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creating fuller in blade

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Hello again,

I am just starting and used a couple of railroad spikes to attempt a couple of knifes. I have the blades about where I want them (or they want me). but I was thinking of putting in a fuller (also known as a cannelure) in the wider of the two blade running parallel to the top.

Do I do this taking it back to the forge and try to hammer it in, or is it a purely grinding operation?

if I was making a knife from scratch is it done at the time of forging or later with a grinder/Lathe?



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I don't trust myself to forge them in, especially on both sides of a blade. My hammer control isn't that good, although you could certainly make something along the lines of a guillotine tool to do it. I have used scrapers, and they do a surprisingly quick job of it -- depending on the size and depth of the fuller you want. (And old file can make an excellent scraper.) I made a very simple one, based on this one by Alan Longmire, out of barely-tempered O1:


Obviously, that's not a very flexible design.

Tai Goo made kind of an intermediate version:


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I recently saw "Birth of a Sword" and the smith made a great fullering tool. He said that (and he had a very nice graphic of this) using a scraping tool, or mill, thus cutting material out of the blade was a bad idea. Can anybody else speak on this? Thanks in advance.

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I recently saw "Birth of a Sword" and the smith made a great fullering tool. He said that (and he had a very nice graphic of this) using a scraping tool, or mill, thus cutting material out of the blade was a bad idea. Can anybody else speak on this? Thanks in advance.

Depending on the desired results and the materials used (and the availability and cost of materials) forging will use less material, and will preserve grain and structure (such as for wrought or blister steels) and would then be more historically accurate to certain time periods. Finishing would still be done by scraping and grinding.

For modern steels which are readily available, conservation of materials is not very necessary, and the material quality is high enough that even a blade made entirely from well selected material by stock removal and properly heat treated will have better properties than materials available 200+ years ago.

The specific context is needed for understanding that statement. I feel both methods are proper and appropriate in a modern shop using modern materials.

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  • 1 month later...


I have begun work on an 18th century Scottish dirk blade for a customer, and wanted to do some fullering lengthwise along the spine of the blade.


I want to start fairly simple such as what is seen in this example, but wonder how this is done.
I know that a top fuller and bottom die are used, and that the blade is moved in between, but I recognize that with a simple handheld fuller used with a hardy tool, I will at least need a 3rd arm or striker, and more skill than I currently possess in order to keep the blade perfectly straight while the fullering is being done. Seeing the fuller on this dirk, I suspect it was done freehand with a sriker

I suspect that many of you who work alone use some sort of jig to accomplish this, and am wondering what those jigs look like, and how they work.

I'm picturing something that is as simple as a blunt chisel with an adjustable hooked guide arm attached, or something slightly more elaborate that operates similarly to a drill press vise, but instead of a 2nd vise jaw, you have an open-ended guillotine tool.
Maybe it's better to have an adjustable stop built directly into the guillotine tool

Am I on the right track here?

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I would scrape that fuller in (or grind it) . It looks to fine for forging ...or It could have been rough forged and then scraped.
forging is just one tool , this looks like a job for stock removal.
scrapers can be as simple as an old file with a split in it and one leg of the split bent 90deg and sharpened as a lathe tool , the position of the other leg dictated the distance the scraper sits from the edge of the blade.
I'll try and dig some pictures up....

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I was shown the scraping tool someone uses, they take an old worn out file and split the tip one side they use as a guide against the spine and the other piece they round a little to scrape with, I have not made one yet but thats what I was shown and told to use.

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Wow, never thought about stock removal.....You guys are certainly giving me a lot of food for thought :--)

Yes, I was thinking of a "C shape" when mentioning the open ended guide,and yes fullering spreads metal (Duh! why didn't I think of that?)

The "Sen" you mention, this tool here??

If your blade is made from a leaf spring, and your sen is made from the same, would your sen would be tempered in the straw/bronze color range to work on a blade in it's annealed state?

The file idea is a good one...I have a few old worn Nicholson files and will experiment with this idea before trying it on anything I have some hours into

Thanks again fellas!

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I recently made a fullering tool (stock removal type) that attaches to my angle grinder.It is simply a piece of angle iron that rides along the edge of the workpiece and is attached to the grinder by a bracket.The hole/slot on the bracket bolts into one of the threaded holes on either side of the grinder head.The threaded holes are where you normally attach your grinder handle.

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don't know what its proper name is, but we always called them the blacksmith's helper


I made one similar to this for setting shoulders etc, but what about one of these with the tools going lengthways for fullering instead of across? 3rd hand sorted

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