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Ben Potter
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Location: Altadena, CA
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PostPosted: Thu 02 Oct, 2008 3:07 pm    Post subject: Seax Tutorial         Reply with quote

Greetings,

I am currently working on a seax and am making a tutorial of the process.
Take a look and let me know what you think.

SEAX TUTORIAL

Enjoy,
Ben

Ben Potter Bladesmith

It's not that I would trade my lot
For any other man's,
Nor that I will be ashamed
Of my work torn hands-

For I have chosen the path I tread
Knowing it would be steep,
And I will take the joys thereof
And the consequences reap.
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Gavin Kisebach




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PostPosted: Thu 02 Oct, 2008 11:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the tutorial Ben; I sent this to my brother who is getting into bladsmithing. He says he can't wait to see the next segments on filing and sanding.

It's interesting that you work the tip first; he was working that last.

A quick question while we're on the topic; my brother is making a glasius and had intended for it to be 26 inches long by 2.25 inches wide. Now that he's got the bevel hammered most of the way down the blad it looks like the blade will be longer and thinner than he had indended; closer to 28 inches by maybe 1.75 inches. Is there a way to bring some of the mass back into the width of the blade?

Upsetting would be one way but seems to be too heavyhanded for this application. I suggested that he simply get more steel stock and hammer it into the spine of the blade to give it more mass to work with, but he is worried about inclusions.

Any thoughts? Thanks in advance, and thanks again for the tutorial.

There are only two kinds of scholars; those who love ideas and those who hate them. ~ Emile Chartier
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Bram Verbeek





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PostPosted: Fri 03 Oct, 2008 12:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'd almost say cut the blade where you want to add mass, and forge-weld a piece of iron or low-carbon content steel in it. Iron is less brittle, and in the middle of the sword hardness is not as important as flexibility. If I'm not mistaking, swords often have a lower carbon content closer to the middle of the blade.

I would take my advice at face value though, and it's not that great a face. Either wait for someone more reputable to chime in or disregard it entirely.
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Anders Backlund




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PostPosted: Fri 03 Oct, 2008 2:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I tried making a sax lately, but when hammering the edge phase it bent backwards and started looking more like a falchion/scimitar type blade. I ended up liking it so much I kept it that way. Razz
The sword is an ode to the strife of mankind.

"This doesn't look easy... but I bet it is!"
-Homer Simpson.
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Bruno Giordan




PostPosted: Fri 03 Oct, 2008 9:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Is there archeological/historical evidence for the prayer circle? it sounds very interesting from an historical point of view.
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Ben Potter
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PostPosted: Fri 03 Oct, 2008 11:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
A quick question while we're on the topic; my brother is making a glasius and had intended for it to be 26 inches long by 2.25 inches wide. Now that he's got the bevel hammered most of the way down the blad it looks like the blade will be longer and thinner than he had indended; closer to 28 inches by maybe 1.75 inches. Is there a way to bring some of the mass back into the width of the blade?


If it was me I would get a new piece of steel and forge from the tip back. The reason for this is that as you forge the blade it will get longer and you can stop and forge the tang at the right length. Also get steel that is thicker then you want the finished piece to be. If i was forging a gladius to those dimensions, If you want it to be 2.25 wide by 3/16 thick (without a fuller) I'd start with a bar 2" wide by 1/4" thick and forge it down.

Quote:
Upsetting would be one way but seems to be too heavyhanded for this application. I suggested that he simply get more steel stock and hammer it into the spine of the blade to give it more mass to work with, but he is worried about inclusions.


Upsetting is about the only way to do that, but trying to upset a long blade is rather a difficult thing to do unless you have allot of experience. Welding more steel on to the sides is a traditional technique called San Mai you can use either a contrasting steel or the same steel if you don't want it to show. Forge welding is not all that difficult once you get the hang of it, and if you have the right forge. Again starting with the right sized steel is probably the best method.

