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Peter Messent




Location: Texas
Joined: 03 Jan 2009

Posts: 226

PostPosted: Sat 06 Oct, 2012 2:00 pm    Post subject: Sword of Roven reworked & a boy's first sword         Reply with quote

Howdy folks!
Well, my Windlass Sword of Roven arrived yesterday and I set to work. Nothing terribly drastic, but I like the look it gives the sword. The grip was of poor quality (leather over wood, the wood was cracked and splitting and the leather was poorly sewn and formed) and the rest of the hilt furniture had a somewhat machine-made look to them.

As with most Windlass swords, the blade was imperfect but rather pleasant - I have no idea what their manufacturing process is, but they look as though they could pass for hand made at least, which I like. I do not like their mirror polish so much, but the finish on this one is much better than it was on my Leuterit sword.

The pommel nut was round, and I have since ground small flats on opposite sides so I can use a wrench to tighten/loosen it, though I do intend to replace it eventually and peen it when I'm totally happy with the sword. The pommel and cross were blacked in my forge (no hammering, just heating to cherry) and then got some minor steel wool and sanding to soften the look a bit. The grip is a single piece of oak with red mahogany dye and finished with linseed oil and steel wool.

To do the tang hole, I first drilled pilot holes from either side (three for the end closest the blade) and burned out the excess with the little stamped-steel wrench that came with my grinder. Then I heated up the tang and pushed it through - the hole was mostly the correct size at this point, but the end of the tang where the threads are was slightly thicker than the rest, and I didn't have a drill bit the correct size. The grip is now pleasantly snug with no rattle, so I decided not to bother with glue for now.

I didn't want to pay extra for the sharpening service to do a bad job so I decided I'd just do a bad job by myself! I didn't sharpen the whole sword - I thinned the edge along the entire length (up to the ricasso, anyway) and then just sharpened the lower third/half or so, making sure to sharpen past the center of percussion. It's not hair-splitting sharp but accidental cuts are possible (I have the slice on my knuckle to prove it) and that's sharp enough for me. The upper half of the blade is still dull enough that half swording is still possible (if not advisable) without steel protection, while still being sharp enough to do the job if that part of the blade should come into contact with the target.

The scabbard is a standard el cheapo Windlass Scabbard, all leather construction, fits OK although the locket leaves something to be desired. I am in the process of making a wooden core, and will use the chape for that when I get a hold of some leather.

This sword has a really nice balance and some mean cutting ability. Can't wait to getting more test cutting done!


The second sword is one I made for my boy, now three years old, for this coming christmas. It will be his first sword, so I wanted to start it on a good note by making it as accurate a wooden viking sword as I could. The blade is of oak, with a broad fuller. The upper guard, lower guard and pommel are of aspen and are all seperate pieces - glue provides the structural strength for holding the upper guard to the pommel, but I did put some copper tacks in to give the impression of a riveted construction. The grip is cord-wrapped.

To the pictures!










Comments/criticisms/advice all appreciated!
Thanks,
Pete
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Gregory J. Liebau




Location: Dinuba, CA
Joined: 27 Nov 2004

Posts: 669

PostPosted: Sat 06 Oct, 2012 3:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey Pete,

The projects turned out great. Might I make a suggestion for your boy's weapon, though? I believe you should make the blade out of rattan, which is the wood the Society for Creative Anachronism uses for their wooden weapons in full-contact armored combat. The flexibility of rattan and its fibrous nature allow a lot of give compared to hardwoods like oak, absorbing some of the impact from hitting things and making it far less likely to crack and break (possibly violently during a particularly strong or swift strike). Also, if an oak blade strikes a person (say he goes for your knee one day when you take away a toy) it's going to do a lot more damage than rattan... It's very hard.

The SCA has done multiple tests with the idea of using hardwood weapons. I recall a story where a man with a 14 gauge helmet and the mandatory 1/2" padding was struck with an oak sword, made from a 1 1/4" dowel, wrapped in a thin padding. While the regular rattan weaponry would barely dent his helmet and absorb the rest of the blow, the transfer of force from the oak nearly smashed the helmet and gave the man inside a concussion.

Essentially, rattan is a far safer material than oak for a wooden sword. And, if you get a thick enough piece (say 2" diameter) you can easily carve it into a blade that will stand the test of a three year old for quite some time, I'm sure.

Cheers! Happy

-Gregory
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Peter Messent




Location: Texas
Joined: 03 Jan 2009

Posts: 226

PostPosted: Sat 06 Oct, 2012 3:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you very much! That was very informative and definitely something to keep in mind. Right now, he's more interested in sticking his sword skyward (I didn't even teach him that, I don't know where he got it) than hitting things, luckily - we got him a mjolnir toy last year and he's been pretty harmless. However, as he grows up that will definitely be an issue, I know it was for me!

I'm curious, as I've never dealt with rattan before - is it like bamboo? Ie basically tubular? If so, it is possible to buy laminate boards (and would these still be useful or would they lose their favorable properties?) or would one simply get a large-diameter thick-walled piece and cut a blade from the wall? I understand that they're used essentially as-is for martial arts in many cases, but I'm curious for this application.

Again, thanks!

Pete
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Gregory J. Liebau




Location: Dinuba, CA
Joined: 27 Nov 2004

Posts: 669

PostPosted: Sat 06 Oct, 2012 4:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey Pete,

It is palm wood, but has very bamboo-like qualities. It's not hard to find a dowel 2-3" in diameter which you could use to carve properly into a wooden sword. It would certainly be less forgiving if it were carved and had a slender profile - It'd be rather like hitting someone with the edge of a wooden spoon rather than the flat of it. The impact will transfer over a smaller area and be more critical in that space. If you used a dowel with a larger hitting surface, it would be far less concentrated as a hit, and has reasonable flex.

I don't know much about laminated rattan or if its even produced for anything but specialty markets, but it's not used in the SCA, so I can't comment. Read a bit of the wikipedia article on the wood. It's pretty interesting and you'll know more about rattan than most people even if you read the first line.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rattan
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Peter Messent




Location: Texas
Joined: 03 Jan 2009

Posts: 226

PostPosted: Sat 06 Oct, 2012 7:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks very much Gregory, I'll need to give rattan a try Happy
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
Joined: 29 Nov 2006
Reading list: 7 books

Posts: 2,689

PostPosted: Thu 11 Oct, 2012 1:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Raw rattan is solid and round(ish) in cross-section. When fresh, it's so flexible that it can be bent into all sorts of shapes (my house, being in Indonesia, has more than its usual share of rattan furniture), but by the same token you want very well-dried and well-seasoned rattan if you want to make a sword blade out of it. Considering the fact that rattan is an imported product in the US or Europe, though, maybe you won't have to worry about that (since I heard that rattan tends to rot if it's not dried well before being shipped overseas).
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