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Jacob Cashion

Raising the Bar: Short Sword WIP

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So, I like to bite off more than I can chew; it's one of the fastest ways for me to learn [by making opportunities for more mistakes], and a fresh challenge inspires me to work harder.  I'm still mastering some of my patterns for pattern welding, still working on fine tuning some of my work at the grinder, and very much over-involved in grad school, but to heck with it.  I'm going to make a sword, just to prove to myself that I can.  Let the upskilling commence!! 

 

This is going to be a single-handed, double edged short* sword [probably].  I started with a 12 inch section of salvaged leaf spring from a bundle a friend gave me [he found it while plowing near his barn, but there was LOTs of good material left once I got through the rust], picture below so you can see what shape it was in.  It was 3 inches wide, roughly 3/8 inch thick.

20200716_084429.jpg 

 

Ground off the rust, got it in the forge and got the tang mostly drawn out. I'll forge down a bit to thread for a pommel later on, right now I just want something my tongs can get a good grip on.

20200716_064830.jpg I'm not the one who scarred up the anvil's cutting table, it came to me that way.  The Peter Wright is my best friend, I'd never hit it with a chisel.

 

From here I got it hot and used a chisel to cut off the corners and make the tip easier to forge.  Forged the tip mostly to shape with a hand hammer. After that it was time to thank god for the foresight in investing in a press, and started drawing out the blade.  This is where I stopped for the day, 3.5 hours into the project, because it was 08:30 and the temperature in the workshop was already hitting 95 F.  Current dimensions of the blade are 21 inches x 2.5 inches x 3/16 inch thick.  Tomorrow I'll finish drawing it out, so it will be about 1/8 inch thick when I start grinding. 

20200716_083931.jpg

Edited by Jacob Cashion

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Just a suggestion, but if you're going for a Roman/Dwarvish/Hobbit-worthy short sword, I'd leave it at 3/16 or even thicker at the center of the blade.  Gladii are surprisingly stout for their size, usually a bit over 1/4" at the blade/tang junction.  That pulls the balance in nicely once the slight (if any) distal taper and bevels are forged and ground.  

 

I applaud your go-for-it-ness!  And do watch for heat stress in yourself, it's absolutely nasty heat/humidity wise here in the mid-south USA.  

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Thanks Alan, you always give good advice!  I admit I had some doubts about drawing it down further, but I haven't found any books [that I can currently afford] that discuss the relative dimensions of ancient weapons.  

I'm going for a sort of Roman-inspired shape, but the plan for right now, and it might be a mistake, is to fuller it for about two-thirds of its length. But then, learning is all about risking mistakes. 

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3 hours ago, Jacob Cashion said:

learning is all about risking mistakes. 

Indeed it is!  Go for it.  This is how we learn. B)

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yes, go get it. so to speak. Alan was correct regarding thickness. Forge to 3/8 and then grind 1/16th off to clean it up, leaving 5/16 at the ricasso. Even daos, which are light and 29" long, usually have almost 5/16 at the forte, and so do jians. It is a really common thing for a sword to be that thick and then taper down to just over .16" in the first 5 inches and then hold that for a span, and then taper again over the last 5 inches.  That is for "cut-and-thrust" swords. Frequently end about or just below .125" Jians often end at .1  daos at .12"  (so do messers). It is a good balance strategy. Not for longswords but sabers, cut-and-thrust double-edged blades, and such. It is a safe general idea to start with, and then you can modify from it.



"

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I didn't get to spend as much time as I wanted to in the shop this weekend, but was still able to build a fullering swage [made of 3/4" diameter 52100, foreground], and finished restoring my great-grandfather's anvil [background, 250 lbs, manufacturer unknown, markings worn away] to working condition.  Three quarters of the near edge had been chipped and dented up to 1/2 an inch deep.  Ground it all down to 45 degrees and built it back up with 7018 rods.

20200720_094837.jpg

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