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Collin Miller

Epona - a La Tène period Celtic sword

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I apologize again for my relative absence, I try to remember to post here but since I know so many of you outside the forum now, I tend to forget :wacko: I'm sure many of you have already read this and seen the pictures, but for my friends here who aren't on Facebook or Instagram, here you go :D

I've taken the time to focus on improving my knowledge and skills this past month of September, trying to achieve some things I've never been able to do before.

 

This started by spending an entire week in New Hampshire at Zack Jonas's shop as a student of the one and only Peter Johnsson. That week, I took a sip of knowledge from a fire hydrant of information. Peter was an insanely great teacher and was able to get some valuable ideas through even my thick skull, and I got to experience some things that will stick with me for the rest of my career, such as handling 2000+ year old swords, knives, and scabbards, staying up at night having philosophical discussions around a fire...

 

This has all been tied up into a bow with the completion of this sword. It's a British style middle La Tène era sword I've named Epona, after the Celtic goddess of horses, who undoubtedly would have been important to warfare and calvary. It's a happy coincidence that I chose the British style, since through a convoluted string of events, I recently discovered that pretty much all of my heritage comes from the British isles.

 

The blade is a lenticular cross section pattern welded blade, made from a mix of high carbon steel and old wrought iron in the core, and high layer Damascus edges forge welded to the softer core. The hilt is made from ancient bog oak graciously given to me by my good friends Dave Delagardelle and Tony Greenly, and the spacers are bronze in a stacked construction, just like the ancient British swords.

 

During the finishing phase of this project, I spent about as much time wearing an optiviser as I spent without one. I put more skill and attention to detail into this piece than I have on anything I've ever made, and I feel that it marks a new era in the quality of my work.

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Thanks for reading everyone! If you've read this far, thanks a lot! Let me know if you've got any questions, critiques, comments, etc! 

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Wow that is suberb! I'd say all the work with an optivisor paid off.

With all the awesome swords i'm seeing I think it is time for me to upgrade my ht furnace and give it a try myself 

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DUDE!!!

If you didn't already have the beard I'd nominate you again!  And yes, just being within ten feet of Peter makes you smarter. B)    Extremely well done!

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I'm in awe! I love this sword!

It is just beautiful! The pattern charms with its simplicity, so does the grip - that's what can touch the perfection. I hope one day I'll do some at simillar level :) Congratulations!

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Yeah, I can't really add anything clever or meaningful here, but a post like that certainly deserves another thumbs up.

Most impressive!

 

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I really love the construction/composition of this blade. The central core showing the straight on-edge laminations, with the swirling randomness of the edges and tip. I particularly like that the edge lamination at the tip is quite a bit wider than on the two side edges, it really sets it apart from many other blades.

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I agree with Dave - that is awesome and appropriate pattern welding. It seems like they take longer as you get better, but they are worth the wait. I am honestly impressed by the craftsmanship. I love the contrasting colors in the handle, too. Nice material choices. 

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Collin, that's incredible! Everything about it is in harmony, down to the wonderful textures showing in the bog oak. The fit between all of the handle components is impressive to say the least! Although beautiful in its own right, it looks like it wants to be wielded and worn beyond the simple guise of ornamentation. Wish I could see it in person!

 

John

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On 10/5/2018 at 7:05 AM, pieter-pauld said:

Wow that is suberb! I'd say all the work with an optivisor paid off.

With all the awesome swords i'm seeing I think it is time for me to upgrade my ht furnace and give it a try myself 

Thanks Do it man! Swords are a blast, the first few are pretty rough but it gets smoother after that.

On 10/5/2018 at 7:23 AM, Alan Longmire said:

DUDE!!!

If you didn't already have the beard I'd nominate you again!  And yes, just being within ten feet of Peter makes you smarter. B)    Extremely well done!

Thanks man! Gotta keep the beard burning nice and bright, wouldn't want it to fizzle out and yeah, all that time spent with Peter definitely altered my course for the better.

On 10/5/2018 at 8:18 AM, Kris Lipinski said:

I'm in awe! I love this sword!

It is just beautiful! The pattern charms with its simplicity, so does the grip - that's what can touch the perfection. I hope one day I'll do some at simillar level :) Congratulations!

Thanks! This piece was definitely an exercise in trying to perfect basic techniques. This philosophy reminds me of how in martial arts (say boxing, for example) there are guys who don't use fancy high level techniques, but they win fights because maybe they have an absolutely flawless jab. The fundamentals are fundamental for a reason

On 10/5/2018 at 11:50 AM, Brian Dougherty said:

Yeah, I can't really add anything clever or meaningful here, but a post like that certainly deserves another thumbs up.

Most impressive!

 

Thank you!

On 10/5/2018 at 12:15 PM, Clifford Brewer said:

Well done  !!

Thanks dude!

On 10/5/2018 at 12:28 PM, Marten Sitic said:

I really love the construction/composition of this blade. The central core showing the straight on-edge laminations, with the swirling randomness of the edges and tip. I particularly like that the edge lamination at the tip is quite a bit wider than on the two side edges, it really sets it apart from many other blades.


Appreciate it :D The edge bars are kind of a funny story, when I cut the bar down the center, I did so sloppily with a crappy angle grinder. As such, the bars on the edges had thick spots and thin spots, but when we heat treated it, the blade took a slight S curved Sabre leaving the high spots EXACTLY where the thick points in the edge bars were! After grinding straight, everything ended up pretty well centered and straight my theory is that when Peter quenched it, his magic touch automatically fixed the issue.

On 10/5/2018 at 3:28 PM, Zeb Camper said:

Congrats Collin! You make it look easy B)

Thanks! Didn't feel easy fiddling with little alignment pins and crap for hours on end, but as long as I look cool. That's the important thing in the end ^_^
 

21 hours ago, Dave Stephens said:

Oh! That's really nice! The PW is well-suited for this style of blade, I think.

Thanks man! The pattern was actually my attempt to capture the spirit of the pattern in an original blade. This one in particular (though this was a common pattern in the period) I went about it incorrectly come to find out, but I'm happy with the way it looks after all celticpattern.jpg

 

10 hours ago, Kevin (The Professor) said:

I agree with Dave - that is awesome and appropriate pattern welding. It seems like they take longer as you get better, but they are worth the wait. I am honestly impressed by the craftsmanship. I love the contrasting colors in the handle, too. Nice material choices. 

Thanks man! I think it takes longer and longer because I keep trying to do more complex patterns! Haha

8 hours ago, John Page said:

Collin, that's incredible! Everything about it is in harmony, down to the wonderful textures showing in the bog oak. The fit between all of the handle components is impressive to say the least! Although beautiful in its own right, it looks like it wants to be wielded and worn beyond the simple guise of ornamentation. Wish I could see it in person!

 

John

Thanks dude! It really does feel like the kind of blade that should be worn through an epic journey, the grip really locks your hand in comfortably as if it grips you back. And I wouldn't say it's out of the realm of possibility that you could handle this sword at some point! In fact, I'd be a bit surprised if we never crossed paths, so we'll see!

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My, see what I have missed after a long day of our first open forge for the year! 

From what I see that brass & black on the damascus is really soothing on the eye! Tough mark to follow. 

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