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Etienne Hamel




Location: Acton Vale (QC) canada
Joined: 09 Sep 2006

Posts: 427

PostPosted: Thu 12 Jul, 2007 11:31 am    Post subject: Leafspring sword         Reply with quote

I know that i talk much about leafspring but i did some research and i found a site that i want to discuss with y'all and i need your opinion on this site.

Here is the link:http://www.livesteelarmor.com/how/warsword.html

Ok the sword don't look very good but hey it is more to bash with than to put it on your wall.
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Vincent Le Chevalier




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PostPosted: Thu 12 Jul, 2007 12:37 pm    Post subject: Re: Leafspring sword         Reply with quote

Etienne Hamel wrote:
I know that i talk much about leafspring but i did some research and i found a site that i want to discuss with y'all and i need your opinion on this site.

Here is the link:http://www.livesteelarmor.com/how/warsword.html


This site was mentioned at least once here in this thread. As you can read the author and his writings seem to hold little credit in the community.

That said maybe the construction method is viable (I have no practical experience in metal working). At least ending up with something shaped a bit like a sword should be possible... Then it depends on what you want to do with the thing. Which brings me to this part of your post:
Etienne Hamel wrote:
Ok the sword don't look very good but hey it is more to bash with than to put it on your wall.

In fact I'd rather put it on a wall than "bash" with it.
Honestly I find the term "bash" a bit disturbing, because it implies that you might, well, do things that show no respects to the object or safety or martial realism or whatever. If you want to bash something a simple iron bar will be a lot more safe (at least for you Worried) and a lot less work...

If you want to learn metal work I guess there are simpler projects than starting outright with a sword. More satisfying as well because you would end up with something closer to the real thing. As far as I understand the instructions you found, they will lead you to a "sword like object" that does not behave remotely like the real weapons.

If you want to study martial arts it is paramount to have a clear understanding of dynamic properties, how they affect handling, and what are the properties appropriate to the style you choose. In that you gain little in trying to build a sword, unless you have a quality sword to compare your work with. Practicing with an inappropriate weapon can really be a pain, I know that first hand from my experience in kenjutsu.

The experiment could be worth your while though, even if it is to discover that it's not the right way. But please, anything you do, keep it safe. Do not try to stress the result beyond necessity. Metal objects like that tend to fail in spectacular, unforeseen, and very dangerous ways...

Regards

--
Vincent
Ensis Sub Caelo
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Thu 12 Jul, 2007 2:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'Il agree with Vincent that making a first sword is a big first project, I would try a knife or dagger first and use a file as the material: At least you wouldn't have to bang it over and over again trying to take the bend out of it. Wink

You would have to reduce it's hardness before you could use it as a file is so glass hard that it can shatter like glass.

This might work to soften the file either before you work it or after it's finished: Put it in an oven at a good 500°F or whatever that is Celsius, get it to this temperature and leave it at this temperature for and hour and then let it cool slowly.

This should take the file that is probably at 65 R.C. or higher down to around 55 R.C. .

If you do this after you have a nice finish on the blade it should turn a deep blue at this temperature.

Try a knife first and you will see that creating nice and trait bevels and crisp grind lines is not easy, but is a skill that can be acquired. A sword length metal object that is twice as long as a knife is more like 10 time harder to do well.

I do remember using what I could find and doing the best I could with limited tools with limited results, but the effort was fun and worth it and most who did progress to becoming very good started with improvised home projects.

Do be careful with the tools though as you learn to use them and even when you are sure of what you are doing as accidents seem to happen when people get too confident and do stupid things.

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Addison C. de Lisle




Location: South Carolina
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PostPosted: Thu 12 Jul, 2007 2:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Smash a few pallets and cut a fifty gallon drum long wise. Chop down a small tree or a medium sized house, it shouldn't matter. A real sword, like it said in the movie, you can trust!


