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Jan Downs




Location: Earth
Joined: 12 Feb 2006

Posts: 28

PostPosted: Fri 17 Feb, 2006 2:20 am    Post subject: DIY project advice         Reply with quote

Hello all,

I am modifying an old Atlanta Cutlery viking sword (you know, cheap Windlass one). My question is when I am fitting the cross to the base of the blade should I shape it to match the guards curve or keep the shoulders square (though radiused) and modify the cross to accept the base of the blade? I hope the question makes sense.

Any help is appreciated.

Jan Downs

for God's sake strike true, man!
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Peter Johnsson
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Location: Storvreta, Sweden
Joined: 27 Aug 2003
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PostPosted: Fri 17 Feb, 2006 3:14 am    Post subject: Re: DIY project advice         Reply with quote

Jan Downs wrote:
Hello all,

I am modifying an old Atlanta Cutlery viking sword (you know, cheap Windlass one). My question is when I am fitting the cross to the base of the blade should I shape it to match the guards curve or keep the shoulders square (though radiused) and modify the cross to accept the base of the blade? I hope the question makes sense.

Any help is appreciated.

Jan Downs


You can go both ways, whatever is most practical for you.
On authentic swords it is most common that the shoulders of the blade follow the same general shape of the guard.

Most importantly, if you are striving for an authentic look, is that the guard need to have a slot that recesses the blade a few mm into the guard.
On some swords this slot is very tight and close fitting to the blade. On most swords the slot is made without any consideration to a tight fit between the slot and the blade.

On viking swords the slot is almost always of a lenticular shape with pointed corners. Just like the cross section of the blade. It is not uncommon for vikingswords to have a recessed slot that is 6 mm deep.

The fit towards the blade is achieved with the rectangular hole that fits over the tang.

On some examples wedges were used for tightening. On others the hole was so snug that it allowed a sturdy preassure fit. On others a small drift or punch was used to expand the sides of the hole so they pinched against the tang.

Hope this helps


Last edited by Peter Johnsson on Fri 17 Feb, 2006 6:03 am; edited 1 time in total
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Greyson Brown




Location: Windsor, Colorado
Joined: 22 Nov 2004
Reading list: 15 books

Posts: 790

PostPosted: Fri 17 Feb, 2006 5:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jan,

I think I know which sword you are talking about. The one with the brass five-lobed pommel, right? I have two of those. One retains its original fittings, but the other was modified a bit. My dad helped me to make a new pommel and guard for it back when I was 17, and we went ahead and left the shoulders the way they were and filed a curve in the guard. That blade broke at the tang (more from misuse than any fault of the sword, I am actually quite impressed with that piece when it comes to taking abuse), and I had to reforge a tang out of the blade. I went ahead and used the same guard and pommel that we had made before, but in forging out the new tang, I did not end up with shulders that were as curved. Im consequence, I had to refile the guard a bit as well. I also chose to remove the pointed escution. The later was a bad choice, as this guard did not have the slot that Peter mentioned, and that cusp was the closest thing to one. There is not much play in the guard, but there is more than there needs to be. Also because the guard was made from brass, this has resulted in some unsightly marring of the face of the guard that would have been avoided or hidden if the slot had been there.

That just goes to show that you can use both methods on the same sword and guard just fine. I agree with Peter that rounding the inlet on the guard or straightening the shoulders is a matter of taste or convenience, but I also agree that you need to ensure you include that slot for the blade. Even if it is loose, it just seems to help pull everything together right.

Here is a picture of the sword that I modified. the rain guard was added because I was foolish enough to go with a threaded tang (I'm actually a bit proud of the way I pulled that off, but it isn't the right way to put a sword together), and I needed something to make everything fit right. [Please note that I make no claims of historical accuracy with this sword. It was one of my very first sword projects, and there are several things that I know now that I wish I'd known then. I can still change many of the things that are wrong with it, so I have decided to make this my "learning blade" in many ways.]


