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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 04-01-2018, 06:32 PM
Kevin R. Cashen Kevin R. Cashen is offline
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Hubbardston, MI
Posts: 324
My recreation of the sword of Elector Christian I of Saxony

Years ago, one of my best clients asked if there was a sword that I had wanted to make, and one immediately came to mind. On one of my sword research trips, to England, back in 2008, I had studied some fantastic pieces at Londonís Victoria and Albert Museum. These really great swords are not on display but are tucked safely way in an archival vault. Since that time, several of those swords called to me from my stacks of sword documents. One in particular had both elements of a cut and thrust sword and a rapier, handling just like the later but also capable of a serious cutting action. It was believed to have been assembled by Dresden swordsmith Othmar Wetter in 1590 for Elector Christian I of Saxony, and the hilt work was stunning. I always wanted to recreate that piece and now a client was offering me the chance.

I created some design drawings for the project and, after deciding to forgo some of the more over-the-top elements of the lavishly gilded hilt, my client agreed that it would be the sword to make. Over the next couple of years, I worked on the piece while also tending to my many other teaching, speaking and general bladesmithing obligations. It took me most of the fall of 2017 to finish the decorative chisel work in the complex hilt, but by February I was finally ready to deliver what was one of the finest pieces I have made to date.

The Blade is L6 tool steel, martempered for maximum strength and impact toughness. The Pommel and complex swept hilt is 1018 steel chiseled with a vine like scroll work that was copied from the original and then fire blued, rather than gilded (the idea of burning off a gold/mercury amalgam did not appeal to me). The grip is wrapped exactly as the original with two twisted wires of bronze, separated by a single twisted iron wire. The scabbard is of my own design, since the original is long lost, and is carved poplar wood covered in a rich, goat skin, book binding leather with 1084 fire blued throat and chape.

The sword is incredibly light and fast and feels fantastic in the hand. I very much enjoyed the look in my clientís eyes when he held it for the first time when I delivered it to him at the Badger Knife Club show in Janesville WI, where it won the Best of Show award.

Last edited by Kevin R. Cashen; 04-02-2018 at 08:34 AM.
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Old 04-02-2018, 01:15 AM
Doug Lester Doug Lester is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Decatur, IL
Posts: 2,612
Can't believe that you worked on that back in 1017 . Anyway, great work on the sword. I take it that the engraving is yours? The hilt must have been fun to make and and assemble.


If you're not making mistakes then you're not trying hard enough
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Old 04-02-2018, 04:16 AM
pcpc201 pcpc201 is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: South Alabama
Posts: 146
I'm with Doug, just how old are you?

Seriously though, an amazing piece of art and history combined. My deepest appreciation for the craftsmanship and art work.

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Old 04-02-2018, 08:00 AM
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Don Robinson Don Robinson is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Brownsville, Texas
Posts: 4,873
Unbelievably beautiful workmanship, Kevin!!! Thanks for showing.
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Old 04-02-2018, 08:23 AM
Kevin R. Cashen Kevin R. Cashen is offline
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Hubbardston, MI
Posts: 324
Thank you for all the kind words. I apologize for the spelling errors, I found a couple more and have had to correct them. I actually had a few spare minutes, because it was Easter, to get this posted and it was still a but rushed.
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Old 08-17-2021, 02:33 PM
KenH KenH is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: South Baldwin Co across the bay from Mobile, AL
Posts: 129
Kevin, each time I see your work I'm even more impressed. I just found this thread, missed it for the last 4 yrs, but wish to say WOW!!!! What nice work.
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Old 07-18-2022, 05:52 AM
omulmeu omulmeu is offline
Join Date: Jun 2022
Posts: 1
That's wonderful, Kevin; I, too, recently had the opportunity to recreate the sword of Elector Christian I of Saxony.
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Old 07-22-2022, 01:16 AM
Pistonchic Pistonchic is offline
Join Date: Feb 2022
Posts: 2
That's wonderful, Kevin; I, too, recently had the opportunity to recreate the sword of Elector Christian I of Saxony.
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