• Announcements

    • Alan Longmire

      IMPORTANT Registration rules   02/12/2017

      Use your real name or you will NOT get in.  No aliases or nicknames, no numerals in your name. Do not use the words knives, blades, swords, forge, smith (unless that is your name of course) etc. We are all bladesmiths and knifemakers here.  If you feel you need an exception or are having difficulty registering, send a personal email to the forum registrar here.  
Gary Mulkey

WIP--Southwest Bowie w/ forged D-Guard

22 posts in this topic

There seems to be an interest in my WIP posts so here's what I'm currently working on:

Recently I've been inspired by the work of a couple of  ABS Masters who  have been doing some exceptional forging of handle fittings so I spent the night designing what I believe to be something new.  I should qualify my statement in that there were some 19th century swords with a hilt similar to what I  have designed but made with multiple pieces  of either sheet  metal or bar stock.  I decided to attempt forging a similar D-Guard from a  single piece  of  Damascus.  This may be my most ambitious forging project but that's where the fun starts.

Here's a crude drawing of what I'm about  to  attempt:

IMG_6157_opt

For the D-Guard (the darkened area on the hilt) I plan on using a "W" pattern Damascus.  I'm going to have to do multiple stages of forging and then grinding to get what I'm after here.

The blade for  this one will need  to be somewhat large to balance all of  the metal  that will be in the guard so  I'm  going  with a  large Southwest style Bowie, probably around a 11-12" blade.  Here's how I started making  the  steel  for  it  today.  This is a combination of 1080 & 15N20 with a  couple of  extra  thick layers blended in with the others.

IMG_6150_opt

 Cut & stacked to 63 layers:

IMG_6153_opt

Once welded I did a "W" squeeze on it & cut & stacked it.  I did this twice giving me a 63 x 16 layer "W".

IMG_6156_optIMG_6158_opt

Once the billet is  out  of the annealing oven, I will  do an accordion cut on it.  Hopefully, I'll  have an interesting  pattern for this Bowie.

I'll try to keep you updated as I  go on this one.

Gary

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Day two:

IMG_6162_optIMG_6164_optIMG_6168_optIMG_6171_opt

If there seems like there is a  lot of waste in making this pattern, there is but not as much as you would think as I will use the drop  off wedges in the next can or canoe mosaic that I make.

Edited by Gary Mulkey
2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The accordion cut thing is something I'd like to try soon.  I'm eager to see what the pattern looks like...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I got a first look at  the pattern in this  one today.  This  is  after a  rough  grind and quick etch.  The blade is  in the tempering  oven as  I post  this.

IMG_6202_opt

 

I started forging the D-Guard.  I decided to  use some stainless for  the guard.  I had a piece  of 304 that had  been laying around my shop for some time.  This is  the first  time that I've tried forging it but it seemed to  move easily enough.  Hopefully I'll get the guard  completed  tomorrow:

IMG_6182_optIMG_6209_opt

 

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This looks very interesting, thanks for posting the WIP.  I look forward to the whole project.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This guard is complicated enough that it's taking a good deal of  engineering to go  with the forging skills.  I love it!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your WIP threads are always great Gary. You do a fine job of photo-documenting your processes. I am always seeing a different way to do the same task from how I do it, and can see what differences show up in the results. 

As for those triangular cutoffs, I re-weld them back together into a new bar.........

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
53 minutes ago, Joshua States said:

 

As for those triangular cutoffs, I re-weld them back together into a new bar.........

I do  it in a can or canoe.  Is this the same for you?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, Gary Mulkey said:

I do  it in a can or canoe.  Is this the same for you?

 

I have not yet tried the can, it is still on the bucket list, working its way to the top. I assume the "canoe" is the same as the Hot-dog weld?

What I do is best explained in a drawing. Remember, I do not drill the holes or round the tops in the bar like you do. I make my accordion cuts with very sharp corners at the top and bottom. It makes for a more continuous pattern. The way you do it makes for a very discernible pattern change between areas. It's a very different effect. I like them both.

 

Accordian cut-off reweld.pdf

Edited by Joshua States

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, Joshua States said:

I have not yet tried the can, it is still on the bucket list, working its way to the top. I assume the "canoe" is the same as the Hot-dog weld?

What I do is best explained in a drawing. Remember, I do not drill the holes or round the tops in the bar like you do. I make my accordion cuts with very sharp corners at the top and bottom. It makes for a more continuous pattern. The way you do it makes for a very discernible pattern change between areas. It's a very different effect. I like them both.

 

Accordian cut-off reweld.pdf

I drill the holes  to leave a radius at the bottom of each cutout.  It reduces the stress on the steel when you straighten.  Rounding the tops helps blend the pattern.

 

A canoe is simply a can that loads from one side rather than one end.

Edited by Gary Mulkey

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I didn't get much shop time today as I had several errands to take care of but did manage to get the guard rough  forged.  After it cools, I need to surface grind a portion of it to a  flat surface before bending it.

IMG_6212_opt

There's  more material here than I need but I  now have  the lengths that I need so I'll probably grind the rest of  it to size.  (The soap  stone lines  on the anvil were my length gauges for various sections of the guard.)

Edited by Gary Mulkey
1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Change of direction.  I got  the integral D-guard shaped today and decided that it overpowered the blade so it's back to  the drawing board.  Hopefully I'll come up with another design tonight  that will match the blade better.

IMG_6228_opt

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looks like it just needs to be shorter to me. I guess it's too late for this one though. I know you'll pull it off  in the end. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, I'll kibbitz a bit and say that it would make a terrific Indo-Persian Bowie. IMSO.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really enjoy these WIP threads it show us new guys how you professionals can change a design without hesitation if it don't seem right. Usually just see the end product and think man I could never do that, not realizing how many changes may have occurred to the original design, Thanks Gary.  

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Jim Pierce said:

I really enjoy these WIP threads it show us new guys how you professionals can change a design without hesitation if it don't seem right. Usually just see the end product and think man I could never do that, not realizing how many changes may have occurred to the original design, Thanks Gary.  

I think that is a great point! The folks that successfully operate at that level have learned to know when to concentrate on the process and design and when to back off, take a breath and look at it and say "nope, it doesn't look/feel right" and change direction. Too often I have concentrated too hard on forcing my will on the project that I don't realize "it ain't right" until it's too late.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/15/2017 at 11:47 AM, Vern Wimmer said:

I think that is a great point! The folks that successfully operate at that level have learned to know when to concentrate on the process and design and when to back off, take a breath and look at it and say "nope, it doesn't look/feel right" and change direction. Too often I have concentrated too hard on forcing my will on the project that I don't realize "it ain't right" until it's too late.

Been there, done that and have a stack of failures to prove it.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I got D-Guard No.2 rough forged.  I still need to remove quite a bit of material but I like this one much better than my first.  The 10" blade now has an overall  length of  15".   As you can see, I left room for adding a fileworked spacer in front of the ironwood.  Probably a three pieced one.  Once I have all of the guard ground to size, I will bend the top part 90 degrees to lay on top of the ironwood and grind off flush in order to butt up against the handle spacer.  (The guard above the blade will be bent slightly forward after I get it ground to  shape.)

 

IMG_6247_opt

 

Edited by Gary Mulkey

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That is a lot of surfaces to all get to line up perfectly at the same time :)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Brian Dougherty said:

That is a lot of surfaces to all get to line up perfectly at the same time :)

 

That's where the fun begins.:D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now