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Thread: Confessions of a bladesmith; secrets revealed! (Finished Pictures added)

  1. #76
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    yes, thanks

    Kevin,

    This is a great thread, and I do appreciate the time and effort involved.

    "“Those forging marks, hammer marks, not quite straight lines, etc. give the sword character and prove its hand forged.?br />
    Nonsense all those imperfections prove is that whoever produced the sword was willing to settle for just good enough as a standard."

    I agree with this in general, but do not forget those pieces (Don Fogg comes to mind here) in which the textured steel is part of the design. Of course, this still does not excuse crooked lines and errant hammer blows

    John Frankl

  2. #77
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    Originally posted by Alan K
    Is there a chance you might either remove the bad section and reform it as you had planned to do with the remains and make something else for your available page or will you just scrap the whole billet and start over?

    Just curious,
    Alan K
    Hehehe... Sorry Alan but the thought "hmm... salvage a small Cashen blade without the wait" came to mind when I read this....


    ...........darn good idea

  3. #78
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    Originally posted by Dave M


    Hehehe... Sorry Alan but the thought "hmm... salvage a small Cashen blade without the wait" came to mind when I read this....


    ...........darn good idea
    I have a hunch there are no "factory seconds" from Kevin's establishment.
    Sikandur~~Aim Small, Miss Small

  4. #79
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    here's the problem



    It is hard to capture the real ugliness of it with a camera, but here I have cut the tip off from the sword and brought it into the house for a photo session. I polished it up and etched it out and it really didn't show as bad as expected (as in a really big white line in accross the pattern) but you can see it in the way the pattern layers missalign at one point. It looks like a road and a fence that crosses a fault line.

    Now if it could be welded back together why not just cut it out and reweld the tip? Because when I cut the tip I am in control and I know why it has a seam. How much faith can I place in the steel if it makes its own seams?

    Now I am testing all of my steel seperately at various temperatures and forgings. If the O1 passes the muster and I am convinced that it was me messing up in the proper sequence of cooling techniques, the unaffected part may be salvageable one day. But if it showed any signs of peculiar behavior the next time I heated it with care, it would go into the dumpster! But in the meantime I have a waiting list and Dennis has waited long enough for this sword, so I will not waste time on a failed piece for now. Instead I will go with fresh materials and try to pull my act together.

  5. #80
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    Originally posted by Scott Bubar


    I have a hunch there are no "factory seconds" from Kevin's establishment.
    If it had been a welding flaw (inclusion, cold shut or the like) at the tang end, and I could leave it in the form of grinder dust on my floor, it may have had an incarnation as a smaller piece. But on these type of swords anything out on the blade is death. And anything that I cannot chalk up to one stupid moment on my part is untrustable.

    For the kind of money that people pay for this type of pattern welding there is no excuse for knowingly "fudging it". I feel this pile of scrap steel was already included in the price of the finished sword if, I can't get it right the first time. I never have, and never will ask for more money than the original agreed upon price, but I can almost guarantee that I will have to ask for more time

  6. #81
    I wish the people who made my last car had quality control half as good as yours. It’s a real eye opener to realize that all of that work and materials have to be scrapped for that small a flaw.

  7. #82
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    Originally posted by Dennis Boas
    Thank you for reminding us that the true professional is never willing to settle anything less then his or her best.
    thats a question are there any female swordsmiths??? in all my days havnt heard of one to date. but with whats being said i think on day i might get kevin to make me a nice sword or dagger, that dagger tail star i think is a real beatiful piece and i would mind something similar. the higher the reputation of a smith the more i'd like to get a piece (whether its kevin or any of the great custom smiths out there). kevin would be able to tell what method you used for this, was it the same as you already talked about or another?

    Thanks Robert.B
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  8. #83
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    Yes...there are female bladesmiths...they're a rare breed...but they do exist...and I've seen some nice work from some.

    To answer a question...I wasn't so much looking to salvage a Cashen sword without a wait...but I would like to try working with damascus to get a feel for it...and if it was going to go into a dumpster anyway, I might be interested in getting my hands on it to play with so I wouldn't fear screwing up as bad...

    More of a learning experience than anything...the most I would use it for might be for a guard on one of my blades...or some other non-blade like function. Not to disrespect kevin...but more to respect him by not trying to pass off his hard work as my own blade.

    It was an idea...not a very good one...but an idea...

    Thanks for the insight into how intensely you like to control your work Kevin...it's nice to see some people care more about quality than simply pushing things through to sell more blades...

    Thanks again,
    Alan
    Some people are like slinky's. They have no real purpose, but you can't help but smile when you see them tumble down the stairs.

  9. #84
    Originally posted by Robert.B
    thats a question are there any female swordsmiths??? in all my days havnt heard of one to date.
    How about Mariah Clark?

