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Hello everyone im new to blacksmithing and this will be my first project, the materials are a old lawn mower blade i plan to do a gladius style, how should i go about making that tapered point of the style should i anneal the steel and try to use a chisel to remove the corner chunks or just fold them over and hammer them flat and i plan on quenching in veg oil and tempering in an oven at 400 f for one hour. Any tips id apperciate!

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Tip 1: learn to smith first

Do you mean forge weld when you said fold them over and hammer them flat? Otherwise you don't have a sword you have (can't use such terms here)

Really this reads as "I'm entering a NASCAR race tomorrow, how do I start a car and what is that 3rd pedal on the floor for?"

May I commend to your attention "The Complete Bladesmith" and "The Master Bladesmith" by James Hrisoulas as one of the few books actually dealing with the details of swordmaking as well as knifemaking. If you live in the USA you should be able to ILL a copy at your local public library. Somehow hundreds of pages written by a top bladesmith seems to be better than a couple of pages on the internet written by who knows who...

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first check the exact alloy you are using, some steels weld easily and some dont, for example some types of spring steel will weld to mild steel much easier than they would weld to themselves.

also check the blade has never been subjected to stress or impacts that can cause unseen fractures.


make sure the metal is clean and at the right temperature, add flux if you are using it and then if you are skilled enough you can bring the two surfaces together and gently at first hammer them into a single piece.

you do not need to use a chisel to remove pieces in most cases, you move metal from where you dont want it to where you do want it.


how many years of experience have you had in general forgework and how many more in bladesmithing?


yes it is possible with quite a bit of work to make something  resembling a gladius from a distance but it would be far easier and may look better if you did it from wood or plastic

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Dubbed mystery steel, am aware gladius is a sword but however as i said pattern in that i did not want it to flex and keep stiff. Blah blah yea i get it everyone get my XXX out to the anvil and all that. Ill go check the barnes and noble and look for some smithing books. Also need a source for high carbon steel or some o-1

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Yea forgot anyone interested in the craft and is not a know it all should instantly be mistreated. Your all right. Congrats. This is the way to keep the art alive huh? Kill it before it ever had a chance.




One of the general rules here is to treat people with respect.  You asked questions, then insult the people that took time from their day to answer, because they didnt tell you what you wanted to hear.   If you had read the pinned link that was posted you would see much of what you are asking has been covered.  Since you will not take any of your time to read links and maybe learn for yourself,  perhaps some of the more experianced people here may not feel the desire to use their time to help either. Getting rude when asking for help never helps.

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Don't take them wrong.  Quite often, like every day, some one get on here and talks about making a sword.  There is a huge learning curve to making long blades.  It isn't as simple as you might think.  There is proper forge theory.  Heat treating and fit/finish.  Al told, I've been making knives for 7 years and really haven't tried since I got a little experience under my belt.  Like you I started thinking about making a sword and quickly learned I'm not ready.  Go for it, but do your homework.  Those books along with Goddards are a very good resource.  Have fun with it!

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Not knowing country you are in makes it hard to suggest places to find good high carbon steel. (Like the NJ Steel Baron Aldo; or a good spring shop for unused 5160)

What have you studied to get a good basis; not smithing as you don't recognize one of the basic processes.
How are you with distal taper and vibration nodes? "The Celtic Sword", Radomir Pleiner, for a discussion of sword metallurgy in that time period?

Many of us learned the hard way and many of us can show you scars and discuss expensive ER visits and enforced down time. We will tend to NOT make suggestions leading to such for you---in America the liability is too huge, other places we just don't want to hurt our fellow blade enthusiasts.

You are of course master of your own destiny; but we tried (and remember "Hand tools hurt; power tools maim")

Will you be at Quad-State this year? Barring breakdowns on the road I'll be there and will drive about 1500 miles to get there.

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Well, if all you're planning is a wall hanger to play with, made mostly by stock removal, may I recommend mild steel, rather than tool steel or high carbon? It won't keep an edge long, but it's much less likely to break and hurt you during forging or after.


"Non-flexing" tools, used "to chop with" need proper love and heat treatment too. And chopping/whacking things with a long thin object that doesn't flex.....ever hit something hard with an aluminum bat or a steel rod and have it just about take your hand off? Abuse of a lever hurts. S'why we don't use steel handles on hammers.

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Yea forgot anyone interested in the craft and is not a know it all should instantly be mistreated. Your all right. Congrats. This is the way to keep the art alive huh? Kill it before it ever had a chance.



Something I often tell my network engineering students applies here. Knowing what you don't know is just as important as knowing what you do know. 


