Viking sword main bevel angle?
Howdy all,

Its my first post here, I hope I am posting in the correct area. Please excuse my ignorance if I made some mistakes, and my spelling if it is off here and there...

I have been fascinated with medieval weapons and armor as long as I can remember, and as I got older, I got into wooden swords first, then bows, as they were appropriately made of wood, then recently into knife making and forging stuff in general and lately, the viking age came to be my main focus...

I made a viking shield, and then an axe to go in pair with it, just for fun. I havent followed any historical measurements or materials, it was just out of curiosity. But now I intend to change that.

I wanna make full set of historically accurate viking armor including a shield, spear, sword and two axes, one small and one large, dane axe its called i believe?

I have some wood drying for shafts, more is on the way for the shield, some iron is ready for the shield boss, the spear is in the process of beeing forged, the axes are a bit problematic because of forge welding, especially the big one, but Ive got it mostly figured out, just the work remains.

The blade is a different story, as I will explain now...

I was designing my future viking sword, based on Albion Hersir I think it was, in solidworks, I even made it so I dont have to worry about distal taper because it will be grinded in automatically when I add my bevels...
And then I noticed that my bevel angle ends up beeing 27 degrees, or 13.5 degrees per side and that seems to be a bit too much for a sword designed for cutting in my opinion. But I know nothing about this, thats why I came to all you guys for help.

So, my question is, what angle shoud my main bevel be for a viking sword?

I understand that those angles werent the same from sword to sword, type to type maybe, but what is the range I need to aim for when designing and later making a replica viking sword, with no specific type in mind?

I have the same question for a viking era spear with 250ish mm long blade and that last swelled out part of a dane axe that comes to a sharp edge, but my concern is the sword mainly, because Im the least familiar with them.

Thank you all for your help, as it would mean the world to me, cheers!

P.S. Here are some pictures of the blades to illustrate what I have in mind. I would post for the dane axe as well, but I havent modeled it yet.

 Attachment: 20.61 KB
sword bevel.JPG
Here you can see my current bevel angles for the sword

 Attachment: 16.01 KB
spear bevel.JPG
Here you can see my current bevel angles for the spear
27 degrees actually sound very fine (as in a very small angle) and potentially fragile. You'd probably want to round the actual edge into an appleseed shape with a slightly more obtuse angle. Mike Edelson advises sharpening the edge to a final angle of around 40 degrees for a good balance between sturdiness and ease of cutting.
Yeah, these swords were actually lenticular in cross-section, with convex bevels that would arc from edge to edge in a single smooth surface if they weren't interrupted by the fullers, so the angles are more obtuse right at the edge and decrease sharply from there. This gives you a robust edge with relatively much "meat" behind it for support, while keeping the blade thin and the main portion of the bevels angled quite sharply to minimize drag.

(The forum software should create an automatic link from the word "cross-section" to the featured article on blade properties. The spotlight article on type X swords might also be of interest, here.)
So, something like this?

 Attachment: 31.11 KB
Ive given you all of my dimensions now (I was planing to work from a billet 5x50mm), feel free to change any of them, which are also in mm, to make it historically more accurate and ultimately more usable. [ Download ]
More like that, yes.

Now, the next thing to look at would be the nonlinear way the rate of distal taper changes along the length of the blade... :D
Mikko Kuusirati wrote:
That's more like it, yes.

Now, the next thing to look at would be the nonlinear way the rate of distal taper changes along the length of the blade... :D

Ive got that mostly figured out, I designed the sword so that the distal taper is formed with grinding the bevels, but it IS linear, I could make it nonlinear the same way in solidworks, but my skill is not yet honed enough for me to be able to replicate that in the real world xD

So should I now change the angle between those two tangents of the two convex curves that make up the bevel or just leave it at 21.77 degrees?

Depends! Are you sending this to a CNC machine or just using it as a reference for hand grinding?

In the former case, you might want to define the edge angle, specifically, and then just let the bevels curve towards the center of the blade from there (ideally, I think the curve should plateau at 0 degrees at the center rather than at the edges of the fuller; although historical examples of both can be found, the latter seems more common on later period blades, like Oakeshott type XIIs and XIIIs). The angle in the middle of the bevel isn't really all that particular, as such, it's just smaller than at the edge and gets ever smaller the further from the edge you go.

In the latter case, well, as long as you get a good idea of what you're going for the specifics of the digital model really don't matter at all. :)

PS. And keep in mind none of this is absolute! Some historical swords of this type had more robust edges, some more acute, and although the edge angles tend to cluster somewhere around a nicely balanced 40 degrees, there is some leeway and precedent for fine tuning the blade for performance against hard (armored) or soft targets (cloth and flesh) as desired.
Im not gonna use a CNC, it was too far from my town for transport, and the point of this build is to test my limit and push myself further than ever before when it comes to knife making, or in this case sword making :confused:

So I will stick to hand grinding and If I follow a few established steps I should have no problems...

I have just another question concerning what thickness of steel flat to use, I wanted 5mm, is that ok?

Since it gives me an estimated mass of 1090 grams, via solidworks, I reckon it should be the right thickness?

Historical swords of this type seem to be around 4-5mm thick at the shoulders, so 5mm stock should be perfectly fine. Although, if you plan the finished blade to end up 5mm thick, you might actually want to start out with 6mm stock because some of the thickness will be lost in grinding and polishing.
Well, this is the only thickness and width of a billet I could find from a company in Spain, which has moderate shipping prices to my country, everything else seems to be too darn expensive.
They do sell 6.5x50mm 5160, but thats a little bit on the thick side, and I prefer O1, which is sold in 5x50mm.

Thank you for your help, I will post some pictures maybe when its done, it wont be soon though, but Im hoping for the best :)
O1 is a good steel for knives, but I don't recommend it for swords - better to use the likes of 5160 or SUP7 or 1075 or another equivalent that is in the 0.6-0.8% carbon range, and if you want shock resistance (with a bit more warping to deal with during heat treat) 1.5-2% silicone.
Ok, I will try to find something like that, but currently, only O1 suits my required dimensions...

P.S. I found 9260 steel 6x60x1000mm, so that can work, here is the given chemical composition: C:0.60 Cr:0.35 Si:1.80 Mn:0.80 Will this work for a sword?

P.P.S. When were talking unfamiliar steel to me, I need to tell you that for heat treating, Im doing it the old fashioned way, well not completely, I use a magnet to check for critical temperature and then quench in oil soon afterwards, so if this steel requires a special HT process, its not of much use to me :S
9260 or 56Si7 is what I use for my sword blades. I can recommend it. Heat treatment is simple, not different than 1060 or 5160.
Lukas MG wrote:
9260 or 56Si7 is what I use for my sword blades. I can recommend it. Heat treatment is simple, not different than 1060 or 5160.

Thanks Lukas!!!

Page 1 of 1

Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum

All contents © Copyright 2003-2006 — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Full-featured Version of the forum