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An alternative tempering method !!!


Martin Tiney

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I found this old video clip on YouTube today, while I was bored at lunch time ( I love the old pathe news reels, although I was young (!) When this film was made, I can't actually remember people talking like that!!) 

I thought that this method of tempering a blade was quite unique, but definitely not recommended to be tried at home :o

 

 

 

 

 

https://youtu.be/XtpMAUf65UQ

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I love those too.  Using a molten lead bath to temper was standard practice for things like swords, springs, and so on for years upon years.  Now they use low-temperature molten salts, even though lead at that temperature doesn't off-gas much if at all.  They also used to use molten lead to austenitize files and razors, and that's the temperature range where lead does produce fumes...:ph34r: As far as safety goes, what worried me more than the lead was the cloud of zinc fumes rising from the brass pour.  Then there was the sideways swishing about in whale oil during the quench...

 

I'd love to have one of that era Wilkinson swords, though.  And that forging roll.  I'd never have to worry about fullers again!  Oh, and that big stone wheel.  Gotta have one of those...

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I really can't see those production methods being used in a factory today! 

I would love to know if those machines are still in use today and if not what happend to them, although in my small shop none of them would fit!! 

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Very interesting video. I wish it didn't end so quickly. 

 

That crucible full of fuming brass is enough to send a shiver down your spine. I would be running for the hills if I saw that. 

 

That huge stone wheel is too freaking cool! I wonder what is powering it. Traditionally could have been a water wheel and line shaft, but I doubt it was that way in 1965. 

 

Bouncing the sword off that steel block had me a bit nervous too, I was expecting it to snap and send a sharp piece of steel flying. 

Edited by Will Wilcox
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4 minutes ago, Will Wilcox said:

Bouncing the sword off that steel block had me a bit nervous too, I was expecting it to snap and send a sharp piece of steel flying. 

 

Nope, the lead bath gave it the same temper as a leaf spring.  You could bend that blade around in a circle and it'd snap back straight.  And given that factory was in Acton, west London, I'd bet steam power or electric.  Not much water power in Acton!

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See, in the back of my head, I know the melting point of lead (roughly) and I know the sword is well tempered... but banging a sword against a steel rod has of way of making one clench :lol:.

 

I was thinking it was probably electric too. I bet it takes forever for that huge wheel to stop spinning, it's like a massive flywheel. 

 

I wonder what the radius of that wheel is. It looks large enough to make practically a flat grind. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 12/10/2019 at 7:03 PM, Will Wilcox said:

See, in the back of my head, I know the melting point of lead (roughly) and I know the sword is well tempered... but banging a sword against a steel rod has of way of making one clench :lol:.

 

I was thinking it was probably electric too. I bet it takes forever for that huge wheel to stop spinning, it's like a massive flywheel. 

 

I wonder what the radius of that wheel is. It looks large enough to make practically a flat grind. 

Back in the 18th and 19th century, the Gill firm used to strike iron musket barrels in addition to the bending and striking tests on a hardwood block. The motto they put on their swords, "Warranted never to fail" or simply "warranted" truly meant something in that firm.

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