I'd recommend using this blade for a roman cavalry sword or a gallic sword. Some times a piece of steel just won't work for one kind of blade. When that happens I just forge it into whatever it will be best as. In bladesmithing you have to learn to work with your materials.

Quote:
I'd almost say cut the blade where you want to add mass, and forge-weld a piece of iron or low-carbon content steel in it. Iron is less brittle, and in the middle of the sword hardness is not as important as flexibility. If I'm not mistaking, swords often have a lower carbon content closer to the middle of the blade.


This is the way allot of the original gladii were made, usually you do this you weld the billet up before forging the bevels. One of the reasons for the iron cores in sword was the difficulty in making and high cost of steel, a problem that we don't face so much any more (wrought iron being much more expensive then steel).

Quote:
Is there archeological/historical evidence for the prayer circle?

Not in this form to my knowledge, however there are many references to craftsmen praying and going through various purification rights before beginning a blade, also inscriptions, invocations, and incantations carved into buildings, swords, tools and other objects were common in times past( ...write them on the posts of thy house, and on thy gates. Deut. 6:9)
From an archeological perspective it is almost impossible to find any trace of this kind of activity as it perishes rather quickly. Through out history most buildings have had dirt floors and there are references to people scratching designs and words in to the floor for different occasions.

Ben Potter Bladesmith

It's not that I would trade my lot
For any other man's,
Nor that I will be ashamed
Of my work torn hands-

For I have chosen the path I tread
Knowing it would be steep,
And I will take the joys thereof
And the consequences reap.
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Kyle Kisebach




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PostPosted: Fri 03 Oct, 2008 5:13 pm    Post subject: Back to the deformation issue...         Reply with quote

My real issue is that I'm simply trying to flatten out the 3/4" piece of round stock I started with, and as I go along it's getting flatter but also longer. It occurs to me that since I'm using a cross pein hammer with a convex (not flat) face, the deflection at impact goes in all directions from the actual impact point.

So the question I have is, is it possible to draw in one direction ONLY, using a different hammer type or a different technique or both?

I guess I'm fighting Poisson's ratio here, and maybe that one can't be beat. If so, I'll just have to calculate that and start with stock that's smaller in both dimensions than I'm looking to end up with. I just don't have the patience or time to fold it over or forge weld new stock in. That's another question - don't you end up driving a lot of oxide inclusions into a piece as you forge weld? Doesn't that weaken the end product?

Thanks for all of your input. I'm the original hack referred to in the second post - and I started at the tip too. -KK

P.S. Ben - Thanks a ton for the tutorial - I was going along the right path generally but that filled in a lot of gaps.
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Ben Potter
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PostPosted: Sat 04 Oct, 2008 12:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
My real issue is that I'm simply trying to flatten out the 3/4" piece of round stock I started with, and as I go along it's getting flatter but also longer. It occurs to me that since I'm using a cross pein hammer with a convex (not flat) face, the deflection at impact goes in all directions from the actual impact point.


You are right about the hmmer face pushing the metal in all directions, you could forge it using a flater and sledge but that is a pain, basicaly even if you could draw a piece out in only one direction starting with 3/4 bar stock the best you could hope for would be to end up with a 1/8" x 2" blade if you forged perfectly, no loss to scale, no acidental dents from missed hammer blows.

Quote:
That's another question - don't you end up driving a lot of oxide inclusions into a piece as you forge weld? Doesn't that weaken the end product?


Not necesarily, forge welding was used by smiths to purify the iron and steel they were working with. you will loose some carbon if your not careful. Inclusions come from not being careful to clean the billet before welding it, not driving the flux out during the weld, and other such problems.

I'd recommend checking out the Bladesmith Forum on Don Fogg's site there is a wealth of information on all aspects of bladesmithing.

