Aaron Gann

for everyone that is thinking of making a sword

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hello to everyone that is thinking about trying to smith a sword. just giving you a heads up I have been a hobbyist for about 5-6 years now and got into bladesmithing about 2 years ago. I've been making quite a few knives and decided i wanted to try forging a short sword and let me tell ya, you got some serious work ahead of you trying to forge it all to shape keeping it even length width and thickness. good luck with that. in fact the first two i have tried have utterly failed.
so in case you think your all bad and can make a sword on your first go around then go ahead but don't say i didn't warn you

ADMIN addition: in simple terms, read these pinned posts on sword smithing, and Follow their advise.  If you dont , and you are a cry baby becaue your "I wanna make a sword now" post  doesnt go your way, it is your own fault for not reading, this is a formal warning, people that insult or attack the real sword makers for giving solid advise after ignoring these warning may be banned as a result,  Trolls will not be tolerated.

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Now now Aaron, don't you know it's not nice to interpose a dose or reality on folk? You're absolutely right of course, it's obvious to me and I don't even make knives except under duress.

So, when's the next attempt? It's pretty addictive, taking on something that whips you is hard to let go of. I know I have a heck of a time letting something get the better of me. I take it quite personally, like it's some kind of hole in my skills base or something. ;)

Frosty

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Thanks for the heads up, I have been smithing for 3 years or so, and it is something I have thought of as an advanced project, and you just confirmed it, I'll probably start with a large machete like blade from leaf spring, just to get the feel, like Frosty, I am not gonna do it till I know I can do it, cause failing is sooooooooo aggrivating eh??

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Heck, at the behest request of my welding teacher (rapidly becoming a good friend too) I am working on a dagger made from an old nicholson file he gave me. the blade is sort of payment for free access of a limited nature to the "weldable metals" racks at the welding shop. When I get a little closer to knife shape I will post pics for your attacking pleasure.

As it is a double edged affair reminiscent of a gerber mk 1 the even-ness all around is "fun":o

all that being said - if you're interested in making a sword, start by making a few hundred nails. then work on j-hooks, then s-hooks, and work your way up to letter openers. etc...

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a machette is a good way to start as you dont have to worry about a double edge. much easyier to keep it looking good and easyier grind.but i agree that sword is a advanced forgeing project. good luck!

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I must differ from you,gentlemen(and not ONLY out of contrariness!).Personally,i find that FORGING a sword is easier than many other kinds of forging:It's essentially simple and uniform,and the size actually helps-you can avoid using tongs,and have a much better feel for what's going on.Unfortunately,forging a sword is a ridiculously small portion of MAKING a finished sword blade.all the endless and endlessly complex other processes make it the supreme challenge,not even mentioning the often specialised equipment.
I'd also not be at all surprised if i was told by an experienced sword maker that a very large part of the chore is intellectual-the metallurgy ins and outs,the HT of it all,and the sequencing of the stages.So those that must challenge themselves thus,would be best advised to study VERY long and hard.Entirely apart from the hammer control and other areas common to all forging.
Naturally,i'm full of beans as i'm not a swordsmith,but recently did have to forge a 3'machete out of a leafspring(had to draw the whole thing out,both thichness and lengh wise,make my own stock),and forge in all the 32"of bevel.Was relaxing and repetative,i'd say,pleasant in the controllability of it's simple shape.I didn't need to taper it distally,but can't see how it would've added much,tapering is...Tapering!
All that with my endless respect for swordsmiths-they're a breed apart,for sure!

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lol frosty my next attempt is next week once i get my forge up and running again, i have not given up but my point is i severely underestimated that amount of time and work i would have to put into it. it is not like i imagined it to be lol

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One of the best teachers is humiliation, it is a lesson not soon forgotten.....

But as the saying goes, "forge ahead".

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lol frosty my next attempt is next week once i get my forge up and running again, i have not given up but my point is i severely underestimated that amount of time and work i would have to put into it. it is not like i imagined it to be lol

 


Most people think I am trying to talk them out of making a sword, when I tell them start small first. They see $1,000's for a pattern welded blade, they think "I can get rich doing this", It is too bad when people won't listen, it takes a lot of work to learn how to make a good sword. Even tho we try to provide a place to point out these and other issues, many won't bother to read here, or anywhere, because so many prefer their delusions to the reality that learning to do some things take a lot of hard work, unlike the Movies or video games like to show being done  by hand in an afternoon.  So they try anyway, then they soon surrender never to try again after failing so much.

I hope you are not one of these as you appear to be reading this, and truly seem to want advise. If you keep trying, you will make a good one some day.

 

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hey if you want to make a sword make one, although itll probably look pretty awful. knives are easier and more practicle. i think for anyone who is not uber experienced a sword is out of the question. Make machetes or somthing if you want something big and sharp. or you are good enough to make a sword (unlike me).

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Geeze folks..it's not THAT hard..I can make a couple a day, pattern welded ones take an extra day or two, but it's not that hard really...once you get the hang of the differences between knives and the longer stuff, and you know what you are doing...That's all it is..experience..and remember the words of the wise old Sage: "Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted"...

JPH

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I got into blacksmithing because I couldn't afford Pattern welded blades back in the 1970's.

Now I know it would have been far cheaper to sell plasma and mow lawns and buy the fanciest blade they were selling back then.

But not nearly as fun...be careful what you get into...I've got to finish off my pattern welded pizza cutter for my wife before Father's day...

