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How are T-Spines forged/shaped?

Matthew Schneider

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Been planning on making a Pala/Kilij blade from my crucible steel once I get it dialed in better.

Been looking at a lot of Ottoman and Indian swords in particular for this. Something I find really impressive is the Pala/Kilij that has a T-Spine running like 3/4 its length then transitioning into the "Yelman" sorta double edged tip. It's an incredibly difficult looking design to pull off and still have everything properly curved and lined up.

Trying to imagine how its done, the T-spine would be very difficult to adjust any shape/curvature after shaping it into the blade so my guess is it's mostly scraped/ground in? Perhaps upsetting the spine then scraping/filing in the final shape? They often have a interesting compound edge geometry as well. After the t-spine some appear fullered then the edge thickness abruptly increases, then there's a taper to the actual edge.(bottom picture illustrates this) Hopefully I'm explaining this in a way others will understand, the overall design is very beautiful and at least appears pretty challenging to pull off. I'm sure the old Smith's came up with tooling to make this easier but I haven't found any description of how it was done.

Anyone make one of these?



Edited by Matthew Schneider
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Upsetting the spine and then scraping is what I have heard. Very light hammer to keep the upset local.

Those blades are incredibly complex, well beyond my skills to do properly.  That doesn't mean much, though. :lol:

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A dual gas torch, such as oxygen acetylene is used to keep the heat local at the spine with the workpiece secured in a vise and/or backed up on the edge side.  Hammer blows will only move the part that is hot.

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On 12/31/2021 at 5:59 AM, Gazz said:

A dual gas torch, such as oxygen acetylene is used to keep the heat local at the spine with the workpiece secured in a vise and/or backed up on the edge side.  Hammer blows will only move the part that is hot.

Yeah I figured this, was hoping someone knows how the originals we're made, no torches back then. 

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1 hour ago, Matthew Schneider said:

I'm guessing they must have made some kind of dies to produce these since there's so many out there with this design.


Admittedly,i've never tried it on on anything like a blade,though i've upset a thickened edge on other things.


It may not be all that difficult,i'd not be surprised if forging was done free-hand(with subequent clean-up by usual blade-making means).


If i had to do something like that i'd start with the T.Begin the upset,it'll be easy to do-it's not Really as much of an upset as Riveting,sharp/multi-directional blows,should be easy to control.


Once enough material accrued at the spine a set-tool,a type of a butcher,can be used to simultaneously true up the undersides of the T,and to fuller the groove that determines that thickened blade section above bevels...

Probably best done by using top+bottom tooling...Long ago,the forge teams were numerous,it'd not be as much of a challenge as it is today,for most of us "one-armed" smiths.

Today,a spring-fuller + some limiting pins should give one plenty of control for something like that.


Eventually the T can be refined with any degree of control simply over a properly-radiused edge of a stake-tool,quite a standard operating procedure.The fuller will help register the forging at proper orientation on the stake.


The bevels would be forged in last,after the edge serves it's purpose for edge-on forging of the T.


Some of the older draw-knives had a similar profile,although in one dimension only,but still a bit tricky.



God is in his heaven,and Czar is far away...

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I have played around a bit with forging T-spines, although never made it into a finished blade.

The localised heat from my coal forge worked quite well, since I am like the smiths of old and don't have a fancy torch.

With practise and a light hammer you can get a pretty nice upset that gives enough material to scrape.


I also suspect these blades were forged from rather thick bars, and fullered and forged into shape.

A well trained smith and striker team can fuller remarkably accurate with simple tools, after that the ridges just need to be defined by chisels and scrapers before hardening.


I really love this style of blades,the skill and artistry in them is really something to aspire to.

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