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Zach Stambaugh





Joined: 08 Mar 2004

Posts: 73

PostPosted: Fri 19 Mar, 2004 11:14 am    Post subject: I am a new member and have a few questions for the experts.         Reply with quote

First of all I will introduce myself. I am Zach Stambaugh I am 22 live in the USA in central washington. I have very limited budget as I hope to enter law school soon. I am an enthusiast of things edged. I tend to prefer simplicity clean lines and function over style. I consider myself to be a good judge of pocket knives, but have little experience with swords. I have made a few fixed blade knives and would like to move up to swordmaking some time in the future.

1 would an expert or two (or five) please explain the difference between profile and distal tapers.

2 would someone who makes weapons please recommend a good source for good steel inexpensively. I am interested in function at this point , not authenticity. (that can wait until I can afford it) I want a hard edge and a blade that is well balanced and can absorb shock.

3 Can someone recommend a good source and possibly model for a hand and a half sword in the $200 range that is reasonably well balanced and can stand abuse. I prefer simple styling, and will use it, so it doesn't need to be pretty.

4. I welcome any tips (from those who actually have some experience) on making such a sword myself. i would like tims on grinding tempering, balancing, or anything else you feel is relevant. (I will have to work from stock removal methods since I lack the time and resources for forging.)

I know it is a lot to ask but I would appreciate any replies. I am in hopes that anyone who has gained such knowledge would be also eager for an opportunity to share it for with an interested audience.
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David McElrea




Location: Canada
Joined: 26 Nov 2003

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PostPosted: Fri 19 Mar, 2004 11:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Zach,

Welcome to the forum.

I will let the experts guide you in most of this, but as to your first question, check out this link for an excellent overview of blade properties (including profile and distance tapers):

http://www.myArmoury.com/feature_properties.html

Regards,

David
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Zach Stambaugh





Joined: 08 Mar 2004

Posts: 73

PostPosted: Fri 19 Mar, 2004 5:34 pm    Post subject: Thank you         Reply with quote

Thank you. I have read most of the basic articles on the site but I had not seen that one. It explained my first question quite adequately. I had been confused by some books on advanced forging that made it seem more complicated than it really was.
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Mark Moore




Location: East backwoods-assed Texas
Joined: 01 Oct 2003
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PostPosted: Sun 21 Mar, 2004 11:10 am    Post subject: Hello Zach....         Reply with quote

I've made quite a few relly good blades from old chainsaw bars. You have to be careful which ones to pick though. Some are three-piece bars rivetted around the edge, but some are solid bars with the chain guide milled into the edge. These solid bars are the ones you want. The chain guide must be ground away to get to the solid steel, and sometimes you may have to cut off the roller sprocket on the end. This will leave you with a solid bar of very good, hard steel. And I do mean HARD. You WILL wear out a grinder blade on this stuff, but....If you grind slow and dip in water often to keep the blade cool, you won't need heat-treating. A good way to tell solid from rivetted bars is to stick a big screwdriver into the chain guide on the end that attaches to the saw motor and give a good hard twist. This usually lets the rivetted bars separate into their layers...then you can toss 'em. They are useless. You can also see the rivets around the edge if you hold it and look flat down the bar, but this takes some practice. I've found that these big, solid bars can be made into Viking seax, Celtic shortswords, Falchions, and really honkin' big Bowies. Roman Gladii, daggers, and Arkansas Toothpicks are also good candidates. Find yourself a good solid bar and get to it. Have PATIENCE though. If you get tired....put it down. Overeagerness will screw you up every time. I know. You want to know anything else, email me personally...any time. Glad to help. Mark M. chubmonkey75494@yahoo.com
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Zach Stambaugh





Joined: 08 Mar 2004

Posts: 73

PostPosted: Sun 21 Mar, 2004 11:19 pm    Post subject: thanx         Reply with quote

i had been told about those before. I had heard that the metal was hard, but i was unsure of my source. any idea what the rockwell rating will be if i just keep the metal cool? is there a particular brand of chainsaw bars? I had not heard of the rivets issue. thanx.

ps I also usually cool by dipping in water every few seconds. most of my blades are from old steeel circular saw blades. the new ones are soft and thin, especially those with carbide teeth.

