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WIP gladius


Geoff Keyes

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This is one of those projects that I have stalled myself on, I haven't had the courage to try it, until now.  The forging went pretty well (1095) and I have a rough grind done.  I need to dress up the edges, which I think I will do with a file for better control.  I may have missed the size just a bit, it's currently at 1.3 lbs, but I'm betting there was a lot of variation from time to time and place to place.  I was aiming for the Hispaniensis style, and I don't think I'm too far off.  I still have HT and post grinding to do.

 

Does anyone know what woods would have been used for mounting?  My plan, subject to change, is to do a half round guard, grooved handle and a ball pommel.

 

IMG_20230609_134127683 (Medium).jpg

 

IMG_20230609_134146643 (Medium).jpg

 

Geoff

  • Like 3

"The worst day smithing is better than the best day working for someone else."

 

I said that.

 

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.

- - -G. K. Chesterton

 

So, just for the record: the fact that it does work still should not be taken as definitive proof that you are not crazy.

 

Grant Sarver

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It's got some forward mass, and it tried to stab a hole in my water bucket.  I think it's longer than I would have expected, but it's about mid range for length, according to google.

 

"The worst day smithing is better than the best day working for someone else."

 

I said that.

 

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.

- - -G. K. Chesterton

 

So, just for the record: the fact that it does work still should not be taken as definitive proof that you are not crazy.

 

Grant Sarver

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I'm assuming that the surviving examples are higher end (officer) models.  The scabbards have brass (?) mouths, suspension bands, chapes, and side rails.  What would a common trooper carried, say in Spain, circa 50 BCE?  Simple leather covered wood?  I can't ask the one real expert I know without some sneaking around, this is going to a gift to him.  Does anyone have lore in the area?

 

Geoff

"The worst day smithing is better than the best day working for someone else."

 

I said that.

 

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.

- - -G. K. Chesterton

 

So, just for the record: the fact that it does work still should not be taken as definitive proof that you are not crazy.

 

Grant Sarver

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There's this scabbard in the British Museum:

 

https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/G_1866-0806-1

 

The scabbard is wood, with bronze hardware. The wood is tinned, and the bronze is gilded. That's pretty fancy!

 

Leather glued on the wood with hide glue would also work. They would have also used plain bronze.

 

I've read they also had brass in those days, but it wasn't often used for military purposes because Bronze was tougher, and tin was more available than zinc (thanks to the Bronze age).

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  • 3 weeks later...

A bit of progress.  The handle is in mockup stage.  I need to make the face plate for the  guard and shape that, but I think I'm getting there.  I thought I would do a star washer for the pommel and I'm still thinking about a finial of some sort.  I'm pretty happy so far.   The handle, guard and pommel are all walnut,

 

 

IMG_20230628_134441299.jpg

 

Thanks

 

Geoff

  • Like 4

"The worst day smithing is better than the best day working for someone else."

 

I said that.

 

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.

- - -G. K. Chesterton

 

So, just for the record: the fact that it does work still should not be taken as definitive proof that you are not crazy.

 

Grant Sarver

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A few more progress pics.  The whole thing threads together, which will get reinforced with epoxy for the final assembly.  Metal parts are brass and bronze, wood is walnut.  I'm thinking that I may slim the handle just a bit, the ridges are pretty pronounced and I think they don't need to be.   I need to figure a way to get it back on the lathe, I'm still considering that.  Or I could knock the finger ridges down with a file and paper.  Let me know what you think, am I close to the style?  I'm trying to recreate a specific blade, but a blade not too far outside the known types.

 

IMG_20230630_180248311 (Medium).jpg

 

IMG_20230630_180315461 (Medium).jpg

 

IMG_20230630_180307431 (Medium).jpg

 

Thanks 

 

Geoff

 

 

 

 

"The worst day smithing is better than the best day working for someone else."

 

I said that.

 

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.

- - -G. K. Chesterton

 

So, just for the record: the fact that it does work still should not be taken as definitive proof that you are not crazy.

 

Grant Sarver

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Looks good to me! I know I hate the feeling of cutting something off the stock and then realizing it needs to go back on the lathe! There are those grips for the lathe that work with pressure, but I never bothered to buy one and figure it out. You could always try gluing it back on a stock, but it's fiddly to get it centered just right. The rings do look a bit too wide, I'd try to get it back on the lathe if you can. If the wider rings are comfortable in hand, you can try putting a bit of leather between them, but they look a bit too wide for that. The trouble with filing them down is it's hard to get them perfectly round, as the originals would be.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I have officially made every piece of the (except the blade) 3 times.  I got ready for glueup and decided that there was something wrong with the guard.  I had to bust it off and start again.

 

I plan to do a wood scabbard covered in leather (something else I've never done), I would appreciate some tips on leather covered scabbard, if folks have some.  Weight of leather, do I glue it to the scabbard, other issues I'm not considering,

 

22" blade

31 " OL

1.8 lbs
1095

brass guard face, butt cap, and pommel nut.

