Sunday, 27 May 2012


Ive been lucky enough to be involved with conservation and handling of many original objects over the last year and i will be posting a few of my favourites on here over the next few weeks.

here are two for your consideration

firstly, this very fine sword from around 13th - 14th century, still has impression of handle matierial on the tang. this was a very fascinationg object to hold as it stil had an edge and was nearly intact apart from perhaps 2 inches on the tip. fascinating thing.

(pictured also is a transitional rapier, a small sword and a parrying dagger)

this sword measured just over 39" and had a shallow fuller. the cros was of a gentle "S" form and the pommell was large and heavy with an central impression. the blade was very thin, evenly tapered with the last part of the tip missing .

very much a war sword. it had presance, lets just leave it at that....

I will show more of this blade at a later date as it is my ambition to produce a new piece based on this one, not a copy... but based...

the other treat is the finest most interesting axe ive ever held and it dosent quite fit into any typeology that i know of.

it has the profile of a very elegent francisca, but as far as I know, those axes have heavy wedge shape heads -this was slender and refined.  
 had real trouble not walking out of the building with this one ! i WANTED it.

again, i will post this piece in more detail at a later date- it deserves thought and study.

Thursday, 24 May 2012


this is a work in progress,

i have a bunch Blacksmithing work on at the moment (hurah!) which wil take prescident over my blades.

but for now-

Saturday, 12 May 2012

cooking with gas

Around fifteen years ago, my dad bought a small gas Forge that we have used as our main forge for general work ever since. It gets hot quickly and heats a long area of matierial but doesnt reach the temperatures needed for "traditional" forge welding- this i have alway done in solid fuel.

Now, a while back i was introduced to "low-temperature" forge welding in a gas forge, this was a bit of a revelation to me as it has a number of advantages over welding in solid fuel.

firstly, because of the lower temperatures, you can not destroy the piece you are working on by overheating - a risk in a traditional forge.

there are other benefits but the point is.....

i have modified our old gas forge to get a bit more heat out of it. by modified, I mean ive put some fire bricks in it and my dad built a cunning door to hold the heat.

I had to test it of course.....

so i forged out some billets of hard steel and wrought iron, 

I made a twist billet, a straight laminate and an edge....

Welded and the end clipped- this helps the blade flow to the tip rather than ending abruptly

forged out to a kind of Kyber form, polished, pre-etch.

Im happy with this blade and i will put the rest of it together soon.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Learning about axes.

recently, ive been doing some research and experimenting into the ancient methods of axe manufacture.

mostly in plastacene, which to the uninitiated is a realistic matierial for modeling in iron and steel.

ive also made some "real" pieces.

what is different between the old method and the way that most smiths would produce an axe today, is the prevelance of firewelding to form the body of the axe rather than taking a large piece of steel and cutting a hole.

To punch a hole in this way, you need a homogineous piece of matierial (something that we take for granted with modern steels) but something that was hugely expensive until recent times as the matierial available was wrought Iron, a matierial full of glasssy "slag" inclusions. to refine wrought far enough to be treated as homogenious involves a huge amount of labour, fuel etc- all making it ever more expensive.  I , Personally love to work with wrought iron but many smith avoid it because it can be troublesome to forge due to its tendancy to split apart when worked at lower temperatures. it is this aspect of the matierial, the spliting, that would make the modern method of a punching a hole very difficult and weak in a tool design withstand impact.

the problem is that the matierial would continue to split either side of the punch.

another problem with the Modern method of using large stock and working the piece down to your finished form is that, historically, Iron was much More precious than it is considered today, it was used as currency, so much of smith work and bladesmithing was undertaken with much smaller pieces of matieral, these could be welded together to form a larger object.

the way that some, if not most of these ancient axes were produced has been reveled by careful study of original artifacts as well as the practical experimentation by Jim Austin, Jeff Pringle, Peter Johnsson and others. I have seen evidence for these fascinating methods on original objects myself, but i only knew what to look for because of the important study taken by these guys.

but anyway.

what have been I up to.

This was my first experiment in wrought iron. this method allows the "grain" of the Wrought iron to flow around the eye, preventing it from splitting.

this was a very rough experiment!

where this method succeeds is the production of a good, heavy, square poll (back of eye). also, the wall of the eye remains the same all the way around and the weld at the exit is symetrical. where the method did not work so well was to close the eye up as much as i wanted.

1st, 2nd and 3rd attempts.

the last attempt was successful enough to make into an axe! the bit is shown ready to forge welded in place. the bit is pattern welded steel.

My Crescent moon touchmark
Pattern Welded Bit.

The Old Norse Word For Beard is SKEG. say it aloud, SKEG. Feels good.

This was a first prototype, but i am pleased with how it turned out.
More to come next week.



Wednesday, 2 May 2012

been away

After a lovely few weeks away from work im back in the forge and got a bunch of stuff on the way

some Axes, Cooking knives and some other bits n'bobs.