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Michael Pikula
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Location: Madison, WI
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PostPosted: Wed 08 Jun, 2011 8:53 am    Post subject: Pattern welded migration sword         Reply with quote

Last night I finished up a project that I've been working on for sometime, and I think the results speak for themselves. This project had a whole lot of firsts for me, and really forced me to work with what I had and continue rolling forward. The core of the sword has three bars with interrupted twists, I came up with a tool to help me do the twists fairly easily and while it worked well, the spacing is off if a few places but some more tweaking and the next one will be better. The steel edge was welded in the same heat as the core so 5 pieces went in, and came out as one, and the tip was welded using a special trick and technique that I came up with and turned out exactly as I wanted it to. There are no welding flaws in the blade, everything is 100% solid, there is one little pit that I didn't grind out, but I don't feel that it really distracts from the blade, and is where one of the twists and the core created a tiny little pocket, literally the size of the tip of a fine pen.

I miss estimated how much the material would compress during the welding and forging process which left me with a blank that was a touch on the thin side, so I used a fullering tool to widen the blade, and then forged in my fuller and edge bevels. Since I was trying to gain as much width as I could the pattern in the twists distorted more then I would have liked to see, but I think it still works and is attractive in it's own special way:) Due to getting the blank so close to final size while forging, and the cleaning up the scale I was pretty close to my final dimension when I went to heat treat the blade. Which is a good thing, and a not so good thing at the same time. When heat treating blades that are super thin, and especially ones that have twisted pattern welded rods in them, the blade like to go crazy and twist and distort. I was able to get the blade back to really close to being straight, but there are a few places that the edge wanders. This is mostly limited to one side, and is below the area that would have been used from cutting, and overall the blade is as straight as the handful of originals that I've gotten to handle. On the curious side of heat treat as well is I got some splotchy hamon activity on some areas of the edge, mainly the tip, but not on others. I did a file test prior to tempering and the whole edge skated really nice, and I did a brass rod test after honing and the edge held up fine. The aesthetics of the hamon didn't show until after I had my final finish on the steel.

The handle was loosely inspired by an image that a member posted a long time ago on here, and I thought that it would fit the blade, and due to the "simple" nature it would make a good first attempt at building this kind of hilt. I decided to make a layer of nickel silver, copper, nickel silver, to encase some antler on either side for the guard and upper guard. Then I chose to contrast the coloring with brass for the bead in the grip, and the pommel. It was an interesting process to say the least, and I think it came out looking pretty good. I chose Oak for the grip, I could tell from the original that it was most likely exposed wood, so I ran with it and was questioning all the combinations until it all came together.

I think the most interesting portion of this sword is the handling. Here are some specs before I chat about it:

Length overall: 38.5"
Blade length: 32.5"
Blade width at guard: 2.25"
Point of balance: 7" forward of guard
Weight: 1lb. 9oz.

The sword is light, very light, it is fast, and it has a very powerful feel and presence in the hand yet it is very controllable and alive. There is a great deal of flexibility at the tip and cutting area, but at the same time I wouldn't call it wimpy at all. I think that this blade would do very as a light fast cutter, similar to the wounds that I have heard where the most common during early conflicts. I don't think this blade would do well with getting slammed into shields or armored opponents, but it really is for more of a scalpel type use, delivering a fine precise cut to the right location to do the job it needed to do. The edges of the sword at of high carbon steel honed to a fine apple seed cross section. I left just a touch more material at the prime cutting location to give some extra stability to the edge.

I am always conflicted when trying to price my work, this is a beautiful and unique sword and since I finished it last night it has grown on me, I feel that I need to look at it with fresh eyes to determine a proper value. At any rate it is a sword full of character, and is looking for an owner with the same. If you feel it is a must have addition to your collection please get in touch with an offer if I haven't listed a price and I will take it into consideration.



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Tim Lison




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PostPosted: Wed 08 Jun, 2011 9:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Holy smoke! What a sword! That is about the most beautiful pattern welding I've ever seen. Great work Michael. I love the fittings too. Really, really good...
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Tim Jorgensen




Location: Fargo, ND
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PostPosted: Wed 08 Jun, 2011 9:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I love it. I want to marry it. Great work sir!
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Robert Muse




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PostPosted: Wed 08 Jun, 2011 9:39 am    Post subject: Sword         Reply with quote

Good Morning Michael,

Well you've done it now. I thought I had completed my small collection. It is just a stunning example of a migration era sword.
Perhaps if I got a part time job? "Welcome to Wal...." ????