[Edit] I'm not seeing the picture for some reason, if it's not showing up for you either, go to this post and scroll down to the second set of pictures.

And here is a picture of the un-modified sword (well, mostly unmodified, the "leather" is missing from the grip in this photo, and I have since redone the grip with a knotted cord wrap (which is sufficiently ugly and ill-fitting that I won't be sharing that one unless forced to)).



 Attachment: 46.73 KB
windlass viking.JPG


"So long as I can keep the path of honor I am well content."
-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The White Company
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Jan Downs




Location: Earth
Joined: 12 Feb 2006

Posts: 28

PostPosted: Sat 18 Feb, 2006 1:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks to both Peter and Greyson. The info will be very helpful.

Greyson, that is the exact sword I am talking about. I got it as a gift some years ago and I am using it as a learning blade. In fact reading one of your threads on the subject inspired me to make my own mods.

I really appreciate the help.

Regards,

Jan Downs

for God's sake strike true, man!
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Greyson Brown




Location: Windsor, Colorado
Joined: 22 Nov 2004
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PostPosted: Sat 18 Feb, 2006 1:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My first one was a gift, as well. I bought the second one specificy to modify. For $60, I think it is really pretty decent quality. It's not historically accurate, it will hold up to what borders on abuse. I certainly think it is a good sword for modifying partly because you aren't out that much money if something goes wrong.

Just so you are aware, my brother also has one of these (as does my dad - he got them for all of us for Christmas one year). There can be quite a bit of difference in blade mass, tange width/thickness, overall length, and especially in handling. If you decide to get a second one for a project blade, don't plan on it being just like the first one.

Do you mind mentioning what you have in mind for this sword? As always, don't forget to show us some pictures of your modifications.

-Grey

P.S. It's kinda frightening to think that I helped inspire this project. Eek! I hope you don't start cursing my name if you hit a snag. Razz

"So long as I can keep the path of honor I am well content."
-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The White Company
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Jan Downs




Location: Earth
Joined: 12 Feb 2006

Posts: 28

PostPosted: Mon 20 Feb, 2006 12:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Greyson Brown wrote:
My first one was a gift, as well. I bought the second one specificy to modify. For $60, I think it is really pretty decent quality. It's not historically accurate, it will hold up to what borders on abuse. I certainly think it is a good sword for modifying partly because you aren't out that much money if something goes wrong.

Just so you are aware, my brother also has one of these (as does my dad - he got them for all of us for Christmas one year). There can be quite a bit of difference in blade mass, tange width/thickness, overall length, and especially in handling. If you decide to get a second one for a project blade, don't plan on it being just like the first one.

Do you mind mentioning what you have in mind for this sword? As always, don't forget to show us some pictures of your modifications.

-Grey

P.S. It's kinda frightening to think that I helped inspire this project. Eek! I hope you don't start cursing my name if you hit a snag. Razz


Heh, not to worry Greyson, I'll take responsibility for any snags. Wink

As to what I have in mind for the sword, I shortened the blade a bit, so I could add some tang width; I plan to lengthen and widen the fuller to lighten the blade a bit for better balance; got rid of that crappy plastic grip (the "leather" wrap came off a long time ago); add a wooden grip wrapped in cord and colored a nice ox blood; if i can figure it out, I want to add some decor to the pommel and guard. I have also deepened the grooves on the pommel. I also want to put a decent edge on it.I think that is it. This really is a good learning blade. I might pick up another for the same purpose. Or this bastard sword http://www.reliks.com/merchant.ihtml?pid=1702. Mainly because i like to say bastard. On that one I would probably just modify the grip and perhaps the scabbard.

I"ll post pics as soon as I take some. I get a bit caught up in the process sometimes and forget to document what I'm doing. D'oh...

My thanks for your help and interest.

Jan Downs

for God's sake strike true, man!
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