It is better to be over careful a hundred times than dead once. --- Mark Twain (give or take a slight misquote)
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Mark Moore




Location: East backwoods-assed Texas
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PostPosted: Mon 22 Mar, 2004 4:01 pm    Post subject: Hello again, Zach...         Reply with quote

The sawbars I got were from a tree trimming company. When the bars get worn or pinched in a tree, they chuck 'em. Good places to look would be small engine repair shops, tree services, local utilities (phone,electric, etc.)and flea markets. Do the screwdriver test on any and all you find. There is no particular brand that makes solid bars exclusivlly...that I know of. But, it does seem that the bigger bars(16,18,24") are usually found to be solid. Most of the above mentioned places will generally give them away. Less 'junk' for them to have hauled away. As far as Rockwell hardness, I have never tested one but if I had to guess....I would lean to 55-60. Somewhere it there, plus or minus a bit. I have a Bowie that I built just for myself and I use it alot on campouts, etc. It will easily cut a small tree and wipe clean, then slice steaks for dinner. I've had it now about four years and I've sharpened it twice. So.....There must be something to it all. Hammer away, friend! Write any time. M.
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Zach Stambaugh





Joined: 08 Mar 2004

Posts: 73

PostPosted: Tue 23 Mar, 2004 8:36 pm    Post subject: thanx for the info         Reply with quote

I will do that. in fact I called a small engine shop yesterday. no luck.

any tips on how to make guides or jigs to get consistent grinds and sharp ridges whn using belt sanders, or tips for grinding fullers on low end machinery?

It is better to be over careful a hundred times than dead once. --- Mark Twain (give or take a slight misquote)
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Mark Moore




Location: East backwoods-assed Texas
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PostPosted: Wed 24 Mar, 2004 4:58 pm    Post subject: Grinding fullers,etc....         Reply with quote

Well, Zach.....I'm really not privy to much information on jigs and such...simply because I don't use them. I have, however, clamped a straight, thin board to a blade and used it as a guide for my hand grinder. Hand tools are really all I use, except for a bench grinder and a big floor mount grinder. Heck, I don't even use a powered polishing wheel. I do it all with elbow grease, and I find that it's great for relieving stress. Many a night I have sat with a blade in my lap scrubbing it with a fine emery pad while watching TV. To me, the less mechanical aid that is put into a blade, the more special and meaningful it is. As fullers go....I have made a few fullered blades. Mostly smaller blades. Once again, I do this with a hand grinder. The biggest thing you have to watch here is how deep you go. You don't want to go all the way through. I once took an old , worn down wheel off my bench grinder and mounted it on a hand drill and used it to grind a fuller on a big dagger. It worked very well. I will soon be using the same method to fuller a sword blade that I hope to show off, along with its companion dagger, on myArmoury. Both will be sawbar steel and done in ancient Celtic styling. (Yes, fellows, I know fullers don't belong on Celtic swords.....BUT THEY'RE MINE!) Anyhoo...If I may be of further assistance, do not hesitate. I loooove to talk shop. See ya , Zach! MM
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Zach Stambaugh





Joined: 08 Mar 2004

Posts: 73

PostPosted: Fri 26 Mar, 2004 12:21 am    Post subject: apreciation         Reply with quote

don't just talk shop. post some pics!!
It is better to be over careful a hundred times than dead once. --- Mark Twain (give or take a slight misquote)
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Mark Moore




Location: East backwoods-assed Texas
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PostPosted: Sun 28 Mar, 2004 7:20 am    Post subject: Pics of my works....         Reply with quote

Fear not, Zach. I'm working on that now. I'm better with a grinder and torch than I am with a computer, so I must enlist the services of my hausfrau to get photos up. They're comin'! I've got lots of 'in-progress' shots on our digital camera of several projects.....and I need to take this afternoon to work on them. She's studying to be a teacher and is quite busy at this point, so I'll have to work around her schedule. Maybe next week.........MM.
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Zach Stambaugh





Joined: 08 Mar 2004

Posts: 73

PostPosted: Sun 28 Mar, 2004 1:25 pm    Post subject: thanx         Reply with quote

what do you use the torch for. i thought you did not mess with the original temper. also it does not seem like you could get consistent heat over a whole blade with a torch for tempering purposes.
It is better to be over careful a hundred times than dead once. --- Mark Twain (give or take a slight misquote)
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Mark Moore




Location: East backwoods-assed Texas
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PostPosted: Sun 28 Mar, 2004 2:40 pm    Post subject: My torch...         Reply with quote

I use a torch on occasion to heat a guard that I want to hammer onto a tang, or braze a small piece here and there. It's also handy for lighting cigars and will make a bitchin' grilled cheese sammich. Big Grin And, no , I never touch a blade with it. The heat would destroy the already fine temper of the steel...............MM.
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Zach Stambaugh





Joined: 08 Mar 2004

Posts: 73

PostPosted: Mon 29 Mar, 2004 2:15 pm    Post subject: a few additional questions         Reply with quote

