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Rechsteiner Richard





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PostPosted: Sat 20 Feb, 2010 2:35 am    Post subject: Authentic Sword Replika (pattern welded) from iron bloom         Reply with quote

Hello

I have been researching to find out if anyone has made a replica of a West European sword blade from the time 200BC to 1600AD, or specifically a pattern-welded sword from the time 200BC to about 900AD, using iron ore and methods that would have been used at this time to make the blooms i.e. making a copy in exactly the same way and with the same materials and methods as the original. Not using modern methods or industrial iron and steel. Does anyone know who has made such an authentically made replica ? If so, could you tell me his or their names ? I would also be interested to know when any such replica was made. Documents and photos of all such replicas would be very welcome !

Thank you for your help.

Kind regards

Richard R.
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Sat 20 Feb, 2010 2:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You may find people who claim to use exactly correct methods.
The reality is that we do not know exactly what tools and methods were used in ancient times.
We can make educated guesses. But that is about as close as we can get.

Iron making varied in different regions and while blades tended to follow the same general pattern, we cannot be sure the exact same methods were used by smiths in different regions.

The techniques and scale of manufacture would also have varied over time.

When we search for authenticity it is important to state what aspects we are interested in. It is impossible to get *everything exactly* right. We can get close in some well chosen important aspects, but it is important to be very clear and aware of what the focus of the study is. The value of the study is directly depending on the questions asked and the corresponding research results.

Even if materials used and methods of manufacture is as close as we can hope to get, there is still a world of difference when it comes to shape. Just because realistic techniques are used, there is no guarantee that the resulting object is especially realistic when compared to originals.

We can use techniques that seem realistic and aim for a final look that is as close as our knowledge allows us, but then that is still shooting for what we *think* is correct and what looks authentic based on our knowledge of the object. It is all a very relative thing.

Basically, I would warn against putting too much trust in the word *exactly*, especially if it is applied with a broad brush.
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Rechsteiner Richard





Joined: 11 May 2008

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PostPosted: Sat 20 Feb, 2010 3:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello Peter,

Thank you for your prompt reply. I realise that I should have worded my question more carefully. The word "exactly" is out of place here. My search involves replicas that are made from iron blooms, not industrial steel. My main priority is that the start material is not industrially made, but bloomery iron produced in a bloomery hearth. During my research I have found replicas of early medieval,west european pattern-welded sword blades made from industrial steel but not from bloomery iron. Do you know of anyone who makes replicas of medieval, west european sword blades using bloomery iron?

Thank you for your help.

Richard R.
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Sat 20 Feb, 2010 3:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Have a look at Patrick Bárta, TEMPL Historic Arms, Czech Republic.
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R D Moore




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PostPosted: Sat 20 Feb, 2010 8:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Allow me to second Nathan's recommendation. And for a Stateside contact, you could email Jeff Pringle in California. I believe he's done some smelting and forging of the bloom.
http://jeffpringle.com/

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Rechsteiner Richard





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PostPosted: Sat 20 Feb, 2010 9:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello Nathan,

I know the home page of Patrick Barta. Unfortunatly I was not sure if his pattern welded sword are totaly made of bloom iron. In his home page is written:"His main credo is maximal quality of his works and on manufacturing of swords he uses only traditional procedures." Traditional procedures doesn't mean necessairly traditional material (bloom iron).

I tried to contact him some time ago, but I have not got a reply yet. So perhaps you can confirm, that his swords are made of 100% bloom iron. Thank you for further information about his work.

Richard R.
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Sat 20 Feb, 2010 11:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Rechsteiner Richard wrote:
I know the home page of Patrick Barta. Unfortunatly I was not sure if his pattern welded sword are totaly made of bloom iron. In his home page is written:"His main credo is maximal quality of his works and on manufacturing of swords he uses only traditional procedures." Traditional procedures doesn't mean necessairly traditional material (bloom iron).

I tried to contact him some time ago, but I have not got a reply yet. So perhaps you can confirm, that his swords are made of 100% bloom iron. Thank you for further information about his work.


Have a look at his Web site and read some of the pages he created discussing some techniques he uses. Not all of his swords are created the same way. It's all about the budget and the project. There are occasions where he smelts his own and other occasions where he uses modern-materials and still other instances where he'll forge antique iron scrap. It all depends.

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Maurizio D'Angelo




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PostPosted: Sat 20 Feb, 2010 12:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mine is only one question: is it possible today to use old steel?
The starting point is always a Bessemer steel. There are, pre-Bessemer steel?
Can I remove the grates of some old cathedral? Cool
Old steel would be very expensive to rebuild "exactly."
I know that near Brescia have made things very interesting ...

Ciao
Maurizio
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Jeroen Zuiderwijk
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PostPosted: Sat 20 Feb, 2010 2:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Maurizio D'Angelo wrote:
Mine is only one question: is it possible today to use old steel?
The starting point is always a Bessemer steel. There are, pre-Bessemer steel?
Can I remove the grates of some old cathedral? Cool
Old steel would be very expensive to rebuild "exactly."
I know that near Brescia have made things very interesting ...

