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Beginner question on forging a sword


C Moore
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I'm wanting to attempt to forge my first sword. My plan is as fallows. I have 2 pre forged feather Damascus billets both 12'' long 2'' wide and 1/4'' thick also a 1095 billet same detentions but only 1/8th'' thick for my edge steel, I am planning on putting nickel between the Damascus and the 1095 edge steel, but I'm in question on how much material I will need for the job all together this billet is 12'' long and almost 3/4'' thick I'm wondering if I cut this in half will it be enough material to make a 30'' sword with tang? 

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Hello! :)

The first sword is always wild and a super steep learning curve, but was quite the enjoyable plunge into the unknown (at least for me, lol).  Speaking to your question: the dimensions you'll need for your starting billet depends wildly on the type of sword you're making, so if you could please share your plans, inspiration, or even just what area of design/shape you're roughly throwing an idea in, we would be able to help much easier.  It may also help to add a location into your profile, just in case someone else on the forum may be nearby who can help you in person!:D

 

I'll be honest, I'm a little confused about the construction of your billet and how you plan to forge it out or use 1/8" steel as an edge bar, but I may be able to help out a little with dimensions. (someone jump in here if my numbers or thinking is wrong, please)

Basically you just need a volume formula: Height(or thickness) x Width x Length = Volume

if you have a billet of 12" cut in half your dimensions are: Height:0.75,Width:2", Length: 6"

so your billet volume is: 0.75"x2"x6"=V;  1.5sq inches x 6"=V;  9=V; 9 Cubic Inches

And you want a sword 30 inches long: Height=lets assume 1/4(0.25) to give you wiggle room to grind, W=?, L=30, V~9 cubic inches

So for a 1/4 inch thick sword, 30 inches long: 0.25xWx30=9cubic inches;  7.5sq inches x W=9cubic inches; W= 9ci/7.5sqin; W=1.2"

So roughly gauging in mistakes, grinding, scale loss, and a tang that could give you something around a 1 inch, or a little less, wide blade at 30 inches. But remember that is at 1/4" thick.  If you're more proficient at forging and can get closer to shape you could squeeze more out.  Also: this is for dimensions of a straight bar.  This does not factor in curves, distal taper, forged bevels, forged fullers, blade points, etc.; all of which will help you spread your material farther.

 

This formula should work with whatever dimensions you want to plug in too, so if you need a 2" wide blade at 30 inches long, how thick would it be?

Measurement values: H=?, W=2, L=30, V=9 ci

H x 2" x 30"=9ci ; H x 60sqin=9ci ;   H=9ci/60sqin ; H=0.15" which is just a smidge over 1/8".

 

Hopefully that made some sense.  Good luck, and I hope we see some sketches or progress from you soon!!:lol:

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I would use a piece of solid stock the size Jaron has suggested and forge out the sword you have in mind…. Not only is it good for refining your chops it will give you a good idea of the size you need to start out with… Keep notes….. it is real easy to forget what you did the last time….

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I'd definitely practice on monosteel before committing to damascus.  Like Jaron said, the learning curve is steeper than most people expect.  A sword is not just a long knife.   It's surprisingly easy to go too long, and getting the thickness and tapers down properly is something many people never get right. You jst about have to have played with a real one first.  Doesn't have to be a period original, a high quality repro from a good company like Albion is just as good.  If you have friends who have one, or can go to a ren faire to play, that's a good start and much cheaper than buying one.  

 

  

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Sounds pretty crazy construction! If you know you can do it, you can. I've only made 1 sword, I just suddenly had to make it - and I did (12 years ago now)

 

No way on earth I should have been able to make it with my skill set, but it just kinda emerged from the fire :D Not sure if the link below will work to take you to the instagram post, if not look up @non_jic and scroll back a lot on my feed if you want to see it. 10 bar construction.

 

Funny thing is, i've not really wanted to make one since, even though I periodically find that one and cant believe I made it.  I realise now, having handled other swords it needs to loose a bit more weight on the grinder, but the muse has not returned yet. 

 

Go for it!

 

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bn9liUXgJ_d/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

 

edit... I would leave the Ni out of the billet on an edge wrap. If you don't set the weld perfect, first time, no messing, I have found it will not stick whatever you do. I still mess up san-mai with pure Ni barrier in it. And your Ni would be very exposed to oxidation on an edge wrap, not saying you can't, but it would be tricky for sure!

 

Edited by John N
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