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Myles Mulkey





Joined: 31 Jul 2008

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PostPosted: Wed 09 Sep, 2009 2:54 pm    Post subject: Early Migration Monosteel Swords?         Reply with quote

Alright,

I'm looking to either make or commission an early migration spatha (I have for a while now actually), perhaps like the ones found at Illerup, Vimose, or maybe Kragehul.

Since I'm not a super experienced blacksmith and have never done forge-welding, I'm thinking that if I attempt to make it rather than commission it, it would be best to make a monosteel blade.

But, is there any instance of non-pattern welded spathas in this period? Would monosteel blades in this period be of pretty poor quality? Let me know what you guys think. Thanks.
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Myles Mulkey





Joined: 31 Jul 2008

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PostPosted: Wed 09 Sep, 2009 6:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If nearly all of them were pattern welded, I may try my hand at welding a steel edge onto a "cable damascus" core, though I don't know how successful I'll be in that. Laughing Out Loud
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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Thu 10 Sep, 2009 6:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That's a good question (meaning that I don't have a definitive answer). But just to keep this thread alive until someone notices it who does have the answer, one can apply some general knowledge and logic:

- so far as we know, Europeans did not know how to achieve a consistent quality of carbon steel during the migration period
- thus the best swords were made by pattern welding
- it stands to reason that some people must have tried making them without pattern welding, or simply did not know how
- presumably most of these were pretty crappy, with too high or too low carbon, or with a consistency that varied inappropriately but,
- by sheer luck some of them might have worked out well.

Now, hopefully someone can give you a definitive, archeology-based answer!
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Paul Hansen




Location: The Netherlands
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PostPosted: Thu 10 Sep, 2009 11:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes, quite migration age swords were not pattern welded. Krefeld-Gellep grave 43 and Hemmingen grave 21 for instance, dated around 500. In the late migration period, pattern welding became much more common, but even then not all swords were pattern welded.

Regarding the metallurgy or quality of these monosteel blades, I couldn't say too much though.
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Myles Mulkey





Joined: 31 Jul 2008

Posts: 250

PostPosted: Thu 10 Sep, 2009 12:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Paul Hansen wrote:
Yes, quite migration age swords were not pattern welded. Krefeld-Gellep grave 43 and Hemmingen grave 21 for instance, dated around 500. In the late migration period, pattern welding became much more common, but even then not all swords were pattern welded.

Regarding the metallurgy or quality of these monosteel blades, I couldn't say too much though.

Thanks Paul! I'm thinking of a plain lenticular shaped blade with either no fuller or a double fuller. I'm thinking that monosteel swords were probably poor quality, with uneven carbon contents, bad tempers, etc as J.D. mentioned. With my smithing skills, I may be able to produce a monosteel blade on par with those. Laughing Out Loud

Please keep the comments coming. I'd like to learn as much as possible before attempting anything.


Last edited by Myles Mulkey on Thu 10 Sep, 2009 1:27 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Myles Mulkey





Joined: 31 Jul 2008

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PostPosted: Thu 10 Sep, 2009 1:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Those of you out there who have done any "bench grinder forging" or stock removal to make a sword, where do you get the material? Would it be more cost effective to just have a sword made by someone else?
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Jared Smith




Location: Tennessee
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PostPosted: Thu 10 Sep, 2009 2:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Myles Mulkey wrote:
where do you get the material? Would it be more cost effective to just have a sword made by someone else?


This might be a clue as to why pattern welding and piling was done in the first place. (Combining smaller widely available pieces of raw stock.) It is not easy to find an "off the distributor's shelf" nearly perfect "sword sized" piece of raw stock and mail order it. (Admiral Steel's on line blade steel store stops at 1/4" thickness, which is a little two thin compared to several of my reproduction swords cross sections near the guard.) I am guessing the prominent reproduction companies special order the sizes that they use for blanks in the milling machines. Some smiths forge/flatten round bar stock of an appropriate diameter that will yield roughly the desired rectangular shape and cross section volume.

If you do find some distributors selling nearly perfect sized bar stock (say 3/8" thick by 2" wide in 4 foot or 6 foot lengths) for longsword fabrication, please share them!

