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John Lundemo

Making swords the Odin way

Rating: 3 votes, 4.67 average.
Well my way anyway.

Here are just a few methods I use and by no means the only ones to make swords.

I start with a bar of say 1/4" thick 5160H steel and from it I cut the length, with a little spare, with a bandsaw using Bi-metal band saw blades cut and welded from a roll. If I'm going to add a fuller, I mark the beginning and end and mill the fuller about 75 thousands deep. After fuller is milled both sides, I draw the profile on the bar including tang shape. Then the profile is cut out with bandsaw. It is now ready to be ground. I use a three wheel 5 horse Bader Space saver run horrizontally. I hold the profiled blade up to the contact wheel and go to town, starting with a ceramic 36 grit belt. The distal taper and the edge geometry is all hand ground this way. I like to take the blades to a 120 grit before heat treat. The fuller will get narrower towards the tip due to distal. I use an angle grinder to widen and get the mill marks out and add the sharpness to the end of fuller. I clean up the fuller even more with dremel flap wheels.

If it is a saber then I would mill the fuller towards the side the spine will be on and then cut profile with said bandsaw. I would grind distal and edge geometry accordingly on the still straight sword. I would forge the curvature in the saber before heat treat if it is going to me through quenched. If it is a Japanese styled blade with clay coating to get the differential heat treat for hamon, then I would leave it straight and add clay coat using Satinite on a very rough finish so coating will adhere. The very edge must be polished so no cracks can start in quench. This is important. I use water quench edge first after thorough heat soak to an even bright orange color. Rock it in the water for a couple seconds and pull out then quench again and the curve starts and can be controlled. Not too long now, gotta pull it out and it is still steaming. Then a snap quench in 400 degree peanut oil. I can go the the vise and straighten any warps for the first 20 seconds or so, but this is tricky as it can snap easily. It must be then hung in a 400 degree oil bath for an hour, after that, air cool and back in at lower temp for awhile. I use Aldo 1095fine grain steel for the Katana stuff. There are a lot of steels I like for these like, 1085, 1075, W2. The alloy spring steels aren't going to show hamons much at all so I use the 5160H for euros or anything which does not require differential heat treat.

For the euros and regular spring tempered sabers like the Verrimus, I use 400 degree peanut oil for quench. I have to forge the curve into the saber myself before heat treat. After quench I have a minute before room cool to take out any warpage, or I put fresh quenched blades between two thick pieces of metal and clamp tight till cool to straighten. After cooling the blades are hung in 400 degree oil for an hour then cooled and the another hour at say 350 then cooled I can hang again in the oil even lower temp if desired, especially for sparring blunts.

For some blades I use an angle grinder to do the fuller after blade is rough ground and no milling at all. All hollow grinding if any is done by hand with combination Bader and angle grinding. This must be done before heat treat of course.
The guard material needs a slot for the tang to go through. I sometimes mill em but sometimes I drill a 1/4" hole in center. Then I cut the bandsaw blade and stick it through the hole and weld the blade back together and cut the tang slot. There is alot of file work on tang slot as well truz me There should be a little bit of a radius at the shoulder of blade and also in slot. If I want a bowtie or downcurve flared quillion. I would cut the guard material wider at the ends and hammer forge the quillion out and they will flair look from a profile like the guard gets thicker while it is really getting thinner. I can forge the downcurve in after all that is even steven.

Gonna add to this tomorrow, talk about pommels and grips etc. Also I want to add some pictures or something for visual aid and will be glad to answer any questions. Like to get into some of the custom sword world facts and nightmare hauntings as well. Styles that have come and where they might be going.

Y'all know me, know I usually don't talk about the hows of Odins, I figure it's time as there ain't really any secrets anymore anyways. Gotta get some sack time for now, got a scabbard to make tomorrow (dread) so goodnight for now.

