Info Favorites Register Log in
myArmoury.com Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search
Forum Index > Makers and Manufacturers Talk > Blades with historical materials/performance.. opinions. Reply to topic
This is a standard topic Go to page 1, 2  Next 
Author Message
Scott Roush
Industry Professional



Location: Washburn, WI
Joined: 27 Jan 2011

Posts: 452

Feedback score: None
PostPosted: Mon 16 Jun, 2014 9:20 am    Post subject: Blades with historical materials/performance.. opinions.         Reply with quote

I'm curious about what the collecting community thinks about the use of blade materials such as bloomery iron/steel and other traditional means of manufacture. I enjoy making this stuff and I love the idea of making blades from it.. but even at it's best.. the material simply can't compare to modern steel for performance. When it comes to sword blades.. I'm not AS concerned about edge retention as I am the flexibility of the blade and it's ability to resist warpage during use. Obviously there were high quality blades being made at all the different periods throughout the history of the sword... but some cultures were simply lacking in knowledge and materials and made swords that were..well.. not as good as they might have been. :-) We all know about the Celts and their bendy swords.

So... I guess my main question.. is there an interest in owning swords that were made using traditional means and with traditional performance (no matter what that might have been) in order to get a piece that is as close to what was being made during the time? Obviously this question pertains more to the 'collecting' community rather than the 'using' community.. but.. maybe not. Wouldn't re-enactors benefit from this as well? Although that becomes a tough question depending on how much was spent for the piece and how durable it is in the long run.

Anyway... I'm currently working on some non-commissioned projects that will have traditionally made steel/iron and while I will strive to make the blades perform as well as it could have during the time period.. I may still face the issue of having to explain to the buying community that these blades are not made from modern materials and this should be considered when using.

http://www.bigrockforge.com
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Hadrian Coffin
Industry Professional



Location: Oxford, England
Joined: 03 Apr 2008

Posts: 380

Feedback score: 100%
(2 total ▮ 100% positive)
PostPosted: Mon 16 Jun, 2014 9:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, Patrick Barta has been doing this for years... And his wait list is stretching into the 4/5 year lead time, if that is any indication of interest!

Best,

Hadrian

Historia magistra vitae est
View user's profile Send private message Yahoo Messenger
Scott Roush
Industry Professional



Location: Washburn, WI
Joined: 27 Jan 2011

Posts: 452

Feedback score: None
PostPosted: Mon 16 Jun, 2014 11:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Okay.. good to know. I've noticed textures in his blades that seem like traditional steel.. but have never been sure what he is using. I've never had the opportunity to meet him.
http://www.bigrockforge.com
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Daniel Wallace




Location: Pennsylvania USA
Joined: 07 Aug 2011

Posts: 580

Feedback score: None
PostPosted: Mon 16 Jun, 2014 1:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

to have the chance to own something made as historically as accurate as possible, yes, definite interest. myself personally, I'm trying to get my hands on the most reasonable recreating of the past work to better understand its use and the craftsmanship behind it.
View user's profile Send private message
Jeremy V. Krause




Location: Buffalo, NY.
Joined: 20 Oct 2003
Likes: 1 page
Reading list: 1 book

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,493

Feedback score: 100%
(1 total ▮ 100% positive)
PostPosted: Tue 17 Jun, 2014 2:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The more traditional and closer the material is to the original the Bette in my book.

I really am not concerned with the durability of traditionally made iron and steel relative to modern steels. I will always prefer the more historical, or less a-historical product.
View user's profile Send private message
Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
Joined: 11 Jun 2007
Likes: 7 pages

Posts: 2,219

Feedback score: 100%
(1 total ▮ 100% positive)
PostPosted: Tue 17 Jun, 2014 3:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think more swords from historically realistic materials would make wonders with our perception of a sword. I would love to own such weapons. The closest I got is the wrought iron in the spine of my Paul Binns sax.
View user's profile Send private message
Scott Roush
Industry Professional



Location: Washburn, WI
Joined: 27 Jan 2011

Posts: 452

Feedback score: None
PostPosted: Tue 17 Jun, 2014 4:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very encouraging folks! Having originally come from the knife making world it's difficult for me to think that there is a buying community that thinks of anything other than fit, finish.. and performance!

