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TheMightyMcClaw
29th May 10, 03:37 PM
I realize that this isn't really fashion, but it's made to be part of a costume, and I guess that's close enough.
About five months ago, I took a thoroughly badass metalworking seminar on, I shit you not, Making Stage Combat Weaponry.
I walked out of it with a sword crafted by my own hands:
http://fc03.deviantart.net/fs71/i/2010/149/d/0/Sword_by_MetalArtisan.jpg
The scabbard is much more recent, being made in the past two days. The strap on the back of the scabbard so that it can be slung over the back. The inscription on the back is "ASURA" (as in, the angry gods from Buddhism/Hinduism) written in the always-badass looking Manchu script. The little dangly bits on the hilt are wolf teeth.

EuropIan
29th May 10, 03:51 PM
could you give me a closeup of the crossbar?

Ajamil
29th May 10, 03:58 PM
I like, and rather accurate in that it just looks like a flat piece of metal shaped and sharpened.

Commodore Pipes
29th May 10, 05:05 PM
I like it too. Scabbard tip: If you soak a large rawhide chew bone in water for about a half hour, you can unwrap it and shape it around the blade, leaving a some room for shrinkage. It dries, you cut/saw off the excess, and then you can cover that in leather and you won't need the rivets along the side. You'll just need to fashion a piece for the tip and the throat of the scabbard, but, hell you already made the sword, so I figure carving some soapstone or cuttle bone to pour a little silver solder acoutrements has to be simple.

Cullion
29th May 10, 06:45 PM
I have to be honest, I've liked your work in the past but this looks a touch scruffy and like you didn't put serious craftsmanship into it.

bob
29th May 10, 06:49 PM
The guard needs to go all the way around to catch the blood. Otherwise it'll run down onto your hand and ruin your grip.

Commodore Pipes
29th May 10, 06:57 PM
How round is the tip, by the way? It looks a tad pointy for stage combat. The rule of thumb I'm used to is that is has to mimic the curve of a dime, at minimum.

Cullion
29th May 10, 06:59 PM
The 'guard' looks clumsily attached and like it will funnel all the blood over your hand and ruin your grip.

Commodore Pipes
29th May 10, 07:07 PM
I think it's quite good for a single seminar. Multi-part guards are a total pain in the ass and exceptionally tedious. I can understand that it might benefit by some more decorative elements, but there isn't a way to attach them that doesn't require multi-part guards; that much welding leaves too much of the metal annealed and weakened.

Keith
29th May 10, 07:28 PM
What kind of steel is it made from?

FickleFingerOfFate
29th May 10, 08:50 PM
... that much welding leaves too much of the metal annealed and weakened.

That depends on the alloy of the base metal, the filler rod used, the welding process, and finally the skill of the welder. I'm pretty sure that the design and fabrication of the guard itself is much more demanding than the act of attaching it.

Commodore Pipes
29th May 10, 09:44 PM
Yeah, I probably should have said "Whenever I work on a sword using a borrowed arc rig, I leave geat big disgusting gouts of slag and huge scorch marks all over the place, and my friends look at the finished project and slowly shake their heads."

TheMightyMcClaw
30th May 10, 01:19 AM
I have to be honest, I've liked your work in the past but this looks a touch scruffy and like you didn't put serious craftsmanship into it.

You're not wrong; this is a lot less polished than my maille work, for two principle reasons:
This sword was not only the first sword I ever made, it was the first anything I made via welding tools. In this regard, the sword is less an end product of a skill, but a byproduct of learning a skill.
Secondly, maille work gives one infinite takebacks; everything that can be done can be undone, easily and indefinitely. Metalworking and leatherworking are much less forgiving, as once a piece is cut it cannot be un-cut.
The scabbard has some rather rough edges as well, and I may later on go in with an exacto knife and trim it up a bit. I was working without a pattern for the scabbard, and had to make up a design and method of construction as I went along with it. I imagine the next one I create will be a bit trimmer, and also substantially less of a pain to make.
I'm still quite proud of my first product, though.

Cullion
30th May 10, 10:03 AM
Well, it's certainly way beyond anything I could produce.

What are you going to do differently next time ?

TheMightyMcClaw
30th May 10, 10:40 AM
Well, it's certainly way beyond anything I could produce.

What are you going to do differently next time ?

Hopefully, less sloppy cutting and welding. Unfortunately, the metal shop I made this one at closed down, so I'm not sure when I'm next be able to play with a plasma torch.

Cullion
30th May 10, 10:50 AM
How did pre-modern weaponsmiths do it?

Adouglasmhor
30th May 10, 11:04 AM
Gas Cutting.
Before this forge heating and smithing with a hot chisel ( a hardy chisel was common you fit ti in the hardy hole of the anvil, or in a log stump if using tinkers anvil and tools), or working cold metal with a cold chisel, it's a lot easier to take off than add on, or just hot roll out the billet to the correct size to start with..