What can impress an instructor of any craft is a student who is willing to study, accepting of the fact that in the beginning there is far more knowledge that they are unaware of that is missing, and to approach both with patience, humility and respect toward the instructor.


I have studied and practiced the content that these fine gentlemen have provided to keep the craft alive for over 2 years now.  This site is a treasure trove of knowledge, its appalling to me to see instructional content dismissed in a manner that belittles the instructor.


I for one would like to thank the master craftsmen of this site for all the time, effort and patience they put into both maintaining this site and it's public user base. I hope comments like those from the OP do not discourage any of you from posting in the future. There ARE grateful people out there willing to learn.

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What follows is NOT IFI policy but merely my own thoughts:

When I took a forge out to a SCA "war" once we had the home school kids tour the Period Demo area where it was. One 15 year old lad had gone on the tour just to see the smithing; as his mother was there as well, I told him that with her permission he could stay at the forge when the tour moved on and I'd give him his first forging lesson. (cue great enthusiasm)

So I worked him through his first project---an S hook and then he started asking about pattern welding; *but* he had actually done good research ahead of time. He knew the correct terms and correct details about the process *already* at 15! So I chucked a BSB&PS billet in the forge and showed him how to weld it up. Then we drew it out, notched it, folded it over and I handed it to him and talked him through his first forge weld. When he learned that it was *his* to take home... (CUE MASSIVE ENTHUSIASM INDEED) His second time he was making pattern welded steel.

The point is that most folks react better to folks who have done their homework ahead of time; know the correct details, jargon, etc. Folks who come in clueless and want everything spoon fed to them we tend to considered a waste of our time. Consider this: if you had to pay US$100 an hour to get your questions answered would you be asking the same questions; or would you refine then a whole lot more to make them direct concise and focused? When you ask people to spend their time on you it is polite to do the same---unless you can give them more time as recompense...

The surly curmudgeon slinks back to his hovel

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I concur wholeheartedly with the above post with one minor exception.... the word 'slinks' seems ER.. 'unthomasly'....(grin)

Iceforge, in another forum a similar type of question would be 'I've got a plank, bit of pipe, small barrel bolt and a bit of inner tube. When making my gun should I nail or screw the bolt down? Then get offended when someone suggests that you consider how unsafe this could be?

Please feel free to ask, think a bit about what and how you ask! So, yes anneal first, as a beginner it will be easier to cut to shape using a band saw or jig saw then use your grinder to taper the edges(stock removal) that gives you the basic processes (sadly leaving much of the learning curve out) the knowledge is here , the earlier posters tried to help you onto the road to 'understanding' and you get to choose your own path!

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I am new to this forum... but not to bladesmithing/blacksmithing, and I just want to say:


Anyone asking questions (on or about anything) needs to be ready to hear an answer they won't like.


A long time ago I was an Apprentice at AngelSword...

I learned a lot about bladesmithing... but learned more about humility.


If anyone finds these suggestions harsh, meanspirted, disheartening or discouraging then I only have one thing to say...

Check your ego.


Iceforge... spend the time to learn how to do it right and well. I teach how to make blades in my spare time, my kids spend most, like 3/4ths the time on just developing there hammer skills, and they have been at it for 9months.

Also, you can read and watch youtube all you want but it all goes out the door once you get to the anvil.

So... practice on mild steel. Even if your goal is to make a blade you will only use once. Do it right or leave it to the people who will.


Even after 17 years of smithin' I get my xxxx kicked by the steel from time to time. That is when I check my ego...


Many who have responed to this topic have spent more time making blades then any beginner has spent thinking about making blades.

Practice does not make Perfect. Perfect Practice makes Perfect.

Take heed, and realize... the only way any of us has been able to stay at this art is by being wise enough to listen but tenacious enough not to dispare.


Sorry to bloviate,


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Don't be discouraged from these folks, they're here to help just like all of us are here to learn. 


I was shocked at first, too, when I first started posting here about 6 months ago. But VERY quickly, I learned how extremely knowledgeable these people are. I also learned that I came in slinging some terms that were not correct, and thinking I knew a lot more than I did. The people here are wonderful and such a huge resource that we're lucky to have all in one place. 


Best advice here, chief, is scan the forums by searching for terms, check some books, make sure all of your safety points for smithing are in check and then jump in and give 'er a whack! 


Each project you do, you'll learn more. You'll pick up on the things to do and not to do, how to increase your efficiency, etc. 

You're going to get burned, you're going to drop stuff on your toes, you're going to smash your fingers. 

Best of luck, bud! 

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