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

  1. #351
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    I believe the agreement made was that no pictures would be posted until Dennis had the sword in his hands...I respect kevin for that and believe we should all respect dennis by waiting for him to recieve what he and his wife have been waiting a long time for.

    I can't wait to see this one...but I'll be patient and let Kevin or Dennis show off this work of art...

    (Just my take on things)
    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.

  2. #352
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    NO!

    As much as I want to see it...that is the right of either Cashen or the buyer.....

    This story isn't over yet!

  3. #353
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    Re: NO!

    Originally posted by Jason Epperson
    As much as I want to see it...that is the right of either Cashen or the buyer.....

    This story isn't over yet!
    Exactly. That's why we're waiting for Dennis and his wife to finish all their oohs and ahs before we demand pics. They'll get here. Have patience, grasshoppers.

    Just my opinion but I think Beauty would sound good with Bench Eater and Baby.
    Örn Doomslayer a.k.a. Þorfinn , the one we don't let steer, Commander of the Twin Tiers

  4. #354
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    Hmmmm....

    I don't think that anyone was truly thinking of posting pictures before anyone wished for them to be posted. People have been following this thread and really feel like they have been part of the process. For some, this is as close as they will get to having a higher end custom sword. Excitement is in the air, but I don't think that anyone is actually going to post a picture... {{begin relaxation breathing techniques}}

    When does the owner actually take posession of the blade? Hopefully soon, so then they can POST A PICTURE!

    Jeffrey
    "Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony" ~ Mahatma Gandhi

  5. #355
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    As soon as I get the sword I promise to post lots of pictures. Its been a lot of fun for Jane and myself sharing this experience with everyone. And of course thanks agasin to Kevin for making it all possible.

  6. #356
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    Dennis -

    So YOU are the lucky people that are getting this sword! First let me say thanks for letting me/us go throught this process with you. I never knew how awesome it was to see a sword being built like this. My wife is not very happy about it, for now I want one of my own.

    Dennnis, a couple of questions for you...

    1. How did you come to the point that you chose this sword to be made? Was it from pictures, an idea you got, or from a story that you have read?

    2. How much involvement did you have in the building process? Did you two talk about the sword along the way, or did you just tell him what you wanted and then let him build it?

    3. Are there do's and do not's regarding the relationship between the bladesmith and customer?

    Sorry to bug you with the questions, but I am looking to have a sword hopefully made and want the relationship between myself and the bladesmith to be good. I don't want him (the bladesmith) dreading my time with him

    Thanks for your help! I can't wait to see the finished product!

    Jeffrey
    "Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony" ~ Mahatma Gandhi

  7. #357
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    Originally posted by David Stokes
    i have this GREAT full length picture of this sword RIGHT here beside me. should i scan it and post it? well i have to have Kevins permission first!! oh what a nice picture it is....
    I can't believe Kevin let you take the picture to begin with! That's just way too much temptation for one person to handle.

    I agree, we need to wait till Dennis and Jane get it. They've waited longer than we have!
    *~* Shannon *~*

    ~~~
    Virtue is more than the mere absence of vice.
    ~~~

  8. #358
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    Cool Patience, friends...

    We will see the sword when we should, not a moment sooner.
    "Its not what you have, but what you have done".

  9. #359
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    Re: Dennis -

    Originally posted by Pastor Jeffrey Lowery
    So YOU are the lucky people that are getting this sword! First let me say thanks for letting me/us go throught this process with you. I never knew how awesome it was to see a sword being built like this. My wife is not very happy about it, for now I want one of my own.

    Dennnis, a couple of questions for you...

    1. How did you come to the point that you chose this sword to be made? Was it from pictures, an idea you got, or from a story that you have read?

    2. How much involvement did you have in the building process? Did you two talk about the sword along the way, or did you just tell him what you wanted and then let him build it?

    3. Are there do's and do not's regarding the relationship between the bladesmith and customer?

    Sorry to bug you with the questions, but I am looking to have a sword hopefully made and want the relationship between myself and the bladesmith to be good. I don't want him (the bladesmith) dreading my time with him

    Thanks for your help! I can't wait to see the finished product!

    Jeffrey
    I will try to answer your questions but remember these are my opinions others may disagree….

    How did you come to the point that you chose this sword to be made? Was it from pictures, an idea you got, or from a story that you have read?

    I have always thought that Leaf blades were the most under appreciated of the European sword designs. I was looking for a sword for my wife and the Leaf Blade just seemed to be the right combination of graceful symmetry and deadly function. I love well-done pattern welding and a pattern welded leaf blade is real testament to the skill of the smith. Jane mentioned that we had some Amethysts that we had never had mounted and asked Kevin if he could work them into the design.