Old wrought is available in plentiful quantities. Hardenable wrought steel or shear steel (carburized wrought) is pretty rare.

Regarding whether anyone has recreated the entire process of the making of a sword starting from the ore to a good reproduction of a sword, I'm pretty certain that the answer will be no. Different people have done different parts of the process, but not the entire thing AFAIK. Patrick Barta as mentioned is pretty close. You can see the process here:
http://templ.net/english/making-welded_steel.php
It's not an exact recreation of the technique, but he uses more aspects that bring it closer to how they did it originally then most smiths.

There are several problems though. One is we just don't know all the details. So at best, we can make educated guesses to fill in the blanks. But those details can make a huge difference in the process. F.e. how did they carburize iron to make steel?
Next are the tools. We have examples of forging hammers, anvils even wetstones, files etc. But that doesn't mean we have the tools they used for forging swords. To my knowledge, there is no known toolkit of a bladesmith. We also don't really know very well how the blades were finished after forging. What kind of stones, polishing powders, etchants etc. did they use? You can end up sitting with a piece of sandstone trying to clean up a forged blade for weeks, while back in the day they may have used completely different tools such as scrapers to do it much faster. Then there are just very few smiths who will ever get down and take the time to do all this, learn how to smelt, smelt iron, make steel, make the tools, learn to forge sword blades with them, learn the grinding and polishing techniques etc. etc. It's almost infinately more time consuming compared to forging out a blade from modern steel, grinding and polishing it by modern means, which is already a pretty time consuming task. Also keep in mind that all these things are individual specializations, which were probably divided by different groups of people even in the earliest days. Smelting is a craft in itself, and iron/steel is known to have been traded in trade-bars from the early iron age. Even back then, it's much more likely that bladesmiths started out with these trade-bars rather then smelt their own steel.

When it comes to reproducing historical blades with only approximations of authentic processes, I don't have as much experience in this when it comes to iron, but I have done a fair bit of work in this regard with bronze. I've not yet started at the ore itself (although I intent to someday, just haven't gotten around to it yet), but I have started out using copper and tin, and making my own crucibles, furnaces, moulds etc. from the basic natural materials using tools they could/would have used, and finishing the castings with stones similar to those attributed to metalworking from the period. The results are pretty accurate compared to the finds, including all the tool marks etc. So far I've limited it mostly to axeheads, knives etc, no full swords yet. The grinding and polishing part I don't do authentic anymore, aside from rare exceptions, as it takes up too much time. I do however intend to do more ironwork in more authentic methods or with more authentic materials. I'm first working with old wrought iron (200-300 years old), which is similar to the softer irons they used in ancient times. I'm also planning to try and carburize this wrought to makes steel. Once I've got the hang of that, and learned how to weld properly, I may try to smelt my own iron/steel. But that's a very big may.

Jeroen Zuiderwijk
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- Barbarian metalworking
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Hadrian Coffin
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PostPosted: Sat 20 Feb, 2010 4:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello,
The other consideration (in my opinion) is price. There are smiths who have the talent and the knowledge to create pieces using more accurate materials and methods... but haven't had the opportunity to work with a customer willing to pay for such work. Paul Binns is a very talented blade maker (I am not a big fan of his hilts though) and has done a few pieces utilizing more traditional materials. I have a sword and sax set, that I still need to finish, made by Paul Binns with 16th century bloomery iron.
Cheers,
Hadrian

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Artis Aboltins




PostPosted: Sun 21 Feb, 2010 12:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think that Hadrian has "hit the nail on the head" so to speak - for a modern smith to do a sword using compleatelly correct techniques (well, correct to the point we know of course), the price will be prohibitive - consider that work of most smiths able to do it with sufficient skill level already costs up from several thousands euros even with them using modern instruments to do it, imagine how much it would cost if they woudl have to spend several times as much time on it and the working costs would increase as well because of the need to create/purchase specific tools. From a certain point of view that would be "historically accurate" to - after all, most very finely finished blades where in poserssion of important chieftains/nobles while wast majority of modern day collectors are neither princes nor famed generals...
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Bruno Giordan





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PostPosted: Sun 21 Feb, 2010 2:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Maurizio D'Angelo wrote:
Mine is only one question: is it possible today to use old steel?
The starting point is always a Bessemer steel. There are, pre-Bessemer steel?
Can I remove the grates of some old cathedral? Cool
Old steel would be very expensive to rebuild "exactly."
I know that near Brescia have made things very interesting ...


It seems this year we will get a real bloomery rebuilt with the help of an art institute.

We have got some 70 kilos of now well roasted siderite from an ancient mine in Valle Trompia, one of the historical sources of iron for the lombard area.

The siderite fragments roasted well into a rich brown color.

I guess this year will yield some authentically remade bloomery ingot, which will be worked into steel by folding under a maglio, a water powered trip hammer, dating back at least to renaissance.

