don't ever think I have heard asked! What drives someone like you to make a sword like this? Is it just something inside that feels like it has to get out?? Or is it a custom build for a client??

  The antler is nice piece of elk and 95% solid, I think the pictures are showing really rough grinding marks... also I have a sword with the entire grips antler and it's held up really well even after grinding pretty thin, then again with my luck it will fall over and break in half :ph34r:

 

As for the why? haha not sure I can really answer that! my wife says I cant sit still or relax... and bladesmithing has always been a great creative outlet for me... and I've always kept it a hobby and tried to avoid selling blades as it adds stress to something that I use to fight my stress! Also means I can have complete control of my project without having to worry about other input, unless it's wanted of course. As to why blades like this well I love historical swords, and making copies of some have taught me a great deal about the design, construction and overall feel of a sword it's still more or less following a blueprint. My day jobs is a custom TIG welder but most days I'm still following someone else design... a sword like this one is a open idea in the sense If Dave used this design, I'm sure the sword would look very different! If 10 smiths made this sword you'd have 10 different blades. but honestly I suck with words for this stuff, if we ever meet in person it's something I'd love to discuss around a camp fire and some cold dark beer! 

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