    How much involvement did you have in the building process? Did you two talk about the sword along the way, or did you just tell him what you wanted and then let him build it?

    I believe that commissioning a custom sword is like commissioning a work of art, you ask for the artists best work then give him the freedom to produce a masterpiece. I told Kevin I wanted a pattern welded leaf blade for my wife. I asked him to try to work the Amethysts into the design. That was the extent of the input I gave him to start with, later we talked about the best material for the handle. I have three other swords done by Kevin and I have met and talked with him in person so it was easy to trust him to design something superior to anything I could have designed.

    Another smith once told me a great smith forced to produce a customers bad design will invariably produce a mediocre sword, I always remember that when I hear someone ask a smith to produce one of their designs.


    Are there do's and do not's regarding the relationship between the bladesmith and customer?

    First do your research, find a smith whose work you like. Use the forums and ask lots of questions about his or her work. Try to get feedback form people who actually own or have handled the smiths swords. Talk to the smith and discuss your project and again ask lots of questions. Make sure you understand the answers if the smith can’t explain his ideas in terms that you can understand look for another smith. Try to give the smith as much freedom as possible, remember they are the experts in sword design your not. Don’t try to micromanage the project. If you want a sword produced to your exact set of specification you need a machinist not a swordsmith.

    The bottom line is find a smith you have absolute trust in and give them the time and freedom to create a masterpiece for you and above all be patient.

  10. #360
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    Wow! I would really like to thank Pastor Lowery and Dennis at this point, these last couple of post is what this thread and, I believe, what SFI is all about. To see folks asking such good, helpful and constructive questions, and getting such well thought out and positively correct answers, mkaes this thread entirely worth while, beyond what I have contributed.

    Your discussion tells me that some of my major goals in this thread have been met entirely. I have been asked about the amount of work it was just to keep this thread going, but at the show this weekend I had more people (and not just sword enthusiasts) compliment me on the thread. The volume of these comments far exceeded any article I have ever been involved with, in any medium, in the past. I hope it has drawn as much attention to the interests of SFI as to my work.

    The sword is done, I would like to do something special on the scabbard if it is within my ability, to reward Dennis for his extraordinary patience, and then I will be shipping. I had professional photography done at the show so I will be able to show it quite well when the time comes.

    I think I would like to show the construction of the shippig container to give an idea of how I do it and to give the very final step.

    I also just realized that I have photos of the scabbard construction and have not yet included that step in this thread so I will do that today while I am working on updating my web page. I have to add photos to the "available" page anyhow, not as many sword buyers at the "Blade" show this year Or Vince got them all before me
    Last edited by Kevin R. Cashen; 06-18-2003 at 08:05 AM.

  11. #361
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    Thanks Guys!

    Originally posted by Kevin R. Cashen
    I think I would like to show the construction of the shippig container to give an idea of how I do it and to give the very final step.
    Kevin - I would really like to see that. I can truly say that I NEVER knew that this much went into a blade being manufactured.

    Dennis - Thanks for the notes! I am very excited for you and your wife! I appreciate your comments on the relationship between the bladesmith and the customer. Things I did not know...

    Jeffrey
    "Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony" ~ Mahatma Gandhi

  12. #362
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    On a side note...

    Cashen, when all is done and done, please be sure to post a photo of your "craft" mark on the blade.

    This way, we will be able to recognize a "Cashen Blade" when we see them....

    Maybe that is something that'd be cool to have on this sight.

    I'd love to see the marks various master smith's use to distinguish a blade as crafted by them...

  13. #363
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    Re: On a side note...

    Originally posted by Jason Epperson
    Cashen, when all is done and done, please be sure to post a photo of your "craft" mark...Maybe that is something that'd be cool to have on this sight. I'd love to see the marks various master smith's use to distinguish a blade as crafted by them...
    Jason - That is a really good idea. You should start another thread asking all bladesmiths to post a pic of their "mark" so that newbies like myself have a little online reference guide to work from. Although that might be best started in the forum for bladesmiths...the mods might have a better idea where it should go.

    Again, excellent idea!

    Jeffrey
    "Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony" ~ Mahatma Gandhi

  14. #364
    I've posted pic's of a few of the smiths makers marks on the new thread you started,
    Attn: Bladesmiths

    Hopefully we can add as we go .....