I'm very fond of your blades and they just keep getting better. I envy the lucky new owner.

Robert.
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David Huggins




Location: UK
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PostPosted: Wed 08 Jun, 2011 10:12 am    Post subject: Migration sword         Reply with quote

Very very nice pattern welding, beautifully executed. Congratulations Michael!

best
Dave

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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Wed 08 Jun, 2011 11:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael-

I'm really enjoying watching you and your craft grow together and appreciate that you share your thoughts when posting your work.

Cheers

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Ben Sweet




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PostPosted: Wed 08 Jun, 2011 11:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wow, talk about wickedly beautiful...!
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Jean Thibodeau




PostPosted: Wed 08 Jun, 2011 2:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Tim Lison wrote:
Holy smoke! What a sword! That is about the most beautiful pattern welding I've ever seen. Great work Michael. I love the fittings too. Really, really good...


What Tim said ...... I'm almost speechless ! Surprised Big Grin Cool

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David Wilson




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PostPosted: Wed 08 Jun, 2011 6:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That is some awesome pattern weld there... just awesome.... very clean and precise.... amazing work!!

Sadly... I can't afford it.... I know, you said make an offer, but I don't think I can make an offer that would be worthy of this sword at this time.....

David K. Wilson, Jr.
Laird of Glencoe

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Dan R




Location: Australia
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PostPosted: Wed 08 Jun, 2011 7:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That is an amazing sword. I wish I had the spare cash to purchase such a lovely piece but any offer I could make would an insult.
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Leo Todeschini
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PostPosted: Thu 09 Jun, 2011 12:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Love it. The welding is of course superb, but so are the lines and proportions and cleanness of execution.

A really special piece

Tod

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Gregory Alan Singer




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PostPosted: Thu 09 Jun, 2011 1:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

nice work
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Jim Adelsen
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Location: WI
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PostPosted: Thu 09 Jun, 2011 4:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Great looking sword!
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Matt Corbin




PostPosted: Thu 09 Jun, 2011 8:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wow!!! If I wasn't in the process of having a custom sword made very much like that one I'd purchase it in a heartbeat. No matter the price, that sword is a bargain. Amazing work Michael.
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Wilhelm S.





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PostPosted: Thu 09 Jun, 2011 11:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That is a beautiful sword. Very beautiful. Its fathers day next week!!!
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J Helmes
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PostPosted: Thu 09 Jun, 2011 2:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That is a great sword micheal, I love how you got the twists so tight. It is a rarity to see that in modern work .Beautiful! Whoever snaps this up will be a lucky fellow.
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Mike Capanelli




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PostPosted: Thu 09 Jun, 2011 3:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

SO........ seeing as you haven't set a price would offering my first born be out of the question?
Winter is coming
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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Thu 09 Jun, 2011 7:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael,
I'm sure it would have commanded a "kingly" price in the original era. I love it and reread your descriptions a couple of times. If you do not mind, would you tell us what the two contrasting materials within the twisted cores are?

Thank you for sharing the beautiful images and your trials with us...

Jared

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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Michael Pikula
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Location: Madison, WI
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PostPosted: Fri 10 Jun, 2011 6:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you very much for all the comments and feedback, it is greatly appreciated.

Mike, I don't think I'd be interested in trading the sword for a first born... Only having one mouth to feed and no family to support helps in keeping my prices about where they are Happy

Jared, the materials used in the core were L6 and W2, the edge is W2. The edge wrap also was made from one piece, there is no welding at the tip and I left a healthy "nub" of metal where the tip would be to to help contain the rods to the fuller, and not extend out and leave them un-etched, or sand the typography down. I think both system could have been used historically, I just tend to like this method better Happy

Also I am including a shot of the tip, which was a little harder to get but I think it will show what is going on, and also the original hilt that I drew most of my inspiration from. I didn't follow it exactly, but overall I think I did an alright job Wink



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Bruce Tordoff
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PostPosted: Fri 10 Jun, 2011 9:11 am    Post subject: Migration sword         Reply with quote

Hi Michael,
Firstly, ........................................!!!!!!!!!

Yes, words fail me! But I'll brace myself and make an attempt. Very beautiful Pattern welding, and lovely hilt choice and interpretation.

Secondly, the deer antler you used, is the speckling on these sections the 'honeycombed' inner core of the antler, if so, does it feel textured and porous or have you, in the process of polishing, essentially filled in the holes and pits in the antler texture?

I don't do pattern welding , but when I see hilt execution like this it makes me want to 'up my game'.

I hope someone from my group buys this forthwith.

best,
Bruce
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