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Dan D'Silva





Joined: 28 Apr 2007

Posts: 163

PostPosted: Mon 25 Mar, 2019 3:10 am    Post subject: How do they cast hilts for hidden-tang blades?         Reply with quote

Hi. I have a largely hypothetical project in mind (i.e. I can't afford it yet) and I'd like to know how you'd go about it. I know that in recent centuries and occasionally in ancient times, brass or bronze hilts were cast to fit hidden-tang swords. However, the one time I tried this in foundry class, using the ceramic shell process (watered-down ceramic slurry and aluminum silicate grit), either the shell failed to fill the hole for the tang or it was too thin and delicate, so when the hilt was cast, it was all plugged up with bronze and useless. Did they use a different process entirely, or is there a technique to keep the hole clear that I didn't think of, like casting in two halves and then welding them? I can't imagine they would go through the effort of casting the hilt with no hole and drilling it out.
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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

Posts: 1,900

PostPosted: Mon 25 Mar, 2019 5:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am not sure which hilts you are regarding but a lot of 18th and 19th century handles and pommels are quite hollow inside. I don't know the processes involved but some show a seam, or sprue. I am sure, no doubt, some were cast directly onto the blade tangs but so many pommels and grips of those latter centuries do seem to have been lost wax or halves?

Cheers
GC
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Dan D'Silva





Joined: 28 Apr 2007

Posts: 163

PostPosted: Mon 25 Mar, 2019 2:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks. Yes, I was thinking of things like 18th-century infantry hangers and 19th-century artillery "gladii," but also of some Iron Age bimetallic weapons like Cimmerian swords, anthropomorphic La Tene daggers, etc. and I'm not sure at what point welding became an option.
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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

Posts: 1,900

PostPosted: Mon 25 Mar, 2019 2:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, my 1833 dated m1832 artillery sword shows an obvious seam and Ames had "improved the casting once done in house, I assume beefing up the bosses that support the pins. The my nco and musician swords in later decades appear to have grips of seamless tubes. Pommels as mentioned, some showing a seam or sprue but quite hollow inside.









The pillow/cushion and urn type pommels of the 18th century similarly hollow and bone or ivory grips often quite hollow as well with plugs at each end that sized to the tangs.

Cheers
GC
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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

Posts: 1,900

PostPosted: Mon 25 Mar, 2019 3:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A look at that Huse casting of the m1832


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Dan D'Silva





Joined: 28 Apr 2007

Posts: 163

PostPosted: Tue 26 Mar, 2019 11:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very informative. Most of the photos I've found of those kind of hilts so far just show them head-on and usually at a much greater distance.
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