  10. #85
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    Originally posted by Guido Schiller

    How about Mariah Clark?
    nope, and she's a forge hand...does that entale full on forge work with the shaping, and other rigors of bladesmithing or what??? i work (for a hobby) on my own and the money making smiths i know all work alone so what would she be required to do? ive heard of women who do scabbard making and doing engravings and etchings on hilts etc but not the full on hard work stuff. by no means am i saying they wouldnt hack it, i think a lot of women would make some great swords, with a womens artistic flare it would be interesting to see what a female smith could turn out. my girlfriend recently has commisioned mosaic folder that she designed for a smith in the states to make and i cant wait to see the final product, very artsy (costing her US$1,200).

    Robert.B

  11. #86
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    It depends upon if you are being specific to swordmakers, in the knifemaking scene I know female bladesmiths. One is a Mastersmith the another is a Journeyman and there are a couple of others who do the work.

    I think it is interesting that women bladesmiths don't delve into swords more, because I have noticed, in the general public, that "chicks dig swords" (excuse the lowbrow humorous terminology). But I have noticed that guys like to play with swords and many look at them and think they are nice but woman handle my swords with a whole different look in their eye. As if it turns them on a bit although not enough for me to have any swordmaker groupies The numerous compliments that I have recieved on this thread are very nice but where are the beautiful young sword groupies? I have yet to encounter the women who will do anything to have a Cashen made sword I know I am married and I would have to decline, but it wouldn't hurt to ask .

    Ahh but be warned no matter how many times you kiss a bladesmith you will still only have a toad He might make a iron crown but he is still a toad.

  12. #87
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    Re: here's the problem

    Kevin: Thanks for posting the pictures of the "flaw". And thanks for spending the time to clean up the tip, etching it, taking the pictures, and composing them to single image. As self employed, you have sacrificed valuable production time for the benefit of others for no pay!
    FWIW, I would have made the same decision to scrap the tip and start over.

  13. #88
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    forge hand

    Originally posted by Robert.B


    nope, and she's a forge hand...does that entale full on forge work with the shaping, and other rigors of bladesmithing or what??? i work (for a hobby) on my own and the money making smiths i know all work alone so what would she be required to do? ive heard of women who do scabbard making and doing engravings and etchings on hilts etc but not the full on hard work stuff.

    Robert.B
    Don't let the title fool you. Actually I would be surprised if Mariah has not done full on forge work. Everyone at Albion cross trains in everything. Mariah may be wrapping almost all the handles now but I know she also grinds blades and works on hilt furniture as well. And she has been Randal's "forge hand" for almost 2 1/2 years.

    Mariah is notable both for her own high personal standard of quality and for her modesty concerning her own accomplishments. The fact that no blades of hers have been sold publicly may only mean she hasn't yet made one that she is satisfied with.

  14. #89
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    ahhh ok, but still i reckon a female smith would have an awesome artistic ability to make some great blades...maybe a high perfection scale but i think when you get serious with smithing and selling second best wouldnt suffice.

  15. #90
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    Thumbs up They're out there...

    Yes, the women smiths are out there. I've seen/met them at knife shows and seen their work on the web.

    For one thing, I don't think the mass press has caught on to them yet. But, they're out there and their numbers are growing.
    "Swords Are Fun!" - Auld Dawg

    "A Sword For Show, But A Broadaxe For Dough." -
    Hagar The Horrible

  16. #91
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    oh well theres an x-file closed on the female side of smithing, i wouldnt mind buying a high quality sword made by a "chick" just for conversation sake to say "hey my sword was made by a girl and is better than yours..."hehehe theres a kid in all of us.

  17. #92
    Kevin,
    What an exceptional series of thoughtful posts, despite and including the revelation of the "problem". Many thanks for providing the adventure.

    I wanted to take a minute to post a picture of a Jim Porter dagger since you mentioned him as an inspiration.

    This dagger is 14" of seriously purposeful wasp waisted leaf blade, low layer damascus fittings and wonderfully striated horn handle. It is the quintessential handful of leafblade coupled with exacting craftsmanship, technical ability and aesthetic vision.

    Jim was my friend, a great bladesmith, family man and a great human being. He is sorely missed.

    Craig Bird
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  18. #93
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    WOW...

    ...WOW thats some awesome work there make no mistake.

  19. #94
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    Question

    Greetings, Kevin! I am a beginner bladesmith and have two questions about forge-welding billets:
    1) I want to make a small 3-layer billet (hard core, softer sides), but don't know how to do it. I've understood from this thread evrything except one thing: How and where I should add the flux. I have only coal forge so it will be a bit more difficult to forge-weld then with gas forge
    2) I have no power hammer, so could You please tell me how should I hammer it with hand tool? From one end to enother or how? Should I hit really hard or not?
    If you can't find the exit look for it better... Or take some dynamite and make a new one!

