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Gladius Hilt WIP


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Got the gladius forged yesterday, came out with a 21 inch blade, a bit longer then planned, but I'm rolling with it. I spent part of today cleaning it up. Its bulky yet, still needs lots of clean up b

Of course not.  You need a refractory like Plaster of Paris.  

A little JB Weld and it'll be good as new!   (note to all: This is not true. )

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:lol:

 

Thanks. I appreciate it. Hopefully it comes out of the quench no more banana shaped then it currently is! 

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16 minutes ago, jake cleland said:

be aware that the oil will expand rapidly when you quench, and with such a narrow tube, it can easily start pouring over the top, which is not a lot of fun when it's on fire...

 

Yep.  I have a 2" tube quench tank, and it can do this.  Just be sure to leave about 6-8 inches of space up top and you'll be fine.  But wear a glove if your hand will be directly above the opening, those flames can shoot up surprisingly far.  

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Jake, I planned for that. But thanks for the reminder. 

 

Alan, I usually wear a glove even when quenching into my ammo can tank, fire is hot, and accidental movement due to pain at such a critical moment is less then ideal lol. Again, thanks for the reminder. 

 

I thought about trying to calculate the volume of the sword, and figuring out its displacement, but I just decided to leave the oil about 8 inches from the top. That leaves 32 cubic inches to the top of the tank, I dont imagine a sword will displace nearly that much, and the expansion of the oil should be within that as well. 

 

 

Edited by Will Wilcox
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  • 3 weeks later...

Unfortunately the HT is being postponed until I get a nice day where I can dig a trench forge. Winter in Upstate NY is brutal sometimes. 

 

I think I may be abandoning the idea of a bone handle. I've cleaned multiple pieces of bone lately, and I just cant find one that I'm satisfied with. They are either too small, too big, too much curve, odd contours, etc. And all of them, the marrow cavity is so large, the grip would be 70% epoxy, and by extension the walls are so thin that I cant do the grooves like I planned. I'm frustrated with bone, and all of this together, I think I've talked myself out of using it on this hilt. 

 

So now I'm back to square one. I have some Bhilwara that I could use, but it's not very pretty. Kind of plain. I was thinking about ordering some bloodwood or redheart perhaps. The silver, bronze, black from the ebony, and red grip would look good, I think. I also considered some curly maple (birdseye, perhaps?) but I dont think the maple would look good with the bronze spacers. Could switch to silver spacers, I guess. 

 

Thoughts?

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I got the guard made today for the gladius, out of ebony. It is roughly shaped. It's kind of tricky to get all the radii correct, since its flat against the shoulders, and then rounded in all directions and axes down to the tang. Between the curves in the blade making for a complex grind, the guard and pommel having complex geometries, etc. I can confidently say that gladii are more elaborate then I originally imagined. I'm really enjoying it so far. There is a certain beauty to them that I'm starting to appreciate. 

 

 

20191215_150209.jpg

 

 

I also cut a piece of bhilwara and slotted it to fit the tang. Didn't get a pic, but there isn't much to see. I'm going to try it for the handle, and see if I like it, or if it's too plain. 

 

More to come! Hopefully I can get this thing HTed sometime soon, I dont want to do too much hilt work before HT, but I cant help myself! :lol:

 

Edited by Will Wilcox
Grammar
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Changed the title to a WIP, seeing as how I'm basically doing one.

 

I got the bhilwara sanded round and roughly grooved on the grinder. 220 awaits, then hand sanding. The hilt is coming together nicely. I'll need to flatten where the guard and handle meet.

 

20191216_132931.jpg

 

As I cut into the bhilwara, some nice figuring emerged, so it looks far less plain now. I like it, and I'm going to move forward with it. 

 

I found this piece of water buffalo horn in my materials box. I'm thinking about cutting the handle and inserting this horn as the middle rib of the handle. 

 

 

20191216_135124.jpg

 

I think I'm going to switch the handle spacers to brass, for contrast. The central horn piece, im also thinking about putting thinner brass spacers in between it and the bhilwara on each side. I will keep the silver on the guard and pommel, however. This is getting intricate. I'm loving it! :D

 

As you can see, I dont have enough tang. I'm going to TIG weld an extension out of round stock. 

 

Let me know what you think of the ideas, input is really appreciated. 

 

 

Edited by Will Wilcox
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I like the idea, but be careful you don't go overboard with the brass.  The Romans liked their bling, but I have found it to be a pain to finish thin brass on edge up against horn or wood.  It wants to smear, overheat, or gouge out around it if you use power tools.  Hand tools can be okay, but if the bhilwara has open pores of any size they'll load up with greenish brass powder during final sanding that can't be removed.  

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Interesting, thanks Alan. I dont work with brass much, so I dont really know a whole lot about working it. I was thinking color schemes more then anything, but if it's going to cause problems, I'll reconsider. 

