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Historical Inspiration This forum is dedicated to the discussion of historical knife design and its influence on modern custom knife work.

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Old 10-04-2007, 09:39 AM
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Norwegian Inspiration

I still have to write up my latest excursion... from a tiny village in the Western Fjords to Oslo, and then Reykjavik. I had the chance to see the National Historical Museum in Oslo, where there are more Viking swords than you can shake a stick at. There were also a number of langseaxes on display... and photographs do not do them justice. I was able to glean some good information off of a couple including pattern development, stack construction, hollow grinding of the spine and best of all, kukri curve noticeable on more than a couple. I think a few of us here have also experienced this occurence!

Sorry for the out of focus picture, but it is the only one of this grouping that I took with my old digital camera:



Here is a close-up of a langseax with a three bar stack twist with a hollow ground spine. Note the pattern and kukri curve:



I'll be making one similar in shape, but with a four-core interrupted twist, offset on either side... i.e. when you turn the blade over, the twisted sections are replaced by straight sections and vice versa. It will be handled like the one with the close-up above. Here's the billet, taken with my nice, new custom white balance camera :



I'm going to go forge this puppy right now, so maybe there will be pictures this evening...


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Old 10-04-2007, 06:33 PM
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Is it evening yet? We're waiting...

Any details you care to post about the blades you saw would be welcome, especially if construction-related as these subtleties are often difficult to observe in photos.

Michael
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Old 10-18-2007, 09:33 AM
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Here's the update... I forged this out last week but haven't had a chance to post it. I'll be forging it out more today. I did hit one snag... my tempering oven is too short! I'll have to cap this one at about 28" and use the proceeds to make a new tempering rig...



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Old 10-18-2007, 04:37 PM
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Here she is forged out and cooling for grinding... gained some width and about 3"...


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Old 10-18-2007, 05:18 PM
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That is great love the pattern,MORE PICS,MORE PICS!!!!


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Old 10-18-2007, 09:54 PM
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Cool...looking good so far. Do you have any pics of the tip of the original...does the hollow grind extend all the way down the blade? How thick is the top edge of the spine? Pretty wild looking with a hollow grind on the upper section like that!


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Old 10-19-2007, 11:02 AM
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Thanks, Andy! I'm grinding and heat-treating today, so there will be more pics...

Hey Don, the tip is too corroded to really tell how the point and the hollow grind were resolved... the spine looked, say, 5-6mm thick, tapering down toward thw tip but also becoming corroded. Did you ever see this one I did? The hollow lightens the blade and gives it some structural strength. It definitely helped with the kukri-curve issue in the heat-treat as well.



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Old 01-21-2008, 06:24 PM
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Well, here's the blade... it's an interrupted twist and split which is offset on either side, so as you flip the blade over, the straight sections are twisted and vice versa. This is a period trick that shows up a lot... one more detail to line up just right...



...And here's the pieces damascened, assembled and ready for design work:



The silver is held mechanically by raised stitches in the steel and sweat soldered for extra measure. Some further shaping will take place. There will be niello inlay and twisted wire in the pommel lobe grooves etc... The walnut handle will also get a silver twisted wire wrap. As for the pommel shape, some suggested Petersen type H, but then I was reading De Norsk Vikingesverd and came across one peculiar little piece that caught my fancy. Scroll down and you'll see it.

Here's the silver wire wrap and the blade mocked up with the sheath. The gap at the bottom of the wire wrap will go away with final fitting and there's still, obviously, tons of final clean up to go but I thought it would be informative to post anyway.

The picture is of a sword with niello designs upon which I will draw. The sheath is leather over wood and will get more clean-up & strap-work etc...

The niello designs are the next step in the process. You can read about niello on my website by clicking on the link below and going to "Studio," and then "An Exploration in Niello," which was my senior thesis in college. Niello is a black fusion inlaid alloy of silver, copper, lead and sulphur. It was used fairly commonly in Viking times, though it goes back as far as Ancient Egypt.



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Old 01-21-2008, 08:30 PM
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Very nice! Fascinating to look at the old and the new!!


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Old 01-21-2008, 10:41 PM
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That is gonna be so beautiful when finished, heck it looks great now, with just the bare silver.

Did you decide to hollow-grind/fuller the blade, or is it staying flat?
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Old 01-22-2008, 04:09 PM
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beautiful job
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Old 03-13-2008, 11:02 AM
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Here's the update replete with niello inlay:



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Old 03-17-2008, 11:05 AM
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Nice...very nice! So clean and cool looking.

I might be in Amsterdam for two days in May. Hopefully I'll have a chance to hit the museum therer and stock up on some pics.


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