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Boris Bedrosov
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PostPosted: Fri 08 Apr, 2016 10:31 pm    Post subject: WIP: Composite Byzantine Dagger, c. 14th Century         Reply with quote

I've never mentioned so far, but I'm very glad when my customers grant me full freedom and leave the whole work on their pieces up to me. Although the research (especially) in such cases is harder, the execution of the whole project leaves me with very interesting and pleasant feeling, that I'm more a creator than a craftsman.

It's exactly the case with this dagger.
I was approached by an Italian customer with a request for a Byzantine dagger, granting me freedom of action during the whole process. Based on my proposal, his choice for the hilt and scabbard fittings was this very beautiful 14th C. fresco



with unknown location. The blade was chosen by me - it's strongly influenced by "The betrayal of Christ" fresco from the Patriach Monastery in Pec, Serbia.



Both frescos are dated around the middle of the 14th C., and are quite good examples of the art in the Byzantine-influenced world during this time of the history. Of course, the dispute if such sources were reliable or not, still remains, but my experience so far shows me they could be used in work.

The final daft of the project



and the future dagger would look like something like the one on the sketch.
As this is a sketch, not a plan, it's quite possible some of the features to change during the execution, especially the guard, but the main idea would remain the same.

"Everyone who has the right to wear a long sword, has to remember that his sword is his soul,
and he has to separate from it when he separates from his life"
Tokugawa Ieyasu

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Boris Bedrosov
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Location: Bourgas, Bulgaria
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PostPosted: Mon 11 Apr, 2016 1:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

And the real work began.....

The blade was cut and ground from 65G steel; at this moment the fullers were relatively narrow. After some sanding with grit #40 sanding paper, I sent the blade for heat-treatment.



immediately after heat-treatment - still black with some scales from the burnt oil.



For shorter blades (knives, daggers, etc.) I prefer somewhat higher hardness - in 56-60 HRC limits (depending on the steel used). The hardness of this particular blade is somewhere in the middle - 58-59 HRC.
First I started with the fullers. When the blade was away from me, I decided it would be better, if I come closer to "The Betrayal of Christ" fresco - with wider fullers. This picture was taken at the moment after the grit #80 paper.



The rest was some hours of sanding - the fullers up to grit #320, the rest of the blade - up to #600 (ceramic abrasive) with addition of grit #800 cork abrasive.



I don't know why, but I didn't like the blade when I saw it later on the bright sun-light - just didn't. In a short time I re-worked it with grit #1200 stone, then polished it.
It's not well seen on the image, but the level of the polish is ... well, I'll say I'm satisfied.


"Everyone who has the right to wear a long sword, has to remember that his sword is his soul,
and he has to separate from it when he separates from his life"
Tokugawa Ieyasu

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Boris Bedrosov
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Location: Bourgas, Bulgaria
Joined: 06 Nov 2005

Posts: 700

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PostPosted: Sat 23 Apr, 2016 3:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Some other activities seriously restrained my work on this project during last week - as preliminary planned I should finished the proper dagger so far, working on its scabbard.
unfortunately, this didn't happened as planned; I'll try to speed up, finishing it soon.

The details of the hilt - the pommel and grip were turned on lathe, the guard was cut from solid piece.



Initially, I wanted to make the guard and pommel from bronze, later I changed my mind - the impression from the first fresco is that they are gilded. I decided to achieve this effect using brass - although it's relatively modern alloy. The grip is a scrap piece of oak, found at my lathe operator's workshop; the langets were cut from 2.5 mm thick bronze plate.

The guard after the basic work was finished - the quillons are slightly flared (almost invisible here), the hole for the tang is fitted; both external slots will accommodate the langets.



All details of the dagger after the guard was assembled and the grip - drilled and fitted to the tang.



My initial idea was to brazen the langets, but after two unsuccessful attempts and one langet - damaged beyond repair (new one was made), I soldered them with tin. Obviously - I have still a lot to learn; how to work with the silver solder and the torch is one of them.
And finally - two images of the test-assembled dagger - the peen-block is missing, the blade is protected by temporary paper "scabbard"




"Everyone who has the right to wear a long sword, has to remember that his sword is his soul,
and he has to separate from it when he separates from his life"
Tokugawa Ieyasu

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Leo Todeschini
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PostPosted: Mon 25 Apr, 2016 12:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Looking good Boris.

Boris Bedrosov wrote
Quote:
I have still a lot to learn; how to work with the silver solder and the torch is one of them.


It is easy to boil and burn brass with too much heat. Use a soft flame in the torch, keep it moving a lot and keep most of the heat in the quillon block. Loads of flux as well as silver solder does not flow as easily as brass brazing if there is too little flux; lots of flux and it flows much easier than brass.

Tod

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Boris Bedrosov
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PostPosted: Thu 05 May, 2016 3:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, initially this post was to content quite different pictures and to tell a different story, but....
..... But it was the Orthodox Good Friday (or as we call it in Bulgaria - Crucifixion Friday) last week. The local tradition commemorates the sacrifice of Jesus Christ with a number of rituals and prohibitions, one of which is banning any domestic and craft work on this day.
As a good Christian, I usually keep this rule, never working on the Crucifixion Friday - because I simply know nothing happens as planned on this day. Pressed by time, I was forced to break the rule this year - as a result everything which could be destroyed, was destroyed on this dagger - the guard wasn't fixed properly, the peening went wrong, the tin-soldered langets gave way.

