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

  1. #276
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    Re: Re: Re: Dear Cashen,

    Originally posted by Josh Powell
    ...what are the qualities of a good microscope for metalography? I assume that the standard lab microscope won't cut it, due to the way the lighting works?
    Just guessing here, since all my microscopy experience is in the biosciences but I suspect its not too far distant from the qualities required of a geological microscope. Must be capable of both transmitted and reflected observation, polarized illumination and observation essential options. Fluorescence capability would likely be good too. The hardest part would likely be sample prep, and one would end up spending more on the kit to do that than on the scope.

    Seems my guess is somewhat supported by a few online catalogs too. A brief look at the Zeiss and Leica offerings shows kit offering all of the above features.

    Dave.
    Asps. Very dangerous. You go first.

  2. #277
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    Re: Re: Re: Re: Dear Cashen,

    Originally posted by Dave Booth


    Just guessing here, since all my microscopy experience is in the biosciences but I suspect its not too far distant from the qualities required of a geological microscope. Must be capable of both transmitted and reflected observation, polarized illumination and observation essential options. Fluorescence capability would likely be good too. The hardest part would likely be sample prep, and one would end up spending more on the kit to do that than on the scope.

    Seems my guess is somewhat supported by a few online catalogs too. A brief look at the Zeiss and Leica offerings shows kit offering all of the above features.

    Dave.
    Have made some microscoping in school of metals. Its lots of work with grinding, polishing and etching involved, before you see anything. And if you etch is too much you wont see anything and have to start over again. All metals dont need etching though, but grinding and polishing.
    Last edited by T. Karlsson; 04-25-2003 at 09:08 AM.
    Tobias

    Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise, his scrip and he that hath no SWORD, let him sell his garment, and buy one.
    Luke, 22:36

  3. #278
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    Wink just a thought...

    Aren't most pattern wielded Cashen swords already etched and highly polished...

  4. #279
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    Re: just a thought...

    Originally posted by Jason Epperson
    Aren't most pattern wielded Cashen swords already etched and highly polished...
    prolly offers them in unfinished states..

    we need a kevin cashen forum
    I like swords.

    ______________________________
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    "Integrity, justice, courage, and action - without these, a person is of no consequence." - Don Nelson

    learn the way to preserve rather than destroy.
    avoid rather than check, check rather than hurt, hurt rather than maim, maim rather than kill.
    for all life is precious, not one can be replaced.

  5. #280
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    Re: Re: just a thought...

    Originally posted by Jeff Ellis


    prolly offers them in unfinished states..

    we need a kevin cashen forum
    lol, could he keep up...

  6. #281
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    Re: Re: Re: just a thought...

    Originally posted by Robert.B


    lol, could he keep up...
    i thikn this has becme one of the longer threads in sfi history.. the last one i started, i think it ended at page 15...
    I like swords.

    ______________________________
    SCHOLA GLADIATORIA
    ______________________________

    If you want to climb a mountain, begin at the top.

    "Integrity, justice, courage, and action - without these, a person is of no consequence." - Don Nelson

    learn the way to preserve rather than destroy.
    avoid rather than check, check rather than hurt, hurt rather than maim, maim rather than kill.
    for all life is precious, not one can be replaced.

  7. #282
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    Re: just a thought...

    Originally posted by Jason Epperson
    Aren't most pattern wielded Cashen swords already etched and highly polished...
    You think one puts the whole sword under the microscop?
    Tobias

    Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise, his scrip and he that hath no SWORD, let him sell his garment, and buy one.
    Luke, 22:36

  8. #283
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    uh, no...

    I think you'd take a shaving of the material (but thats just my biology background speaking)

  9. #284
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    Re: uh, no...

    Originally posted by Jason Epperson
    I think you'd take a shaving of the material (but thats just my biology background speaking)
    hehe.. Speaking from my own biology background, I believe the equivalent piece of kit to the microtome you and I are both familiar with is called a "wafer saw" -and then theres polishing and etching to go after that....
    Asps. Very dangerous. You go first.