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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Myles Mulkey





Joined: 31 Jul 2008

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PostPosted: Thu 10 Sep, 2009 6:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jared Smith wrote:
Myles Mulkey wrote:
where do you get the material? Would it be more cost effective to just have a sword made by someone else?


This might be a clue as to why pattern welding and piling was done in the first place. (Combining smaller widely available pieces of raw stock.) It is not easy to find an "off the distributor's shelf" nearly perfect "sword sized" piece of raw stock and mail order it. (Admiral Steel's on line blade steel store stops at 1/4" thickness, which is a little two thin compared to several of my reproduction swords cross sections near the guard.) I am guessing the prominent reproduction companies special order the sizes that they use for blanks in the milling machines. Some smiths forge/flatten round bar stock of an appropriate diameter that will yield roughly the desired rectangular shape and cross section volume.

If you do find some distributors selling nearly perfect sized bar stock (say 3/8" thick by 2" wide in 4 foot or 6 foot lengths) for longsword fabrication, please share them!

Haha, please indeed!
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Paul Hansen




Location: The Netherlands
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PostPosted: Thu 10 Sep, 2009 11:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Myles Mulkey wrote:
I'm thinking that monosteel swords were probably poor quality, with uneven carbon contents, bad tempers, etc as J.D. mentioned.


Perhaps, but these swords still had quite elaborate fittings, so they must have been desirable objects anyway. And therefore probably not too bad to use in combat.
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Richard Hare




Location: Alberta, canada
Joined: 15 Mar 2008

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PostPosted: Fri 11 Sep, 2009 6:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Myles,

Wouldn't a length of truck spring be a good start?..............from a wreckers?

I know nothing (yet) of making sword blades, but it works well for knives!

Just an idea, as truck springs are tough!
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Myles Mulkey





Joined: 31 Jul 2008

Posts: 250

PostPosted: Fri 11 Sep, 2009 6:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Paul Hansen wrote:
Myles Mulkey wrote:
I'm thinking that monosteel swords were probably poor quality, with uneven carbon contents, bad tempers, etc as J.D. mentioned.


Perhaps, but these swords still had quite elaborate fittings, so they must have been desirable objects anyway. And therefore probably not too bad to use in combat.

Very true Paul. I had not thought of it that way. My general preferences so far lean towards what the "average joe" would carry, and although swords are generally status items reserved for more upper class folks, I still want one Laughing Out Loud

Richard Hare wrote:
Myles,

Wouldn't a length of truck spring be a good start?..............from a wreckers?

I know nothing (yet) of making sword blades, but it works well for knives!

Just an idea, as truck springs are tough!

I've heard of stuff like that being used before. Perhaps I'll make a trip to my local scrapyard and see what I can find... I've got no qualms with dumpster diving!

But I was hoping for a more controlled piece. I would have to straighten out the spring first, right? I'd like a source of perfect bar stock as Jared mentioned Laughing Out Loud
A fellow on romanarmytalk in this post: http://www.romanarmytalk.com/rat/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=22730 shows how to grind your own sword, and I think I read on a different thread that he uses the 1/4" stuff that Jared mentioned. I sent him a PM to be sure and to see where he gets his steel. I'll post up the details here when I get them.

By the way, Jared. What size round bar would be the appropriate thickness to get a size you're talking about?
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Elnathan Barnett




Location: The vicinity of Asheville, NC
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PostPosted: Sat 12 Sep, 2009 1:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

According to Ian Peirce in Swords of the Viking Age, the Geibig type 1, a late migration-era type has a thickness of .36 to .52 cm at the base. That amounts to .14 to .20 inches. I know that is not the exact period you are looking at , but I would double check to make sure that you really want a 1/4" thick piece of steel, depending on what you mean by "spatha."

I would have made a sword or two myself before now was I able to get a piece of steel thinner than 1/4" at a price I can afford. As it is I don't have the energy to grind a 1/4" bar to 3/16 tapering to 1/8 on my little grinder! I 'll have to wait until I have access to a forge. Sad
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Myles Mulkey





Joined: 31 Jul 2008

Posts: 250

PostPosted: Sat 12 Sep, 2009 2:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Elnathan Barnett wrote:
According to Ian Peirce in Swords of the Viking Age, the Geibig type 1, a late migration-era type has a thickness of .36 to .52 cm at the base. That amounts to .14 to .20 inches. I know that is not the exact period you are looking at , but I would double check to make sure that you really want a 1/4" thick piece of steel, depending on what you mean by "spatha."

