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Mike Capanelli




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PostPosted: Tue 07 Jun, 2011 11:49 am    Post subject: Albion Squire line Great sword Restoration         Reply with quote

Hello all,


Well I was digging around in storage and found a picture of my old squire line sword I got when they first came out. I had though I sold it but was reminded by my wife that I had lent it out to the group I was fencing with at the time and just, well, forgot about it. After a few phone calls I located the old mare and went and picked her up. Turns out she's been sitting in a damp basement for about two years (YIKES!!). She's also seen a TON of abuse in that time from new fencers. There's major edge damage that just won't file out, which leads to my post here. First the pictures of the edge.










Nice notches huh? Anyway what I think should be done at this point is to re-profile the blade. If I just grind away at the edges I'll end up with an uneven amount of material removed from the blade, or at least that's what my limited understanding of all this tells me is going to happen. So what I want to do is get a blade profile similar to this;














Sort of a flared shoulder look, an aesthetic I like. Now to the point of all these pictures; Can I even do this without compromising the blade? How do you grind down a blade anyway? I've seen people talk about giving DIY blades new profiles but I don't recall anyone ever saying HOW they did it so I differ to the members here whom have vastly more experience then I in matters such as this. Any and all help is appreciated. After I get the blade to a usable shape ( I intend to sharpen her) I'll move on to my plans for the cross and grip. With all the abuse she's taken the sword is still remarkably tight and still rings true.


Last edited by Mike Capanelli on Fri 10 Jun, 2011 10:02 am; edited 1 time in total
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Sean O Stevens




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PostPosted: Tue 07 Jun, 2011 1:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That poor thing... it makes me cry a little to see her in that condition... Cry
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Tue 07 Jun, 2011 2:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I had a mishap where one of my sword hit a nail " twice " yeah, do something stupid then do it again. WTF?!

But my point is that the " raw " notch/dent " looked pretty deep but after a good hand re-sharpening the " notches " are just barely perceivable and I can only see them if I look for them and because I know where on the blade.

Actually I can find them easier by touch rather than sight.

Now, the really very deep notches might not be that easy to get rid of but most of the shallower dents should disappear or be almost unnoticeable after sharpening.

So maybe a complete re-profiling of the edges might narrow your blade a lot less than it appears.

I see two option:

A) Trying to completely re-profile the edge so that the sword now narrower will be symmetrical and all damage removed.

OR

B) Restore to a good using edge removing most of the damage but just rounding out the deeper notches leaving sharp but shallow scallops in the edges in spots. This would be a more economical way to maintain and edge in period I think that would give a sword a longer working life than a complete re-profiling i.e. if at every use you re-profiled the blade it would soon look like one of those very old butcher knives that started out with a very wide blade but are now a much reduced in width sliver of sharp steel.

As to how to do it ? Hand honing/sharpening could do it if you are skilled at hand sharpening. ( Very slow ).

Or Bell sander but only if you are also skilled at this since you can do a lot of damage really fast here and you have to keep the blade cool to not ruin the heat treat.

I might go with doing a secondary bevel to approximately the profile you want and then round out the ridge to give it an apple seed edge and then carefully put on the final edge you want ( depends on how sharp you want sharp to be ).

Also, do you want to eyeball it or use some sort of paper or cardboard template you can use to establish symmetry and use an indelible marker to blacken the steel that you have to remove on each side. ( use the template to check on the progress of the work or to re-blacken the metal to remove ).

Anyway, just suggestions off the top of my head as I've never attempted to re-profile a blade to this extent.

Personally unless very very good with the belt grinder I wouldn't touch the primary bevels.

I imagine that some of our makers here could give you more detailed or reliable advice if they chime in or might be willing to do a restoration job ?

Oh, maybe Albion would do this restoration for a reasonable fee and then you would probably have an almost as new sword, no harm in e-mailing them to find out Wink

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


Last edited by Jean Thibodeau on Tue 07 Jun, 2011 4:39 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Mike Capanelli




Location: Whitestone, NY
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PostPosted: Tue 07 Jun, 2011 4:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

@ Sean


I know man, it breaks my heart too. That was my first steel trainer. That's what happens when you lose track of your stuff. On a brighter note though it is a testimony to how well built the Albions are to be able to stand that much beginner abuse and still be usable with some elbow grease.

@ Jean

I thought of using a template as well so you just backed up that thought. I'm definitely not good enough to eyeball it and I'm pretty sure this won't be like crowning frets on a guitar. I was thinking I'd be better off using a belt grinder but the heat issue is a problem unless I go REAL slow. Then would it even be worth it if I'm not really saving time anyway? I also thought about going to Albion but I'm pretty sure It'd be in the ballpark of a new one so why bother. Anyway I can learn a ton in the restoration process of this sword. Once the blade is fixed up I'm going to see if I can give the guard a gentle S shape without having to dismount the whole blade, but first things first.