Glad to know there are others like me. :-)

http://www.bigrockforge.com
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Bruno Giordan




PostPosted: Tue 17 Jun, 2014 11:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would encourage you to go on with your experiments. A blade made with true to original steel would be highly appreciated by the more discriminating collectors. They do exists and they have nothing to do with certain reenactment guys that just love to bang their edges against their opponent edge in rebated steel combat. More serious practitioners of HEMA and lovers of authenticity and history would find your products extremely interesting. Just think that modern pattern welding is done with modern alloys, including high nickel content alloys, that couldn't exist in the past: if they provide a good contrast the visual experience must be different from the one provided by the likely more moderate contrast given by the twisting of carburized steel and iron in ancient times. If you can produce good bloomery steel by using it you would be just doing a further step in the reproduction of authentically looking weapons that could provide the collector with a unique visual experience.
View user's profile Send private message
Scott Roush
Industry Professional



Location: Washburn, WI
Joined: 27 Jan 2011

Posts: 452

Feedback score: None
PostPosted: Wed 18 Jun, 2014 3:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bruno Giordan wrote:
I would encourage you to go on with your experiments. A blade made with true to original steel would be highly appreciated by the more discriminating collectors. They do exists and they have nothing to do with certain reenactment guys that just love to bang their edges against their opponent edge in rebated steel combat. More serious practitioners of HEMA and lovers of authenticity and history would find your products extremely interesting. Just think that modern pattern welding is done with modern alloys, including high nickel content alloys, that couldn't exist in the past: if they provide a good contrast the visual experience must be different from the one provided by the likely more moderate contrast given by the twisting of carburized steel and iron in ancient times. If you can produce good bloomery steel by using it you would be just doing a further step in the reproduction of authentically looking weapons that could provide the collector with a unique visual experience.


Thanks for the comment. Yes... I have an interest in period correct contrast. In fact.. just yesterday I started a Roman calvary spatha that will have a piled iron core. In my shop I have several different kinds of wrought iron..one of which is extremely high in phosphorus. Phosphorus was known to contribute to contrast in pattern welding much like nickel... although maybe not as dramatic. But I forged up a piled core that is now composed of both high phosphorus and low phosphorus iron. Once the core is forged and drawn out I will then carburize the core and then add a steel edge.

http://www.bigrockforge.com
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Bruno Giordan




PostPosted: Wed 18 Jun, 2014 6:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Scott Roush wrote:
Bruno Giordan wrote:
I would encourage you to go on with your experiments. A blade made with true to original steel would be highly appreciated by the more discriminating collectors. They do exists and they have nothing to do with certain reenactment guys that just love to bang their edges against their opponent edge in rebated steel combat. More serious practitioners of HEMA and lovers of authenticity and history would find your products extremely interesting. Just think that modern pattern welding is done with modern alloys, including high nickel content alloys, that couldn't exist in the past: if they provide a good contrast the visual experience must be different from the one provided by the likely more moderate contrast given by the twisting of carburized steel and iron in ancient times. If you can produce good bloomery steel by using it you would be just doing a further step in the reproduction of authentically looking weapons that could provide the collector with a unique visual experience.


Thanks for the comment. Yes... I have an interest in period correct contrast. In fact.. just yesterday I started a Roman calvary spatha that will have a piled iron core. In my shop I have several different kinds of wrought iron..one of which is extremely high in phosphorus. Phosphorus was known to contribute to contrast in pattern welding much like nickel... although maybe not as dramatic. But I forged up a piled core that is now composed of both high phosphorus and low phosphorus iron. Once the core is forged and drawn out I will then carburize the core and then add a steel edge.


I'm quite curious to see the resulting contrast of this spatha. I have ever asked myself what would be the real look of original pattern welded items.
View user's profile Send private message
Scott Roush
Industry Professional



Location: Washburn, WI
Joined: 27 Jan 2011

Posts: 452

Feedback score: None
PostPosted: Wed 18 Jun, 2014 8:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bruno Giordan wrote:
Scott Roush wrote:
Bruno Giordan wrote:
I would encourage you to go on with your experiments. A blade made with true to original steel would be highly appreciated by the more discriminating collectors. They do exists and they have nothing to do with certain reenactment guys that just love to bang their edges against their opponent edge in rebated steel combat. More serious practitioners of HEMA and lovers of authenticity and history would find your products extremely interesting. Just think that modern pattern welding is done with modern alloys, including high nickel content alloys, that couldn't exist in the past: if they provide a good contrast the visual experience must be different from the one provided by the likely more moderate contrast given by the twisting of carburized steel and iron in ancient times. If you can produce good bloomery steel by using it you would be just doing a further step in the reproduction of authentically looking weapons that could provide the collector with a unique visual experience.


Thanks for the comment. Yes... I have an interest in period correct contrast. In fact.. just yesterday I started a Roman calvary spatha that will have a piled iron core. In my shop I have several different kinds of wrought iron..one of which is extremely high in phosphorus. Phosphorus was known to contribute to contrast in pattern welding much like nickel... although maybe not as dramatic. But I forged up a piled core that is now composed of both high phosphorus and low phosphorus iron. Once the core is forged and drawn out I will then carburize the core and then add a steel edge.