I would have made a sword or two myself before now was I able to get a piece of steel thinner than 1/4" at a price I can afford. As it is I don't have the energy to grind a 1/4" bar to 3/16 tapering to 1/8 on my little grinder! I 'll have to wait until I have access to a forge. Sad

Interesting. Thanks for the info Elnathan. I do (or rather did and will again shortly) have access to a forge, and although I'm pretty inexperienced, I think I'll be able to put a good distal taper to a blade with a little experimentation. I'm not sure how thick exactly that I want it, but I'm thinking that I want a heftier feel at the hilt with a very light and mobile tip. When you pick up a sword like that, you just feel satisfied holding it. *Ahhh* Laughing Out Loud

So, since I'm looking for a slightly more robust feel, I think I'll go with a 3/8" or a 1/4" as opposed to a 1/5". But that's just my personal preference, not being based on any historical sword.
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Myles Mulkey





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PostPosted: Fri 25 Sep, 2009 8:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Edit: Link wasn't working.

Would something like this be appropriate? I know it's a Viking-style sword, therefore a bit later than the period in question. What do you folks think?

http://www.kultofathena.com/product~item~OH24...Blade.html
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Nathaniel C.





Joined: 26 Aug 2008

Posts: 43

PostPosted: Fri 25 Sep, 2009 8:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've been looking at that Tinker/Hanwei blade for a while now as I have similar ideas to your own. I personally don't think it would work well as a Spatha blade though. (I was thinking of doing a more viking styled hilt on it) The geometry just looks all off. The tapered fuller looks almost out of place on a viking sword so putting in a hilt of several hundred years prior would look quite odd, I think. Keep in mind This is a very amateur opinion. Confused

Not to be self promoting but I know a guy who is planning on selling bare Deltin blades. You might like the blade off of they're "Lombard Sword." It would be a much better fit for what you want, though somewhat more expensive I think. I'm not sure that he actually has the blades yet either.

From everything I've heard the Tinker/Hanwei is a really good blade especially when you look at the cost. I just don't think it fits the time period. If you do buy it though, you might be able to sand down the edges of the super defined fuller to make it look a little more accurate to the period. That's what I've been thinking of doing. That and I think the tip should be more rounded but that wouldn't be impossible either. Since your going for the migration era maybe a spatulate tip would be the way to go.

-Just some thoughts.
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Myles Mulkey





Joined: 31 Jul 2008

Posts: 250

PostPosted: Sat 26 Sep, 2009 7:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathaniel C. wrote:
I've been looking at that Tinker/Hanwei blade for a while now as I have similar ideas to your own. I personally don't think it would work well as a Spatha blade though. (I was thinking of doing a more viking styled hilt on it) The geometry just looks all off. The tapered fuller looks almost out of place on a viking sword so putting in a hilt of several hundred years prior would look quite odd, I think. Keep in mind This is a very amateur opinion. Confused

Not to be self promoting but I know a guy who is planning on selling bare Deltin blades. You might like the blade off of they're "Lombard Sword." It would be a much better fit for what you want, though somewhat more expensive I think. I'm not sure that he actually has the blades yet either.

From everything I've heard the Tinker/Hanwei is a really good blade especially when you look at the cost. I just don't think it fits the time period. If you do buy it though, you might be able to sand down the edges of the super defined fuller to make it look a little more accurate to the period. That's what I've been thinking of doing. That and I think the tip should be more rounded but that wouldn't be impossible either. Since your going for the migration era maybe a spatulate tip would be the way to go.

-Just some thoughts.

