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Einar Drønnesund





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PostPosted: Sat 02 Jul, 2011 12:04 am    Post subject: Smiths: I need some advice about tang modification         Reply with quote

I have a Paul Chen Dark Sentinel saber that i would like to make into a grosse messer of sorts. But the tang is too narrow and too short to do the traditional grip slats that you see on messers, so I want to make it wider and longer.

I'm a welder, so I thought that I'd cut a slot in a wider piece of flat stock, slip the tang into the slot and arcweld the whole assembly together. (I've attached a drawing of what I mean to this post. Its not to scale, the tang isnt really that narrow. The welds are in red)

However, I have never welded on high carbon steel before, so there are a number of things I am worried about.

1: Will it weaken the tang at the shoulders if I weld on the tang and the bladeshoulders? I know it'll ruin any hardening at the tang, but as far as I have gathered, tangs dont need to be hardened anyway.

2: Is it a problem to weld construction steel (mild steel) to a high carbon tang?

3: Will I need to do any annealing afterwards, and if so, how should I go about it?

4: To stop the heat migrating to the blade itself, would a wet towel wrapped around the blade be sufficient? I can also do spot welds with a bit of rest in between to let it cool off, instead of making one continuous weld which would make the tang much hotter. Since i will also be doing two short welds at the tang shoulders, I imagine the hardening at the very base of the blade might get compromised.

Any advice would be appreciated.



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Audun Refsahl




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PostPosted: Sat 02 Jul, 2011 12:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Don't do it.
the entire tang doesn't have to be hardened, so you could weld some at the end of it, but the part closer to the blade should be hardened. and the shoulders are the most critical point of the blade, so if you weld there it will be useless. Also, when you weld you get some funky hardening zones around the weld, and If you are going to stabilize that you will end up having to re do the whole heat treating prosess of the blade.
hopefully someone has a better solution for you, a different prosess or a different sword. lykke til.

just bacon...
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Einar Drønnesund





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PostPosted: Sat 02 Jul, 2011 12:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Audun Refsahl wrote:
Don't do it.
the entire tang doesn't have to be hardened, so you could weld some at the end of it, but the part closer to the blade should be hardened. and the shoulders are the most critical point of the blade, so if you weld there it will be useless. Also, when you weld you get some funky hardening zones around the weld, and If you are going to stabilize that you will end up having to re do the whole heat treating prosess of the blade.
hopefully someone has a better solution for you, a different prosess or a different sword. lykke til.


Takker og bukker Happy

Yeah, I thought there might be trouble welding on high carbon. And heat treating the entire blade is well outside my abilities and equipment.

Thank you
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Eric Meulemans
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PostPosted: Sat 02 Jul, 2011 7:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You could also weld it as you wish, then re-cut the shoulders at a point beyond where you have blown the temper. This would leave you with less usable blade length of course. Going this route you could make things simpler by just cutting the tang off entirely and welding on a new one of the desired width, and re-cutting the shoulders before or afterwards. If you wrap it with wet rags as you suggest you should only lose a couple of inches.

Optionally, you could re-hilt it as a Messer sans full-width tang. Personally, my advice would be to do with it as you please and have fun experimenting!
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Luka Borscak




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PostPosted: Sat 02 Jul, 2011 8:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If you are not 100% sure you want a messer, you might want to think about making it a saber, swiss two handed saber for example. Than you wouldn't need a full width tang...
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Paul Hansen




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PostPosted: Sat 02 Jul, 2011 9:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Luka Borscak wrote:
If you are not 100% sure you want a messer, you might want to think about making it a saber, swiss two handed saber for example. Than you wouldn't need a full width tang...


That seems the best solution to me as well...

Einar, what is the current radius of the shoulders?
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Einar Drønnesund





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PostPosted: Sat 02 Jul, 2011 11:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The radius at the shoulders is very small. Almost square.

I do want to make it in the style of a messer, because I like the look of those hilts, and the simpler ones look fairly easy to make. I might do as Eric suggested and make it without the full width tang, or just epoxy two strips of steel on the inside of the grip slats to make it look like a messer tang.
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Paul Hansen




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PostPosted: Sat 02 Jul, 2011 1:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hmm... As you probably know, in shipbuilding / repair, the usual minimum radius is 5 cm, because of the probability of cracks with smaller radii. Now, for a sword, the stresses in the material are obviously smaller, as is the heat input from the welding. But if the sword had at least some kind of radius...

Maybe another idea: grind slots parallel to the tang, into the blade and then re-weld them (see attachment). This way, the stresses in the shoulders should be directed into the (stronger) weld. But preserving the heat treatment will be rather difficult... The slots should be as long as possible, at least, say 5 cm or so.



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G Ezell
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PostPosted: Sat 02 Jul, 2011 2:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would suggest trying a framed handle construction, as it will avoid welding and still give the appearance of a full tang.
http://www.customknifecollectorsassociation.c...php?t=1102

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Einar Drønnesund





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PostPosted: Sat 02 Jul, 2011 2:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

G Ezell wrote:
I would suggest trying a framed handle construction, as it will avoid welding and still give the appearance of a full tang.
http://www.customknifecollectorsassociation.c...php?t=1102


Yup, thats the kind of thing I was trying to describe in my last post. Had no idea there was a term for it. Thanks for the link, some useful tips there.