    Mac
    'Gott Bewahr Die Oprechte Schotten'
    Mac's Picture Trail

  15. Mr McNear, i would never post that pic, i had to swere to secrecy on it before Kevin would let me snap it...........its just for my personal viewing now

  16. #366
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    Originally posted by David Stokes
    Mr McNear, i would never post that pic, i had to swere to secrecy on it before Kevin would let me snap it......
    LOL! David, I was *kidding* ... I figured Kevin already made you promise not to post it. It had to be awesome to get to see that piece in person, after watching its creation online!

    and ... ::: stage whisper ::: it's MRS. I just made myself look more official so the powers-that-be would allow me to continue hanging out in this utterly cool place ...
    *~* Shannon *~*

    ~~~
    Virtue is more than the mere absence of vice.
    ~~~

  17. #367
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    it's MRS. I just made myself look more official so the powers-that-be would allow me to continue hanging out in this utterly cool place
    Shannon, speaking as one of the Powers That Be you are more then welcomed to hang out here.

  18. #368
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    Grrrr

    Well it is quite late now and all I managed to get done is the update of my available page. I started the process of getting the other images in order this morning right after my last post. When I went to do my scanning, my miserable @##$!! Microtek scanner started rattling and let me down for the last time! I had an Umax before this and it was a wonderful scanner but this Microtek has been a piece of rotten junk since the day I got it, and after 30 days they charge $30 a phone call just to tell them that their junk is broken!

    So I have been gone all day on a "new scanner" run to Lansing and to cool my fuming temper I drove a few more miles to the Arcadia Brewry in Battle Creek and got a keg of their IPA to keep me cool this summer, I figured I would spend the money I have left on me before some other problem gobbles it up

    Sorry for the rant and not to get off topic but I got an really nice Epson scanner (after my immortal Epson printer, I trust them) and I have the webpage updates in order but I need to hit the sack and I will see about the scabbard images tomorrow.

    And yes I have a paper somwhere here that David signed in blood about not posting his photos before I have OK'd it

  19. #369
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    Re: Grrrr

    Originally posted by Kevin R. Cashen
    And yes I have a paper somwhere here that David signed in blood about not posting his photos before I have OK'd it
    ROFL! Oh, good, I feel much better now.

    I don't think relating the technical difficulties you encounter during the process of documenting your work is getting off topic, either. I most heartily sympathize!

    And Dennis - thank you! ::: curtseys ::: I hereby promise to keep further non-scholarly ramblings to the Pub.
    *~* Shannon *~*

    ~~~
    Virtue is more than the mere absence of vice.
    ~~~

  20. #370
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    Scabbard

    Well it is time to ship; I will be making the shipping container in the next couple days and shipping the first of next week. The scabbard is now done and here are the steps that went into it.

    I start out with a good piece of workable wood that will not have any bad reactions with the steel or the oils. Basswood is very nice but I usually end up working with poplar because it is always available in my area. It works well for the purpose but the one drawback that I have found is that when you rip this wood into smaller sections it has a tendency to warp, so one has to keep this in mind and correct it in gluing.

    I trace the outline of the blade onto the wood and give myself ¼” all the way around for the sides of the scabbard. Now with straight edges blades one can trace the exact outline of the blade and it is fine. But with curved edges that are larger nearer the tip, like on the leaf blade, you must make the entire inner width of the scabbard at least as wide as the widest part of the blade, or you will not be able to put the thing in or out! So despite the shape of the blade the inside of the scabbard will be straight sided with the width of the widest blade section. This outline is then cut out on the band saw and then ran through the table saw, on edge, to give two identical halves.



    On the opposing faces of each of these halves I carve out the shape of the blade. After I have removed enough material I put the blade, with all of the black etching buffer crud still on it, between the two halves and lightly clamp them. Then I withdraw the blade leaving smudges on any of the areas that still needs to be removed. Yes I know that they make special compounds for this, but why do I need them. You see I leave all of that crud on the blade and don’t do any polishing what so ever because it acts as a protective coating as I handle the blade in the shop for these last steps. This way I only have to polish it up once, and the dark gunk makes a great indicator of the high spots that need to be removed from the scabbard.

    When the fit is very close I then cut out some extra strips of wood that I glue down either side as spacers. This now makes the fit very loose again as it will add as much a ¼ “ to the space. Don’t worry there is method to this madness! You see I have yet to add the felt lining and this extra spacer around the outside edges will allow me to precision fit the scabbard to the blade after the felt is in place.

    Here are the two halves ready for the felt:


    I use a decent thickness of felt that I pick up at the local fabric store. You can probably tell a Cashen scabbard by the red felt lining. I don’t believe I have ever used any other color but red felt, perhaps I will use black one day, but for now I find red to be very attractive for the lining. Cut out the felt to fit the inside of the scabbard and it helps to cut it a little shorter because it fits in better when stretched into place lengthwise. I always cut my felt with a “T” shape at the top so that I can expand it out and entirely cover the mouth of the scabbard.