I'm quite curious to see the resulting contrast of this spatha. I have ever asked myself what would be the real look of original pattern welded items.


If you look into the work of Jeff Pringle you might be able to see some very good examples. I originally learned of these ideas from him. I recall that Owen Bush made a beautiful sax from a combination of phosporic and non-phosphoric irons. And some other folks too.. just can't recall right now! If you do a google search on 'phosphoric iron' and 'seax' or 'sax' or 'sword' you will see some of this discussion. I've made good use of phosphoric iron for work hardened iron blades and to just show beautiful woodgrain effect in laminated steel.. but have not yet attempted true pattern welding.

http://www.bigrockforge.com
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
Joined: 11 Jun 2007
Likes: 7 pages

Posts: 2,219

Feedback score: 100%
(1 total ▮ 100% positive)
PostPosted: Wed 18 Jun, 2014 9:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Do you think work hardened phosphoric iron (by itself, not pattern welding) would function good enough for long blades or only short, saxes and knives?
View user's profile Send private message
Scott Roush
Industry Professional



Location: Washburn, WI
Joined: 27 Jan 2011

Posts: 452

Feedback score: None
PostPosted: Wed 18 Jun, 2014 11:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Luka... I've only work hardened two iron blades. A small seax and a longer (but still short) lenticular Celtic sword. I think the blade was 18 inches (45 cm). The small seax (which is actually one of my every day use knives) work hardened nicely and as long as I use it for soft woods and fibrous materials it does okay. It never seems to take a very fine edge no matter how you hone it.. but it works great for things that cut well with 'micro-serrated' edges... i.e. fibrous rope and animal tissue. Shaving hair? no.

As to the sword... I did a lot of focused hammering down the center specifically to see if I could get the blade to take less warpage when hitting a solid object broad-side. I did get it to warp significantly less by doing this. Before hammer hardening I was almost able to wrap the blade around the post! :-) I would like to try something like this again and be more 'clinical' about the experiment.. video, measurements and hardness tester.

One thing that I now understand to be crucial for performance of these iron blades is the quality of refinement in terms of slag content. When I was first doing this I was so fascinated with the wood grain character of unrefined iron that I usually wanted that to be seen. This is something that becomes less pronounced with refinement. Also... you lose phosphorus through refinement.. and since I wasn't sure how much.. I simply did not refine. I've since come to appreciate the finer 'hada' you get from nice, clean wrought iron.

There are others more qualified for this.. maybe they will contribute.

I was out today forging my iron core for the spatha.. and it occurred to me that I should plan to hammer harden the core after heat treat. It will be getting a steel edge.. but it would be nice to give it some stiffness in the core.

http://www.bigrockforge.com
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
Joined: 11 Jun 2007
Likes: 7 pages

Posts: 2,219

Feedback score: 100%
(1 total ▮ 100% positive)
PostPosted: Wed 18 Jun, 2014 2:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Interesting observations. I think I would choose phosphorus iron core with bloomery steel well refined edges for my first sword made of "authentic" materials. But I have to rob a bank first to be able to afford it... :/
View user's profile Send private message
Scott Roush
Industry Professional



Location: Washburn, WI
Joined: 27 Jan 2011

Posts: 452

Feedback score: None
PostPosted: Wed 18 Jun, 2014 4:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

yep.. I'd love to make a pattern welded core using bloom of different alloy content. And either carburized iron (shear steel) or hearth refined steel for the edge... high layer/density. I'm hoping that after this coming weekend I will have some good bloomery material. I'm hosting a hammer-in and there will be lots of smelting.
http://www.bigrockforge.com
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Lafayette C Curtis




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

Posts: 2,689

Feedback score: None
PostPosted: Fri 20 Jun, 2014 4:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Another market you should consider is experimental archaeology. Do you remember the thread on the destructive testing of a Neil Burridge bronze sword? One point frequently repeated throughout the comments is that people would like to see a similar destructive test for iron swords, and especially a direct comparison of how late bronze weaponry would have stood up to iron ones during the long stretch in the early Iron Age when the two coexisted for centuries. It'd be fun if you could manage that (especially if there's a customer with enough money to bankroll such an experiment).
View user's profile Send private message
Owen Bush
Industry Professional



Location: london
Joined: 31 Aug 2007

Posts: 221

Feedback score: None
PostPosted: Fri 20 Jun, 2014 11:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think there is a lot of interest Scott.
Mainly I must admit fuelled by makers but also a market interest.
It is worth mentioning that modern wrought iron that we generally get hold of is not the same material as the bloomery iron and steel used in most of the blades we aspire to re make.

Bloomery material is a lot closer and you can see the difference .