Walnut handle

 

I was aiming for a Gladius Hispaniensis circa 200 BCE to 50 CE (more or less).  The relatively plain leather scabbard will be more in keeping with a common soldiers gear than the more ornamented swords an officer might carry.  At least, that's my story.

 

IMG_20230724_160021020 (Medium).jpg

 

IMG_20230724_160040199 (Medium).jpg

 

IMG_20230724_160054633 (Medium).jpg

 

IMG_20230724_160114201 (Medium).jpg

 

IMG_20230724_160137626 (Medium).jpg

 

For the moment I'm hiding this from my usual Social sites, because I want it to be a surprise to the new owner.

 

 

Geoff

 

 

  • Like 2

"The worst day smithing is better than the best day working for someone else."

 

I said that.

 

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.

- - -G. K. Chesterton

 

So, just for the record: the fact that it does work still should not be taken as definitive proof that you are not crazy.

 

Grant Sarver

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Looks good! I would skive/shape the leather until it fits close to perfect on the scabbard, and glue the leather wet using hide glue, and use your hands while it is still wet to shape and mold it until the glue sets. I did this on a sword handle and it worked out great. In particular, the seams should be skived so they look flush folded over. It's better to get fairly thin, good quality leather for this.

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What Carlos said.  I use 1 oz. calfskin, but any really thin leather will work.  I've also used 1 oz. pigskin. If sold by thickness, anything under 1mm will work.  Do not sew, just glue with hide glue, following the instructions in Peter Johnsson's pinned thread about leather grips on swords.  If you skive it just right the seam is almost invisible.  If you don't want to skive it, you can also do a slight overlap and then cut down the center of the overlap with a razor blade, then remove the cut ends. This will give a tight butted joint.  While the leather is still wet you can tool in any lines or designs you want.   

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I've done these a couple of different ways using different leathers.

Skiving: don't try and keep the edge straight. A jagged and very thin edge will hide much better after gluing and dying.

I have also used 2/3 oz. garment cowhide. This was a bit more complicated. I wrapped the scabbard with the leather inside out and marked the lines where I would stitch it. I removed the leather and stitched, trimmed the excess and skived the edges to glue them over. Then the leather got slipped over the wooden scabbard like an over-sized condom. I may have put a process post up in the Sheaths and Leather work forum. (https://www.bladesmithsforum.com/index.php?/topic/40900-a-couple-sheaths/#comment-409211

In any case, you will need to decide how to finish the tip and throat. Sometimes you can just leave the tip in this little upside-down funnel shape....not my preference. The throat is more difficult. the leather doesn't really just fold over and glue well. Sometimes a simple bone, horn, or synthetic cap glued over the top works well enough. Other times it needs a formed metal piece.

 

It's a matter of choice and what you like.

Edited by Joshua States
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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

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  • 2 weeks later...

More
progress.  I'm waiting on some thin leather to cover the scabbard.  I've lined the wood with lambs hide and a bit of cowhide for a tight fit.

 

359548519_1376973436496464_4160662619972060496_n.jpg

 

360050927_730055795593417_2091829932643405804_n.jpg

 

Geoff

  • Like 4

"The worst day smithing is better than the best day working for someone else."

 

I said that.

 

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.

- - -G. K. Chesterton

 

So, just for the record: the fact that it does work still should not be taken as definitive proof that you are not crazy.

 

Grant Sarver

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  • 1 month later...

Blade looks beautifully proportioned!  I am working on a Kilij style saber and am using files mainly for shaping as well--very happy with the control and progress.

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Right now I'm trying to get the scabbard wrapped up, end stage pics soon.

 

Geoff

"The worst day smithing is better than the best day working for someone else."

 

I said that.

 

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.

- - -G. K. Chesterton

 

So, just for the record: the fact that it does work still should not be taken as definitive proof that you are not crazy.

 

Grant Sarver

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  • 2 weeks later...

This is just about done.  I'm hiding from my other social media for a couple of weeks, though it will be on the table at Blade West.  I need to clean up the blade and go over the scabbard, but that's about all.

 

IMG_20230926_161255191 (Medium).jpg

 

IMG_20230926_161320566 (Medium).jpg

 

Walnut and copper for the handle

Leather and copper over cedar 

Steel 1095

Brass tacks

Sword 31" OL

Blade 21.75" 

Weight 1.9 lbs

Weight with scabbard 3.9 lbs

 

Thanks for looking

 

Geoff

 

  • Like 3

"The worst day smithing is better than the best day working for someone else."

 

I said that.

 

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.

- - -G. K. Chesterton

 

So, just for the record: the fact that it does work still should not be taken as definitive proof that you are not crazy.

 

Grant Sarver

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