FickleFingerOfFate
30th May 10, 11:40 AM
Band saws work well too.

EuropIan
30th May 10, 12:00 PM
Hopefully, less sloppy cutting and welding. Unfortunately, the metal shop I made this one at closed down, so I'm not sure when I'm next be able to play with a plasma torch.
Aren't there medieval historical societies you could contact to make it oldschool?

Cullion
30th May 10, 12:06 PM
It might be even harder to find the setup he needs to do it the 'oldschool' way. Are their still traditional blacksmiths forges in Michigan ? I know they exist in the UK, but they're definitely not something you'd find in every town.

Ajamil
30th May 10, 12:40 PM
Drop forge.

EuropIan
30th May 10, 12:47 PM
What about these guys?

http://www.miblacksmith.org/

FickleFingerOfFate
30th May 10, 05:36 PM
It might be even harder to find the setup he needs to do it the 'oldschool' way. Are their still traditional blacksmiths forges in Michigan ? I know they exist in the UK, but they're definitely not something you'd find in every town.

Yes, there are several, but you have to come to the party with some skills. They don't teach much any more, and they mostly do demonstrations. There is a functioning blacksmith shop in Downtown Romeo that is used for events, and a private one at the end of my street, but it is a closed shop. The group of guys that operate it, do it for their own amusement.

Keith
31st May 10, 12:01 AM
It's probably difficult to find a teh r34l oldschool teacher, but if you don't care that you use modern methods, you can replicate oldschool results without having to invest the time learning the oldschool skillz.

Forging a sword with medieval tech took a shop full of guys. Blacksmiths didn't take on apprentices for the fuck of it, they put those youngins to work.

A sword starts out as a bunch of steel billets. The quality and form of the steel was variable by region and one of the skills of the master sword-smith (forging swords was a specialized skill that few blacksmiths actually possessed) was determining what was proper steel for a sword. It couldn't be too soft, or too brittle, but just right.

The billets may have to be folded to beat out impurities, or baked with charcoal to add carbon, or possibly treated in some other way forgotten through the ages. Then they'd have to be forgewelded together to make a single billet big enough to make a sword from. This consists of heating the billets to welding temperature, with has its own just right Goldilocks zone, that the master smith knows how to achieve from experience. The pieces are pulled from the forge and the master smith places them on the anvil. He hits it with a small hammer to indicate the proper location and a gang of apprentices with sledge hammers hit with force in the same spot. Rinse and repeat until the billet becomes too cold to weld any further, and back into the forge it goes and the whole process repeats again until the billet takes the rough shape of a sword. At this point the master forges and grinds on his own to finalize the shape of the sword. This doesn't include the extra steps to make Damascus or Japanese-style pattern-welded blades.

The more time the billets spend in the forge, the more material is lost to oxidation (it becomes scale), so it was a mark of skill to be able to make the sword in as few heatings as possible.

If you don't have a shop full of apprentices and a master's skill to make your sword the old fashioned way, you can just buy high-quality steel. It's mass-manufactured and well documented what steel works best for what application, so you don't need the master smith's skill in selecting steel. You can buy it in long skinny sections that just need a point and edges ground on it so you can skip all that forging stuff. If you really want to bang on hot steel, you can make a propane forge from plans on the internet and buy a thermal sensor gun. Forging temperatures for shaping and welding are well documented and the thermal sensor will tell you exactly what temp your steel is at, so you don't need the master's skill here. A power hammer takes the place of gang of apprentices and can be built from parts from your local junkyard.

Now days you can get a degree in metallurgy and not only can you get a nice well-paying job, you'll learn just about everything you need to know to make your own swords, axes and knives of the highest quality. It won't be oldschool, but the quality will be even better.

Conde Koma
31st May 10, 12:17 AM
Damn. If I ever need to make a metal weapon, I guess I know how.

Does this mean that we've gotten everything out of "the secret of steel" already?

Keith
31st May 10, 12:28 AM
Damn. If I ever need to make a metal weapon, I guess I know how.

Actually, there's a lot of steps I left out.


Does this mean that we've gotten everything out of "the secret of steel" already?
Our modern understanding of metallurgy is as advanced from the good-old-days as all our other technology. Swords can be produced today that are way better than what the finest smiths of yore could produce, for cheaper, in quantity. There's a few niche sword makers that do so (except for the quantity part), mostly Japanese style blades. There's just no market for heavy sword making industry.

But, like any technology, there are still secrets to be discovered about steel.

Conde Koma
31st May 10, 12:31 AM
Well, even if you're not making swords, blades in general still see a lot of work in the machining industry. I'm assuming that factories are always looking for better and cheaper cutting parts, or have people completely moved over to water jets and lasers?

