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J. Scott Moore





Joined: 25 Nov 2008

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PostPosted: Tue 03 Oct, 2017 5:46 pm    Post subject: Historical method of fullering         Reply with quote

So I have a question for all the makers out there, as well as all you wonderful historians. I know from my own research that fullers in swords were often ground as well as pounded into blades. My question for all of you estimable gentlemen is thus: in the European tradition, were fullers ever scraped, or filed in? If so, what method was used where? I have searched all over online and have not, as yet found any satisfactory answers. I apologize if this is a post better suited to the maker forum, but I was unsure where to best pose this. Thank you!
"Whoever desires peace, let him prepare for war."
-Vegetius
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Hamish C




Location: Sydney, Australia
Joined: 27 Jul 2016

Posts: 38

PostPosted: Tue 03 Oct, 2017 6:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Good question. I don't really know if fullers were scraped in or if scrapers were used to refine a fuller. Sounds like a lot of extra work. I suspect fullers were predominately forged in whilst hot, maybe refined on the peak of a grinding stone. Not going on anything except speed and the cheapest way of doing things.
A sword for a wealthy person would be more likely to be refined with scrapers.
It would be interesting to see if any traces of scraping rather than forging or grinding remain in the fullers of historical weapons.
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Alan E




Location: UK
Joined: 21 Jan 2016

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PostPosted: Wed 04 Oct, 2017 1:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ewart Oakeshott says in 'Dark Age Warrior' that for pattern welded swords the twisted bar was ground then burnished and etched. He adds that "One of the poetic names for a sword was 'Survivor of the files'" Rather old but it has always been my understanding that these fullers (at least) were ground out.
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Currently teaching Fiore's art in Ceredigion
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Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
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PostPosted: Wed 04 Oct, 2017 4:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Both ground and forged fullers were made.
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Craig Johnson
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Location: Minneapolis, MN, USA
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PostPosted: Wed 04 Oct, 2017 7:32 am    Post subject: Fuller process         Reply with quote

Its important to remember in the working of iron/steel into a blade in period all of these forms of manipulation where probably used on each blade. A piece of material would be forged to shape. If a fuller was part of the design then it would be shaped in hot in most cases. This piece would then most likely be ground/filed/scrapped to refine and polish. Heat treatment could be done at several points in this process if heat treatment was done. Then the final polishing and any finishing would be done, Again this was probably done with scrappers/stones/files in no particular order. The stones could be hand held to grinding wheels operated by hand/foot/water.

The finishing of blade a blade in the polishing steps is just a series of scratches. You just keep making finer and finer scratches as you get a "brighter" more reflective surface. One aspect of old original blades some some miss is that you will often see imperfections or deep scratches from the early stages of cleaning that will still be in the surface but the surrounding surface is quite polished. This would be indicative of the stepped process described above and the individual finish acceptable to that maker at the time.

So in the case of a fuller one would certainly be finishing with a shaped wheel, file or scrapper to contour the shape of the finished sword. While little used today a properly made scraper can work quite well to do a nice finish on a blade.

Best
Craig



 Attachment: 115.31 KB
Romance of Alexander Polishing [ Download ]

 Attachment: 129.93 KB
Romance of Alexander Grinding [ Download ]
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J. Scott Moore





Joined: 25 Nov 2008

Posts: 72

PostPosted: Wed 04 Oct, 2017 9:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey thanks for the illustrations, in particular, Craig. I suspected that it would've been a stepped process in some form, though I was unsure of whether or not scraping was actually used in Europe. All I could come up with is the Japanese Sen scraper, which looks kind of similar to what the two guys are using in one of the illustrations you posted. Is there much difference between the two? I'm thinking about making one myself, as it seems to be a good "low tech" way of shaping a blade.

Alan, I have never run across "survivor of the files" before, of course I haven't been able to find a copy of The Dark Age Warrior. Of course I haven't done a *lot* of looking either. I might have to make and call a blade that.

"Whoever desires peace, let him prepare for war."
-Vegetius
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Bruno Giordan





Joined: 28 Sep 2005

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PostPosted: Thu 05 Oct, 2017 2:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A bit late but it is documented that in my area (Brescia) fullers were filed and then blades were ground with enormous round grinding stones powered by water, being placed alongside ancient style power hammers.

Documentation dates back to the XVII century though.

Ancient illuminations show plenty of grinding and filing, even if they are just symbolic, not illustrative of real methods, we cannot expect to discover hidden medieval DIY manuals .. that would be a wet dream I guess ...
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