    When all is set I glue the felt into the wood pieces. I like to use a thick wood glue that is water based. Thinner glues will soak into the felt and cause a real problem. The thick stud will bond to just the outside of the felt and hold it securely in place. Never use contact cement or something similar, as the oils from the blade will loosen the felt and then you will have big problems.

    After the felt is applied and dry, I cut the sides down to the dimensions that I will want the finished scabbard to be. This makes the walls at the side very narrow and easier to work. I now take a small plane and shave the sides down until I have a snug fit on the blade. Then glue is applied to the sides and the two halves are joined.




    When the all the glue has set I then shape the outsides of the scabbard removing all of the corners and working it down into a nice curved surface that is smooth and true. Now I tuck all of the felt at the throat inside and shape the top as tightly to the swords cross guard as I can. Then I pull the felt back out and glue it all down in place.



    The next step involves gluing a thinner leather; I like to use a kidskin or calfskin, to the front and sides of the scabbard and pulling it tight at the back. I leave a 1/2” overlap at the back and cover it with masking tape. I scribe a straight line up the center of the back on the tape and then measure out my stitch holes. I like to do mine at 1cm spacing with the rows 1cm apart, on either side of the seam. I then use a Dremmel with a small drill bit and buzz each little hole in while the tape is still on, this keeps the leather in place and stops it from twisting or catching in the bit. Then I lay a straight edge on my centerline and use a very sharp razor knife to cut the seam. Then I remove the tape and pull out the excess leather, leaving perfectly matching edges.

    If I am doing a black leather wrap I run a stripe of dye down the wood under the stitch holes and the seam, nothing looks worse that seeing that white wood through the black leather. Now I sit down with a good drink, and perhaps the television, and hand stitch the thing closed using a baseball type stitch. The last thing to do is the throat and tip or “chape” of the scabbard. I have taken to using leather for this because it is very maintenance free. It doesn’t get scratched or dinged or do the same to the sword.

    But on this one I decided Dennis deserved something extra for his extraordinary patience and for just being an all around good customer who has quickly became a good friend. Dennis likes pattern welding, in case you haven’t noticed, so I thought I would give him his fill with this one. For the throat of the scabbard I worked 160 layers of L6 and 1018 down to .030” or less and then formed it around the throat. I topped the front off with a decorative piece of 01/l6 twist with the last amethyst set in a gold bezel that matches the ones on the sword. The top is trimmed with a sterling silver twisted wire. To be completely honest, that single piece for the throat was one of the biggest pains in the ass of the entire project!

    When all is dry, one can oil down the blade real good and charge the felt with the oil so that he blade will be protected and oiled everytime it is put in the scabbard. Dennis oils and mantains hos stuff so well that he taught me the error of using cotact cement on the throat and chape also. I had him send back a scabbard and while I had it I reglued the throat with a water based glue so this it would also resist the oils.
    Last edited by Kevin R. Cashen; 06-27-2003 at 10:27 PM.

  21. #371
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    Re: Scabbard

    what do you use for oiling your blades Kevin? I was also wondering, have you ever herd of oil damaging 24 hour epoxi? Oh, and one last question, how do you attach the scabbard throat, epoxi? or do you pin it?

  22. #372
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    Re: Re: Scabbard

    Originally posted by Jake Powning
    what do you use for oiling your blades Kevin? I was also wondering, have you ever herd of oil damaging 24 hour epoxi? Oh, and one last question, how do you attach the scabbard throat, epoxi? or do you pin it?
    I have never tried epoxy on the areas where the oil would be a problem, I would believe that it would be all right after it cured.

    I have a rust inhibitor oil used for guns, that I am almost out of now I got it in a package of goodies the last time I renewed my NRA membership so I don't know where to get more. Any good gun oil or even 3in1 oil should work fine. I have heard of just about every non-organic oil under the sun being used. I think anything that will create a barrier to the oxygen will work. I have a chemist friend who's job is to sit in a lab and invent lubricants and corrosion inhibitors all day and he seems to confirm this notion.

    With a metallic throat it is not too much of an issue since it slides on pretty tight anyhow, but I use the same carpenters wood glue to set them, and the leather ones, in place.

  23. #373
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    Re: Grrrr

    Originally posted by Kevin R. Cashen
    and to cool my fuming temper I drove a few more miles to the Arcadia Brewry in Battle Creek and got a keg of their IPA to keep me cool this summer,

    Ahhh, India Pale Ale. There's a local bar that makes a lurvley IPA. You can only buy it by the glass, though.

    Bob

  24. #374
    This thread is great, I can't wait to see the pictures.

  25. #375
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    Dennis likes pattern welding, in case you haven’t noticed
    My secret is out. I thought I was being subtle and no one would notice

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