Swordsmithing

Hello all, I'm new around here and I've been interested in smithing for a long time, however, I've never been able to find any information on the
web about smithing, and my budget is currently nill for going out and finding books, or paying for a college corse in smithing. So I'd like to ask for some advice and direction, specifically about swordsmithing, as its a hobby I've been interested in for a long time. I know its not an incredably useful talent, but its what I'd like to smith all the same.
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Swordsmithing is what you start doing AFTER you have learned all the rest of blacksmithing, including a lot about non-ferrous metalworking. If swordwmithing was likened to a 4 year college course, The first 3.8 years would be as I described above and the last .2 years would be all you'd ge on swordsmithing. Then you'd be good enough to go to a swordsmith's shop and ask for a job sweeping up.
I guess what I'm telling you is that swordsmithing will take a lot of time to learn and a lot of dedication on your part.
I just googled "swordsmith" and got 61,400 hits.
You may want to start at anvilfire.com for some good blacksmithing info.
Here's where I suggest you start: New folks should visit the ABANA website so they can look up their closest affiliate (chapter). Personally, I am happy to answer a new person whenever I can help, but let me say this again: The VERY BEST way to get questions about blacksmithing answered is to get into a group that does what you want to do. There are over 60 "clubs" around the USA and Canada organized primarily to educate folks about blacksmithing. ABANA, the Artist Blacksmith Association of North America at www.abana.org, has a list of the whereabouts of most of them. These clubs have various meeting schedules and conferences. The members range from "never lit a fire" to real professionals. Many have education programs. All of them welcome and look forward to meeting new members. Many of the members have been upgrading their equipment and therefore have things to sell, trade, etc.. Many of the groups also have newsletters containing "how-to" articles. For instance, our group, The Guild of Metalsmiths, has an index of about 750 how-to articles from our newsletter! Some other countries have similar organizations. So, to the folks who are new to blacksmithing: Find your closest ABANA affiliate, check out their website if they have one, and join the group. Get to a few meetings and introduce yourself. Tell folks about your interests and go from there.
Finally, when you post a message with a question in it: Tell us in general where you live like "west central Wisconsin" (me). Who knows--- you may live a mile from me or some other person who can help.
Pete Stanaitis ------------------------------
BigHammerBoy wrote:

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On Wed, 11 Jan 2006 19:19:52 +0100, "BigHammerBoy"

I've not met a smith (who wasn't a bladesmith) who knew anything about swords. No matter how well you can forge weld, you also need to know enough about their history and use to understand how to shape and balance it so that someone can actually swing it. Nor are there just "swords" - there are dozens of local traditions, all with their own style of use and shape.
If you haven't already read Hrisoulas, Kapp and a bunch of other books, you haven't been looking.
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On Wed, 11 Jan 2006 03:19:46 +0000, Andy Dingley > wrote:

Hrisoulas used to participate in this group. Last post I see on Google was about five years ago, but pretty sure he lurked here later than that. I once received an email reply from him because he thought I was *the* Bill Bagwell. (A somewhat well known knife maker.)
--
William

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In response to Andy Dingley, Like I said, I don't have the budget to go out looking for books on amazon or barns and noble, nor can I even afford a bloody membership for the library, -_-
As for the use of a sword, pal I've been training with the katana since I was 4 years old. I know how to use a sword, I know what to use it for, but I don't know how to craft them. Its a subject I've been interested in, but found little information on. I can certainly google swordsmithing, and get a crap load of hits, but nothing I've found has actually told me how to make a sword, what materials to use, how specifically I should fold the steel or w/e else is entailed.
Thanks for the book refferences though, maybe when I have some cash I'll go out and hunt for them.
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* snip *

I've also been using swords, allthough not since I was four. My interests lie in blade/swordsmithing too. I do believe though that the point is that you need to learn how metal reacts under heat and hammer before you attempt to make a sword. Bladesmithing is the pinnacle of the smithy trade and to get there takes years of practice. I expect the first 50 blades I make will be complete flops in one area or another. Ie, the temper is not right, or it is too hard and brittle, or too soft... this kind of thing...
As for the use of the swords you wish to make, it would be wise to research on google or whatever the specific methods involved in making that particular style of sword. Some swords are folded over and over such as the Samurai swords (whereas katana are not as far as my history of ninjas go).
A good search on google for Damascus Swords and Daggers will yield a few nice results. I had a bunch of these bookmarked but lost them all in a recent PC crash so I can't point you in any more specific direction, my apologies.
Good luck :)
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On Thu, 12 Jan 2006 02:15:31 +0100, "BigHammerBoy"

