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I Forge Iron

Making a bush sword (at least part of it)

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These were some progress shots taken by the photographer to whom I traded a bush sword (Paul Cruz). This isn't all of the process, of course, but it gives at least some idea of what's involved in making a bush sword.
Processing the steel:

After all the forging is completed, the profile is finalized on a grinder, and the blade has the scale cleaned off, filing the primary bevel:


Heating the blade for the first quench: This is my favorite picture from the whole photo shoot: :)


The first quench into veggie oil: Note that the camera isn't necessarily showing the color in the steel accurately.
Checking with a file to ensure that the blade hardened properly (it did): Time to do it again: This happens three times unless there is a warp that requires re-heating to fix. Many warps (and long blades are more prone to that than short blades) can be fixed without reheating if you work quickly and carefully. There is a short time window after the quench before the steel crystals fully set up, and during that time the blade can be flexed back straight. Here I am doing that using my post vise and my vertical quench tank to flex against:
Who is that handsome devil with the stylishly long sideburns? :D


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Bigfootnampa - My understanding is that it helps certain steels make the crystal transformation more complete (my understanding of heat treatment is basic, but it works :) ). Not all steels benefit, and for some it's actually detrimental. Steel with chromium seems to benefit, like 5160 or O1. It's analagous to the soak time some steels call for. Plain high carbon like 1084 doesn't need it. Can't tell you about others.

Steve - Yeah, that's what I was trying to express above. Thanks!

Don - Thank you. I'm still amazed at making things (always will be, I suppose) and like to show folks. My shop is at an art space, and sometimes I startle visitors a bit. "Who is that big guy wandering around with the machete?" "Oh that's just James. He does that. It's ok, he's a nice guy." :D

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