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Kirstine Schoene




Location: Queensland, Australia
Joined: 20 Dec 2016

Posts: 7

PostPosted: Sat 18 Mar, 2017 1:08 pm    Post subject: What steels are good to use for hilt parts?         Reply with quote

I'm still collecting all the materials to make my first sword. I'm not too fussy with historical accuracy. I have sourced steel for the actual blade, and I have loads of strong timber (Burdekin Plum, tassie oak).

I'm thinking about using stainless steel, since it won't rust as quickly.
Would 303 or 416 be a good grade to use? (Assuming I can actually find these). I'm also considering mild steel, but I have little knowledge on the grades and machinability.

I want to use something that is relatively easy to cut/grind and not too difficult to find.

Thanks folks,
- K
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Timo Nieminen




Location: Brisbane, Australia
Joined: 08 May 2009
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PostPosted: Sat 18 Mar, 2017 3:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

303 and 416 are supposed to be the best for machinability. If you're cutting it on a lathe or a mill, that will matter. Not so much if you're grinding.

Mild steel will work. I don't think you'll notice much difference for anything from 1012 to 1020. You could even go to 1030 or 1045 and still have it much easier to work with than stainless. If it's just described as "mild steel", it will do.

I'd be wary of Tasmanian oak. In my experience, it splits fairly easily. For a grip core, I'd give it plenty of reinforcement, like a glued-on thread wrap, and ferrules.

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Kirstine Schoene




Location: Queensland, Australia
Joined: 20 Dec 2016

Posts: 7

PostPosted: Sat 18 Mar, 2017 6:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I regripped one of my swords with tassie oak. There doesn't seem to be an issue....yet.
Then again, it has been severely glued and wrapped in wire... Happy
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Hamish C




Location: Sydney, Australia
Joined: 27 Jul 2016

Posts: 29

PostPosted: Sun 19 Mar, 2017 6:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I personally would avoid Tassie oak or any other timber with a high tannin content. It reacts strongly with steel. Long term it might cause a problem.
Trying to think of a good easily available Aussie timber. Celery top pine is supposed to be non reactive, but its not the easiest timber to track down these days.
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Tim Harris
Industry Professional



Location: Melbourne, Australia
Joined: 06 Sep 2006

Posts: 153

PostPosted: Sun 19 Mar, 2017 7:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Kirstine,

I sometimes use vintage wrought iron for guards, but get pretty good results from forged-down railway spikes. As Timo hinted, stainless can be a brute to work with.

For grip material, I've never had a problem with Tasmanian oak with a well-glued string wrap and covered with leather. I've made quite a lot of them. If you want a plain wood finish it might be a different matter.
Araldite or similar between wood and tang should prevent any corrosion issues.

I'm in Victoria, but PM me if you're interested in getting in touch with some established swordmakers in Queensland.

https://www.facebook.com/TimHarrisSwords
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Timo Nieminen




Location: Brisbane, Australia
Joined: 08 May 2009
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Posts: 1,477

PostPosted: Mon 20 Mar, 2017 3:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hamish C wrote:
I personally would avoid Tassie oak or any other timber with a high tannin content.


Does it have a high tannin content? I wasn't aware of eucalypts being high-tannin. (Tasmanian oak is a marketing name for a few Eucalyptus species, E. regnans and similar. AKA "mountain ash". Not an oak.)

Reinforced to avoid splitting, it'll be fine.

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Hamish C




Location: Sydney, Australia
Joined: 27 Jul 2016

Posts: 29

PostPosted: Tue 21 Mar, 2017 12:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey Timo, All the eucalypts seem to have a high tannin content, and will stain your hands and the work itself when you use steel hand tools, even when the wood has been kiln dried.
Mt Ash/tassie oak definitely do react, unlike euro/american ash. Epoxy probably would neutralize the effect once it has cured, but a water based glue like hide glue(traditional), or pva it might be a different story.
It just makes more sense to me to use something that doesn't react with steel, and avoid any potential issue down the track.
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Zach Gordon




Location: Vermont. USA
Joined: 07 Oct 2008

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 204

PostPosted: Tue 21 Mar, 2017 2:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just so people have them, these might be useful:

http://www.npl.co.uk/upload/pdf/corrosion_of_metals_by_wood.pdf

http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/journals/conserv...with-wood/
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Alex Indman




Location: NYC
Joined: 13 Sep 2012

Posts: 58

PostPosted: Tue 28 Mar, 2017 11:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

About mild steel - I used 1018 in a couple of projects and liked it a lot. Reasonably easy to work (hacksaw/files, drill press) and can be heat blued to a nice color. See pictures here: http://myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=34204&highlight=

Alex.
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