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MichaelP

Steeled Edge Wrought

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I started to post this under WIP but I am venturing into uncharted territory and have some questions that qualify for the beginners section. I didn't start taking pictures until I started thinking of questions I wanted to ask so I don't have a photo of the two pieces being joined until after it was welded and drawn out. This started off as 1/2" square wrought and 1/2" x 3/16" 1095. The 1095 only extends the length of the edge, the tang is all wrought. Picture three shows the blade after rough grinding and a quick dip in vinegar to show how much steel is on the edge. The blade was normalized three times after forging. The edge steel accounts for less than a third of the total mass so my question is, will 140 degree canola oil be too fast? I have the "dime" thickness left at the edge and a hair over 3/16ths at the spine with a full flat grind. I'm wondering if that small triangular section of 1095 is going to curl up like a witch doctors fingernail when I go into the oil. If so the next one will be beefier but if anyone has any tips for where to proceed with this one on the quench it would be appreciated! This went smooth in one welding heat and was drawn out very close to welding heat so burn out shouldn't account for more than a few points but I have no idea how much carbon migration will affect the properties of the two materials:huh: Thanks in advance!

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The canola should be fine.  If the 1095 doesn't harden, then move to warm brine.  It's not going to move in the canola, in brine you may get some positive sori (upward curve).  

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Thank you Alan. I was so excited about the grain in the wrought when I started this that I didn't consider this will actually be the smallest piece of 1095 I've ever hardened. You guys who do the beautiful multi bar construction have inspired me in a big way. Everything about this little knife is experimental for me but I hope it's just the beginning! I've been laying awake nights thinking about those broad seaxes? seax? seaxs? seaxi? Huh, now I wonder what the plural for seax is.

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With the Anglo-Saxon seax spelling it is both singular and plural, unless it isn't, depending on the literacy of the author.  With the continental sax spelling it's the same.  We're trying to guess 1200-year old grammar, and that rarely works out well.  :lol:

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Looking good man!

Careful not to get hooked! It's worse than any drug I've come across! 

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13 hours ago, Zeb Camper said:

Looking good man!

Careful not to get hooked! It's worse than any drug I've come across! 

Thank You.

When I go down a rabbit hole I don't stop digging till I come out the other side. Many years ago it was archery. I started with what was at the time the most modern compound bow designs and worked my way backwards all the way to one piece self bows with turtle skin strings, bamboo shafts, turkey fletching, sinew, hide glue, knapped points etc. I have my sights set on a particular broad seax I want to make but I have more research and some practical questions I need answers for before I begin that project. I have good historic records for where my current stockpile of wrought came from because I know the restoration project it was harvested from. My plan is to use all locally sourced materials so that means whitetail bone, antler and hide. I brain tan so no worries there but whitetail hide has its limitations. We have wild hogs here but they are an introduced species and not "authentic" to the region so I'll probably stick with deer, fox, raccoon or beaver. For suitable woods we have white and red oak, shagbark hickory, some mulberry and osage. aka "bois de arc". Cutlers resin shouldn't be a worry in the middle of a pine forest. My fist two things to research are, finding out whether any broad seax sheaths were ever constructed of a leather wrapped wood core, and finding out if its going to be possible to smelt copper from locally sourced material. I have strong doubts about tin but copper may be within reach. Today I'm going to be making a scraper to cut parallel grooves into the wrought and HT ing test blade number one. I almost have enough coffee in my system to face the cold so I'm off!

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Sweet dude!

I don't know if You've got maple where you are, but in my experience it is the toughest and easiest to burn a tang into. It does dent easier than harder hard woods, but won't crack as easy. 

Hemlock is one of the traditional tanning woods that is supposed to make very very fine leather, however hemlock is endangered where I am and soaking it in the hemlock tea and treating and stretching/ boarding takes almost a year before the leather is done. Not sure if oak works as well. How does the brain tan work? Care to do a WIP on it? 

When doing local stuff, remember that bovine leather (or other livestock) would have been used for sax sheaths probably more than wild game. Gives you thicker material to work with too. 

I guess you know the cutler's resin recipe, so i wont bore you! 

I see that you're after bronze making material. Let me know how that goes! You can likely make a crucible out of clay. I hear a graphite crucible is the best. 

I saw some of the guys on Facebook talking about a high likelihood of guided scrapers used on saxes due to how perfectly they follow the ridge of the spine. 

You just jumped into one rabbit hole that has no bottom!!! 

Edited by Zeb Camper

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   Good to know about the bovine leather! I made the assumption that they would have had access to large predators like bear that provided thicker material but bovine makes more sense. I have a friend who is a chef who raises his own wagyu beef but I don't want any part of tanning cow hide! If veg tanned cowhide ticks the box for authenticity I would be willing to compromise and outsource that. I've never done the tree bark tanning but brain tanning is as simple as it gets. Every mammal has enough brains to tan its own hide. We put the brains in freezer bags to save until the hides are completely scraped and stretched. When all the meat is gone you just boil the brains in water and paint the "soup" on the flesh side of the hide. Whatever is in the brains "sets" the hair and stops the hide from shedding. After they dry they have a stiff temper. Working them back and forth over a smooth radius will soften them. Simple but labor intensive in the extreme! Scraping hides is a lot of work on fox and beaver, a whole lot of work on a deer cape and I don't even want to know on cow hide!