Hope that helps,
Ben

Ben Potter Bladesmith

It's not that I would trade my lot
For any other man's,
Nor that I will be ashamed
Of my work torn hands-

For I have chosen the path I tread
Knowing it would be steep,
And I will take the joys thereof
And the consequences reap.
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Ben Potter
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PostPosted: Tue 21 Oct, 2008 12:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just got the Tempering section up on the tutorial.
Ben Potter Bladesmith

It's not that I would trade my lot
For any other man's,
Nor that I will be ashamed
Of my work torn hands-

For I have chosen the path I tread
Knowing it would be steep,
And I will take the joys thereof
And the consequences reap.
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Ben Potter
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PostPosted: Wed 12 Nov, 2008 10:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Blade test and begining polishing sections are up.

Does anyone want me to post here when I put new sections in the tutorial? Let me know if you are interested.

Enjoy

Ben Potter Bladesmith

It's not that I would trade my lot
For any other man's,
Nor that I will be ashamed
Of my work torn hands-

For I have chosen the path I tread
Knowing it would be steep,
And I will take the joys thereof
And the consequences reap.
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Clark Volmar




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PostPosted: Wed 12 Nov, 2008 11:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ben Potter wrote:
Does anyone want me to post here when I put new sections in the tutorial? Let me know if you are interested.


Absolutely!

I, for one, have very much enjoyed watching the process.

I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be. -- Douglas Adams
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Dustin R. Reagan





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PostPosted: Wed 12 Nov, 2008 12:59 pm    Post subject: Re: Seax Tutorial         Reply with quote

Hi Ben,

Cool tutorial!

It looks like we live pretty nearby (I live on Mt. Washinton ). I'm a hobbyist bladesmith as well...

I noticed a couple things that give me pause in your heat-treat regime:

Ben Potter wrote:
Greetings,
Bring the blade up to temperature, about 1600F for this steel. Bringing it up a
bit hotter than needed allows me to get the blade to the quenching tank at the right temp.
Next the blade is plunged in to 450F oil and allowed to cool fully to that temp.
Once the blade is at 450F it is semi-plastic and can be molded by a gloved hand.
As the blade cools it "sings" making a shimmering noise as the martinsite crystals form
and the blade reached its hardend state. Finaly, the blade is given 3 one hour heat cycles
at 475F, this converts more of the steel to martinsite, and releives the stress of the quench.
Ben


If you are using 1095, heating to 1600F is well above critical! I see that you mention that you heat it this hot to give you some time to get it to the quench tank, but i would worry that this would be causing unnecessary grain growth. Have you noticed any problems with this?

Furthermore, the nose on the TTT curve for 1095 gives you a very small window of opportunity (you need to get below ~900 deg F in under 1 second)...do you think oil heated to 450 deg is able to get your blade below the nose in time?

Anyways, just a couple things I noticed, i'm sure you have things under control...

Mind if I stop by your shop sometime?
You are free to stop by my house (shop is in the garage) anytime!

I really like the look of your blades and would love to talk shop sometime.

Dustin
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Ben Potter
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PostPosted: Thu 13 Nov, 2008 9:01 am    Post subject: Re: Seax Tutorial         Reply with quote

Dustin R. Reagan wrote:
Hi Ben,

If you are using 1095, heating to 1600F is well above critical! I see that you mention that you heat it this hot to give you some time to get it to the quench tank, but i would worry that this would be causing unnecessary grain growth. Have you noticed any problems with this?

Furthermore, the nose on the TTT curve for 1095 gives you a very small window of opportunity (you need to get below ~900 deg F in under 1 second)...do you think oil heated to 450 deg is able to get your blade below the nose in time?
Dustin


The oil works, when you take it out you hear it "singing" and it turns plastic (cool, but a bit un-nerving). the trick is to have the blade RIGHT at critical as it goes into the quench (hence the higher temp.)