  10. #285
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    For mettalurgical analyses an electro microscope is most used......
    Raymond Sauvage

  11. #286
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    Originally posted by Raymond Sauvage
    For mettalurgical analyses an electro microscope is most used......
    But for microstructure a "regular" microscop is just fine.
    Tobias

    Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise, his scrip and he that hath no SWORD, let him sell his garment, and buy one.
    Luke, 22:36

  12. #287
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    Time to fit out and finish this guard. I start out by finishing out the area of the sword that the guard will fit upon. Dennis has given me freedom of design on this one so whenever I have the choice everything will be done with a precision fit.

    I am locked in an endless struggle with the fit on swords that I try to make historically. My training is as a modern, professional, custom knife maker. This means that the finish is never “good enough” and the fit is never “tight enough”. I have been criticized in the past for not making my swords “historically accurate” enough. The one thing that will forever keep my blades from being historically accurate is the atrocious fit the original swords had. Huge gaps between guards and blades and loose seams simply took a back seat to other desired features of the time. Sometimes it was method of manufacture or lack of raw materials that determined the way things were done, but today I can do better in this area so I must. To those who, in the name of historical accuracy, find fault with precision fitting and fine finishing, then I must ask if I should also use inconsistent steel and substandard heat treating practices in order to be more accurate. I make the best sword I can for the customers money. I have some pieces that have a more “traditional” fit with the fuller running under the guard, with the resulting gap, but the price is a little lower, due to the labor saved, and my mark or name is not placed anywhere that is visible to the public. These pieces are rare since I always have bad “vibes” from making a piece that I am not proud to mark for all the world see. I f my views seem strong on this it is because of the two worlds that I straddle, the custom knife world, and the replica sword world. I am now preparing for the “Blade” show in Atlanta and if I were to show up with there with knives that had fit and finish like old European swords, I would be done in the business as Mastersmith.

    So after that rather verbose explanation, where was I? Oh yes, the guard shoulders. In order to get the precision fit that I want, I use a filing guide on the blade. I have a couple these gadgets with different tooling and tightening mechanisms, but this old simple but effective one is my favorite. They all work off the same principle, two very hard steel blocks held rigidly in place in completely parallel positions on either side of the area where the gaurd will be. This allows one to get a very flat true and precise cut area on which the guard will rest. Some lock down with setscrews this one simply clamps down in the vice. A line is scribed where I wish the guard to fit and then the blade is placed in the guide and positioned at that line and things are tightened. I then file the ledges or shoulders that the guard will rest upon into the riccasso area. The hardened steel of the guide will not allow me to file any more off than marked on either side. I simply file until I can feel no more cut and the file just skates off from the guide. Yes this is really rough on the file and I burn up Nicholson’s at the rate of about one per month, but it is a small price to pay.



    I must also say that before the shoulder step is done, I draw a heavy temper on the riccasso area of the blade with a torch so that it is soft enough to cut with the file. I do this after the etch so it does not effect the appearance. Etching after the draw will result in a differential etched appearance that I think looks like $&&#.

    Now that the shoulders are cut in I then take careful measurements with the calipers and transfer them to the face of the guard. The calipers are set to the thickness of the tang where the guard will rest and I step over to slot the guard.




    I rough in my slot with a cheap mill/drill/lathe that I picked up a few years back. I do not want a good mill at this time because this one has enough slop that I must still finish the work by hand to get the precision that I want. If I had a mill that was capable of doing the job better than I, I fear my lazy tendencies would send me down the slippery slope of machine versus handmade. I try to cut my slot into the guard at about .003” to .005” under sized and then square things up and precision fit with the file.



    One method that works quite well for me is to cover the inside surface of the slot with a blue tool makers dye and then slip it up onto the tang until there is too much resistance to go further. I then tap it back off and file the spots where the dye has been worn off. I do this again and again, little by little, until I am just setting on the shoulders.


    To finish things off I then use a seating tool to set the guard in place with a couple of sharp taps from a small hammer. If done right this will precisely depress the shoulders into the guard face by .001-.002 and making the entire fit seamless.


    This fit is tight enough that as is one will have to tap the guard back off with a wooden mallet. I do this on all of my blades whether they will be soldered or not. For too long soldering has been used by many to cover a sloppy fit, the fact is, the better the fit the better the solder will work and most people cannot tell that I use solder on many of my guards.