Quote:
A tapered blade works far better than a straight blade, so mark the center of the tip end and mark an inch in either direction. This gives you a 2 inch wide[/b tip


[quote] Don't try to a hollow ground blade as they are worthless on a sword. The best edge for a war sword is a parabolic curve. The samurai sword was stroked on a stone for one hundred strokes, one degree form flat then ninety nine stokes at two degrees and so on until a single deft stroke at forty five degrees.


Quote:
he hammer tight fit and claw keepers help keep the guard in place when subject to extreme force. After all extreme force is what a sword is all about.


These lines make me wonder about the author's definition of a real sword...

As has been suggested, try making a small to medium sized knife before making a sword. I made a medium-ish sized knife last year, and it took a long time to make it right, and that only had one edge and far less complex blade geometry and hilting than a sword does. I am currently making a paring knife, and even that small knife has taken me around 20 hours, and it's still not done. Not to say that I'm an expert or anything, I'm not, but I would suggest that you keep it in mind while you reassess whether or not you *really* want to make a sword as your first piece of metalwork or blade.

Good luck.

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Sam Barris




Location: San Diego, California
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PostPosted: Fri 13 Jul, 2007 3:20 am    Post subject: Re: Leafspring sword         Reply with quote

Blankenshield Armoury wrote:
Blankenshield Armoury is the oldest source for historically based combat ready armour in the western hemisphere possibly the world. The history of Blankenshield is the history of one man, Mathew Cross. Beginning his odyssey on the path of the sword in the late nineteen sixties he has lived as a practicing swordsman for well over thirty years.

Yes. The late sixties. That is one… old… armory. Positively lost in the mists of antiquity, that one is.

Blankenshield Armoury wrote:
As you try to learn the basic methods to make armour and or swords you will run into several major hurdles. Not the least of which is an organized cadre of professional smiths that operate from several chat rooms and forums. These underhanded business men are in the business of discouraging you from competing with their products.

This is not fair. I’ve browsed some of these forums (Don Fogg’s, for example) and I’ve never observed anything from the vast majority of professional smiths but courtesy and an earnest desire to help others to understand the craft. An organized cadre of underhanded businessmen isn’t really the first image that comes to mind. (Then again, perhaps there are more sinister reasons why he’s called Don.)

Blankenshield Armoury wrote:
The reason the chat room armoursmiths unite to try to suppress information related to working cold metal is that it can enable any amateur to produce a far stronger piece with no major equipment. In a like manner the chat room sword smiths will unite to keep people from making swords from leaf springs. Because that enables anyone with a sledge hammer and a file to make a sword that can chop most hand forged reproductions in half.

The idea that any steel sword could be made well enough to chop most other steel swords in half is rather funny. This comes up a lot in discussions about the majickal properties of the Japanese katana. A poorly made sword may break, but a steel sword isn’t likely to be cut by another steel sword. That said, I did know some guys in high school who took the scrap metal approach and made some cool, durable stuff. Traditional and accurate it was not, but it was fun to run around with. In retrospect, I’m probably lucky not to have lost an eye somewhere along the way.

I also like how he refers to "chat room sword smiths". Like "armchair quarterback", it subtly implies that the people to whom he refers are not, in fact, actually engaged in the pursuit of sword smithing, but rather merely pretend to those credentials behind the anonymity of teh internets. Very nicely done. I almost didn't catch it.

Blankenshield Armoury wrote:
Don't try to a hollow ground blade as they are worthless on a sword.

That just kills my desire to own a Svante. Wink

Blankenshield Armoury wrote:
The stories recall cutting men in half on the field of battle but more important the family tradition was that this great sword was mostly used in the field of war to cut down trees and make firewood and siege equipment. After over two centuries of cutting down trees the sword is still in perfect shape. Just as ready for war as when brand new. An extreme martial artist deserves nothing less. Even rapier style swords should withstand wood chopping and other heavy use.

