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Charles Adams




Location: Mars, Pennsylvania
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PostPosted: Sat 17 Sep, 2005 11:54 am    Post subject: Construction method comparison         Reply with quote

What do you guys think about this construction method compared to the production methods of Albion swords.
From Rob Miller's Castle Keep website, Castle Keep, Isle of Skye, Scotland:

"OK,OK...so its time to get a new camera,this one has had its day i think,it has a hand cranked mechanism and a lareg black cloth over the back of it. anyway,this is to illustrate a new construction method that i shall be using from now on,the tang fits tight into the slotted pommel as in all Medieaval swords,but without being peened over at the top.The advantage of this method is two-fold,it allows the sword to be completely dissembled for cleaning etc,and a heated and peened tang on a modern tool steel blade will be brittle due to the heat used in the peening without the ability to anneal it afterwards.Some makers my weld a mild steel end onto the tang to overcome this but that is a further weakness in the construction,so i have provided a tang nut on top that can be undone and tightened up again after re-construction of the sword.I shall be using this in all future Knights swords and Claymores,which will add a little to the price,but worth it i think.. "

Rob's Philosophy as noted on his website:
""When a sword is hand forged it becomes more than a dead piece of steel. The structure of the blade comes awake and crystalises under the hammer blade to produce a tough and far superior weapon to those made by mass production methods. When I started my training as a Bladesmith I began a search for excellence in this field; to try and reproduce acurately the finest blades of history, as living, working pieces, both beautiful and functional."



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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Sat 17 Sep, 2005 12:33 pm    Post subject: Re: Construction method comparison         Reply with quote

Charles Adams wrote:
What do you guys think about this construction method compared to the production methods of Albion swords.


Charles,
That's basically the method Gus Trim uses. Arms & Armor also used to use a similar set-up; they may still, though their pommel nuts sat atop the pommel, rather than being counter-sunk (as this appears to be).

Using the excuse of being able to disassemble it to clean it doesn't hold water for me. Historical swords of that era were not made to be torn down and reassembled regularly via methods like this. I prefer more historical methods of construction. But that's just my preference.

Plenty of people use swords made like Castle Keep shows, and that kind of construction can be solid when done properly.

For what it's worth, Albion's method of adding the sandwich-style grip as the last step (after the guard is wedged in place and the pommel peened) is historical for many types of swords, grips, and tangs, but not all. Some grip styles and tang shapes made the slide-on-peen-last method necessary. The grip would have been slid down onto the tang after the guard was added. The pommel would come next and be peened.

Happy

ChadA

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Joe Fults




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PostPosted: Sat 17 Sep, 2005 2:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Marketing message.

Nothing more, nothing less.

"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
-Marcus Aurelius

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Sat 17 Sep, 2005 2:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This kind of assembly method can give satisfactory results but it's not my preferred choice. This is basically a method of compression-fit assembly. Everything is held together under tension by either a locking nut or some kind of screw. This results in quite a bit of tension on that screw or nut and failure could possibly occur. It also puts added tension on the individual components that doesn't need to be there. In a construction method like the one Albion uses the components are secured individually. Consequently they aren't under any unnecessary tension. I'm not saying that Robs method is a bad one necessarily. A sword like this, if properly constructed in every other sense, could give years of satisfactory service. It just that this method causes stresses that don't absolutely have to be there.

As for disassembly being a selling point, well, a sword shouldn't be taken apart for "routine" maintenance. Just because you can take it apart doesn't mean you should take it apart. Every time you disassemble a sword it causes unnecessary wear and tear on the components. If a component needs replacement (which is more likely with Robs construction method due to the added stresses placed on the components) that's fine, otherwise it should be left alone.

I've often been intrigued by Castle Keeps work and have thought of doing business with them on more than one occasion.

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Jesse Frank
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PostPosted: Sat 17 Sep, 2005 2:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Also, the last part about forging "awakening" the crystalline structure of the steel has no scientific basis. Iron and steel have a crystalline structure to begin with, and while it is possible to mechanically refine grain, ya aint gonna do it with a hand hammer. It really has more to do with how the steel is heat treated than how it is forged or fabricated.

There are a lot more variables that can throw a wrench into the works, but that's it in a nutshell.

EDIT: I'm not knocking his stuff, just commenting on what metal is like Happy

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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Sat 17 Sep, 2005 3:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've posted this before but it seems like a logical place to show it again. This is a drawing I put together that shows two basic forms of hilt contruction.


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Charles Adams




Location: Mars, Pennsylvania
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PostPosted: Sat 17 Sep, 2005 3:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks guys, basically I just curious about Rob's remark that by peening the end of the tang, it would make the overall blade more brittle. Also his remark that heat treated blades are not as strong as hand hamered, forged blades.
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Sat 17 Sep, 2005 4:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Charles Adams wrote:
Thanks guys, basically I just curious about Rob's remark that by peening the end of the tang, it would make the overall blade more brittle. Also his remark that heat treated blades are not as strong as hand hamered, forged blades.


All functional blades are heated treated. Forging is simply part of the manufacturing process, and one that can be replaced by milling and grinding. We admire and value forging because of its part in the traditional process of blade-making, not because of any marked superiority it may have. It's been well established that forging and stock removal can both result in high quality blades. The whole idea of forging being superior because it realigns the grain structure of the steel is an old myth. Since Rob forges his blades he obviously chooses to believe this, or uses it simply as a marketing tool. If you're seriously considering a purchase from Castle Keep, or any other maker, I'd strongly suggest that you look beyond the marketing and hyperbole and focus on the real tangible aspects of the work.