I could not honestly tell the difference between hearth steel made from wrought iron and bloomery steel in a finished blade or as a material.
But there is a difference between these two materials , even if its just a moral one , one is made from ore the other from a relatively modern material.

There is some education involved in understanding these materials.

I like using wrought iron in blades but consider it as quite a different material to bloomery iron and steel.

I think the more makers playing with these material the better, and if there is not a fully mature market we will make one.

It is an interesting thing to pursue, making blades that are much more expensive and perform less well than their modern counterparts.

If i were to charge hourly rates for making bloomery patternwelded blades ,the pattern welded seax I have made from bloomery material , would cost around 1250 for a blade that would otherwise cost around 200 to 250 in modern materials................
and that is not a cost I could pass on (I also think its too much full stop).......so I keep them and covet them!! Petr is putting a handle on one soon.


Also the more you do it the cheaper and better the process gets.

I had some good chats at my forge in about this and one of the best views (slightly tongue in cheek) was that blades made from traditional materials should be charged at a discount , because the client was allowing me to involve myself in some fun time whilst I made him an inferior product!!!

It is worth mentioning that smiths were making very good usable product from their materials and the pursuit of that is defiantly worth doing.
Understanding how to use these materials involves quite a bit of throwing the modern text book out of the window and becomes a lot more intuitive....... bring on the slack quenching, brine and buckets of urine et al.
Its a great challenge, and interesting .
I think it is worth remembering that our modern attempts with these materials may well not exactly mirror the work done by the ancient smiths but we will get there in time .

So I for one encourage you to continue along this path as there is a lot for us all to learn.

forging soul into steel .

www.owenbush.co.uk the home of bushfire forge school of smithing .
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Hadrian Coffin
Industry Professional



Location: Oxford, England
Joined: 03 Apr 2008

Posts: 380

Feedback score: 100%
(2 total ▮ 100% positive)
PostPosted: Sat 21 Jun, 2014 4:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

One further thing to consider, if contrast intrigues you. Is what you are (or rather are not) using to etch the blade. It's something I'm quite interested in, and have been doing work on recently, with regards to an article I will publish after finishing my thesis.
I don't want to get into too many details, before I have revised a bit myself on how I look at this. But in essence, look at sagas that talk about breathing in the blade to make the "snake" appear. Age, patina, blood, would all help these patterns develop in a more pronounced way... If the blades began by being highly smoothly polished.

It's interesting when considering the literary, and archaeological, evidence for the importance of older blades.

Historia magistra vitae est
View user's profile Send private message Yahoo Messenger
Fabrice Cognot
Industry Professional



Location: Dijon
Joined: 29 Sep 2004

Posts: 354

Feedback score: None
PostPosted: Sat 21 Jun, 2014 3:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I wanted to say something but Owen pretty much covered it already....

Happy

Cheers

Fab

PhD in medieval archeology.
HEMAC member
De Taille et d'Estoc director
Maker of high quality historical-inspired pieces.
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Scott Roush
Industry Professional



Location: Washburn, WI
Joined: 27 Jan 2011

Posts: 452

Feedback score: None
PostPosted: Tue 24 Jun, 2014 6:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the great replies folks. Sorry to take so long responding. I've just finished with an exhausting but amazing gathering of bladesmiths at my shop over the last four days.

Thanks Owen for pointing out the difference between 19th century wrought iron and bloomery material. This is something I know intellectually.. but sometimes forget! To me, when refined properly.. it does have a similar look ... which is mostly what I've been after up to this point. But I do think it's important to educate the customer when it comes to this... and make it clear that the wrought iron is a different animal than that made from bloom.

As to hearth steel.. well I agree with you on that and I've largely lost interest in using the antique wrought iron as the starting material. I'm more interested in using it to refine bloom. Which I realize is yet another 'can of worms'. At this point my main focus is getting as solid of a bloom that I'm capable of making.. and hopefully further refinement becomes unnecessary.

I'm very glad I started this thread as I'm now getting REALLY fired up to push this. I'm disappointed that my smelt over the weekend didn't produce as much as expected. Cool, humid weather led to a cool plinth which resulted in an early shutdown of the bloom due to blockage. We did enough to play with. Not sure if this is an historically correct smelter or not.. but it sure is an object of note. Dave Delagardelle contributed his hand to this:



Also... yes! I'm very interested in more historical methods of etching. Something I'd like to explore myself...

http://www.bigrockforge.com
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website


Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Makers and Manufacturers Talk > Blades with historical materials/performance.. opinions.
Page 1 of 2 Reply to topic
Go to page 1, 2  Next All times are GMT - 8 Hours

View previous topic :: View next topic
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum






All contents © Copyright 2003-2018 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum