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I Forge Iron

Something a bit elegant - integral handle hunting sword


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I haven't posted any new work in a while. I've been pretty busy, but it's mostly been work around the shop getting my new power hammer optimized and such. I still have some more of that kind of work to do, but I'm finally getting to put the hammer to good use.

I forged this out today. It's an idea I've had for a while. I've seen blades with integral socket handles and I've seen blades with integral knuckle guards. I've never seen the two together. It took some amount of technical skill to make them. Still have some cleanup work to do, particularly where the knuckle guard meets the blade, but I believe I am finished with the forging aspect.

This will be forge finished, but elegant. It's what a gentleman adventurer would be carrying as he traverses the nuclear-blasted wastelands. The blade is around 20 inches long.



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Tim - Might as well try it out of some leaf spring. Very cheap, and when you're finished you can actually heat treat it and have a very good blade if you do it right. That's the material this is made from.

Phil - Thanks!

Thomas - I've seen a couple of different designs that are called hunting swords, the slim one you mention, and a more falchion-ish blade along these lines. I don't have a set of scales to weigh it, but it's a bit heavy, although not bad. The stock removal to get it to a cutting edge will lighten it up some, even if it will be left forge finished. This will have a plug in the end of the handle. I like making socket handles as a lightweight, strong, nifty-looking construction, but I have yet to make one that was intended to pull double duty as a pole arm.

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A light sword won't break any easier as you can design them and heat treat them so they can even bend double; but a heavy sword can be evaded and the wolf can tear out your throat while you are trying to reverse directions with it.

I'd hunt boar with minions, lots and lots of minions and preferably from the backs of elephants!

I recall some falchion bladed hunting implements but wondered if they were more for the butchering than the kill

a short polearm is a great help with zombies I am told...

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In amongst working on other stuff, I threw together an acid vat to dispose of my foes.... no wait, it is an acid vat, but it's 9% vinegar and it's for eating scale off of long blades so I can file the edges. This should have the hunting sword ready to file by tomorrow (whether or not I'm able to begin filing is an entirely different matter).


The vat is just a shallow tray made from left-over 3/4"-ish plywood that I clamped together and lined with a cut open trash bag.


The second blade in the vat is a wakizashi-ish bush sword with a blade around 14" long and a handle around 7" long. It and this other one that has a wakizashi-ish blade but a curved socket handle that gives it a bit more of a Middle Eastern feel were actually hammered out before the hunting sword.


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New progress:

After taking the blades out of the vinegar, washing them off, and cleaning them up with a power wire brush:


Working on filing the edge. I had a fair amount of steel to take off since I was concentrating hard on getting a specific profile, so I didn't forge it down as clsoe to an edge as I like to. I'm using some spring clamps simply becuase they are quicker to change position with than a C-clamp. The C-clamp would have held tighter, but with three of 'em, the spring clamps held it fine.


Filing away.


A clsoeup look of what the file marks and forge finish look like. My camera is limited, but hopefully this gives an idea.



It's going to be a heck of a chopper. That's an oak pallet, and the blade doesn't have a sharp edge yet. I also whacked it into an MDF west Texas tree stump anvl stump that is starting to come apart, and it sank in deep without much effort.


After grinding and filing in the false edge on the clip, smoothing out a bump on the spine, and tweaking the knuckle guard to give more clearance in case it should turn in your hand. I need to knock off a few sharp corners around the handle and make sure everything is smoothed up as it needs to be, but it is essentially ready for heat treatment at this point. I'm going to get the other two bush swords ready and then heat treat them at one go.


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  • 2 weeks later...

I have never had a blade forged from spring try to change shape because it its previous life. In fact, I don't have too many warp in the quench and when it does happen, it is attributable to other issues. The vast majority of the blades I've forged have been from salvaged automobile springs, too.

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Just a quick-and-dirty update. The sword isn't quite finished (needs sharpened and a few more layers of shellac on the handle), but it's on display at the On and Off Fredericksburg Road art show here in San Antonio.


Cotton cord wrap and Turk's head knots, pecan wood plug at the end of the socket handle, red ink on the main wrap, black shellac on the Turk's heads and the pecan, then clear shellac over all the handle. Its stand is the left-over piece of Texas ebony from the Walkabout Bowie.

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  • 3 months later...

Finally finished this up. Added more red ink to the handle, gave it more layers of clear shellac, and put something of an edge on it. Not as sharp as I typically do; unlike most of my other work, this is more of an art piece, and I'd rather not have accidental cuts happen while it's on display.



A closeup showing that the handle is indeed an integral socket:


And showing the full length of the handle. That's a plug of pecan wood on the end, sealled with black shellac.


I think I'll give it to my brother in appreciation for his help through the years.

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  • 2 months later...

Knots and braiding aren't in my skillset. I keep it very simple. I do like to use Turk's head knots at the end of the wrap, though. Tai Goo sent em a link to this animation, and it's how I learned to do 'em: http://www.ropeworks.biz/archive/Aturkhed.html

And how to do a Chinese sword wrap: http://forum.sword-buyers-guide.com/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=128

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Awesome. I like the blade shape, the integral-ness of it all and the handle. I have a friend who would love something like this. I iwll have to give it a try. thanks for the knot-tying video link too. that is my kind of learnin'... watch it while doing it

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Paul, I kind of had to laugh a while back when I was showing students in my simple knifemaking class how I wrap handles. Several of them whipped out their wunderphones and filmed me tying the Turk's head knots in order to play it back for themselves as they attempted it. It's a bit silly, but I think good application of technology. :)

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  • 1 month later...

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