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Jesus Hernandez
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PostPosted: Mon 30 Mar, 2015 7:18 am    Post subject: Homage to the Vehmaa sword         Reply with quote

This is the story of a sword. The blade began as a little seed in my mind after reading the book “Swords of the Viking Age” by Ian Pierce. As I turned pages 148 and 149, very much at the end of the book and having already seen many photographs of wonderful pattern-welding, I was stunned by two photographs depicting a sword found in Vehmaa and dating to the 8th century. My first impression looking at the photographs on both pages is that I was looking at two different swords but reading the brief notes I was further shocked in realizing that it was only one. Ever since I saw that blade I wanted to try and figure out how the pattern was created.

That was many moons ago. Then going back some three or four years I saw Jeff's repair on the handle of a Viking sword and that sword and another were shown at Fire&Brimstone. When I held the one blade with the Petersen L morphology, I felt a more compelling need to try to make the Vehmaa sword.



It took me the best part of a year of on and off reviewing my original notes on the pattern and developing new ideas to sort out how could it be re-made. Aided at times by a 3D CAD program to determine the composition, layer count and arrangement of the rods, I was able to figure out the individual patterns but not quite able to determine how where they put together and the transitions from one pattern to another realized. One day when I least expected it, I came up with a plausible solution and even if it is not how the original was made, I was happy enough with the plans to make some billets and get ready to test my thoughts in the fire.



I used 1095 and 15N20. About 6 kg of steel to begin with and run the tests I wanted with enough material to spare. I made core rods and edge rods. The edge rods were 1095 and W2.



The five rods that were to become the core of the blade needed to be twisted and/or manipulated to very precise dimensions. The day I did the twists I had two pages of carefully detailed directions as to where to start and stop each twist and how many turns to do. It was nerve wrecking as any one single mistake would have thrown the pattern off. Everything needed to line up as close to the layout directions as possible.



The next issue was to figure out how much material to remove from either side to expose the pattern exactly where it was intended and for most people who have done this, they would realize that the pattern is shown at different depths on different sections on both sides of the blade.





The most dificult weld was the last. Attaching the wrap-around edge to the core had to be done when the billets were ¼” thick and there was no wiggle room for any offset as it would simply ruin the carefully develop pattern.



Unfortunately, the first sword did not show the correct patterns after grinding as a result of miscalculating the depth. The blade was very interesting in itself but not was I was going after. So a second blade was started and with the gained knowledge from the previous one, the patterns were pre-arranged where after grinding they will show at the correct depth.



So now it was on to profiling on the grinder and heat treating. The blade look really pretty dressed in its tempering colors.



But it had a little bit of a warping towards the point which I tried and tried to straighten at tempering temperature for a couple days. Finally I thought I had straighten it just to come in the shop the next morning and see that that curve had come back to some degree after cooling. I thought that it was such a little curve that I put it in the vise cold and tried to fix it. The blade broke in two.



Too bad as the pattern was for the most part there. The serpent section was not as tight as I wanted but everything else was right on. The next week instead of feeling pity on myself I went back to the shop to make a new set of billets for a third attempt. Although for a day or two I did walk with my head down.

Third time’s a charm. I had the sword I wanted with the correct amount of tightness for the serpent and although one of the chevron sections did not have the correct spacing, it was close enough. I was not planning on hilting the blade or making a scabbard but I needed some sort of sheath to keep the blade in so I made a wooden one and it looked so nice that I was compelled to finish it with a leather wrap and lambskin liner. At that point there was no turning back from making a hilt for it too.


My website: www.JHBLADESMITH.com
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Jesus Hernandez
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Location: Virginia
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PostPosted: Mon 30 Mar, 2015 7:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The blade itself is 950 grams and the length without the tang was 32 ½”. Width of 1 7/8” at the base and tapering from there. Polishing the w2/1095 edge to show contrast was a bit tricky and ended up using a method similar to the Japanese polish for the edge.

I had a smile on my face when it was finished.























Here you can see how subtle the edge pattern is.





[

My website: www.JHBLADESMITH.com
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Jesus Hernandez
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Location: Virginia
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PostPosted: Mon 30 Mar, 2015 7:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

For those interested in trying to figure out the pattern-welding, there are a couple more images at my website made in Photoshop by combining many sectional pictures. The proportions of the handle and blade were a bit deformed by the program but the pattern is more easily discerned.

http://jhbladesmith.com/homage-to-the-vehmaa-sword/

Scroll to the very end of the pages for those two images.



My respect for the smith who made the original sword is enormous. I don't think that I actually followed the process that he used to make his sword in making mine. He knew what he wanted to do and how to do it. Thanks to all my friends that help me in one way or another through questions and answers on the making on the different parts of this blade. You know who you are.

