Post by Lukas MG (chenessfan) on Oct 19, 2010 17:47:08 GMT
Nice, BB. So you install the distal taper when following the profile taper. You mentioned you never even check the thickness... this might work well on a blade with linear taper but I rarely use that. Convex or concave distal taper requires constant checking (at least for me) and that overlapping of the bevels makes it a bit hard to control I feel. Also, on leafies or any blade shape that doesn't taper straight this might pose problems. I also don't like to have to establish the central ridge multiple times, getting it straight is hard enough already. Why do it more than once? That's why I establish the distal taper over the whole width of the blade blade and then start grinding the primary bevels. The edge bevels are of course taken down first. Don't know if it takes longer than your way, in the end it's the same amount of metal removed sp shouldn't be much of a difference.
Hey chenessfan, I do linear taper and convex taper with this method but have not had a reason to do convex taper on a blade yet. Of course, to do convex taper you have to adjust the grind as you move toward the end. I don't find it to be a problem, but then, this is the way I've always done it. When I first contemplated making a blade, it seemed that the way to do it would be to do the distal taper first as you do. But I find that grinding along the flat of a blank is a lot of metal to remove very slowly as compared to removing the metal from the edges. Though maybe that's just my perception. The next problem was that I couldn't figure out a simple, reliable way to mark the distal taper evenly along the length of the blade. How do you mark it? Also, I've done a couple pretty extreme leaf blades this way, but again, this is how I'm used to doing it so I don't have a problem adjusting the grind as I move along the edge.
So, do you do the edge bevels, then grind in the distal taper, and then the primary bevels? Maybe now that I have a belt grinder I'll try it that way. Always looking for a more efficient/accurate method
Thanks very much, chuckinohio
Now on to draw filing. Draw filing is a lot of work but the results, in my opinion, are well worth it. It’s also nice and quiet compared to the sound of the grinder.
This is usually the last step before I start the heat treatment; which will be three or more normalization cycles, hardening and quench, and then tempering. However, sometimes I will do the first normalization before I do the draw filing. This would be the case if the steel came to me with a slight bow in it already, which sometimes returns after grinding on the steel for a while, or if the flats of the blade have become hard from the grinding. In either of these circumstances, I’ll normalize the blade once to flatten it and soften the steel up a bit to prepare it for filing. After this normalization, the blade will need to be cleaned up with a coarse sanding disc to remove the scale. I neglected to photograph the blade I’ve been showing while it was going through this stage, so the next few pictures are of a moat sale blank that I’ve been grinding on. This is what the blade will look like after heat treatment or normalization.
After the scale is cleaned off, it’s ready for the draw filing. The blade should be clamped onto a sturdy table with the edge and tip of the blade off the edge of the table. Unlike when grinding, when draw filing you want to be sitting, facing down the blade rather than standing facing the side of the blade. You can either sit at the tang end of the blade or at the tip end of the blade. I prefer to sit at the tip end so that I’m not reaching over the tang and clamps. Be very aware of the tip of the sword if you sit like this or you’ll end up poking yourself in the chest as you file. Wear a respirator and gloves for filing. I usually wear a leather apron as well because the fine filings will stick to your clothes. Draw filing is done with the file held perpendicular to the blade like this.
A mill file will only cut in one direction, so you only want pressure on the file when moving in that direction. When the tang of the file (or handle) is in your right hand, it will cut when moving away from you.
When the tang (or handle) of the file is in your left hand, it will cut when being drawn toward you.
You don’t need or want a lot of pressure for this. I would also recommend trying to keep your back straight while filing or it can be very hard on your lower back. The motion is rather like rowing. Every couple of passes you’ll want to tap the file on the side of the table to knock all the filings loose. If a filing gets lodged in the teeth of the file, it will gall your blade and will increase the amount of work you have to do to get it smooth. Believe me, I know :oops:
The object here is to get the flats as flat as possible. If there is a slight convexity to the flats from the grinding stage, we want to remove that here. This will also help get rid of any high spots or unevenness left from the grinding. If the central ridge developed any wander, we’ll also get it back to center with the file. Here is what the blade will look like when it is close to being done. I usually spend about ½ hour to an hour filing on each flat before the blade is ready for heat treatment. It’s important to have all the flats even before the heat treatment as any unevenness could lead to warping, sabering, or twisting of the blade.
Notice how nice and flat the filing has made the bevels. You still want to leave some extra metal on the tip before the heat treatment, so don't thin that area out yet.
Some notes on files. Buy good quality files, it makes a difference and they aren’t much more than the cheap ones. Grainger sometimes has them on sale www.grainger.com/Grainger/wwg/search.shtml?searchQuery=mill+files&op=search&Ntt=mill+files&N=0&sst=subset I usually use a 10” or 12” file. I start with a “second cut” file for before the heat treatment and then use a “smooth” file after the heat treatment. Be aware that the larger the file the larger the teeth and the smaller the file the smaller the teeth. A smooth cut 14” file will be noticeably coarser than a smooth cut 6” file. The grades of files from roughest to smoothest are: rough, middle, bastard, second cut, smooth, and dead smooth.
Brendan recently did a nice tutorial on draw filling as well.
Last Edit: Aug 15, 2018 22:45:58 GMT by brotherbanzai: Stupid photobucket
This is a great tutorial, BB, and I'm following it with great interest. On a side note, I love the taper and overall profile of the blade shown in the draw-filing.
With that said, I need to find me a tutorial on scabbards and handles so I can (hopefully) reduce some of your workload when I send you my own blade for customization. Of course, since I've never done either before (and don't even have the tools to do so), that may just be well-wishing on my part.
Storytellers and writers are all gods and goddesses, to a one. Musicians are their host, painters their scribes, and actors their saints--but all arts start with a story to tell.
Post by Lukas MG (chenessfan) on Oct 24, 2010 10:11:40 GMT
"So, do you do the edge bevels, then grind in the distal taper, and then the primary bevels?" Yep, that's exactly the way I do it. And yes, it does take a long time to remove the metal when grinding along the flat of the blank but I feel I can check the distal taper better that way. Actually, my process involves both angle grinder and (up to now) disk sander, for the next blade I plan to use a belt sander. First, I establish the edge bevels, then grind an approximate distal taper. Example: If I want the finished blade to taper linearly from 6mm at base to 2mm at the tip, I'll establish an distal taper of 6mm to about 3.5-4mm with the angle grinder (I don't touch the lower third of the blade at all as the little bit of metal to remove there will be sanded away with the sander during final shaping) then get it even with the sander across the whole flat of blade, consistently checking the distal taper with calipers, by eye and by running my finger over the blade too feel bumps, etc. Afterwards the blade tapers to about 3mm at the tip. Then I grind the primary bevels with the angle grinder. Finally the shape is trued up with a disk- or belt sander, resulting in a distal taper to about 2.5mm. Then off to heat treat and the final shaping and polishing. Ideally this gets the taper, etc where I want it, unless I have made a mistake and ground off to much at some stage. Happened to me on my last blade and I had to cut it down due to a too thin spot close to the tip. Hope this was easy enough to follow. Yes, it is a more complex process than BB's but for me this works best. I try to use the angle grinder as little as I can because I feel I have more control with the sander and am less likely to overgrind some spots.
Btw, that's a beautiful blade there, I LOVE the overall shape. Looks like one of the Albion moat blades...
Edit: just read that it is. Looking forward to see it mounted.
Post by brotherbanzai on Oct 27, 2010 21:57:28 GMT
Thanks Vincent I'm planning on including a bit of info on doing the grip as well. Scabbards are pretty easy and, depending on what method you choose, can be done with very few tools and heaps less work than making a blade.
Thanks for the info on your method chenessfan I'll likely give it a try the next time I make a blade that it would be suitable for.
Yeah, that little type 18 moat blade is turning out pretty nice. I don't normally care for single handers, but I may end up keeping that one.
Now we’re on to heat treating. If you aren’t planning on doing a lot of swords, it’s likely going to be much more convenient to take your blade to someone who can heat treat it for you. If you’re very handy, you can build your own heat treat set-up. :!: Whether you do the heat treat yourself or send it someone else to do it, the heat treat is critical to making a good blade. Without a good heat treatment, even the most well made blade won’t be a very good sword. The heat treatment changes your soft steel blade blank into a hard, flexible sword that will hold an edge and stand up to hard use.