Thanks for the input Nathaniel. I'd appreciate it if you keep me informed on the blank Del Tin blades.
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Hadrian Coffin
Industry Professional



Location: Oxford, England
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PostPosted: Sat 26 Sep, 2009 4:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello,
In general migration period swords are extremely thin, thin enough to sag under their own weight. If you are looking for non pattern-welded migration swords I do recall one iron cored sword with a welded on steel edge, I don't however remember what museum it was in. There was someone on this forum who had a way of etching a blade to give it the appearance of having a piled structure, you may be able to look around for that person. Another thing you may be able to do is order a blade from Paul Binns. His blades are quite good, and reasonably priced, I'd try shooting him an email.
http://www.paul-binns-swords.co.uk/ he's located in the UK but shipping isn't as pricey or time consuming as you may expect.
Best,
Hadrian

Historia magistra vitae est
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Kirk Lee Spencer




Location: Texas
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PostPosted: Sat 26 Sep, 2009 6:43 pm    Post subject: Re: Early Migration Monosteel Swords?         Reply with quote

Myles Mulkey wrote:
Alright,

I'm looking to either make or commission an early migration spatha (I have for a while now actually), perhaps like the ones found at Illerup, Vimose, or maybe Kragehul.

Since I'm not a super experienced blacksmith and have never done forge-welding, I'm thinking that if I attempt to make it rather than commission it, it would be best to make a monosteel blade...



Hi Myles...

I had a similar thought and got one of these

http://forums.swordforum.com/showthread.php?t=96762

to use as raw materials. The blade is lenticular cross section and about 3/16 s with very little distal taper. It would not be hard at all to grind in some distal taper and mabe a very shallow fuller. The gigantic bronze fittings could easily be cut down for hilt plates and pommel cap.

just a thought...

ks

Two swords
Lit in Edenís flame
One of iron and one of ink
To place within a bloody hand
One of God or one of man
Our souls to one of
Two eternities
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Joseph E.




Location: Northern California
Joined: 16 Sep 2009

Posts: 15

PostPosted: Tue 29 Sep, 2009 1:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

First Post!

I am nearly finished with a 'stock removal' Latene Celtic sword made from 1/4" x 1.5" steel bar stock. The 'how to' thread from the sword forum is good advice (wish I'd found it before I started). 1/4" seems fine for the tang, as long as you don't make it too narrow.

I used a cutoff wheel on an angle grinder to cut out the blank (tang and point) and hours of grinding to form the cross section (I also went with a lenticular shape, with no fuller). As I didn't find a wider bar, I had to go with very little (almost no) distal taper and a rather blunt tip(La Tene III style).

My advice with the grinding is to get ahold of a larger grinder than 4"-4.5". I killed mine by the time I was done. Rent or borrow a 9" grinder for the cross section. It'll go faster and use fewer discs. Also, grinding spot-heats the steel rather quickly--a purple color change in the metal is an indication that you've removed some of the temper, weakening that spot. Longer strokes allow air-cooling and avoid overheating the stock. I periodically quenched mine once I was near my desired cross section as well, to maintain/increase hardness. I may even torch-heat and brine-quench the edge, at least on the last several inches of the business end.

My biggest problem was peening the tang over the pommel. I heated the tang end, peened it, but also bent the tang inside the wooden pommel, causing the wood to crack. I made 3 pommels before I decided to rivet it on and peen it less tightly. If you're using a brass pommel, you may not have the same issue.

Anyway, my sword looks pretty good so far, but as a first try, don't expect CNC production quality. Good luck!
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Myles Mulkey





Joined: 31 Jul 2008

Posts: 250

PostPosted: Tue 29 Sep, 2009 6:05 am    Post subject: Re: Early Migration Monosteel Swords?         Reply with quote

Kirk Lee Spencer wrote:
Myles Mulkey wrote:
Alright,

I'm looking to either make or commission an early migration spatha (I have for a while now actually), perhaps like the ones found at Illerup, Vimose, or maybe Kragehul.

Since I'm not a super experienced blacksmith and have never done forge-welding, I'm thinking that if I attempt to make it rather than commission it, it would be best to make a monosteel blade...



Hi Myles...

I had a similar thought and got one of these

http://forums.swordforum.com/showthread.php?t=96762

to use as raw materials. The blade is lenticular cross section and about 3/16 s with very little distal taper. It would not be hard at all to grind in some distal taper and mabe a very shallow fuller. The gigantic bronze fittings could easily be cut down for hilt plates and pommel cap.

just a thought...

ks

Kirk, that's an excellent idea! I've seen this sword before and can't believe I didn't think of that!

Hadrian, I checked with Paul Binns on a blank sword blade, and I can get one exactly to my specifications for 600 pounds, which right now is just under a thousand dollars I think. That's pretty reasonable I think considering the quality, but I just can't see myself spending that right now. Another time perhaps... Cry
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