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Hey guys! Matthew Berry and I just wrapped up a project we've been working on together for a while so we thought we would share it here! This has been a project we have swapped back and forth a few times and though some of you have seen it already I hope you al enjoy :)

 

This project starts as most do, with a billet, or three. The blade is made of three twisted bars of 1084 and 15n20 with an edge wrap of 800 layers of the same materials. It weighs in at about a pound and a half. The blade is 30 3/4 inches long and has a fuller running almost its entire length on both sides. 

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Rough forged blank ready for beveling and fullering. 

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This photo reminds me a lot of burial swords with the patterns preserved in fire scale. 

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I do all my fuller grinding for double edged swords free hand on a six inch wheel. I can get very thin blades with appropriate dimensions both in fuller depth and width with this wheel though I have considered getting a larger wheel (and a new belt grinder for that matter). This is the fuller being roughed in after forging. You can see flatter spots near the top of the photo and the more defined rounds in the center near the light bright spot.  

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And finished and ready for heat treat! My only trick for grinding these is you are your own jig, you have to be able to use your body in a controlled manner and try not to sneeze!  

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The fire scale revealing the pattern in the blade during normalizing. 

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And heat treated! The blade came out almost dead straight and I was able to do some small tweaks during the superplastic stage, so no need for temper straightening. 

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Back to grinding, I promise this will get more interesting once Matt chimes in, but for now it's just grinder pics, which are some of my least favorite. 

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Grinding through decarb...

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And finish ground to 400! 

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Here is the blade ready for hand sanding.  

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And polished with a super light etch for the time being. 

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At this point Matt came over and picked the blade up to do his magic. Stay tuned!

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Looking forward to this!  I just hope the name was not earned honestly...:lol:

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So Emilliano had this blade he wasn't sure what to do with, and i had this set of wax fittings I'd been carving for a while as a side project, and Ashoken was 2 weeks away...

The fittings started out as an attempt to reproduce these Z type fittings:340021.jpeg

For those of you who have Fedir Androshchuk's book Viking Swords, this is sword Dr12.

Roughing in the parts:

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and the basic shapes finished:IMG_2274.JPG

That was a crap load of work and I was getting ideas beyond reproducing the original, so at this point I made silicone rubber molds of the parts so I could take them in different directions.  I like carving wax, so I decided to just kinda take off in a Urnes direction and carve up one set with intertwining serpents.IMG_2832.JPG

You'll notice that the pommel pictured here is not the one on the sword.  I carved it, but to my mind it wasn't working with the other parts the way I wanted.  It was right about here that Emiliano and i decide to create Fingrbitr, so I had my work cut out for me.

This is the pommel we ended up using, prepped for it's silicone mold.

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I could have cast the original carvings, but that can be risky and I thought i might want to use this set again so I made molds. 

The waxes are then fit to the blade.  You don't have to do this, but it cuts way down on  the fitting work when they are bronze.

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The bronzes were cast from the copies:

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Once cast there is a decent amount of clean-up to do - cutting sprues, removing bubbles, etc.

Then it's back to fitting the parts to the sword again.  Fitting them in the wax means that all I really have to do is some filing to account for the 2% shrinkage of the bronze.

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unfortunately I didn't take pictures of the handle process. Basically it's 20ga wire wrapped around a fitted wooden core with bands on the end to hold the wire on.  I did smear the core with acraglas before winding, so it shouldn't move.  After doing this core I'd recommend thinner wire for wrapping.  20 ga is very hard to work with even dead soft.  I'm going to drop to 24ga for the next one, and looking at the few originals I think their wire might even have been thinner.

So the friday of Askhoken this is where we were at 9:00am. 

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Our mission?  Get the damn thing put together quick enough that we wouldn't miss dinner.  This is when Fingrbitr really earned its name...

T

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Wow! It looks great! Both blade and fittings. I had always loved this type. And...  currently I'm working on interpretation of exactly same exemplar. :lol: My doesn't look so representative as yours.

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I saw the completed project on FB, but I am super excited to see the WIP.  Beautiful and elegant work gentlemen!

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You guys absolutely slay me. Here I am at work on my lunch break and I'm calling my coworkers to come and look at this. This one could get me a written reprimand.......

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Yeah guys, what them other dudes said already ...............:D

Edited by Clifford Brewer

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Excellent work gentlemen. I love the serpent design on the pommel and guard. Also can’t wait to see the finished photos. So, who’s fingers got bit?

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6 hours ago, Charles du Preez said:

So, who’s fingers got bit?