There are lots of different ways that people heat treat blades. There is more than one right way to do it, and waaaaay more than one wrong way. What I’ll be describing is how I do a basic through hardened blade. There are four main steps involved in the process. 1.Normalization 2.Harden 3.Quench 4.Temper
You’ll need a way to heat the blade evenly and will need to reach temperatures around 1500 degrees. Then you’ll need something to quench the blade in, and finally a way to heat the blade again to a few hundred degrees to temper it. I put together an electric heat treat kiln for heating the blade and cut the top off an old propane cylinder to use as a quench tank.
I used a couple of salvage ceramic kilns for many of the parts for the heat treat kiln and spent about $350 in parts to put it together. I think the quench tank was about $10 and is filled with transmission fluid. Even heating is important, if the blade is not evenly heated, it will likely end up distorting when it’s quenched.
Safety gear—I recommend a face shield, thick gloves, a leather apron, and steel toed boots anytime you’re working with steel at 1500 degrees.
Normalizing: This step is to remove any stresses from the blade. Don’t skip this step unless you want a corkscrew for a sword. A blade with a hexagonal cross section, parallel edges, and no distal taper will be less likely to distort during the heat treat than will a blade with a lot of distal taper, profile taper, and a fuller. The thicker and more even the thickness of your blade, the less likely it is to twist, warp, or saber in the heat treat… and the more it will handle like a crowbar when it’s done. Since we’ve been taking the time to shape our blade like sword, we’ll need to take the time to keep it that way during the hardening process. To normalize the blade, I’ll take it up to critical (around 1500 for most plain steels), then remove it from the kiln and let it cool while hanging in still air. I generally do this three times, with each successive time heating to a slightly lower temperature. Going to a slightly lower temperature each time will help refine grain growth, or so I’ve read, I’m not a metallurgist. If the blade developed any warp or curvature during the first or second normalization, you’ll want to straighten it out before moving on to the next normalization. If it doesn’t come out of the final normalization straight on its own, then just do it again until it does. When you have a straight, normalized blade, it’s time for the next step.
Hardening: This step will change the soft steel to hard steel that will hold an edge. I won’t go into detail about face centered cubic/body centered cubic/ferrite/martensite and all that fun stuff. There are some very good tutorials out there that describe exactly what’s happening in the steel. To harden the steel, we’ll first take it up to critical again. When heating the blade in an electric kiln, I first bring the kiln up to temperature and then put the blade in. It will take a few minutes for the blade to heat up all the way through. You can see the pyrometer drop when the blade is put in and then build back up as it’s heated. The blade will be cherry red when removed from the kiln. I always check it with a magnet just to be double sure that it’s at the right temperature. A convenient thing about plain carbon steels is that they lose their magnetism when they get to critical temperature. The blade needs to move quickly from the heat treat kiln to the next phase… Quench: There are a lot of different quenchants available. Some steels quench in water, some in oil, and some in air. There are a lot of choices within the oils as well. There are some very good commercial quenchants available, though I’ve had nice results with transmission fluid. It has a high flash point, is cheap or free, and doesn’t smell bad when quenching. Your quench tank needs to be made of metal, not plastic. It would be no fun to touch the tip of your blade against the side or bottom of your plastic bucket and have oil spewing out all over the place as a result, and if you should accidentally drop a blade into the bucket while quenching you could have a real mess. You’ll also want a lid for the quench tank in case it does catch fire, you can smother it, also keeps the critters out of it. From the heat treat, move the blade quickly to the quench tank and slid it quickly and smoothly in. If you can get the entire thing in the tank, it won’t flame up once submerged. If the end of the tang is sticking out, it will act a bit like a wick and will flame up. This can be a sort of fun effect and isn’t necessarily bad. If the oil in the tank itself gets hot enough to catch fire (which is very unlikely in a tank of the size I’m using), that is bad and dangerous and you’ll want to put your lid on it to put it out.
Temper: as soon as possible after the quench, you’ll want to temper the blade. When it has been hardened, it’s brittle and if dropped could shatter like a piece of glass. The temper will take a bit of the hardness out and will allow the blade to be flexible. I will usually temper a large blade for an hour, let it sit overnight and then temper it again for another hour. The temperature you temper at will depend on the type of steel, size of the blade, and it’s intended use. I’m usually tempering somewhere around 500 degrees for a sword blade, or depending on the steel, whatever temperature will give me a final hardness that should be in the low to mid 50s.
