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Here's my take on the VOC (Dutch East India Company) cutlass. Blade is 1075, bell is brass, done as individual elements and brazed together. Overall length is 34", blade is about 28". Unfortunately the customer picked it up as I was finishing the handle so I didn't get a chance to take some close ups, but here's a few of the process and final product.


I started by hammering out the tang.


Next I marked off where the fuller will go.


This is my fullering setup. A simple air cut off saw on an adjustable shaft connected to my vise pedestal.


I set the height, turn on the air and then grind the fuller in. I have several other air tools mounted to shafts for other operations as well. I lock a plate in the vise jaws to provide a stable work surface.


After cutting the fuller, I hammered out the edge and adjusted the amount of curve.


A quick grind before heat treating.


Close up of the fuller.


These are the brass elements. I cut most of them into long strips, annealed and then hammered to shape.


Testing my layout.


After playing around with assembly ideas, I brazed the individual pieces to the base of the bell, cutting and making any additional pieces as I go along. Essentially, once I have a base I can build upon the design. It doesn't have to be pretty, just solid. After assembly I annealed the entire piece and hammered to the final shape over the horn of my anvil.

And the final piece. For the handle, I used strips of leather, glued to the tang. Then I wrapped the strips in thick hemp cording, covered the cord with a wrap of dyed leather and then coated the handle with lacquer to harden the leather. The customer wanted the entire piece to have a worn look, otherwise I would have really gone to town with the final grind and polish. The pommel is copper and steel with leather spacers and a peened nut to draw everything tight - however I may replace the pommel at a future date with a larger cast brass piece once we settle on the design.



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