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I got into blacksmithing because I couldn't afford Pattern welded blades back in the 1970's.

Now I know it would have been far cheaper to sell plasma and mow lawns and buy the fanciest blade they were selling back then.

But not nearly as fun...be careful what you get into...I've got to finish off my pattern welded pizza cutter for my wife before Father's day...


I partly got into swordmaking because I could not afford any good swords, nor could I get the sword I wanted either, I realize now for the price of all the tools and stuff I could have a very nice sword right now hehe. Wouldn't change a thing though, it is something else to make them with your own hands.

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Hehehe. I remember when I first got into blacksmithing a few years ago. I had the idea "I'm gonna make me a sword!!!" Well, the smithing failed - no experience. I tried to grind one. Wrong equipment and not enough patience. So I cut back on the size a bit. Failed. Cut back some more. Failed. Continued playing around with blacksmithing, but found that my heart drew me back to blades. SO, finally I settled on actually listening to other actually experienced people on these boards and I started working on 9" knives with about 4 1/2" blades. My first knife was finished some time ago. I have several others in the works now. I plan to work on these short knives until I get really good at it- HT, finish, fittings etc . . . then I'll move on to slightly longer blades. I'll probably follow that pattern as long as I am able to forge. But looking back, I see that my own hardheadedness has cost me a few years in experience. :rolleyes:

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Ecart:

No..it didn't "cost you" as you put it..look at what you said (I quote):

"Well, the smithing failed - no experience."

Well that will come as you do things and gain knowledge...

"Wrong equipment and not enough patience."

Ok..Get the equipment upgrades a little at a time and you are right, you can't "rush" this stuff and expect decent results...

"I plan to work on these short knives until I get really good at it- HT, finish, fittings etc . . . then I'll move on to slightly longer blades"

THis is what we all are saying..start out small and work up...You illustrate our point perfectly. Sword making isn't all that much harder than making a knife, it's just that you have to know how to make a decent knife before you should venture into something as big as a sword. A sword is NOT a "just a big knife"..There are major differences in design and how to make one, but it's not all THAT hard to make a decent sword once you have decent basic skills.. They do get easier to do with time...

Sounds to me that you learned a lot and got some decent experience under you belt... Remember the first time you do something that doesn't work out, it's not a mistake..it's LEARNING....

JPH

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Colonel H, I think you may have it backward. You said it's not that hard to make a sword with sufficient experience. I wonder if it might not be more accurate to say that with enough experience swordmaking seems easy. ;)

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It depends on your definition of Easy.

I heat some steel, then I hammer it, then I grind it, its a sword. The details are in HOW. How to selet the steel, how to apply the hammer, how to use the grinder.

That knowing how, comes from experience, the hammering itself does not change, nor does holding a piece of steel against the grinder.

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It depends on your definition of Easy.

I heat some steel, then I hammer it, then I grind it, its a sword. The details are in HOW. How to selet the steel, how to apply the hammer, how to use the grinder.

That knowing how, comes from experience, the hammering itself does not change, nor does holding a piece of steel against the grinder.


Don't mean to inject myself inappropriately in a discussion that has endless facination for me, in an area of smith work I have no intention of starting in, but: I would like to note that the sword smith was not, until the 20th century, ever a lone craftsman.
Today, machinery has replaced much of the apprentices work but still handling 36" or so of soft Iron is very tricky and some what dangerous if not well thought out.

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Thanks JPH, I also learned more patience. Making a knife, and making it look good actually takes time and patience. Early on, I would get frustrated, rush the process and ruin the blade. Now, I realize that you MUST stay focused keeping the end product in your mind's eye and working until you get there. I also would throw a temper tantrum (yes, today is my 39th birthday and I still admit to an occasional temper tantrum :rolleyes: ) when I made the slightest mistake on the knife. Something that could have been repaired was either destroyed or abandoned for junk. Now I simply reevaluate what it could be now that my hand wasn't as steady as it should be. That patience has started spilling over into other areas of my life, thankfully.

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Hi all,I was looking to identify a 300 lb anvil I am looking at but got sidelined here and just wanted to contribute.
I am a bladesmith and metalsmith by default.I have forged several swords of the shorter variety and yes swordsmithing is an entirely unique creature I must say.Farthest almost from forging a knife.My advice for what its worth is keep at it and be prepared to let go of a lot of hours as a scrap gentle reminder but never intend too.and forge nails.The horn is your friend,normalize constantly and be patient.I have found personally the best thing for me when I got the urge to push and finish a section is to stop there and come back another day.There's my two cents, Hammer On!:)

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Thanks Frosty,nice to be here:)
Alas no goats just my prized three legged super mongrel.I think he'd like a goat.ANYWAY sry for off topic.Thanks having me and I hope I can contribute:)
I am working on a claymore and a rapier at this time it just so happens,both 5160 and rough forged.I will be happy to get pics up with stages.I am running into plenty of hiccups with these fella's as well,mainly heat treat and hilt components departments.I'll get some images:P

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Welcome to the forum, and don't mind Frosty, I don't know where the goat thing came from either, but he has to deal with very cold weather in Alaska, so that may have effected him in strange ways. :D

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I guess you guys are talking about real swords? Made with good steel. What about ceremonial type swords, or swords that are just mild steel? I wouldn't think that they would be so demanding, or am I wrong about this. thanks. kevin

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