O RLY? We could afford a claymore, but not a hand axe? And now my twisted mind is playing the Monty Python lumberjack skit, except the guy singing has a rapier. Please make it stop. Laughing Out Loud

Blankenshield Armoury wrote:
Prices start at around a thousand dollars.

Seems a bit steep, from what I can see of their swords. But more power to him if he can get it. I must admit, some of his armor is rather attractive, but it bears more resemblance to something in World of Warcraft rather than museum pieces.

I don’t want to sound like I’m ridiculing this guy, because that is really not my intent. And he clearly has more metalworking skill than I do, but his attitude towards the rest of his rarified profession is unjustified. I would surmise that this, rather than his theories on smithcraft, is why he is at odds with so many others.

Pax,
Sam Barris

"Any nation that draws too great a distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting done by fools." —Thucydides
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Fri 13 Jul, 2007 6:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

" TRUTHINESS " and everything I thought I knew about steel is wrong. Razz Wink Laughing Out Loud
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Fri 13 Jul, 2007 8:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Guys,
We do not need to ridicule people (which is how it's coming across, folks), regardless of whether we disagree with their websites/claims. Always feel free to point our inaccuracies or debate his points, but do not be snide or condescending.

Happy

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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Fri 13 Jul, 2007 10:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes lets get back to helping Etienne with deciding how to approach a sword or knife project and some technical advice depending on what materials he has access to.


Any opinions/advice about using a file as stock for the blade and when it should be heated to soften/toughen the blade.

In the long ago past I did the heating after shaping the blade but it might be a better idea to do it before putting in all the work. Wink

Hitting the softened file on a log a few times to make sure it's not going to be too brittle before starting to work on it ?

Oh, there are some very big files that would make a decent sized ballock, dirk or rondel dagger. ( 12" blade at least )

A much smaller file could be used to make a knife and /or a pricker to go with the larger dagger and to gain experience before trying the larger dagger or an even larger sword. ( Although for sword length I don't think one could find a big enough file and we are back to springs ...... Any other alternate already heat treated sword length " thing " out there ? )

There is always the best solution of buying some high carbon steel and getting it professionally heat treated after doing most of the shaping/grinding, but I think Etienne has limited financial resources and is looking for home project solutions ?

Etienne: You should let us know what tools you have easy access to so that our advice can be more focused. Wink Laughing Out Loud

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Etienne Hamel




Location: Acton Vale (QC) canada
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PostPosted: Sun 15 Jul, 2007 6:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have an angle grinder, hammers if necessary, the only thing i don't have is a vise.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Sun 15 Jul, 2007 9:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Etienne Hamel wrote:
I have an angle grinder, hammers if necessary, the only thing i don't have is a vice.



If you are going to be holding the angle grinder you need a very secure bench vice because trying to both hold the grinder and the piece of steel you are working on would be MUCH too unstable to control your grind lines ! And safety is an issue even with a good bench vice: It has to hold the thing you are working on firmly and it has to be solidly fixed to something.
You really don't want stuff flying loose when you are working on something that is going to end up sharp and pointy or even have the whole things, blade and vice falling on your foot. Eek!

Heavy clamps might work to hold the steel to a bench but tricky to make secure enough and vibration can loosen what was a secure or seemed secure at the worst possible time.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Bruno Giordan





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PostPosted: Sun 15 Jul, 2007 2:32 pm    Post subject: Re: Leafspring sword         Reply with quote

Etienne Hamel wrote:
I know that i talk much about leafspring but i did some research and i found a site that i want to discuss with y'all and i need your opinion on this site.

Here is the link:http://www.livesteelarmor.com/how/warsword.html

Ok the sword don't look very good but hey it is more to bash with than to put it on your wall.


"The sword is described in this series of articles is a simple hand and a half sword that could have seen action through the medieval and renaissance period"

How marvellous this sword was.

It weathered bravely at least six major style changes.