    With the guard fit to the blade, I can now concentrate on getting the handle material shaped and fit. Dennis did have one request for this project and that was a lighter colored material for the handle. Most of my woods that I work with are either dark to begin with or darken as they age, so I needed to find some nice new choices. On of my students at the ABS school this year had some very highly figured elm burl that I thought could be a possibility so I picked some up from him and this is what I will give a try at. Choosing handle materials is always an ordeal with me. Every knife or sword that I do has me picking through all of my stock and narrowing it down to 10 or so pieces and then lining them up and considering each until I find just the right qualities that I want for the shape and theme of that handle. I narrowed this one down to three pieces of the burl and now I must choose which one will best utilize the figuring in the wood for the size of handle that I must make.


    When the choice is made I chuck it up in the lathe and turn it down for the rough symmetry that I desire and then do some final shaping by hand and with the sanding. To fit the handle to the tang I take a measurement off from the tang directly behind the guard and then transfer that width to the front end of the handle piece. Then I mark a centerline between the two marks. Next I set the drill press to cut my hole. I clamp a center with a point in the drill press vice and line it up perfectly with the point of my drill bit and lock everything into place. Now I first drill a shallow center hole in the tail end of the handle material and then turn it around and set the center hole onto the center point in the vice. This way wherever the drill cokes down it will be in alignment with that central hole. Now I drill a hole, on an angle from one side of my measurement that I took from my tang down to the tail end, then lift and drill another down the opposite side. I now have two holes cut through the handle outlining the shape and taper of the tang. Now I slowly lower the drill and rock the handle back and forth, slowly chewing out the material between he two holes as I go. When done, the drilled out opening should approximate the tang quite well. I have a rat-tail rasp that I have ground the sides off from that I can put all the way through the handle and clean and smooth the rest of the way down to a fairly precise fit.
    Last edited by Kevin R. Cashen; 05-03-2003 at 07:52 AM.

  13. #288
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    Great work, can't wait to hear more.

  14. #289
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    Briliant! I cant wait to see more
    a sword is a sword, an axe is an axe.
    No question about it!

  15. #290
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    so would this thread be the longest thread ever made in SFI's history? i mean i saw it minutes after it was posted months ago and the interest in this i believe is very high. i hope that adrian or someone can transcribe it into a SFU article.

    Robert.B

  16. #291
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    Re: The Etch

    Originally posted by Kevin R. Cashen


    Oh dear! This is most embarrassing! It appears that I screwed up in a very big way. Without knowing it I accidentally forged this new blade out of a piece of that canned mosaic Damascus that everybody loves so much! Damn!


    Relax folks! I am kidding! You didn’t really think I would let anybody see it in all of its glory before Dennis did you? He has paid for that privilege. I guess I am a horrible tease, but I can assure you that it came out quite well with a very nice contrast.
    Kevin,

    We'd love to see a true pic of the etched blade - or maybe Dennis posted one in another thread?

  17. #292
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    I cannot wait to see the finished sword! This is truly awesome.
    For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
    But it's "Saviour of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot;
    An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;
    An' Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool -- you bet that Tommy sees!
    -Rudyard Kipling

  18. #293
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    Guard

    Hi Kevin,

    This might seem a bit basic, but how did you make the guard? Did you cast it or carve it? Either way, can you explain a little bit of the process involved?

    Thanks

    Cam

  19. #294
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    Re: Re: WOW!

    Originally posted by Cameron Potter


    Also, I don't know if anybody is interested, but I have found a source of 02. I live in Australia, and I found it looking for 01. The company is called Bohler Uddeholm. The only catch is that they may only deal in large quantities - I have contacted them yet.

    Hi Kevin

    Fantastic thread this - I cannot thank you and Dennis enough for sharing this with us.

    Just in case you missed the above I thought I'd repost it - remembering you mention how you jealously guard your dwindling supply of O2.

    I do have one question - which hopefully will not require too long an answer , as you said you are a modern bladesmith using modern techniques I'm curious to know, how a modern blade such as this one but in Katana shape would compare in cutting ability to a traditionally made Katana and how they compare overall in their properties?

  20. #295
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    I just want to say thank you, Kevin. This has got to be the greatest thread ever.

