Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Layin' About...

It was suggested to me, as an effort to re-kindle sagging creativity, to pull out and sort through past / uncompleted projects.

Bladesmithing Uncompleted (most of it)

So this from two 'boxes' of partially completed work. (1)

I bet at this point (already) any other long working blacksmiths are rolling their eyes - and thinking about their own similar piles...

In that overall layout, the stuff is loosely grouped by type / work progress.
Taking a closer look :

Pattern Welding

Left : Partially prepared single rods  / most with 9 or 11 layers (not marked)
You can see one has already been twisted, two as octagons ready to twist. The smallest is 1/4" square, the others more or less to 1/2" 'round'
Centre : Part of the (failed) 'Wedding Sword' project.
- one billet with two cores and spring steel edges (about 14" total / 10" to blade). This was part of the original billet created - could be forged into a large knife / spear.
- 26' long (sword length) bar set (two cores and spring steel) ready for the final welds to billet. You can see how one of the edge bars broke on me (what killed my enthusiasm for the 'Wedding Sword' project).
Right : Ragnar's Sword project / Gilling West (post 1 / post 2)
Total of eight potential core rods (six will be needed). Four are welded and drawn (about 5/8 square). Four as the starting stacks of 9 layers each.

Layered Steel Billets

Grouping of layered steel billets, many ready to forge into potential blades. There is a big spread on the dates these were created, not all are marked on layer count. (2)
Left to Right
- Two high count twisted plus flat stack with carbon core = 205 layers
    - 5 x 1 1/2 x 1/4"
    -  4 1/2 x 1 1/2 x 1/4"
Both left over from the 'Heavy Camp Knife' commission (2010)
- three twisted plus flat stack with carbon core ≠ 46 layers (?)
    5 x 1 1/4 x 1/4"
- four twisted ≠ 108 layers (?)
    6 x 3/4 x 3/16"
- two twisted with two outer flat stack ≠ 36 layers (?)
    4 x 1 x 1/8'
- two outer twisted with central flat stack ≠ 27 layers (?)
    6 x 1 x 3/16" (shows possible weld flaws)
- two flat stacks on a carbon core ≠ unknown high count (225 range?)
    10 1/2 x 1 1/4 x 1/4"
- flat stack ≠ unknown high count (225 range?)
    7 1/2 x 1 1/4 x 1/4"
Shows two different methods of producing the 'bulls eye' pattern. One side was punched then ground, the other side drilled then flattened.
- flat stack = 103 layers (in progress)
    5 x 3/4 x 5/16"

Any of these could proceed to a forged blade

Partially Forged

This next group all need differing levels of continued forging to go onwards.
From top to bottom (see note on measurements)
- Pattern Welded spear head, two twisted rods each side on a carbon core ≠ 28 layers.
    6 x 1 1/8 x 1/4 " (blade)
Socket complete, forged to rough point and distal taper. Requires edges forged out.
- Two Bloomery Iron slabs with alloy steel core, mate to 'Hector's Bane' (2012)
    10 x 1 3/4 x 5/16"
Massive failure just before final tempering (!) Stress fracture in what was almost a completed knife. Will require re-welding, resulting in complete re-forging of blade shape. (3)
-  'Welder Pattern' test 3, carbon steel with mild steel lines.
    5 x 1 x 1/8"
Needs a bit of straightening and perhaps re-shaping of (boring) profile.
- Two 'insert core' demonstration pieces, folded angle with carbon core.    
    3 1/ x 7/8 x 5/16"
    3 x 3/4 x 1/4"

Norse Replicas

Someplace here should also go a small number of Viking Age replica pieces.
- Three spear heads, mild steel. All rough forged to profile, welded sockets. Range from 8 to 5 inch blades. These were originally made for the 'History in the Making' episode #6 (which honestly, I have never seen the final video of).
- Curved draw knife (scorp), mild steel, rough forged to profile. Loosely based on the sample from the Mastermyr tool set.

Forged - Requires Polishing and Hilting

The last group are completely forged to shape (all annealed). They require various levels of grinding / shaping / polishing. Then remaining heat treating, hilting.
Top to bottom
- 'Celtic Short Sword', antique Wrought Iron / reading for hilting (??)
    19 overall / blade 14 1/2 x 2 x 3/16
My intent with this piece is to use a cast bronze hilt, based on La Tene artifacts. I've yet to have a real inspiration on that design. There has also been a significant equipment build (still in process) to allow for casting bronze in the needed size.
- 'Welder Pattern' test 4, alloy steel with mild steel lines / at profiling
    16 overall / blade 9 x 11/2 x 1/4
- 'Forged in Fire', high carbon steel (2015) / ready for grinding
    overall 14 / blade 9 x 1 7/8 x 3/16
- Iron Knives, antique Wrought Iron / partially profiled
    seax (blade) 5 x 1 3/16 x 1/4"
    tool (blade) 4 x 1 1/4 x 1/4"
- 'Wolfgar's Tool', mild steel slabs with carbon core / partially polished
    11 1/2 overall / blade 6 1/4 x 1 3/16 x 5/16"
Mate to 'Laugh Taker' (personal commission), with nickle/copper molkume guard
- Dagger, lower layer count flat stack ≠ 27 layers / ready for hilt (re-polish)
     10 overall / blade 6 x 1 x 3/16"
- Slim Seax, mild steel / ready for grinding
    9 overall / blade 4 1/4 x 1/2 x 3/16"

Not sure if any conclusions can be drawn here. Looking at the total pile, there is some work (early layered billets) that date back to the mid 1990's.
There are projects that 'got away from me', or things where Iost any of the original inspiration in the technical burden.

Honestly - the reasons why I have spent the time on this compiling of uncompleted work (and some outright failures) is a bigger question ??

Note on Measurements:
My standard is to not count the last half inch of any blade in length (basically not counting the point.

1) Add to this (just the bladesmithing):
- one tub of much older pieces, some rough forged. Includes a pile of commercial blade blanks (multiples of various profiles) remaining from the long past. During the early years I did a lot of hand painted, then etched, 'tool' knives, with slab handles.
- two sword blades :
    one carbon steel (needs last polish before hilting) - (2018)
    one pattern welded, ready for hilting (considered 'failed' quality) - (2014)
- huge pile of 'one piece' blades of mild steel, remaining from teaching demos
- about a half dozen axe heads of various sizes and types, mostly rough forged

2) A note on counting layers.
Traditional 'flat stack' / 'Damascus' is normally counted by multiplying starting stack + additional pieces x 'folds'.
When I count Pattern Weld ('interrupted twisted core' to some) I add starting stack for each bar x bars. I normally will make a separate piece that is two flat stacks on a carbon steel core.  Lengths given include the 'solid' part of each billet (often the ends have weld flaws, which would be forged into the tangs). I normally do keep notes on each layered billet I make, if I wanted to attempt to dive through past drawing books.

3) There is a long (painful) story here concerning cutting corners to speed work and the resulting disaster. This blade was about five minutes from going to the tempering stage at point of failure (which would have removed the stresses involved). Compare with Hector's Bane, for which the asking price is $1000.

No comments:


February 15 - May 15, 2012 : Supported by a Crafts Projects - Creation and Development Grant

COPYRIGHT NOTICE - All posted text and images @ Darrell Markewitz.
No duplication, in whole or in part, is permitted without the author's expressed written permission.
For a detailed copyright statement : go HERE