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collaboration sword WIP


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Two years ago I got the chance to document several medieval swords with my friend Greg Cimms, it was a epic day in NYC neither of us are likely to ever forget. 

I have sat on the tracings and measurements for a long time now waiting for the right time / project to use then. 

A few months ago I invited another friend of mine Jordan LaMothe down to the shop for a visit,  as sort of a Bussmans holiday we decided to do a epic sword build. 

We began by planning out the build, using the proportions, weight and thickness measurements of the original sword we would build a modern sword. this sword struck me when i first held it with its ballance , Like Oakeshott mentions a a few times this sword felt like a fishing rod in my hand.  With all that is going on in the world I have felt like I have been bouncing off extremes and casting about for ballance, so we decided we would keep to a theme , of balancing extremes. 

we would start with the damascus. 

 

I forged out a 300 layer random bar Jordan forged it to size and split it on the saw, a mosaic bar by my Business partner Jamie lundell was donated, I book batched the bar ground in a serpent  and prepped it to be  welded in to the core we tried several things to get the 300 layer bar to feel like water, the mosaic is a pattern jamie calls campfire. we envisioned a flowing river of fire through calm waters.  

fire and water. 

 

The geometry is drawn around the original tracings,  I had a little trouble figuring out one of the layouts points. the pommel width, I thought I had it figured but it was a odd method so,  out I sent my lay out  to my friend Peter Johnsson for a eye check and he redid the layout from scratch (big thank you to peter!)  using all the same cuts as I did to define things (nice bit of confirmation of the method there! ) but  his layout used a much more logical and elegant cut to define the pommel. 

 

I forged out the blade and we heat treated it in my High temp salts tempering in a kiln, a small amount of straightening, was needed several times during the grinding but we ended up with a straight hard blade very close to the originals dimensions. 

 

The pommel on the original is clearly hollow, so I began fabricating a hollow pommel the outer plates are mosaic tiles that will be bezel set on the sides this is different from the original, but we keep to the same dimensions and overall form of the original. again the two sides are themed fire and water mosaics

 

I need to head in the shop but I'll post more later.   

 

 

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looking forward to seeing more as I get the feeling this will be another great opportunity to learn.  I have not tried the clamping straight after quench but will be definitely giving that a go soon.

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The rest of the week was a bit of a mad scramble to get an assembled sword as Jordan needed to head home on friday.

I stayed on the pommel and got the plates ground to thickness polished to 220 an heat treated. 

Jordan ground the blade out carefully to match the original leaving just a bit over thickness to polish off later. when he was finished at 220 it was very close to the original less than .5MM change anywhere and other than our blade isn't sabered like the orginal the profile matches closely as well. 

 

in grinding the blade warped a bit so we took to keeping the kiln on at the tempering temp and hot straightening with gloves whenever it went out to far. I continued finishing parts for the pommel, carved out a grip core and turned the pommel nut. I also laid out the stone setting for the pommel nut. it is a star sapphire. 

Finally we were at a place to put it together, so I brazed in the threaded rod and got the tang cut to final length.  we did a quick vanity etch on the blade. weight at this point is around 60 grams over the orginal. both the pommel and the guard need to lose weight as well as a small amount from the blade in final sharpening and polishing/etching 

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I got a little more done on this sword after Jordan left for home. 

I roughed out the grinding on the guard, then I got the handle shaped out and cord wrapped. I got a quitch etch on the pommel panels and ground the pommel closer to finish shape. I started to lay out the stone settings. there will be two rubies and three  star sapphires set in silver on the sword.. 

MP

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I wasn't able to get to much done on this sword before the holiday, but I did manage to get the guard filed to final shape.  I  had ground out the guard on a 36 grit belt on a 8" wheel just to get it close. I followed that with second cut half 6" round file followed by a #2 swiss cut , I should be able to start polishing at 400 grit other than some piling that galled my finish (old file that I need to replace soon) should go quick at 220 grit though.  I'll get it to 220 before I start cutting the settings for the stones. 

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Thanks for the Pin!

trying to fit this one in around other work in the shop but got a little done when I had my current commission soaking in vinegar to break the scale down. 

I got the pommel finish ground , the risers added to the grip core and started the hand polishing on the guard. 