 

Bhilwara does have open pores. So that's kind of a concern. Maybe I'll just go with silver all the way across the hilt! Because like you said: 

 

16 minutes ago, Alan Longmire said:

The Romans liked their bling

 

 

 

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So the handle has been cut, the horn slotted and inserted, the tang extension welded on, and the pommel sanded and fitted. The pommel is more ovular than spherical, but I think it looks decent. Now I just need to get all the silver pieces made, which I may wait to do that until after HTing. 

 

I still need to flatten where the guard meets the handle. 

 

Everything is rough yet, I'm waiting until after the glue up to finish everything. 

 

So far I like the color schemes. The bhilwara should darken nicely once I oil it.

 

A word to the wise: when welding a piece of mild to a high carbon tang, run several normalization cycles around the weld. Otherwise the area around the weld seems to become brittle and prone to breaking. After 3 normalization cycles, its strong, I cant break it with my hands. 

 

Let me know what you think so far.

 

 

 

20191218_132849.jpg

 

20191218_132925.jpg

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Looks great Will. I like the colours (how we spell it in Australia) too.

 

I can not even imagine snow!  I just walk out my door and I am soaking wet with sweat at the moment.

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3 hours ago, Rob Toneguzzo said:

 

I can not even imagine snow!  I just walk out my door and I am soaking wet with sweat at the moment.

 

I almost think I would trade you at this point! I had -6° F (-21 C) the other night. Been averaging around 15° F (-9° C) during the day. I have a furnace in the shop, but at those temps, it's still cold out there.

 

Thanks for the kind words, gentlemen. 

 

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It was a balmy 35° today, so I went for the heat treat.

 

And the gladius is born! Survived HT, but took on a decent warp. Nothing that cant be corrected. The warp is consistent, so it should come out pretty easily. But I think the center of the blade was slightly cooler than the shoulders and tip.

 

All in all, I'm pleased. This is my first sword HT, so I cant complain too much about a little warp. 

 

This picture was just after the quench, before tempering. I ran one tempering cycle, and I'm going to do another tomorrow and straighten the warp out. Might run a third if it needs it.

 

It skated a file after the quench. The tempering brought it back a bit, but a file doesnt touch it still. Hopefully after the second temper, a file will just barely bite, that's my non-scientific goal :lol:.

 

Not a great pic, but it gets dark early these days lol. 

 

 

20191223_161924.jpg

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I think I may make another pommel as well. I'm going back and forth in my head about it. Im just not sure if I like the ovular shape of the current one. Maybe I'll just try to fix this one but it's a bit small as is.

 

Thoughts?

 

 

Edited by Will Wilcox
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Congratulations!  :D  Your first sword HT is a milestone for sure.

 

And since you mentioned it, I'd make another pommel. Oval is fine, but it could stand to be both bigger and turned 90 degrees, with the long axis running crosswise tothe plane of the blade.

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Yes, congratulations mate well done.

 

 I have been undecided on things many times.

From my own experience it is much better to slow down at this stage and not settle with something you feel you could do better.
 

So go with your gut feelings and make a pommel you are happy with. 

 

Looking very forward to seeing your sword.

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Thank you, gentlemen! 

 

Alan, thanks for the advice. I will likely end up going that route, but I really was trying for a spherical pommel, it's just damn hard to sand a shape like that. 

 

Rob, thanks for the advice. I have to tell myself to slow down constantly. I have a tendency to move faster then I should, and regret it later. I'll turn my grinder down a bit and try for another pommel :)

 

 

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  • 7 months later...

Hey everyone! Havent posted in a while, nor have I worked on blades much lately. But things are settling down, and I managed to continue work on this project. 

 

I decided to use bronze fittings instead of silver, partially because of price, but mostly because I had lots of bronze on hand. 

 

Ive never melted bronze before, but the melting temp is similar enough to silver that I figured it wouldn't be a problem. So I melted a bunch this evening, and voila! Bronze cookie.

 

20200806_190246.jpg

 

 

It's about 2.400 inches in diameter, and about .375 inches thick (~61mm and ~9.5mm respectively.) Mostly silicon bronze, with some unknown scrap in there as well. It came out with a very nice gold color! I even filed a small part to make sure it wasn't just a surface color. 

 

Unfortunately, after the melt, my crucible sustained some damage. Not a big deal since it's an old one which has given me many uses. I believe it was from too rapid of cooling.

 

I should still be able to use it though, right?! :P

 

20200806_191245.jpg

 

 

This is going to be the guard, so i need to forge it into more of an oval, which should be interesting! It's almost to size though, shouldn't be too bad. It's pretty hefty too, so it should throw the balance towards the hilt more, which it needs. 

 

 

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16 hours ago, Will Wilcox said:

I should still be able to use it though, right?! :P

 

A little JB Weld and it'll be good as new! :lol:  (note to all: This is not true. ;))

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1 hour ago, Alan Longmire said:

 

A little JB Weld and it'll be good as new! :lol:  (note to all: This is not true. ;))

 

Of course not.  You need a refractory like Plaster of Paris.  ;)

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