dismounting a peened tang

Hi-
I've just received a jian, or chinese straight sword. It's a forged, fullered blade with some highly usual features, but the sword
furniture is in need of repair before it is reliable weapon. the shoulder and tang are 99% likely to be a tapering rat tail style. the quillions, hilt and pommel are three peices slid onto the tang and the tang is peened over the pommel. all the furniture is loose- it's like holding a shiny, deadly maraca.
I'd like to dismount it and take a look at the blade, plus, it would be easier to shape and polish unmounted- how does one, precisely, unpeen a pommel?
If it's a huge pain in the ass, then any tips on tightening it up would be nice, too- I'll settle for usable.
Thanks, all-
carl
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caterbro wrote:

"Highly usual features"? How interesting. I have a Ford with a number of highly usual features. Does it have any unusual features at all?
:)
--

Tim Wescott
Wescott Design Services
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hardyharhar :). unusual, dammit, unusual features.
The body of the blade is (probably-it's dull) some mix of laminated steels and the edges have half-moon discs of what looks like some much harder and brighter steel inserted all the way up the blade:
/ \ / ___ \ ) (     ) (     ) | (     ) | (     ) | (     ) | ( ) | ( ) | (     ) | ( ) | (     \ / \/
the discs touch to form straight edges. I have NO clue how this was done, but it's wicked neat. the sword furniture is heavy gauge rolled and stamped brass and lacquered wood- nothing special, but a few steps up from the usual garbage. I'll post pics if anyone is interested.
Carl
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Mostly you just grind it off. If you want to tighten it down, mount the blade in a large vise and hammer the peen down tighter- watch out, there's more force than you think and the handle will split pretty easily. If you just want to tighten it up, use Gorilla Glue and a little 'wet'. The GG will foam out and harden, locking everything into place. I would like to see pics- sounds a treat.
Chas
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hmm. figures.

aha- sounds like a pain in the keister-

I would worry that the glue would shear and break, since there will be tremendous centripedal forces on those joints. what if I wedge everything into place with 12ga copper wire, wound between the furniture?
plus, glue, mess, all over everything in there...ick.

done sir!
http://photobucket.com/albums/v321/caterbro/heavy%20jian /

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Gorilla Glue *works*- it's hydrophilic- works best with a little wet. It's about the consistency of molasses to apply, then it foams up a bit to fill gaps and such. Strong as hell.

nah; don't fuck with it- that's a nice piece, and there's no need to mess it up by dismounting it or even locking it all together. Maybe take some toothpicks and wedge things into place; bind with white glue. That leaves it to posterity to mess with it- white glue and toothpicks are pretty reversible. good sword.
Chas
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I'll tell you what- It has changed my mind about an awful lot that I thought I knew about this class of sword- the balance is all *wrong*(close to the middle of the blade), according to the nabobs, but it feels so *right*- it has the classic 'living' feel to it- a very agressive weapon in the hand. Once I tightened up the handle, the sword has a singing tension in it like a tuning fork. Its a heavy bastard, too- makes you want to go out and slice things up. :)
thanks, as always-
carl

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Try doing the same sort of wrap with twine, but use Elmer's White glue to bind the wrap together. It's easily removed if you want to do a better job later. It's exactly what museums do when they want to keep a piece to be repaired when technology gets better. I've used a real hard, pure linen lacing cord- about a #6 (Barbours) unwaxed. It doesn't rot or compress much- takes the glue well and keeps enough integrity not to separate or disintegrate under use. If you're really slick, you can file off just the upset part of the peen- file off the sides until the pommel slips off. Then you don't lose the 1/4" of stub sticking out. If you lose that, you have to short the wood grip to sit lower and allow a stub to sit up for peening. The most effective way to have a working sword would be the Gorilla Glue option- that shit locks up harder than Koli Bey's head.
Chas
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I will, thanks- I was just too eager to take it out for a flyer. I believe it's the best weapon I've ever handled: a killing machine. I was a little scared by it's "eagerness" and how well the technique and weapon went together.
It's kind of a giddy feeling, you know? :) like taking a unexpected ride- you almost leave the steering to the weapon and just hang on...

Well, I wonder- I have more respect for it as a weapon than an objet, since that is obviously what it is, but sources in the know seem to indicate it is something of value.
on the other hand, the tip has dints and grinding marks and a chip, effectively ruining it's polish, and the scabbard shows signs of repair.
So maybe I'll make it work, practice with it in a non-destructive fashion, and when i have the dough, send it to a polisher and bring it up to 'like-new'.
I remember you mentioned having a renaissance smallsword for a while- i imagine this felt similar to that.
carl

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Yeah; in fact, I've always called it 'riding the weapon', as a technical concept.

Yeah; they used to fight with them you know ;-) Nice condition swords are what got left home in granny's underwear drawer.

Would you have your own scars buffed off? Bring it back to fighting fit- let it be what it is. I collect SEAsian stuff- I want to see the scuffs and bumps. The weapon I want to own is the one he carried into battle, not the one he took to the parade.