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messed my back up , so progress on every thing has been slow, but i got the guard sanded out to 220 and fit the stone settings. I was planning on setting two more stones in the ends on the quillons but I am not sure might be to much.. if I do I will need to order smaller stones these are 6mm and I am not sure they will fit 

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  • 3 weeks later...

sorry to take so long to up date this , but not much was done on the sword, I got sick then wrecked my back and  had a commision I needed to be working on.  But I made a little time to work on it this week, so we will see how far I can get. 

the guard wasn't sitting right in my mind  it keep looking off , but  the curves traced the same and a ruler showed then as the same size everywhere.. finally after going after it dial calipers I managed figured out where it was out fix that, tadn repeated the process several more times..  it is funny how even 0.005 thickness in the wrong place just looks off. All in all this has been one of the most challenging guard shapes i have done .. 

in the end i got them evened up and all looking the same "weight" side to side. I set the bezels for the stones, and got all the settings roughed in. two 4MM Rubies on the end of the quillions and two 6MM star sapphires in the center. guard is now polished out to 600 grit I think i will buff it from here with emory followed by green chrome before I blue it.

 

next I'll start to finalize the pommel. 

MP

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I took a jewelry / silver smithing class a few years ago, majorly helped me with my technique. I haven't taught though. 

These are sort of non-traditional, the stones are set in bezels separately and then will be secured with epoxy, I under cut the edges of the steel and put small notches on the bezel where to make a mechanical bond.

I have been doing them this way for a few reasons, in damascus  or as in this case a blues steel. first it lets me  finish out the steel parts without worry about scratching  them it setting the stones. It also lets me sit the stones lower in that would be possible  if setting the stone in place. in places were i could reach to set it I could solder the bezels in then set the stone.  I have done so with some designs, however cleanup is a real pain on steel as you cant really pickle it.  I can also mechanically set the stone and beazel in place by using a punch around the setting, I have done that a few times and it works well , but would be tough without the stones proud of the surface it also risks cracking the stone.. 

MP

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More slow progress on this sword. I finalized the pommel and got it all polished out to 600 grit. that included a bunch of time with a #4 swiss cut file refinine the lines and getting everything even. I got the nut filled out polished hardened and repolished and got the final stone set. moving on to the side panels today, I am going get the polished and etched , then carefully set them in the silver bezels .. then cold blue the pommel .. at least that is the idea. 

MP

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I decided I didn't like the bezels I had made, so I remade them the base is nickel silver and the bezel is sterling. with the new bezels set I finished the polish on the pommel as well as the two side plates. 

I am going to drill a few holes and rivet the new bezels in place.  At that point I can etch the side panels and put it together. 

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Closer still, I got the grip wrapped , I got the bezel drilled for the rivet and blued the pommel and  guard,  It is a bit splotchy as my bluing solution is pretty old. I gave up trying to get it even and ordered a couple new containers, I'll redo the blueing on the guard and pommel once it comes in.  I ended up evening up the guard a bit more. ... seems like that is a never ending task.  symmetry is the bain of my existence ...

 

My checklist to get this guy done, is finish polishing and etching the blade, etch the panels for the sides of the pommel,  rivet the bezels in place on the pommel, set the bezels and set the stones..  getting closer. I may also wire wrap the bottom portion of the grip. I am undecided on that. 

MP 

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I did the machine polish on the blade it is not at 400 grit and ready to hand sand out, and I riveted the bezels inplace. moving forward. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

This is ..... I mean it's just....I don't have the words.
You rock man!

 

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Thanks man , i was hoping to have this done , but needed to start working on paying projects as well as waiting on a new container of blueing solution. of course than i got side tracked by the 1 cubic inch challenge... I need to focus..MP

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  • 3 weeks later...

Progress has been slow on this, I needed to set it aside to work on a commission, and progress on that has been slow. I cant remember ever being less productive, or at least it seems that way. any way I forced my self to make some progress on this today. I got the blade polished out the makers marks added, the pommel plates etched , the guard blued and polished and all the stones set in place. .. 

all I have left before I pass it back to Jordan is to fab the scabbard core, etch the blade, and set the plates in the pommel.  

MP

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  • 4 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

I has been some time since I  had time to work on this I needed to finish this commission first, I ship it out to day so I was able to get back to work on this guy. I got the pommel finalized today and set the two bezels, at this point  I still need to finish the scabbard core and etch the blade, then I'll pass the sword on to Jordan to finish. 

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Edited by Matthew Parkinson
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17 hours ago, Joshua States said:

Beautiful. Just beautiful.

 

Yup.  I like the idea of the damascus insets in the hollow pommel.  Modern, yet totally true to historic example.  Plus that's a really nice job on the grip leather.  

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6 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

Plus that's a really nice job on the grip leather.  

I especially like how it changes color from Coop's pic to Matt's pic......;)

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And my work is complete on the sword, I also finished the wood core to the scabbard (forgot to get photo).  I need to build a box and ship this up to Jordan to finish the scabbard. 

MP

 

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21 hours ago, Joshua States said:

I especially like how it changes color from Coop's pic to Matt's pic......;)

don't worry I'll get coop to shoot this one as well .. figured you all would want to see the delay in working on this one.

MP

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