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Thread: Recreating the sword of Christian I, Elector of Saxony 1590

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Michigan USA

    Recreating the sword of Christian I, Elector of Saxony 1590

    Over three years ago when 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 London’s 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 client’s 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 06:49 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    North East USA
    Blog Entries
    Spectacular work, Kevin!

    ~ Hostem Hastarum Cuspidibus Salutemus ~

    "Those who beat their swords into plowshares usually end up plowing for those who don't."
    Benjamin Franklin

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Bucks County, Pennsylvania
    Amazing. There's not many smiths doing such fine detail work on real, non-wallhanger swords.
    They groan'd, they stirr'd, they all uprose,
    Ne spake, ne mov'd their eyes:
    It had been strange, even in a dream
    To have seen those dead men rise.

    -- Coleridge

    Please, all you need for zombies is like 300ft of piano wire and a bus.
    -- Dana Price

    Join the Horde! -

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Blue Ridge, Texas
    Wow! That is absolutely outstanding Kevin! I am simply floored!

    Very nice work, very nice!
    Paul Smith
    "Keep the sharp side and the
    pointy end between you and
    your opponent"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Newcastle, NSW, Australia
    "Best in Show" is well deserved. Very nice job. If I was the customer, I would have thought it well worth the wait.
    Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books.


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