Keith
31st May 10, 12:55 AM
I think you mean machine tools? Drill bits, milling heads, etc? The materials used for these purposes vary widely based on application. Generally, the harder the cutting head, the more expensive the tool, with diamond being the most expensive and hardest. Hardness translates almost directly to brittleness. Ultra-hard ceramic cutting heads can cut miles of material without going dull, but if you feed the machine too fast they'll shatter. High-speed carbide drill bits will drill through just about anything and will not wander, but will shatter if you drop them. On the other end of the scale, you can buy a set of drill bits from your local hard ware shop that will drill through most common materials, including most steels you encounter in your home. These drill bits are fairly durable and inexpensive.

Something more analogous I think would be modern cutlery. Professional chefs spend big bucks on knives that hold a super-sharp edge for a long long time and never corrode. Old black smiths could never make something like this; that kind of steel hadn't been invented. Machine tools can sharpen these knives to a point that would boggle and old smith's mind.

Conde Koma
31st May 10, 03:05 AM
but i guess the tools for modern uses would serve as pretty crappy swords, right?

Keith
31st May 10, 03:25 AM
but i guess the tools for modern uses would serve as pretty crappy swords, right?
I'm not sure what you're getting at here. Modern tools make crappy weapons because they weren't designed to be weapons. Ancient tools are crappier than modern tools at being tools. Modern tools probably would make better weapons than ancient tools of the same type (i.e. a modern hammer made with good quality steel and a composite handle would be more reliable than a medieval hammer made from iron with a wood handle). A drill bit is a crappier weapon than a sword, but modern weapons are leaps and bounds more effective than swords. You couldn't even begin to explain a thermal-nuclear ballistic missile to a blacksmith 500 years ago.

Conde Koma
31st May 10, 03:30 AM
Haha, I'm just curious about how far metallurgy has come in the last couple hundred years. It seems like we still *can* make awesome swords like back then, but our common needs and tools just don't require it.

I'm trying to see if there's any truth to the idea that we've lost some magic process in making stupidly amazing swords or whatever. "The Secret of Steel" and all that.

Steve
31st May 10, 03:39 AM
We are fleshy creatures that no longer wear armor in our daily lives. When you take that into account, the question is a moot point.

FickleFingerOfFate
31st May 10, 09:42 AM
Haha, I'm just curious about how far metallurgy has come in the last couple hundred years. It seems like we still *can* make awesome swords like back then, but our common needs and tools just don't require it.

I'm trying to see if there's any truth to the idea that we've lost some magic process in making stupidly amazing swords or whatever. "The Secret of Steel" and all that.

Metallurgy is miles ahead of the medieval swordmakers. Unfortunately, the cost of the processes are a deterrent to using them for the purposes of sword-making. We can bond different alloys on a molecular level, giving different qualities to specific areas of the weapon.

Coatings on steel and other alloys is a whole different discussion, and would take days to delve into. Just understand that there are coatings out there that can make an aluminum cylinder sleeve tolerate a piston with moly rings revving up to 8000 times per minute for the useful life of a car.

As for the "magic" process, it was a function of trial and error, that produced results that were beneficial. The smith would pay attention to what processes yielded the best results, and pass it down to his apprentices through word of mouth. There was very little understanding of why certain things worked, only the results they provided. Unfortunately, like all tribal knowledge, it has the danger of being lost if it isn't constantly transferred faithfully to the next generation.

FickleFingerOfFate
31st May 10, 09:51 AM
We are fleshy creatures that no longer wear armor in our daily lives. When you take that into account, the question is a moot point.


Also, this.




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KO'd N DOA
31st May 10, 01:42 PM
Like the sword - as this is theatrical piece, where do you hid the fake blood pouches?

Feryk
31st May 10, 01:48 PM
All the critics should make one themselves first.

McClaw is just learning weaponry, and for a first try, this is very good.

I'm sure, if he enjoys it, he'll keep learning all the intricacies. I'm sure there is a hell of a lot to it.

I'm voting for a battleaxe as the next project :)

FickleFingerOfFate
31st May 10, 08:48 PM
All the critics should make one themselves first.


I'll stick to custom hot rod parts, and prototypes, although I have custom made a few reenactment props for co-workers. Mostly Civil war stuff though.

Keith
1st June 10, 12:31 AM
All the critics should make one themselves first.

I've tried forging knives. It is really difficult and requires specialized tools that are really not worth it unless you're going into full-time blade production. Cold forging (buying a piece of stock material and grinding it down to the right shape) is much easier, cost effective, and yields comparable results.

SoulMechanic
1st June 10, 01:59 AM
It might be even harder to find the setup he needs to do it the 'oldschool' way. Are their still traditional blacksmiths forges in Michigan ? I know they exist in the UK, but they're definitely not something you'd find in every town.
They exist. I have 2 in my family. : )