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Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Can anyone in the U.S. sharpen bronze blades? Reply to topic
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Dan D'Silva





Joined: 28 Apr 2007

Posts: 161

PostPosted: Sat 19 Jan, 2019 4:12 pm    Post subject: Can anyone in the U.S. sharpen bronze blades?         Reply with quote

Hello again.

I've been contacted by a reenactor in California who's interested in having a couple of daggers sharpened (one he already has, another he's in the process of obtaining). I've been told that a bronze blade should be cold-forged before sharpening and that a professional knife sharpener who's only worked with modern tempered steel blades probably won't know how to do so. However, neither he nor I have any experience with it either, and I don't think the maker does either. (Although these blades are some kind of bronze, they're intended for decorative use.)

He's said he'll try and find out the specific alloy. In the meantime, we're looking for someone who could examine the blades and, if they appear to be a good enough cast, to forge and sharpen them. I'd prefer someone in the U.S. so the shipping charges will be lower and we won't have to worry about international customs.

I'll convey the names and fees to him, and he'll decide whether to proceed.

Thank you.
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Michael Beeching





Joined: 22 Jan 2014
Reading list: 2 books

Posts: 181

PostPosted: Mon 21 Jan, 2019 4:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Perhaps I should not say anything, as I do not personally own a bronze sword, but I have seen / read discussions of their sharpening.

There was a video a while back of "ThegnThrand" sharpening bronze swords - the process was not far removed from what is typically done with conventional steel knives or swords:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5COC7PjiJw

As a recap, the stone is apparently a bit of a rougher grit, but I get the impression aluminum oxide / diamond steel would be a bad choice. Just a rougher, conventional stone, it seems, will do. A knife file was also used. Note that the file was apparently NOT a hardened steel - if you have the "by-knives" of a kukri... that is in quotes for a reason... you should have a relatively mild, unsharpened tool for honing the edges of the sharp knives (at least the last one I handled was relatively mild). This might be a good way of dealing with the issue as opposed to finding some sort of mild steel knife file.

...Stropping might also be a decent solution for honing the edge.

If the edge is hardened by work hardening, that might be easier to do on your own than you think. Using iron or steel tools may or may not be a concern - someone with experience could say more in that regard. However, alternatives are easy to acquire if using those tools are a concern. Brass blocks and gunsmithing hammers are not cost prohibitive, so getting those, and perhaps a punch set to precisely make hits, should be fairly easy to acquire. I'm of the opinion that, if you are careless, soft metal against soft metal (the brass tools) are a safer bet to reduce the chance of marring. Or, you could make softer hits with conventional tools. I think Niel Burridge has a video floating out there somewhere discussing the hammered edge, if you care to search the net for it.
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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,311

PostPosted: Mon 21 Jan, 2019 5:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

They are all sharpened the same way. The only difference is that it won't hold an edge for very long if it isn't work hardened and will have to be honed more often.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books
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Dan D'Silva





Joined: 28 Apr 2007

Posts: 161

PostPosted: Thu 24 Jan, 2019 8:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks. I personally would rather give up on this. We still don't know the alloy -- it actually looks like yellow brass to me, though the maker says it's bronze -- and now that I've seen the blade, it has an excessively thick spine (more than a third of an inch, the blade is only 1-1/3 inches wide and 9 inches long) and obtuse edges more suited for a stabbing weapon.
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James Arlen Gillaspie
Industry Professional



Location: upstate NY
Joined: 10 Nov 2005

Posts: 542

PostPosted: Sat 26 Jan, 2019 9:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Modern 'silicon bronze' used for sculpture is almost entirely copper with a little silicon, no tin. It can be work hardened, but I doubt it would compare favorably with a true tin bronze.
https://www.belmontmetals.com/product/silicon-bronze-everdur-uns-c87300/

jamesarlen.com
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