Jeffery, excellent job. I like how you keep it nice and simple. By the way, Where did you pick up the old propane cylinder at? I'm not sure where I can find one here or even begin to look. Thanks for the great tutorial.
Thanks cook79 Check with the places that sell propane. They usually sell tanks too and often have some used ones around. That's where I got mine. Also, you don't need to buy one that's still any good as a propane tank. The one I got was no longer up to spec for use as a propane tank, which is why it was so cheap. Tell them what you're going to use it for and have them remove the valve for you. You don't want to do that yoursef because any residual pressure in the tank will cause the valve to fly off with a great deal of force when you remove it. Then you can cut the top off and use it for a lid (you'll need to weld, or otherwise attach, a lip around the edge so the lid doesn't fall into the tank). It can be a good idea to fill the tank with water before you do any cutting in case there was still some flamable gas trapped in there. You can screw some pipe with an elbow into the old valve hole to make a handle for the lid. An old welding tank can work too or even a length of iron pipe, though of course that limits the width of what you can quench in it. Make sure it's stable, or is attached to something that is; wouldn't want it tipping over during use. By the way, it takes a lot of quenchant to fill up a tank this big.
wow.....what a great tutorial you have put together here. I found it a view minutes ago and it was very enlightening ;-)
Now I have a much better understanding how you make your swords and blades. Very well done mate.
By the way: what plans do you have with the blade from the first couple of pictures? I realy like its shape (especialy the "curves" at the bottom of the blade). Could this be the "straight" bladed Dragon Spear you have talked about a view month ago? Also I think this blade would go very well with the new viking inspired dragon sword you have shown us recently. Wow, this thing would match my Dragon Spear and Drake blade realy well......
Best wishes, Meschler
P.S.: Have a +1 Karma for putting this tutorial together and showing us your great work, BB.
Post by Lukas MG (chenessfan) on Nov 6, 2010 14:57:53 GMT
Hey Jeffrey, I'm currently shopping for fiber disks and was wondering why you use the grinding stone anymore if these disks remove metal so much faster? Couldn't you use the fiber disks for the edge bevels aswell? There a lot cheaper than grinding stones after all.
I agree that the fish are cool... but what do you use to heat up your aquarium without killing all the aqua-plantings?
I'll admit I'm thinking of getting pet fish one day myself-- no four-legged pets in the apt. , but before this informative (and pretty damned cool) discussion on stock removal heads into one about aquariums, may I recommend posting an aquarium topic in the SBG Cafe? That way we stay on track here, and anyone interested in the aquarium discussion can join in, in the Cafe.
*taking off my Mod hat now*.
P.S. Thinking of possibly getting a Beta.
"If you can meet the dictates of the true mind, you are a master of swordsmanship." --Yagyu Munenori, "The Sword And The Mind"
"Love is a snowmobile racing across the tundra and then suddenly it flips over, pinning you underneath. At night, the ice weasels come!" --Matt Groening
Thanks very much Meschler Yes indeed, the blade I've been making through most of this tutorial is going to be a straight bladed Dragonspear.
Hey chenessfan, he discs don't work out to be cheaper when you consider how short their usable life is compared to a stone. Also, because of the rubber backing and the disc's flexibility, the discs tend to cut slightly convex rather than flat. The stone removes metal fairly quick from an angle (maybe that's why they call them angle grinders?) and gives a very cisp, straight line. I don't find that the discs cut neatly enough to get the edge bevel the way I want it. So, the stone cuts too slow to do the primary bevels, but cuts straighter and neater for the edge bevels and is cheaper for that use. You may possibly find differently if you try it, but that's what I've found when I do it. I plan on using my new belt grinder to do the edge bevels on my next blade, but that's not really usefull to people trying to make a decent blade on a tight budget.
Thanks for the info on the quench tank. That really helped me out a lot. Especially filling up the tank with water. I was wondering how I could cut the lid off without blowing myself up. +1 from me. Do you get your transmission fluid used from an automotive shop? Or do you buy it new. Thanks again for the great tutorial and for answering questions.
Veerdin: Anybody know anywhedre that has a reasonably priced smallsword (prefferably with scabbard) for sale? The CS one is sold out everywhere I can see except a massively overpriced one on ebay and not even the Depeeka ones seem to be available anywhere.
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pixelsword: thank you stabby
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pixelsword: Sorry, I just want to make sure I am 'doing it right' - thanks!
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