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Sutton who? Wip


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A few weeks ago I got asked to make a pattern welded migration sword. Well that kind of escalated and before I knew I had somehow got convinced to do a sutton hoo inspired sword which is well outside my comfort zone :rolleyes:

 

Here I'm starting with some billets, one destined to become the edge bar and the other the core rodsIMG_20220610_150221.jpg

 

Got three types of steel in the core rods for some added contrast hopefully

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And by this point the original idea of only three continuously twisted rods had changed into the four rod interrupted twists of the sutton hoo so had to make another billet for more rods, hence the differing sizesIMG_20220618_145724.jpg

 

The rods are roughly 1cm squares, marked and punched for the twisting

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And twisted

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Then carefully squared up again

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By this point the edge bar had been drawn out and stacked a couple of times up to 336 layers so I cut a small piece of it off and forged a small knife to better see how that layer count would look. It's alright but could be finer so cut the bar kn half and welded again for 672 instead and forged another small knife to see and think it will look about right

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core bars were tack welded on the ends and then forge welded

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I have this obsession with vinegar soaking all my stuff in between forging rounds to clear out and scale and stuff that could contaminate later forge weldings. Does it make a difference? I have no idea but it makes me feel better.

 

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Then I drew out the edgebar into the same ca 1cm square. 1.5 meters of fun 

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Edge bar wrapped around the core and tied in place 

 

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Never done a wrap like this so spent half a day stressing over it before lighting up the forge and just do it.

 

And everything forge welded albeit a bit rough right here

 

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Did some vinegar soaking and grinding before forging it better into shape. Then some more grinding and vinegar to get to this point. Am quite pleased how little the pattern distorted even though I ended up drawing and widening the piece a lot after the initial forge welding

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Then came a few days of grinding and even more draw filing followed by sanding it to 400 grit before applying some anti scale paint

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I'm still a complete noob when it comes to these paints and how thick or thin they should be applied so the results were less than stellar. Not that it mattered as now it was time to do some more grinding and blending the bevels into the flats

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Getting the blade to 240grit for now and will then wait with finer sanding and etchinf until scabbard and hilt are well on their way

 

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Talking about hilt. The guy who commissioned it ordered these very pretty things from Danegeld in the UK and had them sent to me. Some day I might venture into making these myself but that is not today.

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What Alan said! Rock and roll man! This is epic already.

“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

The only bad experience is the one from which you learn nothing.  

 

Josh

http://www.dosgatosdesignsllc.com/#!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdJMFMqnbLYqv965xd64vYg

J.States Bladesmith | Facebook

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Just read the whole thread. It is really impressive! Plenty of work requiring concentration during each stage!

Thank You for taking pictures and spending time to describe it.

lipinskimetalart.blogspot.com

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  • 3 weeks later...

And a small update here.

 

After a lot of searching I found a place that had something other than black buffalo horn in sizes close to what I need for the hilt. But they still needed to be formed and pressed to get the extreme dimensions to fit so experiments commenced.

 

Dry heat and open flame doesn't seem to be optimal for such large and thick pieces with lots of burning amd tearing so I ended up buying a deep fryer :lol:

 

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This way I can accurately control the heat and used sunflower oil for these first tests.

 

Then I ended up using pretty much all the vises in the workshop along with the swing press to squeeze and form. I've seen cane makers using all sorts of very smart dies to really manipulate horn and that is definitely something I would like to try in the future but for this simple is good enough

 

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these should become the hilt parts for this sword but as I had the oil hot I needed to try out a couple of more things and ended up with these

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Now I have to make some blades that fit hooked grips like these :lol:

 

 

Conclusion thus far is that horn is stinky, prone to tearing, splitting and delaminating and I have yet to crack decipher exactly how to work it but oh this is giving me too many ideas and will definitely use it more in the future.

 

Next up will be forming and fitting the lower guard horn, cut out and shape the bronze sheets that sandwich it as everything from now on builds up from it, hilt and scabbard

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Horn tempura! 

Who would have thought?

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“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

The only bad experience is the one from which you learn nothing.  