I have been planning to make a sword and MIG weld the quillons in place rather than peening or other authentic methods. i have seen more or less derogatory references to this type of construction on several sword reviews. is this due to any mechanical, harmonic, or other performance related issues, or merely aversion to inauthentic methods?
It is better to be over careful a hundred times than dead once. --- Mark Twain (give or take a slight misquote)
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Zach Stambaugh





Joined: 08 Mar 2004

Posts: 73

PostPosted: Mon 29 Mar, 2004 2:38 pm    Post subject: breif description of a potential project         Reply with quote

this would probably not be my first sword project, but I would eventually like to make something similar to this. I would not use the pommel pictured. ( the pic is a hasty photoshop job mad of cannibalized parts and and original hilt.) my current plans for hilt construction would be to grind the fuller and distal taper on my uncle's industrial milling machine. the hilt and pommel would be made of steel and welded into place. then I would either polish and electroplate the hilt and pommel with silver, or coat them with wax, shape and then lost wax cast the hilt over the steel core with silver. I am not sure how practical either of these plans is. my Ideal hilt finish would not be silver, but rather a graphite gray metal, like hematite. however, I have no Idea how to produce such a look. Bluing is not what I mean. Any comments or tips.??


PS: the forum does not seem to be letting me post the picture. I have tried several different standard formats. i am using a mac computer, but I tried JPEG and PNG and the server does not like my extextensions sorry no pic. Too bad i intended to use it as an avatar. so I will try emailing you the pics.

It is better to be over careful a hundred times than dead once. --- Mark Twain (give or take a slight misquote)
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Nathan Robinson
myArmoury Admin


myArmoury Admin

PostPosted: Mon 29 Mar, 2004 3:01 pm    Post subject: Re: breif description of a potential project         Reply with quote

Zach Stambaugh wrote:
PS: the forum does not seem to be letting me post the picture. I have tried several different standard formats. i am using a mac computer, but I tried JPEG and PNG and the server does not like my extextensions sorry no pic. Too bad i intended to use it as an avatar. so I will try emailing you the pics.


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Zach Stambaugh





Joined: 08 Mar 2004

Posts: 73

PostPosted: Mon 29 Mar, 2004 4:54 pm    Post subject: here goes         Reply with quote

another atempt to post the pics


 Attachment: 49.41 KB
[ Download ]

It is better to be over careful a hundred times than dead once. --- Mark Twain (give or take a slight misquote)
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Zach Stambaugh





Joined: 08 Mar 2004

Posts: 73

PostPosted: Mon 29 Mar, 2004 5:10 pm    Post subject: Re: Hello Zach....         Reply with quote

Mark Moore wrote:
.. Falchions, ... chubmonkey75494@yahoo.com


does any one actually have any info on real antique falchions? I have read the articles on this sight. however they do interest me. I have only seen a few pics of them. and some do not fit my idea of what a falchion is. prolly means I am wrong. the medici falchion repro looks like a metal bludgeon with a hideous handle.

It is better to be over careful a hundred times than dead once. --- Mark Twain (give or take a slight misquote)
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William Goodwin




Location: Roanoke,Va
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PostPosted: Mon 29 Mar, 2004 5:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Zach,

First let me say welcome. I have a friend who makes alot of stuff from old cross-cut saw blades.
Here is his web-site. Don't know if will be of any help,but I'm sure he'll be more than happy to help you out in anyway he can. www.knivesbywill.com

Bill
P.S. (We strangely share the same name,but are not related,gets quite confusing at times)
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Zach Stambaugh





Joined: 08 Mar 2004

Posts: 73

PostPosted: Wed 31 Mar, 2004 11:44 pm    Post subject: thanx         Reply with quote

I tried to reply to this right after you posted, but my computer froze and I was too fed up to retype my reply.

Thanx for the tip. I checked out the site and it looked like he makes decent solid knives. he lists a lot of styles, but unfortunately does nothave many pics. I would like to have seen some of his designs.

Unfortunately I do not have access to crosscut saw blades. Around here they are considered to be valuable antiques and collector's items. I personally like them and would prefer to own one intact.

I have made several very good (as well as some not so good) knives out of circular saw blades. the best type are the thicker type of old high carbon high speed steel blades. they are thicker and meant to be resharpened. newer blades are generally very thin, and disposable. carbide tipped blades work best in the saws, but the metal is softer in the blade because it is cheaper and it absorbs shock better. after only the carbide tip needs to be hard. You can also make very good and flexible filet knives out of Sawzall blades.

It is better to be over careful a hundred times than dead once. --- Mark Twain (give or take a slight misquote)
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