Winter is coming
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Tue 07 Jun, 2011 4:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mike Capanelli wrote:
I also thought about going to Albion but I'm pretty sure It'd be in the ballpark of a new one so why bother.


You could always ask Mike at Albion what it would cost and what the turn around time would be ? If it's too expensive you would just be back to where you are now.

Under $200 / $150 I would go for it if it gave me back and almost pristine sword.

On the other hand you might enjoy the DIY project. Question Wink

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




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PostPosted: Fri 10 Jun, 2011 9:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well over the weekend I'l be speaking with a local artist that works with metal. If the more knowledgeable among us would care to give me some advice before we grind away I'd really appreciate that. Once we get the blade reground I'll be moving on to the guard. I'd like to give it a gentle "s" shape. Anyway wish me luck and most of all put my sword in your prayers..........

BONSAI!!!!!!!!
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Fri 10 Jun, 2011 9:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

After a bad first experience regrinding a blade profile, I'd suggest putting it in a padded vise and taking the edge down with a file. Lots of work, but a grinder can ruin a blade in a heartbeat.
-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Mike Capanelli




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PostPosted: Fri 10 Jun, 2011 9:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean Flynt wrote:
After a bad first experience regrinding a blade profile, I'd suggest putting it in a padded vise and taking the edge down with a file. Lots of work, but a grinder can ruin a blade in a heartbeat.


What size of file would I need? I've actually tried filing out those nicks and only managed to round them out. I've never done this before and advice from someone like you is really needed in my case. I'd hate to ruin a blade that could have been salvaged and made in to a nice sword.
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Fri 10 Jun, 2011 10:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I used a 12" flat file to remove the flared upper portion of an H-T longsword. I worked slightly diagonally across the edge, at a right angle to the edge.
-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Mike Capanelli




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PostPosted: Fri 10 Jun, 2011 10:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean Flynt wrote:
I used a 12" flat file to remove the flared upper portion of an H-T longsword. I worked slightly diagonally across the edge, at a right angle to the edge.


Do you rake it back and forth or move in one direction only? Files are cheap so I'll go down to ACE and pick one up. It's worth an afternoon of sweat to see if this is a better alternative. Did you use a template or just file away free hand? (Sorry for all the questions)
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Fri 10 Jun, 2011 11:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yeah, just one way but once you get into a rhythm it gets easier. IIRC, I marked my lines with a Sharpie and filed to the line. It was a significant flare, so I would estimate that I went as deep as you'll have to go, just in a smaller area.

The problem I had with my cheap belt grinder was that although I expected to get a fairly neat and straight grind, I got a very irregular, wavy grind on both flats and edges. A more experienced grinder could do a better job, I'm sure, so if you're friend fits that description it might be o.k. There's no question, though, that a file won't allow to make a big sudden mistake. You'll also be able to tell very quickly if filing a new profile is viable. If it isn't, you'll have a new file, new knowledge and fewer misgivings about moving on the grinder.

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)


Last edited by Sean Flynt on Mon 13 Jun, 2011 7:46 am; edited 1 time in total
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Eric G.




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PostPosted: Fri 10 Jun, 2011 4:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mike,

Have you thought about leaving the sword with it's nicks and dents and really really letting it get rusty? As it looks pretty well used you might be able to turn it into something that looks super old. I'm sure you already know of Sean's great spotlight article on antiquing. =)

It sounds to me like you want to take this in a different direction, but I just thought I'd throw you the idea if it hadn't already occurred to you.

Eric Gregersen
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Knowledge applied is power.
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Peter Remling





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PostPosted: Fri 10 Jun, 2011 4:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mike:

I used a bench sander to reprofile an old Del Tin a number of years ago, it was in similar condition as yours. I had picked it up off Ebay wrongly identified as a Windlass. Using the full length of the sander allows for a more even and straighter grind. With the length of the sanding/grinding surface it spreads the heat over a larger area of the blade, and decreases the likelihood of ruining the temper. You would still want to remove it from the sanding surface frequently to cool it down.

Mine came out pretty good, granted it was a Del Tin and was softer than an Albion. I sold it a number of years later and it was one of the few sales I regret.

Good Luck, Pete
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Fri 10 Jun, 2011 5:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mike Capanelli wrote:
Well over the weekend I'l be speaking with a local artist that works with metal. If the more knowledgeable among us would care to give me some advice before we grind away I'd really appreciate that. Once we get the blade reground I'll be moving on to the guard. I'd like to give it a gentle "s" shape. Anyway wish me luck and most of all put my sword in your prayers..........

BONSAI!!!!!!!!