My website: www.JHBLADESMITH.com
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Tim Lison




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PostPosted: Mon 30 Mar, 2015 9:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Eek! Oh my God! That is magnificent! I can't recall seeing a pattern on a pattern welded sword that I like more. The hilt and scabbard are outstanding too! Thank you for sharing this!
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J. Nicolaysen




Location: Wyoming
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PostPosted: Mon 30 Mar, 2015 11:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Holy S.

That is a legendary Finnish blade and since I read about it last year I had been dreaming of one day being able to commission it. You did extremely well. The patterns on this make it a masterpiece of design and execution. Thank you for sharing it. Whoever ends up with it will be so happy. I wish I could throw my hat in the ring. Well done. Just amazing.
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J. K. Byrnes





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PostPosted: Mon 30 Mar, 2015 12:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That is amazing! Well done Sir! Truly an incredible piece.
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J. Hargis




Location: Pacific Palisades, California
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PostPosted: Mon 30 Mar, 2015 1:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

An immensely beautiful creation, and the walk-through was very informative.

It's incredible how many talented swordsmiths post to this forum.

Thanks, Jesus.

Jon

ps:
In viewing your website I see no other European based pieces, is this your first?


A poorly maintained weapon is likely to belong to an unsafe and careless fighter.
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Jesus Hernandez
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Location: Virginia
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PostPosted: Mon 30 Mar, 2015 4:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you, guys. For the time being this sword is going to stay home.

I have made some falcata and several seax but mostly I do Japanese-style work.

These are links to some of those blades:
http://jhbladesmith.com/blue-ridge-seax/
http://jhbladesmith.com/chimera-seax/
http://jhbladesmith.com/f-l-o-falcata-like-object/

My website: www.JHBLADESMITH.com
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J. Hargis




Location: Pacific Palisades, California
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PostPosted: Mon 30 Mar, 2015 6:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
I have made some falcata and several seax but mostly I do Japanese-style work.

Ah yes, I see that now, apologies.



An intelligent & artistic dedication on everything I have seen. Kudos to you.

Jon

A poorly maintained weapon is likely to belong to an unsafe and careless fighter.
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Ian Hutchison




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PostPosted: Mon 30 Mar, 2015 6:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Really outstanding work. The winding pattern near the blade tip is truly incredible. Absolutely stunning. I also really love the texture on the scabbard.
'We are told that the pen is mightier than the sword, but I know which of these weapons I would choose.' - Adrian Carton de Wiart
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Jerry Monaghan




Location: melbourne australia
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PostPosted: Mon 30 Mar, 2015 10:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Jesus.
I have seen an few Japanese blades that you have made and I must admit they were fantastic but this sword
is in an ball park on its own I love it congratulations on an fine sword and thanks for sharing

Regards

Jerry Monaghan
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Bryan Heff




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PostPosted: Tue 31 Mar, 2015 3:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am amazed and in awe of what the top sword smiths can accomplish. It does not seem like some thing that well executed would ever be possible.

Fantastic and beautiful work.

The church is near but the roads are icy. The tavern is far but I will walk carefully. - Russian Proverb
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David Lewis Smith




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PostPosted: Tue 31 Mar, 2015 11:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I do not even know what to say. Frankly that is one of the finest recreations I have ever seen. It is also one of the most beautiful swords I have ever seen, blade, fittings everything. That should be in a museum

Or my house....
Heh.

David L Smith
MSG (RET)
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Robert Muse




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PostPosted: Tue 31 Mar, 2015 2:25 pm    Post subject: Sword         Reply with quote

I was at one time caretaker for a large pattern welded langsax with a red bone handle that you made. I thought it was great, but this is just beyond her in so many ways.
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Owen Bush
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PostPosted: Sun 05 Apr, 2015 11:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This is significant work , a real leap within a craft that is constantly surpassing it's self.

Exceptional and inspiring and so beautifully executed.

Well done Jesus , I hope this pushed you even further .

forging soul into steel .

www.owenbush.co.uk the home of bushfire forge school of smithing .
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Jesus Hernandez
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PostPosted: Mon 06 Apr, 2015 4:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks, Owen.
My website: www.JHBLADESMITH.com
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Harry Marinakis




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PostPosted: Tue 07 Apr, 2015 1:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Respect to you
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Shahril Dzulkifli




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PostPosted: Sat 02 May, 2015 6:38 am    Post subject: Homage to the Vehmaa sword         Reply with quote


So this is the real Vehmaa sword. This sword, however, dates from the 8th century and was discovered in Vehmaa, Finland. The date of its discovery remains unknown.

“You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength”

- Marcus Aurelius
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Houston P.




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PostPosted: Sat 02 May, 2015 7:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This sword may well have the most beautiful pattern of any I've ever seen!
...and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. (‭Luke‬ ‭22‬:‭36‬) To be without silver is better than to be without honor. -Norse proverb
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