   The whole point of this for me is a sort of penance for all the crude little broken back knives I made over the years and called seax. Until I found this site my best research came from attending ren fairs and watching Viking movies on the dummy box. This place has been a real eye opener and I really want to get one right. Who am I kidding, I want to get a bunch of them right but I need one first. I have no experience with making or working with blister or shear steels but I have iron, charcoal, clay and time;)

   Your mention of clay crucibles vs graphite raises another point for me. It is hard, if not impossible to remove yourself completely from the modern world. My tools are all made of materials the Vikings couldn't have dreamed of. Even the tooling I have available to make guided edge scrapers mean that if I can visualize something I can bring it into being within a few hours. I've deluded myself into believing that my drawer full of Grobet files is a testament to how "Old School" I've been doing it.  How much more challenging must it have been when they had to make the tools to make the tools. And in the end, could I create something as complex as they did with only what they had to work with? My brain is still rattling from the concept of building up a blade instead of drawing one out and every day I read more and shatter more of my misconceptions! Baby steps, first things first. This little knife I started yesterday isn't meant to be authentic, but rather a test platform for some new "to me" ways of building a blade.

 

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Been there, done that, and I predict you'll get there just fine.  B)  Of course, there is no other side to this particular rabbit hole.  :ph34r:

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   OK, yesterday morning on the way to the shop I got sidetracked and ended up playing arborist for the day. My dad, who should be enjoying his golden years with a glass of Scotch and a warm fire continues to work circles around men one quarter his age. He's been felling timber for several weeks to add a second drive onto his property and he hade a couple of Southern Yellow Pines topping 130' that had a decided lean in the wrong direction for a one man drop. Long story short, I spent the day rigging block and tackle, felling and sectioning two BIG pine trees.

   Meanwhile, back at the shop....This morning I got started on my next experiment with cutting parallel lines. My little grooving tool is as basic as they get. I ground points onto some smallish hex wrenches to use as the graver and slightly modified my center scribe to suit the task. The parallel lines are a snap but when it comes to following a curve I'm thinking about using washers as spacer blocks instead of the straight edge. My test cuts are on mild and I don't know how the wrought will cut yet. The channels are full of chatter but I'm attributing that to the imprecision of the rake angles on my hand ground cutters.

   I have company coming over tomorrow but hopefully Monday I'll get back to moving forward with this.

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   This is where I got to today. The blade is hardened and tempered and the groves cut. This was my first time using a guided edge scraper and here's what I learned. If the parallel lines were going to run straight out the point end as in some of the broken back sax types it would be a snap to do. The way these lines meet at a point following the profile of the point is tricky. At least it was tricky for me and the tool I made to do it. It's unforgiving and these lines are far from perfect. Still, I'm encouraged that it can be done. I can't imagine putting in the work on a complex pattern weld and then losing control of the scraper and having it run wild (that happened a couple of times on the tang end. Now that I'm looking at the photos I took I realize I didn't flip the blade between photos but the lines turned out about the same on both sides. As I move forward fitting the handle I'll be sure to add photos of both sides of the blade.

   I literally have too many irons in the fire! I'm not sure what I'll be doing tomorrow but before the week is out I'll try to have an update on this and my KITH project. Happy forging!

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Thanks Alan. I don't have a proper etch on it yet but from what I can see this is some really fine grained wrought. Very few inclusions and the ones I can see are tiny. It has a beautiful grain but its very tight. I wonder if this stuff would be a better candidate for making blister?

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Day-um.  That is a pretty impressive groove you have scraped in there.  I've been scared to try that process so far...

Edited by Brian Dougherty

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Thanks Brian! I would be scared to try it now on something I had 50 or so hours in but I started out with this one wanting to try some things I haven't done before. I'm pretty happy with the blade but I may end up cursing before I'm done with the handle. Tomorrow I plan to forge and grind some simple wood carving tools and start some test carving in preparation for the handle.

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And this is in "beginner's place" :rolleyes: pffft! Someone's being modest. 

Luck on the handle! Remember to remove most of the wood before you burn the tang in. Like I said, oak will try to split on you. Ash ain't much better. Maple is where it's at; the only wood I think I'll use until knowledge of better comes along. Don't make a stubby handle either! 

Holler at me if you need any advice! I'll be checking in!

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20 hours ago, Zeb Camper said:

 

Holler at me if you need any advice! I'll be checking in!

Thanks Zeb! I need advice on pretty much everything with this build! It's not meant to be historically accurate but if several things I've never done before go well my next piece will be a long tang, short broad seax. This little blade is 15cm and I'm planning to make the handle 10cm to 13cm. What I'm wondering about is whether or not to put a pommel with a peen block on it or just do a hidden tang.  I made a couple of small chisels today and I'm going to do some practice carving on poplar because I have a bunch. I'll be checking with one of my knife maker friends to see what woods he has on hand but I may end up sending off for maple.

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I believe with the size of the blade I would make it a hidden tang. This style has had pommels and bolsters, but typically on larger blades. Your handle length seems about right.

This is just historical insight. Also there is no need for added weight on a blade of this size. 

Good luck man! 

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