I think it refers to biting of the fingernails trying to complete it in time to meet the dinner bell........

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On 2/23/2018 at 11:04 AM, MatthewBerry said:

 

 

I have some questions posed below the pictures of the pictures of this magnificent collaboration between the two of you!!

 

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On 2/23/2018 at 11:04 AM, MatthewBerry said:

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So I have to ask. How do take the cast piece from this to,...............

To this finished state below???? How do go about the clean-up and polishing without washing out the details??

On 2/23/2018 at 11:04 AM, MatthewBerry said:

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I have never tried any wax casting but it has always fascinated me. So then I am scrolling down through the pics and they go from the finished casting to the cleaned and polished fitting. Then it strikes me, and I have to ask the questions of how and how many hours does just the clean-up take!! I would love to see a detailed explanation on the "Lost art of wax casting"! Something a laymen myself might understand. 

Both of your work on this piece, is fascinating! Love watching this one come to life. Keep up the great work!! 

 

Edited by C Craft
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... maybe a drum with a tiny grade sand rotating like a concrete mixer...? :lol:

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2 hours ago, C Craft said:

I would love to see a detailed explanation on the "Lost art of wax casting"! Something a laymen myself might understand. 

A detailed explanation would be a book, and I don't know enough yet to write it.  But I did post a basic explanation of casting on my blog a while back: http://hopkinsforge.blogspot.com/2016/05/lost-wax-casting-dragon-head.html

How do you get from the rough casting to the finished state?  I don't have any pictures of that, but here's an outline:

1) a wire hand brush and a bucket of water - get all the plaster off.

2) if you have a lot of firescale (the dark gray in the picture), pickle it -> soak it in sodium bisulfate (pH down from the pool store) for a couple hours.  If you warm it in a crock pot it goes faster.

3) cut the sprues off.  I used a sawzall for the big sprues on these parts.  Abrasive cutting disks, clippers, jewelers saw and anything else that works is fair game.  I used a die grinder with a carbide bit to eat down that big sprue inside the pommel.

4) Now we get into what is called chasing - the art of blending in that area where the sprue was.  I start with a belt grinder, then go to files, sandpaper, etc.  Hammers, punches, and other stuff can be used.  Place your sprues where they won't show if at all possible.

5) the finish on the piece can be done many ways.  The big thing is to use an abrasive that yields a lot, like steel wool, scotchbrite, or my favorite - throw it in a tumbler with a fine abrasive media.  I'm also a big fan of those 3M Radial bristle discs (https://www.riogrande.com/product/3m-radial-bristle-discs-400-grit/332573gp). They will clean and shine the castings without removing detail.  It's also important to realize  that you aren't finishing it like you do a blade.  The waxes are hopefully quite smooth, so your are really cleaning it more that polishing it like we do blades.  You don't need to get every single nook and cranny because you're going to...

6) Patina the bronze.  Patinas area whole topic unto themselves.  I use stuff from here: https://www.sculptnouveau.com/Details.cfm?ProdID=34&category=6  I just dip the whoel thing in, turn it all dark brown.

7) polish off as much patina as you like.  If  you rub it with a coarse cloth you get a mostly dark finish that looks nicely old.  This sword I went over with a 400 grit bristle disk because i wanted a brighter, newer look.

I hope that helps.  There's just a whole lot of steps.  My cooking show style demo I've given a couple times runs a solid two hours with me going as fast as I can talk.

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Thanks everyone for the kind words! As for the name it happened during the rush to finish for Ashokan. Joshua I hope you didn't get in too much trouble :)

 

Here are some more photos. Starting with the day of Ashokan! The first thing I did that day was start working on cleaning the blade and etching it, which is where the trouble began. The blade was so sharp that I merely touched it when cleaning off oxides and it flayed one of my knuckles pretty good. Same thing happened to Matt later so it drew blood trice, on each of our fingers, hence the name! 

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Here are some photos of the fittings as finished before assembly. Matt's carving and casting work is really something, I admire the attention to detail and depth of his work quite a bit.

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Dry fit to the blade.  

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We peened the guard in place first, making sure it was seated properly and using a flattened chisel to move material. 

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Here Matt is mixing up the Acraglas for seating the elements because it gives us a longer work time. 

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Here Matt is peening the guard on to the tang before we peen the tang to the guard!

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And prepped and ready for peening. 

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Peen in progress (Also you can see my wound).

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Peened!

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And ready for the last bit of work!

