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Thark bush swords


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These are a couple of bush swords I forged at the same time that are kind of linked in my mind, though they went to different customers.  The top one was ordered up by a fellow on an archery forum who was directed my way by a guy who uses blades extensively, who wanted an 18" blade.  The bottom one was a first for me in that the customer had no e-mail or smart phone that I could send him pictures of it before shipping it.  He had based his decision to ask for a bush sword from me on an article by Joe Flowers in the final issue of the lamentably-out-of-print Tactical Knives magazine.  Since it had been several years since I had made the blades for that article, I let the customer know that what he got would, of course, be a bit different and hopefully better.

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tharkforged by James Helm, on Flickr

What links them in my mind is that when I had forged them out and had them laying side-by-side, I immediately saw them as Barsoomian short swords being wielded in the lower limbs of a Thark to ward off any blows that might slip through larger, longer-range weapons wielded by the top pair of arms.  Very different blade shapes, but kindred spirits, if you will.

These are also a jumping-off point for me as I have been making bush swords for years now with integral socket handles.  While I still feel that they make great handles if done correctly, I think that I have refined my multi-layer cord wrapping technique to the point that it is more comfortable than what I am able to do with the integral sockets.  I still built them with Turk's head knots fore and aft to provide a good mechanical lock in the hand.

The longer blade has a black-over-black wrap and a thin false edge that could have a secondary bevel added to sharpen it.  The customer initially wanted a 21" blade, but I felt that I could give him better balance at 18" and he let me go ahead.

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thark04 by James Helm, on Flickr

We set up his Kydex sheath for baldric carry, with a double-adjustable, quick-detach shoulder sling like I use on my tomahawk sheaths.

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thark05 by James Helm, on Flickr

I believe the blade may have picked up a bit of negative sori during the quench as the slight recurve seems more pronounced in the post-heat treatment photos.

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thark06 by James Helm, on Flickr

The shorter bush sword has a 15 1/2" blade.  The top edge is fully sharpened.

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thark01 by James Helm, on Flickr

The wrap is tan over black, with a tan Kydex sheath.

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thark02 by James Helm, on Flickr

I have to say that I firmly believe that the customer got a better bush sword than the one in the article that caught his attention.  He was certainly happy with it.  Couldn't ask for more than that.  :)

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thark03 by James Helm, on Flickr

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