Thanks for asking

Ben Potter Bladesmith

It's not that I would trade my lot
For any other man's,
Nor that I will be ashamed
Of my work torn hands-

For I have chosen the path I tread
Knowing it would be steep,
And I will take the joys thereof
And the consequences reap.
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Ben Potter
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PostPosted: Wed 19 Nov, 2008 8:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Next round is up, have at it.
Ben Potter Bladesmith

It's not that I would trade my lot
For any other man's,
Nor that I will be ashamed
Of my work torn hands-

For I have chosen the path I tread
Knowing it would be steep,
And I will take the joys thereof
And the consequences reap.
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Gavin Kisebach




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PostPosted: Wed 19 Nov, 2008 10:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks again for posting this Ben, I've been following it eagerly.
There are only two kinds of scholars; those who love ideas and those who hate them. ~ Emile Chartier
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Pat Biggin




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PostPosted: Fri 28 Nov, 2008 8:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ben,

I am commissioned to make a few seax myself and I am wondering how you bevel the edges, do you bend into the cutting edge and allow the bevels to straighten the spine back out or do you leave it unbent and only slightly bevel by hammer and grind the edge thinner?

also a tip, use it or not, but if you want to save wear on files from that scale, just soak the blade in white vinegar for 3 or 4 days, each day remove the blade from the bath and brush with a wire brush then re submerge.. This way takes longer and is more messy but you don't eat up files like mad.

Pat B
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Ben Potter
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PostPosted: Sat 29 Nov, 2008 11:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Pat Biggin wrote:
Ben,

I am commissioned to make a few seax myself and I am wondering how you bevel the edges, do you bend into the cutting edge and allow the bevels to straighten the spine back out or do you leave it unbent and only slightly bevel by hammer and grind the edge thinner?

also a tip, use it or not, but if you want to save wear on files from that scale, just soak the blade in white vinegar for 3 or 4 days, each day remove the blade from the bath and brush with a wire brush then re submerge.. This way takes longer and is more messy but you don't eat up files like mad.

Pat B


Thanks for the tip, I've used it before but wanted to go ahead on this one and not wait.

Forging Broken back seaxs is tricky, for an oil quench the blade must be forged with a "saber" curve so that it comes out straight after the HT. if you are water quenching then you do the opposite. I don't really do either but rather adjust the curve as I go. Sorry for not putting the pics about the curves in the tutorial.

Hope that helps,
Ben

Ben Potter Bladesmith

It's not that I would trade my lot
For any other man's,
Nor that I will be ashamed
Of my work torn hands-

For I have chosen the path I tread
Knowing it would be steep,
And I will take the joys thereof
And the consequences reap.
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Pat Biggin




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PostPosted: Sat 29 Nov, 2008 4:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That is indeed interesting, Id not have thought of the saber curve straightening out in the quench, Just shows that everyday you learn something new.
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Ben Potter
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PostPosted: Sat 29 Nov, 2008 6:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I just posted the Engraving section.

All questions and comments welcome.

Enjoy.

Ben Potter Bladesmith

It's not that I would trade my lot
For any other man's,
Nor that I will be ashamed
Of my work torn hands-

For I have chosen the path I tread
Knowing it would be steep,
And I will take the joys thereof
And the consequences reap.
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Kyle Kisebach




Location: North Salt Lake, Utah
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PostPosted: Sat 29 Nov, 2008 9:59 pm    Post subject: Chiseling technique         Reply with quote

I see your nice straight lines chiseled into the pommel and handguards, and I have to admit this has been really difficult for me - just making a consistently deep and straight chisel line in steel. Aside from practice, can you give any tips on technique and tool selection for that?

I ended up giving up trying angled chiseling and just went to direct 90 degree blows, cuneiform style, in order to at least get the line straight, then going at it with a rotary tool to get more depth if needed. I can't imagine getting straight lines on a curved surface.

Many Thanks Again....

"Chaos is found in greatest abundance wherever order is being sought. Chaos always defeats order because it is better organized." - Terry Pratchett
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