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I Forge Iron

7 Day sword class at Bushfire forge June 2014


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Thanks for all the comments, I have been too busy finishing my own swords to update this.......

 Day 6:-


day 6 brings us closer to finished swords, the main job was to see everybody through insetting their guards and getting handles burned in and shaped. but sword blades needed polishing and pommels grinding and fitting.....


 Ian polished his blade



Tumi insets his guard





Have a look at my pommel.




Gabriel working out an octogon...



burning in handles




Almost there, I burn in handles at a high temper, and it works wonderfully in some woods, this is wallnut a favourite of mine.




I like to take the temper into the beginning of the blade, as I burn the handle on I drop the temp progressivly as we get closer to the blade.


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 a little fine straightening,needs a little hammer...or not.




In amongst all the machine work and bashing there there is time for a little chatting over a gentle handle polishing.



at the end of the day we are again a lot closer and the individual swords are gaining their own personalities.





and of course the end of the day photo.....Just before we go off for a beer!!




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Day 7.

 At this point its been a long week and I always try and end up with a shorter day.......at least I try....

. Lots of little bits of finishing to do before the end .


A bit more time on handles ....



a little aligning of a guard...



some sharpening, gently does it.




we glue up handles and guards and pommels and then when the glue is set tangs are peened over...




I always advise firmly holding the pommel to reduce the possibility of vibration loosening up the handle.




peening is a very precise job, best done with the smallest hammer that will move the metal.




If you are clever and leave the pommel edged as forged you cant even see the missed hammer blows! (nice one Ian)


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nicely peened over .



and balancing just rite, at least one version of right.....



A nice bit of burrl elm, shiny!



nothing beats that "I have just made a sword feeling" and that is a big man with a big sword!



and another " ah..... this is a sword" moment.



&7 days in and 7 swords..... well strictly speaking 6 swords finished as Elliot wanted to etch a superman S on his pommel so came back and did another half day...




They are all quite different in weight and characteristics, this photo was taken just before the last couple of blades were peened over....




 7 swords in 7 days is a hard ask both of myself and the students, but it is doable..... In many ways having the time limit means that the students do not stumble into the black hole of the unfinished sword pile that so many of us makers seem to find  (me included).


Swords get a lot of hype for being complicated pieces to make , and they are as complicated as you want to make them......they are also in many ways very simple, and of course simple with a guiding hand is a very different prospect from simple on your own with no help.


 For myself  teaching these classes had helped me to learn a lot more about the process of making a sword than I would had I been left my own devices, for example I have helped birth a greater variety of swords than I have made myself, and I have streamlined the processes and acquired kit that make it possible quickly and I have straightened a lot of bent swords.


 I am very proud of this class and the achievements of the students, in amongst the hard work there has also been a lot of fun!!

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as a class post script......

 on the tuesday after the class Elliott came back and etched his pommel and glued up and peened over his tang. I had fully expected his sword to take him an extra couple of days as he had a strong idea of what he wanted to make before the class started , but he did good and nearly finished his sword in the week.

super sword with the power to stay straight through the quench!!!




and another hair down moment and a happy student! with a big sword.




I have been busy working on some of my own pieces these last two weeks and I'll post them up here soon.....

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owen what a brilliant week! i really love your attitude towards this course, difficult but absolutely do - able.  and with the right encouragement and guidance so much can be achieved :) im very happy that a group of virtual beginners can learn all that, and produce something so good in only a week! good teachers like yourself are of HUGE value! nice one! really interesting thread - you are going to be inundated..... :)

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  • 4 months later...

I ran another class last week...... very satisfying class with lots of variation in the swords.

 One western martial-artist with very specific sword geometry , an art student making a sword for a sculpture, a bronze caster with his own cast sword fittings and a kendo student wanting to make a water quenched wakizashi ( which thankfully worked out lovely and in one piece.....).




and their swords...





this was the best hamon image i could get at short notice , good sori and nice hamon depth and action ....and quenched in water.....



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Unusual variety comming from a single class, but all look good.  I have enough trouble working with one student.  Having a group, where each is working on different projects is impressive, and the end result says a lot about your studio and your skills as an instructor Basher, they are lucky to have you. 


Can you post better pics of the details on the Dao furnature?

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thanks for the replies.

 Steve, the Dao if you are meaning the sword with the bronze fittings ... is in fact a finnish viking age sword . based upon one found in the grave of a finnish princess. I did not get good images of the fittings as the photos were hurried as the class dispersed. The student had the fittings cast before the class from his own waxes. I will hopefully get good pictures when the sword is finally assembled as it was a great piece.


SoCal Dave and Chinobi, I would love to teach this Class on your side of the pond ....but   .....I am not sure if I could pull it off in a different workshop environment. I am specifically and well kitted out for getting the work done. I have however taught quite a few Americans, Kiwis , Australians, South Africans, Irish ,French, Norwegian, Dutch, Swede's,  Finn's, Danes,  Italian, and Spanish...........to name but a few.


If you ever come over this way you would be most welcome.

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