Oeakeshott must have been a blind dilettante if he didn't notice such wondrous design that spanned unchanged at least six centuries....
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Sun 15 Jul, 2007 2:58 pm    Post subject: Re: Leafspring sword         Reply with quote

Bruno Giordan wrote:

"The sword is described in this series of articles is a simple hand and a half sword that could have seen action through the medieval and renaissance period"

How marvellous this sword was.

It weathered bravely at least six major style changes.

Oeakeshott must have been a blind dilettante if he didn't notice such wondrous design that spanned unchanged at least six centuries....


Bruno,
Please see my note above. We do not need to ridicule others, regardless of their beliefs. You're free to disagree with this person, but leave the sarcasm out of it.

Happy

ChadA

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Bram Verbeek





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PostPosted: Sun 15 Jul, 2007 11:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I will have to agree with other forumites to disagree with this person. He tells us to have the hole in the leafspring close to the guard, but tensions will be greatest there, this could easily become dangerous against the hard targets he suggests. There are of course quite a few other things I disagree with, but those do not neccesarily induce danger, and I think it is nice to interest people in swords, but please, do so in a safe and proper way.
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Bruno Giordan





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PostPosted: Mon 16 Jul, 2007 4:07 am    Post subject: Re: Leafspring sword         Reply with quote

Chad Arnow wrote:
Bruno Giordan wrote:

"The sword is described in this series of articles is a simple hand and a half sword that could have seen action through the medieval and renaissance period"

How marvellous this sword was.

It weathered bravely at least six major style changes.

Oeakeshott must have been a blind dilettante if he didn't notice such wondrous design that spanned unchanged at least six centuries....


Bruno,
Please see my note above. We do not need to ridicule others, regardless of their beliefs. You're free to disagree with this person, but leave the sarcasm out of it.


Sorry, I didn't see it.

But I strongly disagree with a smith that publicly mantains that most other of his fellows have organized a sort of conspiracy in order to stifle his activity, this is just incorrect towards fellow smiths and toward the public .
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Mon 16 Jul, 2007 7:33 am    Post subject: Re: Leafspring sword         Reply with quote

Bruno Giordan wrote:
Sorry, I didn't see it.

But I strongly disagree with a smith that publicly mantains that most other of his fellows have organized a sort of conspiracy in order to stifle his activity, this is just incorrect towards fellow smiths and toward the public .


As I said twice above and will say here: disagree all you want. Point out the flaws, debate the arguments.

However, leave out the sarcasm and don't belittle the person. That's all I'm asking. For the record, I don't agree with that website either. Happy

Happy

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Bruno Giordan





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PostPosted: Thu 19 Jul, 2007 12:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

What I disagree most with is the idea of beating flat a leaf spring.

Nonsense.

Leaf spring steel is usually excellent (as Dr. Hrisoulas states in his deeply studied books) , but to achieve a real sword or knife one needs to forge it, so as to give it a new crystalline structure, and a proper grain.

If not it will remember of its original state.

In another thread a member of this forum showed how did actually flatten a leaf spring, but he didn\'t forget to anneal it in a real forge.

Even if not heat treated, his leaf spring swords could withstand reenactment combat well, imagine what a properly forged and heat treated leaf spring steel sword could achieve ...

I\'m in the process of forging a leaf spring into a falchion from a leaf spring, metal is very, very hard to move even with a three kilos hammer and heat into the orange range.

It has nothing to do with the usual steel that I find in Italy, type C45 (0.45 carbon) or at most the C60 type (0.60 carbon).
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Ken Nelson




Location: central Wisconsin, USA
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PostPosted: Thu 19 Jul, 2007 7:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If I may, I am relatively new to these forums, although I have been a bladesmith for 13 years. In that time, I have made many mistakes along the way, one of them was the wishful thinking that steel somehow had special qualities when it was shaped into a blade. this led me to chase any random scrap of hardenable steel I could find, as well as lusting after every new technique that was supposed to make a better blade. Needless to say, for a while my efforts were hit or miss. I would like to save other smiths the time and frustration that I went through.