There are a few that stand out; that cup-hilt rapier was a booger, I had a landsknecht's sword- Swiss probably late 15th, early 16th cent; an Italian schiavonna, a late eighteenth or early nineteenth cent. French boarding cutlass, an eighteenth cent. Scots broadsword- great stuff. There are some blades that make you just want to go out and get something. I've had some good asian swords also- some indo-persian stuff that was just outstanding by any standard.
Chas
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Hey Carl, I am familiar with the name T.T.Liang but have not met or read his books. My teacher is Zhang Yun. I study Wu style Tai Chi with him. He has included long staff (8' waxwood) training in preparation for spear training and has just started us on sword work (jian). Are Sunday workouts are a blast. Zhang's classes are very relaxed. Also very serious and technical but with no student/sifu protocol b.s. We sweat and laugh a lot in class. Zhang has contributed to Tai Chi magazine and he has an excellent book on Wu style sword technique "The Art of Wu Style Swordsmanship". I looked at the pictures of your blade. I think the way it was done was the smith started off with a 3 layer billet. A hard inner core with softer steel on either side. After roughing out the blade shape each edge had crescent shapes carved into the blank. This would expose the core steel. During final forging the blade surface would level out leaving the pattern you see in the finished blade. Knowing when, how deep and how wide to do the carving is tricky business as during final forging there would be some distortion of the pattern. I'd say it was not the swordsmiths first try at this. If you have the touch though this would be the simplest way to achieve the results you have. Also, the groove in your blade was probably swaged in then refined either by grinding or using a specialize scraper. The Japanese swordsmiths use tools called "sen". These look like two handed draw knives but the cutting edges are designed for shaving steel. Sen are made in a variety of shapes to suit the surface you are trying to shape, including grooves. These are extremely effective tools. BTW, grinding has been around for at least 1000 years. Big ass limestone wheels running wet were employed. I Bet that was a shit job! There's my 2 cents. Oops, make that $1.95
Glen G.
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he's passed on, but he taught Yang family taiji and northern mantis. I study with one of his students here are there.

sehr interessant- it would be neat to see your techniqure and see what you make of how this blade handles.
carl
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Hey Carl, Send me a real e-mail address and we can discuss tai ji and stuff like that.
Glen Gardner, in Pittsburgh
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Now that is an amazing piece of work! Well worth the maintanance. If it were my own I would do the peining since that is how it was originally designed anyway. Just don't get it too tight.
GA
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I experimented with butcher twine and shards of soft wood in the last joint- when it's tightened, the blade has a zingy, "living" feel to it- swing it fast and it's like holding a tuning fork. If I do peen it tight, I will be very careful to get that "tuning" right.
thanks- glad you liked it- i think i did well in the bargain, and I still can't wrap my head around how that blade was made- I've never seen anything like it.
carl

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Cool. :)
"one tap at a time"
Check the looseness and hit it again if it's still loose. When it gets tight it's done. With bone handles on pocket knives one more hit can crack it -which suddenly makes it way-looser than it was several hits before-. ;)
I suppose there could be a situation where the handle never gets tight before the peened pin splits the wood. Never seen it myself, but I'm working with new pins each time tho.

Doggonit I haven't got a chance to look at it yet. :/
Alvin in AZ
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I much appreciate the advice-

http://photobucket.com/albums/v321/caterbro/heavy%20jian /
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caterbro wrote:

It's probably just chrome plating. I have yet to see anything but wall hangers come out of China in the last half century. Unless it's at least 100 years old, with paperwork, it's a wall hanger. If you want something functional, you'll have to make it yourself. Almost all of the Imports are crap, designed in failure points for Insurance Purposes, steel that won't hold an edge, so it'll be less than useless if ever swung in earnest. Product Liability... You get what you pay for; fast, good, cheap, choose two.
Charly
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I appreciate the warning- I'm pretty hip to all the crap out there.
good swords ARE coming out of china and india- it's not like they suddenly forgot how to make them or anything; but 99% of them are poop. same as over here. I look long and hard at a s word before I buy- I'm looking for warning signs that it's a factory product or fake and common mistakes, crap steel, nonsense design features, etc. This is a real, good sword, with alot of potential.
but what's kicking my ass is that I can't figure out how those edges were done- not even a little bit.
here, take a look: http://photobucket.com/albums/v321/caterbro/heavy%20jian /
carl
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caterbro wrote:

Well, you're right about it being welded. I can definitely tell you that the fuller was ground in, so the shaping was probably stock removal. I can think of a way to assemble the billet. The inserts are probably a high chrome alloy mounted into a medium carbon base. Take a short fat block of base and beat cylinders of high chrome into the sides, like weiners in a package. Then run it under the hammer to draw it out in length on the other sides to transform the thickness into length, then grind a blade out of it. I did something similar to a big dagger some years back, so it will work.
As to tightening it up, you can fill the gaps with something, or you can try to tighten by continued peening, or you can grind the head off and reassemble everything with epoxy. If you're careful with the grinder, you should be able to get a little protrusion after reassembly from the shortened stack height, and decorativly peen it over and count on the epoxy to hold things together.
Charly
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