Paul, I'm not worried about the tang as it is, only if I was to modify it. I've seen some videos of heavy cutting with the Sentinel, and the reviews I've read about it says its solid. The framed handle construction will work well in giving the appearance of a broad messer tang without tampering with the actual construction of the blade/tang.
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Aleksei Sosnovski





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PostPosted: Tue 05 Jul, 2011 12:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Frame construction could be the best, but if you drill a hole in the tang which is already narrow you will most likely weaken it severely. In order to drill holes for nagel and rivets you will probably have to make base of the blade and tang softer.

Probably the best solution would be to weld a piece of steel as described in the first post and then cut the shoulders further into the blade (about 0.8 - 1" should be enough). But welding high-carbon steels is not that easy and every good welder should know it. You must pre-heat the pieces being welded (I think 300 degrees Celsius would be enough) then weld using low-hydrogen electrode/wire and then heat the welded area again and let it cool slowly to relieve stress in metal caused by welding. This will soften the tang and part of the blade that is close to the tang but with a proper blade geometry it is not a problem. Try googling for "welding high carbon steel" and you will find a lot of info.

I would advise to make "double" shoulders. Let's say the blade is 5 cm (2") wide. I would make an area just a tad narrower (let's say 4.2 cm wide) for the crossguard (hole for the nagel would be in this area) and then the handle can be of desired width (let's say 3 cm at the crossguard widening to 4 cm at the pommel end).
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Einar Drønnesund





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PostPosted: Tue 05 Jul, 2011 8:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Aleksei Sosnovski wrote:
Frame construction could be the best, but if you drill a hole in the tang which is already narrow you will most likely weaken it severely. In order to drill holes for nagel and rivets you will probably have to make base of the blade and tang softer.

Probably the best solution would be to weld a piece of steel as described in the first post and then cut the shoulders further into the blade (about 0.8 - 1" should be enough). But welding high-carbon steels is not that easy and every good welder should know it. You must pre-heat the pieces being welded (I think 300 degrees Celsius would be enough) then weld using low-hydrogen electrode/wire and then heat the welded area again and let it cool slowly to relieve stress in metal caused by welding. This will soften the tang and part of the blade that is close to the tang but with a proper blade geometry it is not a problem. Try googling for "welding high carbon steel" and you will find a lot of info.

I would advise to make "double" shoulders. Let's say the blade is 5 cm (2") wide. I would make an area just a tad narrower (let's say 4.2 cm wide) for the crossguard (hole for the nagel would be in this area) and then the handle can be of desired width (let's say 3 cm at the crossguard widening to 4 cm at the pommel end).


Hello, Aleksei, thanks for the advice.

The tang already has rivet holes, so no drilling needed. I wont be making a nagel, or if I do, I'll just weld it to the cross. I dont need the nagel to go all the way through the tang, since I will never parry with this sword anyway. Its a sharp.
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Tue 05 Jul, 2011 1:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In your position, I would simply mount it in a manner that would be visually indistinguishable from these historical examples and require no serious modification of your tang. Big Grin Looking at the sword in question, I can't imagine why you'd need MORE grip, but I routinely create more grip by turning the upper part of the blade into as much extra tang as required. Cutting in the appropriate places is a very easy and fast process but it does require a blade long enough not to suffer aesthetically from that shortening. Since there's so little weight in the hilt of these weapons, shortening the blade is likely to improve balance. But, again, that Paul Chen sword looks like it's ready to be transformed into a saber like the one shown at a man's side below. If anything, it might need less grip. It's a very interesting project and one I'll be watching closely as I've wanted to undertake a similar project for several years. This could be a fun project if the blade is good!


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-Sean

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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jul, 2011 7:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'd love to see a photo of the unmodified tang if you can post that here! Here's an interesting original whose blade resembles the profile of the Chen piece:


 Attachment: 15 KB
messerrecrve.jpg


-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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Einar Drønnesund





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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jul, 2011 8:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean, that pic you posted is the very picture that inspired me to go the messer route with the Sentinel in the first place.

As for the tang, it doesnt go all the way through that extremely long grip, and for my taste, the grip was too long anyway at about 16". The tang is 10" long, and its first and foremost the width, not the length, I wanted to increase, so I could do the grip slats like on a proper messer. However, the framed handle solution will take care of that without risking messing up the heat treatment by welding on it.

For the hilt itself, I'm thinking about trying to make something like a two handed version of this gorgeous messer by Peter Johnsson.



Mine wont be as pretty, of course, but hey, gotta aim high, right?

I wont try to make it excactly like that, but the curved crossguard and the knuckle bow really inspired me to try something along those lines.
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jul, 2011 11:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That will be beautiful, Einar! The PJ messer is one of my favorites as well. Please post photos of your progress on this project!
-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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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Wed 11 Jan, 2012 12:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Did anything ever come of this project? If so I'd certainly love to see it!
-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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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Wed 11 Jan, 2012 12:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Because I just dropped the hilt posted above onto an image of the un-altered sentinel blade and got this:


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mashup.jpg


-Sean

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Einar Drønnesund





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PostPosted: Wed 11 Jan, 2012 12:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ver nice, Sean Happy

No, I still havent done anything. Good thing you're keeping an eye on me. Wink
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PostPosted: Wed 11 Jan, 2012 1:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Einar, you´ve got good advice from Sean and others.

It is good to remember that not all messers showed an exposed tang between the grip slabs. Quite a few had a hidden tang, in fact, with wood on all four sides. A hidden tang mess up the clear distinction of what is a messer, but it is true all the same.

I have seen several that have the whole grip assembly covered in leather. Exactly like a sword grip. Construction is completely hidden. The form is that same as those with exposed tang, but it is instead encased in leather. Even the rivets remain hidden in some examples.

This will give you quite a bit of freedom when you customize your blade.

...And thank you for kind words!
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