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And done! Hard part was done, the next hard part was making it down there in time for happy hour... And we did! 

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Here you can get some scale for the piece, the blade is 30.25 inches long and the whole sword weighs around 2.5-3 pounds, so it feels quite substantial and powerful. 

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Okay so we went to Ashokan, showed off this sword and the Vehmaa sword a little, and then I came home with it to begin the scabbard. I decided to use poplar slats covered in linen and leather for the scabbard, leaving room for Matt to work his magic with the bronze pieces. I made the slider out of ash. 

 

I cut the slats about 1mm oversized to accommodate the blade snugly but not too snugly. 

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I used the linen and glue to actually curve the wood. This is an interesting process because with the application of glue and subsequent expansion of the wood on that side, the board warped in a controlled manner. I have not tried this with a lined sheath but I believe it would work with some careful planning.

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I used a bit of an odd method to do the mouth, I pretty much wrapped the linen inside and out to a certain depth with some tricky glue work and some help from my girlfriends steady hands. 

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I use tape and glue to help me get a clean line for the linen to adhere to. 

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Both sides glued.

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And rough trimmed!

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At this point I used some rectangular cross section leather lace to make risers on the scabbard and then chose my leather for the wrap. 

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Here you can see the subtlety of the imprint in the leather. 

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Edited by Emiliano Carrillo
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I'm at a loss for words, this is exceptional work, my hat's off to both of you.

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On 2/24/2018 at 3:17 PM, MatthewBerry said:

A detailed explanation would be a book, and I don't know enough yet to write it.  But I did post a basic explanation of casting on my blog a while back: http://hopkinsforge.blogspot.com/2016/05/lost-wax-casting-dragon-head.html

Matthew thanks for the short version and the link to a longer explanation of the process. I may not know how to do it but the work speaks for itself and I can only imagine the hours of work put into this sword by you and Emiliano. The two of you are truly craftsmen at your trade!! 

 

 

 

Edited by C Craft

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Thanks guys!  Glad you like it.  Here's the last part:

The chape and locket were cast by the same process as the handle parts:

First I made a thin wax as the base

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then I added more wax on top by melting it.  This is not normally how I go about it, but the design had a lot of flat background so I decided it would be easier to add wax on instead of carving down to the background.

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The back piece was pretty much the same, but with no design added.  For the chape the design was dense enough that I went with my normal procedure of carving down to the background, then shaping what sticks up.

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the assembled halves of the locket ready to cast:

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And  the final results:

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We definitely learned a lot making this one.  

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Wow guys.  I'm at a loss to say anything that comes close to how impressed I am.  It is beautiful work, and you both should be incredibly proud of yourselves.

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This is great! Reminds me of some of Jake Powning's work . . . which is something I hope someone says about my work some day! LOL

Really, really nice job guys!!

So, I have a question for Matthew: In the casting of the guard, I see what appears to be a white sprue attached to the main red sprue onto which the carved wax had been mounted. Also, the white sprue tube seems to be attached to the tip of the guard to be cast with a small metal tube.

Can you explain what's going on here? I've done enough bronze casting that I'm just at that dangerous "I think I know what I'm doing . . ." phase.  

Thanks.

Dave

 

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20 minutes ago, Dave Stephens said:

So, I have a question for Matthew: In the casting of the guard, I see what appears to be a white sprue attached to the main red sprue onto which the carved wax had been mounted. Also, the white sprue tube seems to be attached to the tip of the guard to be cast with a small metal tube.

Can you explain what's going on here? I've done enough bronze casting that I'm just at that dangerous "I think I know what I'm doing . . ." phase.  

Thanks.

Dave

 

LOL! I just spent a few minutes staring at that photo. It was the cord to his soldering iron. Just an illusion of the photo. 

Man . . .okay, that was a weird mental trip. I'm thinking things like: "Okay, that seems to be an air vent . . .but I've never seen white wax sprue before . . . and is that some kind of special metal that just burns off like wax? . . . "

So, to paraphrase Han Solo after the Storm Troopers turned around and faced his charge . . . "Um, nevermind . . ."

Grins,

Dave

 

 

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Ha ha! I had a chuckle imagining you mumbling through that thought process. 

This looks great guys! As always I'm impressed. 

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45 minutes ago, Dave Stephens said:

It was the cord to his soldering iron. Just an illusion of the photo

I'm glad you figured it out, because I was too dumbfounded by the whole thing to even contemplate what I was looking at! I am definitely going to need a bigger shop.........:blink:

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