 

Josh

http://www.dosgatosdesignsllc.com/#!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdJMFMqnbLYqv965xd64vYg

J.States Bladesmith | Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/dos.gatos.71

https://www.etsy.com/shop/JStatesBladesmith

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The guys I know do it in oil/lard between 120-160 degrees C, 250-325 F.  Leave it in for long enough that it gets flexible, up to a minute for thick pieces at the higher end of heating, longer at the lower end.  If it starts to scorch it's too hot/left in too long.  If it visibly fries, i.e. starts turning golden brown and delicious-looking, you're too hot or too long in the oil.  Some people use pure neatsfoot oil.  Others say, and this is for powder horns and other very thin horn, to heat the oil to 350F/175C and dip the horn for a few seconds at a time until it's pliable.  

 

This will not smell good regardless of the method used.  :ph34r:

 

Some people use water, boiling for 20 minutes or so.  This dries out the horn and causes cracking and delamination, and the horn will tend to spring back to its former shape in humid conditions.  It doesn't do that in oil.

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15 hours ago, Gerhard Gerber said:

Very cool B)
I tried water, apparently not hot enough......what temperature worked for you?

 

I started at just above 130° and that does work good for thin pieces but for the solid ones about 160° seems to be a sweet spot to get them pliable without them starting to brown and discolor from the heat

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This really good information (I am always learning here!).

Would anyone know if the process works on antler?

Gary LT

"I Never Met A Knife I Didn't Like", (Will Rogers)

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Does not work on antler.  Horn is basically compressed hair, antler is bone.   To flatten antler you have to soak (or boil) in vinegar.  Somewhere in the old posts there's one by Petr Florianek in which he explains how he does it.

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Thanks Alan, I’ll look it up.!

"I Never Met A Knife I Didn't Like", (Will Rogers)

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It's been going slow here as there's been a heatwave and everything above 16° feels a bit too warm for me anyway :lol:

 

But been working on the lower guard and getting the pieces to fit to the tang and each other. This part feels the most important to get right as everything from the rest of the hilt to the scabbard will be made to fit to it.

 

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Filing and fitting and filing and test fitting some more.

 

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Originally I had thought about just using a thicker plate of bronze for the lower portion of the guard but after looking a bit better at originals they are all made from very thin sheets formed around the organic materials.

 

So I filed in a bit of a bevel on the horn and then copied the shape onto a piece of steel to act as a form I could hammer the bronze to shape on.

 

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Still need a few rounds of annealing and hammering to get the shape just right before trimming it to size.

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Love the attention to detail.  Mind if I pin this one?  Or is that too much pressure at this point?

 

BTW last week it was 35 C for the high all week at my shop.  Zero work got done, needless to say!

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14 minutes ago, Alan Longmire said:

Love the attention to detail.  Mind if I pin this one?  Or is that too much pressure at this point?

 

BTW last week it was 35 C for the high all week at my shop.  Zero work got done, needless to say!

 

Sure go ahead, it might even motivate me to get things going :lol:

 

It's only been around 30° here last week but this humidity is something I just can't get used to. If this is any sign of coming years I'll have to seriously think about air conditioning for the workshop

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Now that the lower guard is im the right ælace it's time to begin on the scabbard core. Using airplane modeling 0.4mm thick plywood for it with three layers on each side glued and clamped around the blade to get the shape.

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and then some spacers on the edge where the halves will be glued together. Going to line it with some wool felt so might end up needing another layer of two of spacers for a snug but not too tight of a fit for the blade

IMG_20220819_234549.jpg

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Great project! 

-----------------------------------------------

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly." -- Theodore Roosevelt

http://stephensforge.com

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Got the scabbard core lined and glued so took the blade back to the workshop to work more on the hilt.

 

Starting by drilling and filing each piece to fit snugly onto the tang

 

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Usually I like to fully form each piece individually but for this I felt like epoxying them together before forming would be the right way to go. As the tang tapers in all dimensions from the shoulder and I waxes it before glue up the grip slid of without problems after curing.

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Then taking it down to rough dimensions on the belt grinder. It feels like fresh 80grit belts work the best for the horn

 

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And then it was back to the files and needle rasps

 

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Sanded to 800 and given a light polish

 

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And an interesting shot, this horn is light enough to be semi translucent when held up to light and with an even finer sanding and polish I believe that feature could be made more pronounced

 

IMG_20220822_204342.jpg

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That grip is a total knockout!

“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

The only bad experience is the one from which you learn nothing.  

 

Josh

http://www.dosgatosdesignsllc.com/#!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdJMFMqnbLYqv965xd64vYg

J.States Bladesmith | Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/dos.gatos.71

https://www.etsy.com/shop/JStatesBladesmith

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