Then you already know everything and there is nothing else that anyone can teach you.
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Andy Dingley wrote:

Is this your full cup grasshopper?
--
BigEgg
Hack to size. Hammer to fit. Weld to join. Grind to shape. Paint to cover.
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BigHammerBoy explained:

Are there libraries in Canada? In most libraries down here you can usually get inter-library loans of books not available locally.
I won't tell you to slow down and follow the paths others have suggested because too many successful men and women have decided to follow the untraveled path and been successful. Take your own road; you can always change paths later if you don't blind yourself to other viewpoints.
Good luck to you.
dennis in nca
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BigHammerBoy wrote:

If you cannot afford a library card... ( WTF is with that, all I have ever needed to get a library card is ID that said I lived in the library's area).
Perhaps the next question is along the lines of "What color rocks work best as hammers?" or some such.
Talk about trying to do it the hard way.
If you want to find information about the stuff, you'll have to get a bit more specific in your websearches. Wanna build Japanese? Traditional methodology? Modern? Do you want to build European? Some other ethnicity? Theres lots of good info out there and probably twice as much bad, if not more. Setting up shop ain't gonna be cheap, either.
Best book that I have personally read on Japanese swordsmithing techniques was The Craft of The Japanese Sword
(Amazon.com product link shortened)(3155
Covers in good detail the entire process of the current state of the traditional art, including the mining and refining of the ore, the smelting process, the traditional forge, and the many other tradesmen that worked on the sword after the smith got done with his small part in making a complete sword. It also covers such things as the politics and restrictions facing Japanese swordsmiths and how they effectively kept a stranglehold on the ability of new smiths to come onto the scene and make a living, regardless of talent. But that's an aside to the info there.
Lot's of luck! Look's like you'll need it all.
Cheers Trevor Jones
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BigHammerBoy wrote:

How to make a sword...
Method 1) stock removal. Go the the spring shop and get some steel. Grind away everything that doesn't look like a sword. Go back to the spring shop and have them run the sword through a heat treatment cycle.
Method 2) the Traditional method. Sift beach sand with a lodestone to seperate the black grains. When you have about twenty pounds of black sand, go to the smelter and reduce it into a raw iron bloom. (see 'Iron from Stone 101' for details) Start folding the iron billet while adding carbon from finely ground charcoal or rice straw rubbed across the heated surface. Do this for a while, usually ten to twenty folds. Draw the billet out into a sword. Allow to cool and send to the shaping bench for final shaping by stock removal. After the final profile is set, mix up the mask clay and apply to the blade spine and flanks, leaving the edge exposed. Heat to quench temperature and quench in water to harden. Polish the finished blade and assemble.
Tools needed: forge, hammers, anvils, grinders, a couple hundred pounds of coal or a big natural gas line, a thousand hours of hand labor in very hot conditions.
Nothing to it...
Charly
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"Charly the Bastard" wrote in message How to make a sword...
Method 1) stock removal. Go to the spring shop and get some steel. Grind away everything that doesn't look like a sword. Go back to the spring shop and have them run the sword through a heat treatment cycle.
Method 2) the Traditional method. Sift beach sand with a lodestone to separate the black grains. When you have about twenty pounds of black sand, go to the smelter and reduce it into a raw iron bloom. (See 'Iron from Stone 101' for details) Start folding the iron billet while adding carbon from finely ground charcoal or rice straw rubbed across the heated surface. Do this for a while, usually ten to twenty folds. Draw the billet out into a sword. Allow to cool and send to the shaping bench for final shaping by stock removal. After the final profile is set, mix up the mask clay and apply to the blade spine and flanks, leaving the edge exposed. Heat to quench temperature and quench in water to harden. Polish the finished blade and assemble.
Tools needed: forge, hammers, anvils, grinders, a couple hundred pounds of coal or a big natural gas line, a thousand hours of hand labor in very hot conditions.
Nothing to it...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Wow, I never knew it was that simple to make swords. What on earth have I been waiting for? LOL
Rodney
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Sword making 101 Quick and dirty stock removal Buy a particulate mask, leather gloves hearing protection and eye protection so that your lungs, fingers, ears and eyes function the same when you are done Get a leaf spring from a car or truck auto wrecker Spring it straight Borrow a grinder and lots of stones Grind it to the out side profile of the sword making sure you don't cause the metal to start changing colors (removes temper) Draw lines down the center and sides to act as guides for grinding Grind the bevels making sure you don't cause the metal to start changing colors or cause uneven stock removal Decide on the edge profile Hand hone to sharp Mount the bolster Drill, mount. shape and rivet the handle Wrap the handle with cord or wire for better grip
Understand the whole process will take many hours of hard work. See what other people are doing. If you are serous about it The Complete Bladesmith by Jim Hrisoulas ISBN 0873644301 is an excellent resource last I heard they don't charge you to sit in libraries. If you local library doesn't carry a copy sweet talk your librarian most of them are amazingly helpful people but they need to be asked. Sit down take lots of paper and make notes. Barring that get a friend with library a membership to borrow it for you. Make sure the library gets it back because I might need it next time. Here are some websites to get you started http://www.scnf.org/forge.html http://swordforum.com / http://www.vikingmetalworks.com/dammake.html http://www.knifenetwork.com/workshop/index.shtml http://www.atar.com/index.php?&MMN_position=1:1
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Just a quick comment on safety -- be very careful about wearing gloves while using any power equipment. Especailly grinders or anything with a wire wheel. You can easily get you fingers and/or hand mangled beyond use if your gloves get caught up in anything. You might get a bad cut without gloves, but it's far better than a mangled hand.
While we're on the subject of gloves, you might want to get a glove for your left hand while blacksmithing. A regular welding glove will work fine, but a kevlar glove is a little better. It just helps keep you from burning your hand if the tongs get too hot, and give you a little margin for error when handling hot stuff. (I dip my glove in water and touch the metal to see if it's hot. If it is, the water sizzles or steams away pretty quickly.)
Make sure you follow all the other safety advice... tie back long hair, no rings or other jewlrey, etc... If you don't know about basic shop safety, get a shop book from the library and spend some time reading. Maybe try searching for "safety" or "accident" on rec.crafts.metalworking, and sci.engr.joining.welding. Be careful when heating anything galvanized -- the fumes can make you sick/kill you.
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Drakon1 wrote:

