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Osmund knife


Jeroen Zuiderwijk

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Today I had to make a rivet heading tool, and since I had the forge set up I also started on a new project. A very small blade (about 8cm), but with lots of new challenges. It's intended to be a reproduction of the Osmund knife: https://collections.museumoflondon.org.uk/online/object/29492.html The blade is composed of wrought and a piece of layered W2 for the edge, the last bit of edge billet I had left from the seax forging course at Owen's. I'd already forge welded these together earlier, and today I forged the blade to shape. And since it's a small blade, I could do the forging and have it filed within a few hours. And I also started on the horn hilt. I pre-drilled the hole, then burned in the tang. Works just as well on horn as on wood apparently, but a lot smellier! And it took quite a few more burns. Mostly the horn just melts rather then burns, and a hot goo of molten horn bubbles out of the hole as you burn in the tang. Obviously the hilt will be trimmed down a lot to the final shape. Other fun new challenge with this one will be the inlays and niello. I've already made niello earlier, so that's one step of the process done.

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Jeroen Zuiderwijk

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Yeah that burning horn is a nasty smell.

“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

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Got some time today to (re)do the hilt for the Osmund knife. The horn hilt burned in earlier was not usuable, as it had a nasty delamination that went from the back end to halfway into the hilt. Fortunately I had another nice piece of cow horn, just about the right dimensions that I could get a hilt out of it. I burned in the hole again, and shaped it by axe, rasp, file and then finished by sanding. I still need to buff it to make it shiny. The new hilt has a nicer coloring, so I'm quite happy with it. Work is starting again tomorrow, so progress is going to be at snail pace again.

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Jeroen Zuiderwijk

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Would it be correct to assume you are using cutler's resin to fix the blade in the horn, and there is no special anything done around the horn/blade junction?  Any gaps there will stay visible?  

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6 hours ago, Jerrod Miller said:

Would it be correct to assume you are using cutler's resin to fix the blade in the horn, and there is no special anything done around the horn/blade junction?  Any gaps there will stay visible?  

Yes, but with the gap filled with the cutler's resin. If done well, there is virtually no gap. But since I was still learning to burn into the horn, there's a bit of gap that will be filled. If I'd burned it in a little deeper, and cut off the first part of the hilt, it would have been a very tight fit. 

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Jeroen Zuiderwijk

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  • 2 months later...

Last few days I've been producing leather scrap, trying to make a broken back knife sheath, based on no. 153 of Sheaths and Scabbards in England AD400-1100. From left to right: attempt 1 from very tough veg tanned cow leather. I had to skive it down from 5mm. Should have been 2, but I ended up still a little thicker. I couldn't get the angle in. Even after a good soak in warm water, it didn't want to move. I practiced decorating it. Made more mistakes along the way. Second attempt, using a much softer veg tanned cow leather, already at 2 - 2.5mm. It shaped really easily, but the leather stained from the wooden clamps. And I cut the flap too narrow. Third attempt I tried cuir bouilli, by soaking the leather in 80C water. I did a test piece that hardened nicely. But when I did the sheath that way, the leather cracked as I folded it around the blade. I used some leather between the wooden clamps and sheath, so no staining this time. 4th now shaped, and clamped again for drying. Leather as is, no hardening. Looking good so far. Fingers crossed I won't mess this one up.

 

On the plus side, I'm making a sheath for this knife to see how sealing it will change the appearance of the decoration, before I apply it to the Nijmegen seax sheath. I now have multiple pieces to test different recipes on. And also a good thing that I do this before finishing the blade, as it rusted quite a lot, despite being wrapped in cling film. Wasn't completely sealed apparently.

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Edited by Jeroen Zuiderwijk
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Jeroen Zuiderwijk

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When I did some of these broken back sheaths, I found that carving a groove inside the leather at the spine of the knife helps with shaping it.

I use a gouge from the ''break'' to the tip to make the leather a little thinner in that localized spot.

I have no idea if this was done historically. 

 

With a wet formed sheath I coat the knife in vaseline and shrink wrap, a little bit of extra protection against rust.

 

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5 hours ago, Pieter-Paul Derks said:

When I did some of these broken back sheaths, I found that carving a groove inside the leather at the spine of the knife helps with shaping it.

I use a gouge from the ''break'' to the tip to make the leather a little thinner in that localized spot.

I have no idea if this was done historically. 

 

With a wet formed sheath I coat the knife in vaseline and shrink wrap, a little bit of extra protection against rust.

 

I was thinking of doing that in the future as well, a good amount of fat and then wrap it.

Jeroen Zuiderwijk

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I just finished stitching of the sheath for the Osmund knife. This sheath has a type of tunnel stitch that I hadn't tried yet. It's a bit similar to the zigzag stitch on the Nijmegen seax, but with one side tunneling only through the flesh side, so the thread is not showing on the surface. I expected this one to be more difficult then the sheath for the Nijmegen seax, but it actually went really easy, and the result looks like I've done this before. Happy days! Now not to screw up the rest.

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Edited by Jeroen Zuiderwijk
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Jeroen Zuiderwijk

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Looking good there.

 

 

On 10/28/2023 at 2:17 AM, Pieter-Paul Derks said:

carving a groove inside the leather at the spine of the knife helps with shaping it.

Definitely. I do this on all my folded sheaths. They make tools for this specific purpose too. You can get a round gouge or a V-gouge

 

 

Edited by Joshua States

“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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3 minutes ago, Aiden CC said:

Nice job with the stitching! Did you use a curved awl for the tunnel side, or bunch up the leather/some other approach? Either way, it came out quite neatly.

Just a straight needle. And pliers to push, pull it through :)

Jeroen Zuiderwijk

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Sheath is finished! First time I've finished a sheath before the knife or sword :) Which puts even more pressure on not messing up the blade <_<

The leather is quite soft, which makes the carvings not as clear. I've ordered another hide of what should be more suitable leather for future sheaths. I've not followed no. 153 from "Sheaths and Scabbards in England AD400-1100" exactly. The backside carvings is based on 204. The blade part of the front side I filled in myself. I've left the color natural. I want to experiment with dyeing recipes on future sheaths. It's made it waterproof using a goop recipe recommended to me (beeswax/boiled lineseed oil/gum turpentine). I happened to already have those ingredients. It has quite a potent smell :) It didn't change the appearance of the leather or the carvings, unlike an earlier test soaking leather in wax.

Making sheaths is fun. At least the leather working I can do in the evenings, as it's quiet.

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Edited by Jeroen Zuiderwijk
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Jeroen Zuiderwijk

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P.s. the flaps are glued together with hide glue in addition to the stitching. It stiffens up the sheath quite a bit. I've seen that done by Króka Thurston (does fantastic work on seaxes and sheaths!), and it made a lot of sense to me.

Jeroen Zuiderwijk

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That does make sense!  And that waterproofing goop recipe is what I and many others use as a finish on ornamental ironwork.  I love the smell, especially when applied to hot iron...

 

And I love that sheath!  The stitching really sets it apart.

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7 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

That does make sense!  And that waterproofing goop recipe is what I and many others use as a finish on ornamental ironwork.  I love the smell, especially when applied to hot iron...

 

And I love that sheath!  The stitching really sets it apart.

Thanks Alan!

Jeroen Zuiderwijk

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/barbarianmetalworking

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