Well, experience working with metal and experience working on a sword are not necessarily the same thing: Keeping bevel lines strait, clean and crisp is a lot harder than over-polishing and rounding out what shouldn't be rounded out. Any grinding done on the primary bevel is a lot harder than controlling the grinding on a secondary bevel to be later blended into the primary bevel in an appleseed edge.

One problem with all our advice is that what seems real easy for someone practised in the sharpening of knives or swords might not be that easy for someone not used to doing precision work with their hands and who can eyeball most things and keep things symmetrical.

Files are O.K. if the steel is not too hard but when it gets close to 52 RC a file might " skate " more rather than bite and why I like carbide hones or diamond coated hones: It might take me a lot longer but I can muck it up with a belt sander in seconds with one false move.

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





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PostPosted: Sat 11 Jun, 2011 1:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Leave this sword as it is and do not alter its geometry. What was once a cookie cut wall hanger fit for a child's room now bears the scars of experience which make it unique. Those nicks are a testimonial to its strength and endurance, you will erase its history and transform an Albion into something that has very little if any value. Do you honestly believe that hardened warriors of that era despaired over the fact that their sword was nicked or ( Heaven forbid ) tarnished.
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Jeremy V. Krause




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PostPosted: Sat 11 Jun, 2011 3:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Adam Smith wrote:
Leave this sword as it is and do not alter its geometry. What was once a cookie cut wall hanger fit for a child's room now bears the scars of experience which make it unique. Those nicks are a testimonial to its strength and endurance, you will erase its history and transform an Albion into something that has very little if any value. Do you honestly believe that hardened warriors of that era despaired over the fact that their sword was nicked or ( Heaven forbid ) tarnished.


I disagree.

Historically, swords were repaeired and re-profiled, this being done even to the point of completely altering the shape of a sword. I love when folks fix up a nicked and scarred sword. I wish I was better at establishing nice appleseed edges as I could do this to some of my older and neglected swords.
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Sat 11 Jun, 2011 8:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Filing out the gouges and nicks adds to the sword's aesthetic, because it gives the sword a character than many modern wall-hangers- and by this I do not necessarily mean sword-like objects, but rather swords that are display pieces- lack.

Moreover, it seems to me that the original poster is fairly clear about what he wants, and that does not appear to be a chewed-up looking sword. So, while you may have a well-intentioned counterproposition Adam, I don't think it's consistent with what Mike really wants.
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Mike Capanelli




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PostPosted: Sun 12 Jun, 2011 6:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Eric Gregersen wrote:
Mike,

Have you thought about leaving the sword with it's nicks and dents and really really letting it get rusty? As it looks pretty well used you might be able to turn it into something that looks super old. I'm sure you already know of Sean's great spotlight article on antiquing. =)



After getting the sword back after a few years making it an instant antique was my first though. I still may do it but things being what they are if I can make this sword back in to a safe cutter that would serve me better at this time. Either way this sword has put up with more use then it's original counterpart may have seen in it's lifetime of service and it's still holding together. Swords built like a tank I tell you. All of this will only add to it's story.
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Jason Daub




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PostPosted: Sun 12 Jun, 2011 5:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mike,

As several people have mentioned, file it out. Stay away from hardware store files, nearly all of them are junk, find a machinist supply house and buy from there (10 or 12"). I don't know the hardness of this sword, but unless it is much harder than the average, it should cut. Clamp it down along the edge of a workbench as close to fully supported as you can manage and go to work. I have used a strip of plywood to clear the hilt and a bar clamp at each end. You could easily get away with using a bastard cut to reshape the edges and a smooth cut to finish it. I personally would start with a middle cut, then bastard, then smooth cut. Degrease your files when you get them, use file chalk, and get a good file card, if you do this you shouldn't have any trouble with pinning (when the file teeth get clogged with shavings) and won't scratch your surface.

Draw file the edges, this gives a shaving action and you can do very fine work this way using an even stroke. It is fairly easy to pick up the knack, just be sure to keep the file clear of where you don't want to cut, I use thin masking tape to safe the area. To remove large amounts of material at the beginning draw file and move the file in the direction of a "standard file stroke", this gives a shaving/shearing action. With the finest file a straight draw gives a fine finish that can be completed with a stone or abrasive paper wound around a steel block.

'I saw young Harry, -with his bevor on,
His cuisses on his thighs, gallantly arm'd,-
Rise from the ground like feather'd Mercury,
And vaulted with such ease into his seat,
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To turn and wind a fiery Pegasus,
And witch the world with noble horsemanship.'
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Mon 13 Jun, 2011 7:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I forgot to mention that you MUST WEAR LONG-CUFF gloves when filing like this. As you get into a rhythm it's all too easy to drag your wrist across that rough edge. Filing into the edge to sharpen can be especially dangerous. Must wear gloves.
-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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