First, many mistakes are made by guessing that a steel is good by what has already been made from it. Leaf springs have been made from 5160, 6150, 9260, 1075, 1060, and several other steels. without knowing what steel you are starting with you do not know how to heat treat it later on. I can say the same thing about files.

Second, straightening a leaf spring damages it. as long as steel flexes(returns to its original shape) it remains intact. once steel bends(deforms, takes a set)it has been damaged. this damage may be very slight, but it is there, and where it bent will be a weaker spot the next time it takes a lot of abuse.

Third, grinding on a hardened and tempered steel is a long aggravating process that eats up your abrasives, and if done with a hand grinder, will put a lot of vibrations through your wrists.

and lastly, I love forging, I am a dwarf at heart, but I must say that forging does NOT guarantee a superior blade. there are many more chances to lower the quality of a blade by forging than there are to improve it. The thermal cycling that the steel goes through does more for the grain structure than the hammering. The small impacts from our hammers are nothing compared to the industrial forging process that new steel is subjected to, nor are they as consistent. our hammering can cause a jumble of grain that needs to be evened out with normalizing later.

My best advice is to get a bar of a known steel that is already flat. that will aid in the layout of your edges. if you love leafsprings, get either 5160 or 9260, but I would recommend 8670m, it is a steel that is used for industrial saws, hardens easily, and because of the addition of nickel it can absorb a lot of shock. Grind out your blade while the steel is in an anealed state. that will save you quite a bit of money in abrasives, time and wear on your wrists. One trick that works well, get two or three good "C" clamps, and clamp the bladeto a workbench, or a 2x4 that then can be nailed down. you can move the clamps back and forth to grind any part of the blade, and it will be held firm with less vibration than clamping it in a vise. When done, send it to a heat treater, tell them you want the blade hardened and tempered to a RC of 55-57. You will get back a blade you can use without worry.

I realize that some people balk at the thought of spending money on new steel and heat treating, but it will actually save you money with the time spent digging around, straightening, and grinding. not to mention buying less abrasives.

Sorry for rambling on, I hope some of this helps.
Ken Nelson

"Live and learn, or you don't live long" L. Long
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Thu 19 Jul, 2007 7:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ken;

Welcome to the site and a great first post and a very good point that what one might save using a leaf spring and working on it in it's hardened state will cost you more in abrasives than what you saved avoiding buying stock steel of " Known " type.

Having a professional heat treat also means that all the work put in will actually not be wasted.

The suggestions using multiple clamps seems very good as I remember that vibration was very high when the piece is just clamped at one end. Vibrations feels bad in your hands after a while and increases fatigue and vibrations also make control more difficult and the surface more coarse and harder to finish.

I would suggest that Étienne find a source of steel and find a heat treater first, and figure out costs and make sure that he buys a steel that his heat treater can work with. ( Just make sure before buying the steel and doing a lot of work ).

I'm basically just repeating was you said in a different way and urging Étienne to take advantage of the best advice that has been given on this Topic so far. Big Grin Cool

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Etienne Hamel




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PostPosted: Fri 20 Jul, 2007 6:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I know a place in my town that do wielding and they have steel but the only problem is that the guy don't know about the kinds of steel that exist and i would like to know if someone know a place near st-hyacinthe (that's in the quebec) who can sell me good steel for good swords. And i would like to know if someone knows about the price in canadian dollars for a 3,5' steel piece.

and thanks for all of these advice it is really helpful Big Grin .
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Chris Arrington





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PostPosted: Fri 20 Jul, 2007 1:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ken, who would you recommend to do heat treating?

I've seen people who would heat treat knives in the 12" range, but I haven't seen anyone who would heat treat anything in the 3' range.

Etienne, do some searching on the internet. I've found many places that sell 5160 by the foot for a very reasonable price in the widths and thicknesses you would need for a sword.
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