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Jesse Frank
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PostPosted: Sat 17 Sep, 2005 4:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If I may be so bold as to make a slight correction, forging at one time did make a superior product compared to stock removal, because it did tend to help align the already existing grain with the forging, but in any steel made since basically the 60s, it doesn't hold true. It could be said that it's not so much a myth, as an unnecessary holdover from an earlier era, although some of the reasons individuals hold on to are myths, such as edge packing, ect.
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Charles Adams




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PostPosted: Sat 17 Sep, 2005 4:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Patrick. Nice stuff to know. I am not really considering a purchase from Castle Keep, as much as I am looking at what different companies offer. Right now Albion is my company of choice, seems they keep making swords that are not only premium quality, but also appeal to me in such a way that I get that "I want, I must have" feeling. Also I am looking for knowledgable answers, which you have provided. So thanks very much. Oh and I've got two historical scabbards on the way from Christian Fletcher, one for my Count, and my Knight, which I have'nt even seen yet because its going right from Albion into Christians' hands. Can't wait to see how they turn out and I cant wait to post some pics. Thanks again,
Charles
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J. Padgett




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PostPosted: Sat 17 Sep, 2005 5:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Interesting thread. I didn't know Albion used the sandwhich grip construction. From the point of view of the maker I think that would be harder to do correctly. I'm actually in the process of making new hilts for a couple of my older swords, and this makes me wonder which option I'll use.
"The truth shall make ye fret."
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Jesse Frank
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PostPosted: Sat 17 Sep, 2005 5:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It depends. From what I understand, most period blades used pine rosin (cutlers resin) as a glue. I've used that stuff a bit, and believe it or not, the sandwich method is easier with cutlers resin, since it has such a short working time. With epoxy, you just get the 20 minute stuff and it's easy to peen the tang or screw it on and get a good fit while the glue is setting.
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Jason Hall





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PostPosted: Sat 17 Sep, 2005 5:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

...

Last edited by Jason Hall on Fri 23 Sep, 2005 9:14 am; edited 1 time in total
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Sat 17 Sep, 2005 5:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jesse Frank wrote:
It depends. From what I understand, most period blades used pine rosin (cutlers resin) as a glue. I've used that stuff a bit, and believe it or not, the sandwich method is easier with cutlers resin, since it has such a short working time. With epoxy, you just get the 20 minute stuff and it's easy to peen the tang or screw it on and get a good fit while the glue is setting.


I don't think you should approach the choice of grip method from a point of convenience. At least not on a sword were the stresses are an entirely different affair when compared to a knife. In the method that Albion uses wherein the components of the sword are secured individually, the sandwich method is the only way I can see to do it and still get the desired result. The bore-through method works well for later period swords such as rapiers and small swords, but from what I've seen the sandwich method yields a much stronger assembly in medieval swords.

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus


Last edited by Patrick Kelly on Sat 17 Sep, 2005 6:12 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sat 17 Sep, 2005 5:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

J. Padgett wrote:
Interesting thread. I didn't know Albion used the sandwhich grip construction. From the point of view of the maker I think that would be harder to do correctly. I'm actually in the process of making new hilts for a couple of my older swords, and this makes me wonder which option I'll use.


I've seen it being done and it doesn't seem to be any harder from where I stand, in fact it's realy a much stronger design from the standpoint of medieval sword manufacture, IMHO. What kind of "older swords" are you thinking of using this on?

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus


Last edited by Patrick Kelly on Sat 17 Sep, 2005 6:14 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Jason Hall





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PostPosted: Sat 17 Sep, 2005 6:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

...

Last edited by Jason Hall on Fri 23 Sep, 2005 9:14 am; edited 1 time in total
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Jesse Frank
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PostPosted: Sat 17 Sep, 2005 6:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
I don't think you should approach the choice of grip method from a point of convenience.



I'm not. Merely addressing this question:


Quote:
I didn't know Albion used the sandwhich grip construction. From the point of view of the maker I think that would be harder to do correctly.


I didn't say that is why they did it, only that it is easier with the materials used. Honestly, if it ends up that it also corresponds to a better method of construction, that's fantastic in my book. Easier and better!


Quote:
Hand forging was necessary with questionable material purity


If by "material purity" you mean slag stringers, then I would agree. Unfortunately, "purity" in this sense is quite ambiguous. For instance, one can buy new barstock from the manufacturer, and that material will probably have all sorts of unwanted elements due to the more common use of recycled material in modern steel, and that wouldn't necessarily mean that forging would make it superior, quite the contrary, since there are an increasing amount of elements that contribute to hot short tendencies(when you get it hot, hit it and it crumbles like cottage cheese) found in some modern steels, it could potentially be a liability.

http://jfmetalsmith.com/


Last edited by Jesse Frank on Sat 17 Sep, 2005 7:19 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Jason Hall





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PostPosted: Sat 17 Sep, 2005 6:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

...

Last edited by Jason Hall on Fri 23 Sep, 2005 9:15 am; edited 1 time in total
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Jesse Frank
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PostPosted: Sat 17 Sep, 2005 6:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Out of curiosity, what is "the hype"?
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Jason Hall





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PostPosted: Sat 17 Sep, 2005 6:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The main post quotation. It's marketing. Sure it's one area of beliefe, but too easily can it have holes punched in it. Thus: Hype.
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