Jeroen Zuiderwijk Posted January 30 Share Posted January 30 Yay, I have something to post again! I cast this blade over 15 years ago, when I was still doing living history in Archeon. The blade is based on a find from Monnikenbraak, Netherlands, dating to 1800-1500BC (probably the latter part of that). It's a so-called Wohlde type sword (analog to bronze age rapiers from the UK). The blade was cast in a clay mould. The mould halves were made from a 50/50 mix of clay sand, that was first dried to leather hard and then had the blade carved out. I don't know if this method was used in the bronze age (rather then using wooden models), but it was something I wanted to try out. Both halves were then assembled, and then wrapped with a layer of clay/sand/horse dung mix. The mould was further dried and fired. The casting was done 15 years ago in Archeon, using a bronze age style pit furnace. This is the only sword blade that I cast that way that was sort of decent. Here you can see the cast straight from the mould, with flashing and sprue (at the tip) still attached. I had started finishing it authentically, but I found that the cast was still not good enough to complete it that way. So it ended up in my pile of unfinished casts, where it stayed for 14 years. Last year I decided to start and finish this one, starting out with making the hilt. The slot for the tang was burned into the wood. This took a few attempts until I had a hilt I was happy with. Mostly because the first piece of wood appeared to have a drying crack in it, which I found when I started carving the hilt from it. This was actually great though, since I could split open the failed hilt and see the result of the burning process from the inside. I was quite surprised at how clean the burn was, since there was only a very thin layer of blackened wood on the inside, only a few tenths of a mm deep into the wood. The burning was done with the hilt plate being still below red hot, and the wood quenched in a bucket of water after each burn. The final hilt was made from a piece of hazelwood. The real challenge was lining up the holes in the tang with the hilt and the slot, which I fortunately got right. Having a drill press being able to drill straight and precise holes helps a lot. No idea how they managed that in the bronze age. Well, I have some ideas, but never put it into practice to see if they work. The hilt is fastened not just with the rivets and washers, but also with a resin/charcoal dust/fat mixture. I've found in the past that just rivets aren't enough in this construction, as the slightest play between the rivet and the holes would result in quite significant movement of the blade inside the hilt. And if you look at the originals, the rivets are anything but a tight fit inside the holes. The finished result: 5 Jeroen Zuiderwijk Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/barbarianmetalworking Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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