  20. #95
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    Originally posted by Alex Sosnovski
    Greetings, Kevin! I am a beginner bladesmith and have two questions about forge-welding billets:
    1) I want to make a small 3-layer billet (hard core, softer sides), but don't know how to do it. I've understood from this thread evrything except one thing: How and where I should add the flux. I have only coal forge so it will be a bit more difficult to forge-weld then with gas forge
    2) I have no power hammer, so could You please tell me how should I hammer it with hand tool? From one end to enother or how? Should I hit really hard or not?
    Alex:

    I see that you have also asked these questions in the bladesmith cafe. If you do not mind I will answer you in that thread there. I started this thread as a general overview of the swordmaking process for any who love swords to get an idea of the work that goes into their creation. For more specific smith oriented questions I will keep it in the Blademsith Cafe, which could use a shot inthe arm for intersting posts itself. See you there

  21. #96
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    Originally posted by Craig Bird
    Kevin,

    I wanted to take a minute to post a picture of a Jim Porter dagger since you mentioned him as an inspiration.

    This dagger is 14" of seriously purposeful wasp waisted leaf blade, low layer damascus fittings and wonderfully striated horn handle. It is the quintessential handful of leafblade coupled with exacting craftsmanship, technical ability and aesthetic vision.

    Jim was my friend, a great bladesmith, family man and a great human being. He is sorely missed.

    Craig Bird
    This is classic James Porter. Here you see the use of Buffalo horn. Folks will see Buffalo horn on many of my blades this is the direct influence of Jim on my knives.

    I have one Porter knife myself. I really can't afford to collect anybodies knives, including my own, but I got an opportunity to aquire a Porter with a J.S. stamp on it. I traded two of my blades, A huge L6 and a pattern welded to have it, but now I have a wonderful reminder of a great smith.

    Jim also did a great Main Guache that was all pattern welded and amber, it was from things like this that I was inspired to use pattern welding for large fittings as well as the blade. I would not have attemped anything like the pattern welded cutlass with hand guard if not inspired by Jims work.
    Last edited by Kevin R. Cashen; 01-27-2003 at 11:42 AM.

  22. #97
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    Originally posted by Robert.B


    thats a question are there any female swordsmiths???

    Thanks Robert.B
    Oona Torgersen is the only female Sworsmith here in norway. (The only one which is a sertified blacksmith with aprentisship anyway..)
    You may check out the following pages, they are in norvegian, but you may look at the pictures.
    http://www.oona.no/
    http://www.oona.no/produkter/vi_h_sverd.html
    http://www.oona.no/produkter/vi_sverd_arb.html
    Raymond Sauvage

  23. #98
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    Difference Damascus and patterned welded

    Kevin, I have a few questions. First are patterned welded blades ideal for combat, or are the just more pleaseing to the eye. I'm just wondering because of the use of all these different metals, if they weaken the structural integrity of sword. Also, what is the difference between Damascus and pattern welded blades. Which one is stronger or should i say...hold up to the rigors of combat. And what kind of metal is O2. I've never heard of it. Thanks alot, you've done a great job with this thread and i'm looking forward to the rest.
    Let your actions speak for you

  24. #99
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    im not kevin but a pattern welded blade will hold up very good in combat and was historically used by the norse etc...and as far as ive read true damascus can be stronger due to the fact it doesnt have folds which have the potential to weaken the blade...but i read that off a site and it could be wrong, kevin or someone i'd like to know the facts on true damascus compared to folded/pattern welded.

    for a pattern welded blade from sutton hoo look at this link and the picture below. anyone got the x-ray pics or some pics from the x-ray analyses? http://www.thebritishmuseum.ac.uk/co...oto?id=OBJ3920
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  25. #100
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    IT”S BACK!

    Episode II- the bladesmith strikes back!

    Now where were we?

    Well after receiving a new batch of steel and doing some research I am back on track. I have gotten to the root of some of the problems and have reforged the blade using a 1095/L6 core with a Carpenter O1/L6 edge. Since Tim Zowada has been playing with the Carpenters steels for some time now I packed up my stuff and trekked to the cold desolate wastes of northern Michigan to the lair of the elusive flying bladesmith. We had a good time playing in the forge and I have to be honest, using Tim’s 680 lb steam hammer “Thumper” got the steel fused and forged with a whole lot less effort. Sorry Dennis but I cannot claim complete sole authorship on this sword, since Tim had to play and do a couple of the folds himself. He said that he wouldn’t tell anybody, but this way if anything more goes wrong I can fall back on the old “it’s Tim’s fault”.

    I brought the two new core bars and edge strip home and took one good long day to weld them into a new blank and then forge the blade out in one session. I have no good photos of the forging process since I was working like a dog.

    I usually start at the tip and hammer the thing out, being careful to hit evenly on all sides since there are two edges. But leaf blades are more of a challenge due to the curvy changes in profile. I start hot and get cooler and cooler as I go when I forge so that by the time I am done, and simply straightening, things are slightly below critical. These are only light straightening blows though. I never move metal below a proper forging temperature. When all done, I normalize several cycles and then heat to sub critical before quitting.

    I often leave my pattern-welded swords quite thick from the forging and this one is no exception since it has that crazy curvaceous design so I will need some elbowroom in the grinding. Here is the final forged blade:



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