Workbench Update…

Posted 2008.11.02 0.00 in Swords by Stephanie

My custom falchion project, part two…

So after the tang and pommel cooled from the hot peening, it was about 2 minutes on the grinder to smooth down the peen, then about 10 minutes with a small file to give it a bit of shape and blend it to the pommel, then about 30 or 40 minutes of sanding to polish it and all. Next step: the grip core.

Now, I’ve made quite a few sword grips, and knife grips. None though have been quite like this. In past grip projects, either I’ve made the grip separately to be slid onto the tang when finished, or I’ve made the grip, guard and pommel all out of wood, or it’s been made to be rivetted in place… in each case though, it was relatively easy to work on the wood then attach it to the tang later. In this case though, because the tang is permanently in place, as is the guard, the only way the grip can go on is the ‘sandwich method’. And — because I mean to do a wrap on the grip, I have to keep the core very thin. So thin that it was starting to crack when I was trying to work it in a vice.

So I have had to mount it to the tang, and will have to finish the shaping once the glue has cured. Except I seriously do not want to get files or sandpaper anywhere near the pommel or guard, now that they are all polished and finished.

Anyhow, it’ll be a day before I can get back to work on it and hope I don’t mess anything up.

Half finished grip core, clamped in place.

Falchion Project, part 3

Posted 2008.11.02 0.00 in Swords by Stephanie

So this morning I took the clamps off and finished shaping the grip core. Of course, the file slipped not once, not twice, but thrice! I managed to mar the finish of both the guard and the pommel! Damn and blast! Although I am quite certain that nobody is surprised in the slightest, it was pretty obvious it was bound to happen.

Moving on, I think I know how to avoid that in the future — you make the grip core on the bare tang without the other hilt furniture there to get in the way or get injured. You make the grip core a bit too long at the top and the bottom. Then after the hilt furniture is mounted and finished, you just do some measurements and trim the grip core accordingly.

In the picture below you can see the grip core is in its final shape. I have not sanded it to perfection, because it is going to be covered and the slightly rough surface will work better for the glue to bond to. There are three cord risers in place now, drying in this photo. Once they are dry I will trim the excess. Last night I experimented on some dowel, and found I got the best results by gooping up the cord with glue, then using my fingers to work the glue right into the cord, before finally wrapping it once around the wood then just holding it tight for 3 or 4 minutes for the glue to set. Once cured, the ends are trimmed at a slight angle and the riser looks quite good.

You’ll also note in the photo that the guard and pommel are black (and there are some streaks on the pommel…). Part of my design for this sword was to have blackened hilt furniture. It is in need of a final buffing, but I’ll save that till after I’ve polished out the new scratches (grumble grumble) as the blackening will require touching-up as well. In this case, the blackening is a chemical process; a (nasty toxic) liquid is applied which turns the steel black almost instantly. Then it’s buffed to a sheen and IMHO looks quite smart.

One last comment, it occurs to me as I write all this, who the hell cares? Well in fact this is as much for my own reference as anything else. This sword project has had a lot of “firsts” for me and I need to write down what I’ve learned so I can refer to it next time, as it’s quite possible I’ll forget. And I do forget… I think I’ve hit a point where the more stuff I learn, pushes other stuff out. Case in point – I was taking apart a cheap nasty wall-hanger sword that I re-hilted about 8 or 9 years ago. I was amazed how good a job I did. I have no idea how I did it.

Or, last night I was trying to find instructions for some epoxy. It said it ‘set’ in 60 minutes but I needed to know the curing time. The manufacturer’s website was useless. Google finally led me to a forum where someone had asked about epoxy for repairing a damaged computer part. The reply was very thorough and had all the information I needed. It was written in Dec. 2005. The author of the helpful post with all the information, was me! I have no memory of it…

Grip core finished, waiting for risers to cure.