And I started again.
Firstly - the langets were silver-solder brazed (not by me)



After sanding they look quite better now - I just need some more sanding in order to clean the remaining silver-coloured spots



The wooden core of the grip was covered with leather - here I use a piece of cord to press it over the wood while waiting for the glue to dry. The pieces of wire are intended to shape the grooves where I will place brass wire.



The grip before



and after the final assembly - the wire was twisted by hand and annealed before mounting; on both faces of the grip each piece of wire is placed in a shallow triangular notch and then - placed inside of the grip cavity.



Finally - the guard was fixed to the blade, the grip was filled with epoxy and using a "special" device - glued to the rest of the dagger.


"Everyone who has the right to wear a long sword, has to remember that his sword is his soul,
and he has to separate from it when he separates from his life"
Tokugawa Ieyasu

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Boris Bedrosov
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Location: Bourgas, Bulgaria
Joined: 06 Nov 2005

Posts: 700

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PostPosted: Tue 10 May, 2016 1:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Although the first fresco (and the initial project draft) shows a peen-block of a spherical shape, my first attempt to assemble the dagger proved it could be too hard to do this properly when the block is made from a soft alloy. Catching too much heat from the torch, it gets red-hot (and even more soft) very quickly - thus the peen doesn't manage to immobilize the pommel properly.

For the second attempt I changed the peen-block - this time it is a cross, cut from 2.5 mm thick bronze plate.



Assembled, but not peened yet



This time the peening went relatively smooth, without any unpleasant surprises. The peen and the cross need some sanding; the black lines mark the future decorative cuts on the surface of the pommel



Cuts made - here I used the Dremel tool







Note that the fresco shows the wire bands and the cuts on the pommel running in successive circles. Although possible, personally for me this is not quite logical, that's why I made them running in spirals.

"Everyone who has the right to wear a long sword, has to remember that his sword is his soul,
and he has to separate from it when he separates from his life"
Tokugawa Ieyasu

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Boris Bedrosov
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Location: Bourgas, Bulgaria
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PostPosted: Wed 11 May, 2016 10:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The dagger finished - the blade was re-polished, guard and pommel - polished, the leather wrap of the grip - oiled.
At the end I decided to leave the silver-solder spots un-flushed completely.









The scabbard is next!

"Everyone who has the right to wear a long sword, has to remember that his sword is his soul,
and he has to separate from it when he separates from his life"
Tokugawa Ieyasu

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Boris Bedrosov
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Location: Bourgas, Bulgaria
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Posts: 700

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PostPosted: Sat 14 May, 2016 2:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

With the dagger finished and scabbard - underway, I almost see this project finished.
As the scabbard-making process will follow the same steps as shown already in others of my threads, I'm not willing to repeat them again in a great detail.

Two halves cut from poplar



and then - chiseled



Using my favorite "stick trick" both halves were prepared for assembly, the PVA glue was applied on them



The "hedgehog" - the scabbard clamped with as many F-clamps as possible



And the finished wooden core after some time spent around the belt-grinder


"Everyone who has the right to wear a long sword, has to remember that his sword is his soul,
and he has to separate from it when he separates from his life"
Tokugawa Ieyasu

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Boris Bedrosov
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Location: Bourgas, Bulgaria
Joined: 06 Nov 2005

Posts: 700

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PostPosted: Thu 26 May, 2016 9:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Some leather-work on the scabbard



and my favourite herring-bone pattern seam on the back



The mouth (not the best picture I've ever made - sorry for the off-focus image)



Paper patterns for the fittings


"Everyone who has the right to wear a long sword, has to remember that his sword is his soul,
and he has to separate from it when he separates from his life"
Tokugawa Ieyasu

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Boris Bedrosov's Armoury
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Boris Bedrosov
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Location: Bourgas, Bulgaria
Joined: 06 Nov 2005

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PostPosted: Thu 26 May, 2016 10:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

.... and some metal-work on the fittings

Both plates cut acoording to the paper patterns



and after some minor repousse



The mouth piece with the details of the future suspension



Both pieces after soldering



And some test-fit


"Everyone who has the right to wear a long sword, has to remember that his sword is his soul,
and he has to separate from it when he separates from his life"
Tokugawa Ieyasu

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Pedro Paulo Gaião




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PostPosted: Fri 27 May, 2016 7:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Interesting to see another byzantine weapon enthusiast. Can't wait to see the full set
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Boris Bedrosov
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PostPosted: Wed 15 Jun, 2016 11:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

During last two weeks I was extremely busy - I traveled about 7500 km (more than 4600 mi) by car, ferry and plane, visited two different events in Taranto, Italy and Moscow, Russia and even took part in the Thousand Swords Battle during "Times and Epochs" festival.
And although this project was completed half-a-month ago, being almost constantly away from home I failed to show the progress with it.

The finishing touches over the scabbard:
* fittings were glued and carrying straps - stitched



** then the leather was oiled with linseed oil and waxed






"Everyone who has the right to wear a long sword, has to remember that his sword is his soul,
and he has to separate from it when he separates from his life"
Tokugawa Ieyasu

Find my works on Facebook:
Boris Bedrosov's Armoury
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Boris Bedrosov
Industry Professional



Location: Bourgas, Bulgaria
Joined: 06 Nov 2005

Posts: 700

Feedback score: None
PostPosted: Wed 15 Jun, 2016 11:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

And the finished project:












"Everyone who has the right to wear a long sword, has to remember that his sword is his soul,
and he has to separate from it when he separates from his life"
Tokugawa Ieyasu

Find my works on Facebook:
Boris Bedrosov's Armoury
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