Gobae

Midrib spears/swords

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During the bronze age blades with midribs were common and of course were cast that way. That same style carried over into iron during the early Iron Age, but they had to have been forged that way, not cast.

I've seen a couple of theoretical forging techniques that will give a midrib in archaeological reports. But, they seem very clunky, difficult and obviously thought up by someone with no/little blacksmithing experience. I've come up with some ideas of my own, but before I re-invent the wheel I figured I ask:

Has anyone here had regular practice making blades with a midrib? What techniques do you find work the best?

Thanks!

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either a fuller tool to allow the raising, OR Iforge them thick them with a contact wheel I grind them out.

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A set hammer against the edge of the anvil with a striker assisting would allow starting with a thicker blank and beveling each edge while leaving a rib in the middle. Would also be correct technique for the period - although I have to admit never making one so am simply speculating...

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Top and bottom swage to profile required. Use on power hammer or sledge teamwork.

Edited by John B
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Well in those early days I could see forge welding on a small piece of wrought iron and then working the rib down as a possibility too.

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thomas, i like the idea, never made one but would like to one day, how about having a nice high carbon steel blade, then forgewelding mild steel down the middle for the rib, i guess i would do a ruff forge of the blade then weld down the rib.
Good Luck

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If you are going modern with the alloy you could go modern with the process too...The early iron age ones tended to be straight wrought iron blades.

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Thanks for the ideas guys. I've got some extended and uninterrupted forge time coming up, I'll give them a try.

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How did that work out, Gobae?

What about a hardy hole mounted spring swage for those of us who don't have helpers? That should work, I'd think for the midrib. I'll let you know once I get that tool made/welded. Working on it in stages now.

While the ancients had the ability to forge weld, I rather suspect they didn't weld the mid rib on. More likely they just beat the edges of an iron billet thinner, and used either a swage or a special hammer/anvil for that purpose. This is based on partly speculation, and partly from seeing some of the small stump anvils they used (in photos from museums). Just mounted a small bick on a stump, and working on shaping a larger one for the socket end of javelins and spears...and other things, of course.

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