Actually, it is that easy. It helps to have some equipment though. I learned to hammer weld by watching someone do it once. The learning process took all of five minutes. I've been refining the technique for fifteen years, but the learning was a snap. If you have normal color vision in the red/yellow range and can consistently hit a postage stamp size target with a hammer, you can be welding in twenty minutes. It's all about temperature equals color, and when to take it out and hit it and when to put it back in the fire. The best way to learn this is to watch someone do it, live. TV doesn't really impart the subtle differences on the screen, probably something to do with the auto-iris in the camera. Equipment can be damn cheap, sepending on how good a scrounge you are and how handy with tools you are.
Happy whacking...
Charly
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"Charly the Bastard" wrote <snip>Actually, it is that easy. It helps to have some equipment though. <snip> Happy whacking...
Charly</snip>
I was actually being sarcastic about how simple it is to make a sword without any blacksmithing experience, as BigHammerBoy is hoping it to be.
Sorry for any confusion.
Rodney
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Drakon1 wrote:

No confusion here. It really is easy. If it wasn't, then we'd still be using rocks and clubs like our ancestors. I can take a crowbar and beat out a servicable sword in twenty minutes. It won't be pretty, but it will be lethal. Pretty takes a little more finishing work, that's all. But given the armament of the opforces, the tactical usefulness of a sword against laser-guided 2000 pound bombs and supersonic aircraft is somewhat questionable, and we've seen that our government is perfectly willing to use these munitions on anyone that disagrees with them. Waco springs to mind on this account.
This device monitored by NSA
Charly
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Actaully, I do not expect making a sword to be easy. I expect it to be so hard, that it'll take me months how to figure out how to do properly, without considering the body strength and skill I'll have to build up to hammer the steel into a passable weapon. I never expected this to be easy, and I don't want it to be easy, if it was easy, it'd take all the mystery out of how the japanese made such incredable weapons, and it wouldn't be interesting anymore. I'd rather have months of frustration and a final satisfaction, than have a day or two worth of work and get bored with the whole process in a few weeks.
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BigHammerBoy wrote:

Think in terms of years, not months. Whatever else it is, it won't be boring.
--
Tom Stovall, CJF
Farrier & Blacksmith
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Tom Stovall wrote:

boring.
Mmmm, especially since I intend to mine, refine, and shape the ore using my own muscles instead of machines.
I am gonna buy the coal though. -_- Ouch, my wallet! *tries to get a job*
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