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D. S. Smith




Location: Central CA
Joined: 02 Oct 2011

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PostPosted: Thu 03 Oct, 2013 11:23 pm    Post subject: Hilt bluing question         Reply with quote

Hello all, I recently came across Albion Europe's photo sets on Flickr (wow, what great eye-candy). Laughing Out Loud Big Grin

I noticed that they have a few photos of the "Knight" with a blued/ blackened hilt. It got me wondering, it seems like I usually see black hilts on much later sword types, like those with complex hilts. Would bluing on a hilt of an older sword like a Type XII such as the Knight have been historically plausible? I'm sure anything would be possible with a sword that had been passed down through the family, but I'm more curious as to when we first started seeing black hilts on medieval swords in their own era.

Lo, they do call to me.
They bid me take my place among them,
In the halls of Valhalla!
Where the brave may live forever!
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Fri 04 Oct, 2013 9:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

it dates from at least the late 15th c. You can see many examples in artwork of the period, on both arms and armour. Seems less common before then, but there's no reason it couldn't have been used from the time folks first observed color change in heated steel.
-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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D. S. Smith




Location: Central CA
Joined: 02 Oct 2011

Posts: 221

PostPosted: Fri 04 Oct, 2013 6:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the input Sean. Based on that, it seems like it would, indeed, be sort of unlikely on a Type XII sword.
Lo, they do call to me.
They bid me take my place among them,
In the halls of Valhalla!
Where the brave may live forever!
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Robin Smith




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PostPosted: Fri 04 Oct, 2013 7:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

No, it's definitely possible...



This is the Bath Viking Sword. Metallographic analysis of the sword shows that it has an original deliberately made black patina (ie chemical bluing) done to the entire sword in period, blade and all. It is believed this was likely achieved with Urine or Tannic acid, and may have been done to contrast the bright iron inlays in the blade.

There is another sword from England in the 10th C that has a similar deliberate patination that is mentioned in the literature I have of the Bath Sword, but I can't remember which one. Point being though, they knew how to blacken steel at least as early as the 10th C.

A furore Normannorum libera nos, Domine
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D. S. Smith




Location: Central CA
Joined: 02 Oct 2011

Posts: 221

PostPosted: Fri 04 Oct, 2013 10:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I appreciate the photo and story behind it Robin. That is pretty fascinating that they were doing chemical bluing that far back. I won't be quite as thrown off by some of the older Albion sword types with blackened hilts. From an aesthetics standpoint, I think that blued sword hilts, just like blued guns, look their best when they show signs of wearing on the finish along the edges. It gives them an elegant, and less fake look in my opinion.
Lo, they do call to me.
They bid me take my place among them,
In the halls of Valhalla!
Where the brave may live forever!
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William Swiger




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PostPosted: Fri 04 Oct, 2013 11:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for posting that information Robin. Very interesting.
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Christine Munro




Location: Oxford
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PostPosted: Sat 05 Oct, 2013 6:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

William Swiger wrote:
Thanks for posting that information Robin. Very interesting.

It was rather interesting. Happy

I'd never really thought about Albion's various options such as bluing, but having seen some examples, I now think some of my swords look a bit under-dressed...
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Kai Lawson




Location: Madison, WI
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PostPosted: Sat 05 Oct, 2013 7:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hmmmm...an all-blued viking-era sword, with silver or copper inlays and a good grip color would look fantastic. With serious aid from the myArmoury community, I'll bit the bullet and get one made up. For science, you know
"And they crossed swords."
--William Goldman, alias S. Morgenstern
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Robin Smith




Location: Louisiana
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PostPosted: Sat 05 Oct, 2013 9:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kai Lawson wrote:
Hmmmm...an all-blued viking-era sword, with silver or copper inlays and a good grip color would look fantastic. With serious aid from the myArmoury community, I'll bit the bullet and get one made up. For science, you know
the hilt is silver inlaid, The blade is inlaid in plain untwisted iron.

A few months ago I was planning in doing this for my spot with Robert Moc, but the project shifted to a different direction. I have considered it though as has Tim Lison

A furore Normannorum libera nos, Domine
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Brian K.
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Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
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PostPosted: Sat 05 Oct, 2013 8:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Christine H wrote:
William Swiger wrote:
Thanks for posting that information Robin. Very interesting.

It was rather interesting. Happy

I'd never really thought about Albion's various options such as bluing, but having seen some examples, I now think some of my swords look a bit under-dressed...


Just as a side note, as it is often confused, Albion offers both an 'aged' and a 'bluing' service. In the event somebody were to be inspired to place an order with Albion. The aged service renders your hilt metalwork to a 'pitted' look where as the 'blued' metal is only aesthetic and can be buffed to a lighter degree, or even removed with some elbow grease. The 'aged' look cannot be undone.

Brian Kunz
www.dbkcustomswords.com
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D. S. Smith




Location: Central CA
Joined: 02 Oct 2011

Posts: 221

PostPosted: Sat 05 Oct, 2013 9:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Brian K. wrote:

Just as a side note, as it is often confused, Albion offers both an 'aged' and a 'bluing' service. In the event somebody were to be inspired to place an order with Albion. The aged service renders your hilt metalwork to a 'pitted' look where as the 'blued' metal is only aesthetic and can be buffed to a lighter degree, or even removed with some elbow grease. The 'aged' look cannot be undone.


I appreciate the distinction Brian. Thanks for chiming in with the clarification. As a side note, the bluing I've seen on your hilts is exactly what I was talking about a few posts back. I love the worn around the edges look so much more than the solid black you see from the production companies.

Lo, they do call to me.
They bid me take my place among them,
In the halls of Valhalla!
Where the brave may live forever!
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