    Einar
    SCHOLA GLADIATORIA

    Mrs. Whitaker peered at the sword. "It must be very sharp", she said, after a while.
    "It can slice a falling hair in twain. Nay, it could slice a sunbeam," said Galaad proudly.
    "Well, then maybe you should put it away," said Mrs. Whitaker.

    Neil Gaiman, Chivalry

  21. #296
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    Re: Guard

    Originally posted by Cameron Potter
    Hi Kevin,

    This might seem a bit basic, but how did you make the guard? Did you cast it or carve it? Either way, can you explain a little bit of the process involved?

    Thanks

    Cam
    Sorry to all for the delay I had to get farther along on this project to get some documentation done on it and I have been out of town the last four or five days on business.

    The guard was forged from a bar of 160 layer reverse twist pattern welded steel (see earlier in this thread for that process). I rough forged it to shape in order to maintain the pattern integrity and then it is ground or carved to to final shape and polished before etching.

    I have now set the gold bezels that will hold the amethysts at the ends of the quillions and will hold off on that until after the rougher work on all of the hilt fitting is done. The pommel requires the same treatment. I had one pommel done but had second thoughts about how it matched up to the overall look of the piece so I will work down another the day after tomarrow and get back to matching everything up right.

  22. #297
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    Re: Re: Re: WOW!

    Originally posted by R Stultiens



    I do have one question - which hopefully will not require too long an answer , as you said you are a modern bladesmith using modern techniques I'm curious to know, how a modern blade such as this one but in Katana shape would compare in cutting ability to a traditionally made Katana and how they compare overall in their properties?
    As to the secoind half of your question dealing with overall "properties", I am not sure what you mean?

    As for how, well made, tightly controlled, modern steels that have been heat treated accurately would stand up to old steel treated in traditional fashion, well there are some who would have differing opinions but I am completely confident in the optimum performance of the former. I would say there really is no comparison between the two and that the traditional methods of differential hardening is testimonial to that fact. The softer spine was neccessary to keep traditional blades from flying apart when edges were left that hard. With good modern alloys the process need be purely cosmetic for the hamon itself. To me it is just logical. Will an F-16 out-fight a WWI Biplane? Will a 50 Cal. machine gun out-shoot a Brown Bess? Will a Hummer out-perform a Ford Model T?

    I know there are those out there who would side with the traditional blade but working with the logic that I have expressed here, I firmly believe that the burden of proof lies with them. And I must also say that personal passions and anectodotes of what someones best friends cousins great uncle heard that a Japanese sword did on Iwo Jima do not constitute proof in any way

  23. #298
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    Squeal of Delight

    Hey! I'm watching the Vikings on PBS, and they just showed a 30-second glimpse into the making of a pattern-welded Viking sword! And I was saying to my family, "Hey! I just learned about this from Kevin Cashen on the Forum!!!"

    *happy sounds*

    missed the name of the swordsmith on that show, though...
    "It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him."

    --J.R.R. Tolkien

  24. #299
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    Re: Squeal of Delight

    Originally posted by C Russo
    Hey! I'm watching the Vikings on PBS, and they just showed a 30-second glimpse into the making of a pattern-welded Viking sword! And I was saying to my family, "Hey! I just learned about this from Kevin Cashen on the Forum!!!"

    *happy sounds*

    missed the name of the swordsmith on that show, though...
    Hmmm I will have to keep my eyes peeled for when they run that show again. Do you have any information about the show?

  25. #300
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    Re: Re: Squeal of Delight

    Originally posted by Kevin R. Cashen


    Hmmm I will have to keep my eyes peeled for when they run that show again. Do you have any information about the show?
    i think it was "warrior challenge" kevin.
    you actually did it differently than the vikings if i remember my history right... didnt they make the edges with "wires", if you will, on them, then attach the wires to a central piece or the opposite side?.. starfire swords actually has a small history thing on it..

    tho i'm sure you would know much better than me how the vikings did it. does anyone do it their way still?
    I like swords.

    ______________________________
    SCHOLA GLADIATORIA
    ______________________________

    If you want to climb a mountain, begin at the top.

    "Integrity, justice, courage, and action - without these, a person is of no consequence." - Don Nelson

    learn the way to preserve rather than destroy.
    avoid rather than check, check rather than hurt, hurt rather than maim, maim rather than kill.
    for all life is precious, not one can be replaced.

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