The results should be available by next year at which point I guess that some of it could be given to reasearch institutes or specially gifted smiths.
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Jeroen Zuiderwijk
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PostPosted: Sun 21 Feb, 2010 12:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Artis Aboltins wrote:
I think that Hadrian has "hit the nail on the head" so to speak - for a modern smith to do a sword using compleatelly correct techniques (well, correct to the point we know of course), the price will be prohibitive - consider that work of most smiths able to do it with sufficient skill level already costs up from several thousands euros even with them using modern instruments to do it, imagine how much it would cost if they woudl have to spend several times as much time on it and the working costs would increase as well because of the need to create/purchase specific tools. From a certain point of view that would be "historically accurate" to - after all, most very finely finished blades where in poserssion of important chieftains/nobles while wast majority of modern day collectors are neither princes nor famed generals...

Not everyone makes reproductions to make a living. Some people make them for fun Happy But in that case, it's choosing between reproducing the production techniques, or reproducing the swords. If the production techniques are the focus, you have to be content with with making very few swords. Few people are willing to do that or even have the time for it at all, and rather speed things up using modern alternatives instead.

Jeroen Zuiderwijk
- Bronze age living history in the Netherlands
- Barbarian metalworking
- Museum photos
- Zip-file with information about saxes
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Rechsteiner Richard





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PostPosted: Sun 21 Feb, 2010 1:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello Nathan

Nathan Robinson wrote:
Have a look at his Web site and read some of the pages he created discussing some techniques he uses. Not all of his swords are created the same way. It's all about the budget and the project. There are occasions where he smelts his own and other occasions where he uses modern-materials and still other instances where he'll forge antique iron scrap. It all depends.


I just got the answer of Patrick Barta to my question, if his swords are made of 100% bloom iron. He answered, that his blades are made from welded irons and steels. He uses over 100 year old welded iron. The steel is made not from iron ore, but by carbonising soft welded iron and cleaning by welding. He made the first sword blade from full welded materials in 2000. Since then he hasn't used modern steels.

Richard
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Lubomir Slauka




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PostPosted: Wed 24 Feb, 2010 9:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi all
I take part at the forum for the first time and would like to join the discussion.A friend of mine Robert Moc , manufactures swords by traditional technology and from bloom iron.He lives in Slovakia and you can find his products at
www.robert-moc.sk The site is this time only in slovak,but he speak english.
Lubomir Slauka
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Luka Borscak




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PostPosted: Wed 24 Feb, 2010 3:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I can't find any pricelist, do you know what price range is his pattern welded stuff?
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Ben Mudd





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PostPosted: Wed 24 Feb, 2010 6:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lubomir Slauka wrote:
Hi all
I take part at the forum for the first time and would like to join the discussion.A friend of mine Robert Moc , manufactures swords by traditional technology and from bloom iron.He lives in Slovakia and you can find his products at
www.robert-moc.sk The site is this time only in slovak,but he speak english.
Lubomir Slauka


Very interesting!

I use Chrome and have the Google translate extension which makes reading his site possible if somewhat difficult, but there's some really interesting stuff there. And by interesting I mean beautiful. Big Grin

Henrietta seems to make some very, very, very fine jewelry as well.

I'd also be interested in seeing price lists.
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Lubomir Slauka




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PostPosted: Fri 26 Feb, 2010 1:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Luka Borscak wrote:
I can't find any pricelist, do you know what price range is his pattern welded stuff?




I don´t know exactly , but prices of his ULFBERHT and INGELRII was about 1500 € and pattern welded spathas about 3500 - 4500 €
Lubomir Slauka



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Andreas Becht




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PostPosted: Fri 26 Feb, 2010 5:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wow! His germanic spathas look awesome! That might be exactly what I'm looking for!
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Thijs van de Manakker




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PostPosted: Mon 06 Dec, 2010 4:10 am    Post subject: Re: Authentic Sword Replika (pattern welded) from iron bloom         Reply with quote

Rechsteiner Richard wrote:
Hello

I have been researching to find out if anyone has made a replica of a West European sword blade from the time 200BC to 1600AD, or specifically a pattern-welded sword from the time 200BC to about 900AD, using iron ore and methods that would have been used at this time to make the blooms i.e. making a copy in exactly the same way and with the same materials and methods as the original. Not using modern methods or industrial iron and steel. Does anyone know who has made such an authentically made replica ? If so, could you tell me his or their names ? I would also be interested to know when any such replica was made. Documents and photos of all such replicas would be very welcome !

Thank you for your help.

Kind regards

Richard R.


Hello Richard,
in 1997 I made a sword blade from the period 100 AD, completely out of bloomery iron/steel.
The blooms were made in archaeological experiments by Dr.-Ing. Bernd Lychatz at the Tu Bergakademie Freiberg.
He has the technical reports, foto's and analyses of the reduction and the forging.

I hope this can help you.
Thijs.

Kind regards

http://www.thijsvandemanakker.com/
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