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  1. John Lundemo's Avatar
    Just a link with a couple WIP pictures for you:
  2. John Lundemo's Avatar
    Some pictures here of some of the equipment I use. Can't take pictures of elbow grease but it's there. OOps couple Spice Girl dolls accidental of course and my buddy Freddy.
    Ya know, with pommels it's much the same as with guards, only the slots are deeper and wider on one side than the other. Some are cut from thick 1018 steel bar stock and others from solid rounds and ground to shape with the Bader spce saver and B III which both have changeable wheels and can be rund vertically or horrizontally.
    Etchings are a whole nother crazed animal spoken of in an old thread, no need to go there now. Sacabbard making is yet a more tired explanation and there are many folks who do it better than me with more historical accuracy, we can reffer to them.
    With me making swords was for many years a hobby and it was a blast, but has always been a challenge. When it became my only job it became a even more difficult. Having to take custom orders made me yearn for a simpler time when from sword to sword or knife I learned new things and grew at my own leasure. Taking crazy hard orders like damascus zweihanders seemed to actually take years off my life. There was and is something though that makes it all worth while. The way they felt in my hands and when a customer would say how good it felt and cut, performed, man that is what sends me. I always thought that music or art would be what made the mark. Those are my hobbies now, just how the cards played for better or worse. Had a couple benders and even breakers and lost a couple customers due to lateness. The learning curve can be a hairpin fishtail wipeout. Still growing all the while.
    Just want to thank so much all the folks who have had faith and patients. To those multi Odin owners a special bow and a huge bear hug. I'm very grateful for your friendship. To Sword Forum and everyone here I owe you everything and am honored to be a part of it.
  3. David Stokes's Avatar
    John, you have to keep this going! really GREAT stuff here!
    I know I probably come off sounding like an "Odin lover" but.... by god.... I AM! and there is a reason behind it!
    That photographic "look around" your shop tells VOLUMES of your STYLE! and I think Im not the only one here when I say that your STYLE is what draws your customers to you!

    If we are going to talk about the "old days", then lets talk about the REAL old days! Lets talk about how it all got started with me and you: GWAILAS!
    Man! thats a name that hasnt been uttered on these forums in AGES! most new SFIers probably dont even know what it is.... for others it was probably THE sword that started them on Odins..... lord knows... I post-whored that thing to death! but for good reason! it was a game changer whether folks realized it or not.
    I mean who was doing those types of swords back then? NO ONE!
    Now who is doing them? EVERYONE!
    That says ALOT right there.
    Its really neat to hear your insight into the methods of how you do what you do, but the one part that cant be described is the ART.
    I think I speak for everyone who has ever held an Odinblade when I say that they are more than just functional swords, they are truely ART.

    Thank you again for taking the time to write this! Keep it rolling!

  4. John Lundemo's Avatar
    Yes that is my pride and joy. I miss Freddy so much but I can always push a button and hear him after a heat treat or something Yes David, Gwailas was the first online custom sword. You were my first customer that I got from SFI. You talked me into joining SFI. Before that I was mostly doing stuff for reenactors and custom knife shows. Like to keep it going but I gotta go dry my eyes
  5. John Lundemo's Avatar
    Here are some pics of the acid etching process, with the resist already developed and touched up and ready for tape:

    DSCF0031 (Medium) by LongshipArmoury, on Flickr

    DSCF0032 (Medium) by LongshipArmoury, on Flickr

    DSCF0033 (Medium) by LongshipArmoury, on Flickr

    DSCF0023 (Medium) by LongshipArmoury, on Flickr
  6. John Lundemo's Avatar
  7. John Lundemo's Avatar
    These two sword blades turned out mint, so not only am I relieved but there will be a couple people happy as well. I hope they will feel it was worth the wait. It's a pretty touchy thing this etching duty, but somebody has to do it
  8. J.G. Hopkins's Avatar
    Thanks for another great entry and the additional photos!

  9. Mark McMorrow's Avatar
    Great stuff, John!! Awesome to see 'behind the scenes' of the shop!
  10. Lance Chan's Avatar
    I enjoy reading this post very very much! Thanks for sharing your how's with us! I appreciate such information disclosure!
  11. T.S.Melcher's Avatar