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Thread: Fitting Frustration

  1. #1

    Fitting Frustration

    So as some of you have seen I have been working on a pattern welded blade that I made, two actually but one has yet to be heat treated. I made a set of fittings for it and I used nickel sheet as a.... not sure of the right term to use here, but to rivet over the guards opening because it was sloppy. I didn't really like the look, didn't like the guard either, took it to the A&A booth at a local faire and they said the same. I did a search and couldn't find a thread that had to do with how to make guards fit really well, when you want them to hug a diamond cross section. I was working today on one.... trying, not even close though. On my way up to write this with a beer I though what if I were to hot cut a slit that most of the tang can start to go in, then get the bastard hot as hell, slide it on, and hammer it home to get the shape and then take it off, let it cool, then file the last bit.
    Then it occurred to me if I do that I am probably going to screw up the heat treating on/near the shoulder of the blade. Then I came up with the perfect way, EDM! Ya right, after I win the lottery maybe. Any takes on a good method? I am kind of desperate because the one sword that I want to finish, it has been long enough, and only about 8 knives that are also waiting for their fittings. I am kind of feeling the same way as when I first started forging blades..... Any help would be great. Thanks to all!

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Make a punch as close to the shape of the tang/shoulder of the blade as possible and use it to drift the slot. Leave it a little undersize and file the final fit carefully. You can also punch a shallow slot the width of the entire blade to allow it to set further in.
    You might be able to re-use the badly fitted guard, you can re-heat it and forge it to close the slot down a little.
    Justin King

    just killing time until my next bad idea....

  3. #3
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    Mar 2002
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    drill and needle file
    tang drift like Justin said
    EDM (know a maker who's used it for fancy guards!)
    make the tang a simple shape!
    hot fit to the tang---btw many medieval swords did not heat treat the tang or even used plain wrought iron for the tang so heat treat may not be as much as an issue as you think

    The term you were hunting for is a shim; japanese blades often used a soft metal insert to shim a tsuba for use on a different blade.

    You can peen around the opening if it's just a tich too large, a nice peened look will cover that for the bottom of the guard and the grip will cover it for the top.

    and finally PRACTICE! after you have done a hundred or so you'll be making them pretty good.
    Thomas Powers
    CoFounder of the Intergalactic Union of Bladesmiths
    "when you forge upon a star"---you better have your union card handy!

  4. #4
    Thanks for the feedback guys. I think I will try to hot fit the gaurd tomorrow. I was concerned about ruining the heat treating on the blade and not the gaurd but if I can get the gaurd to fit the way I like I'll be willing to wait and just reheat treat the blade. As is the blade is pretty good but looking at it now there are some problem spots. Granted only the trained eye would see them but if I see them then they bug me. I guess I just don't know where to draw the line between good enough for my first sword because I want it to be dead on. Maybe I'm too much of a perfectionist too soon, but that should be better then sloppy and not caring. I'll try to post an update tomorrow. If things go good then I will for sure, if they don't.... Well we'll see.

    Thanks, again for the ideas and the help!

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    careful sawing with a jeweler's saw and lots of blades?

    i have a recent project, and that's how im getting it to work for me. takes a while, but im sure nickel is much softer and easier to cut then steel.
    Pi R Squared, no...Pie R round, cornbread R squared.

  6. #6
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    Note before hot fitting make sure you have the tools set up to move the guard onto and off of the tang so it doesn't just sit there pumping heat into the tang while you try to figure out how to remove it.

    Pushing it on can be pretty easy with a monkey tool sized to fit it nicely.

    Taking it off---You might want to look at a dent puller for autobody work and design a guard puller like it with a slide hammer and a fork to fit around the tang.

    Wrapping the blade near the tang with sopping wet cloth helps keep the blade cooler and you should *NEVER* be getting it up to temp where it would have a chance of hardening and becoming brittle.
    Thomas Powers
    CoFounder of the Intergalactic Union of Bladesmiths
    "when you forge upon a star"---you better have your union card handy!

  7. #7
    Thanks for the note Thomas. I had some reasonable success today! I took a measurement of the tang shoulder transition and hot cut a slot to about the same measure. Then I opened it so it would just slide onto the tang and hammered it home. Took about two heats of hammering down through a 1"x1/2" to get a good impression of the shoulder;
    Then took one more and held a heavy hammer to one side and hammered the slot from the side to give it a snug fit and one more tap to make sure it was seated well. I ran into a little bit of a problem on this step because it took a bit longer which means more heat to the shoulder tang, also more time for the guard to contract and be a bit of a chicken with it's head cut off operation to get it off.
    In the end I don't think that there was enough heat transfer to have a need to reheat treat the blade...... But that is something that is open for discussion.
    The Guard its self turned out pretty good I think. There are two spots that I am not too thrilled about and have yet to decide if I am going to leave them or try to do something about them. I was playing with the idea of doing a bit of welding to clean them up but I am a little concerned that one could see the different material in the long run. Has anyone run into this problem in practice or in thought? Here are two pics.
    Attached Images Attached Images   

  8. #8
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    I take it that you can't orient the guard such that the problem areas are hidden by the grip. Always try to put the "good" side down.

    With such a nice blade you might become more dissatisfied with even minor flaws in the future so you may want to try again though that guard would look pretty good on a munition blade.

    Also you can design your handle such that you can re-do it later if you decided to stick with what you have now...
    Thomas Powers
    CoFounder of the Intergalactic Union of Bladesmiths
    "when you forge upon a star"---you better have your union card handy!

  9. #9
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    This is one of those things that takes patience, I don't care to know how many guards I have fitted by now but if I try to hurry I can still ruin one like a first-timer. A large part of it is how you set up the tang/ricasso, experience will tell you to take the extra care during forging and grinding to make it easier on yourself during fitting. This should be absolutely the thickest part of the blade with at least a minimal distal taper in both directions. Fullers running through the guard are a whole new frustration, try one and weep...
    Justin King

    just killing time until my next bad idea....

  10. #10
    I can defiantly see the frustration! As for now, since I have decided that I screwed myself by getting the blade too hot where the guard sits that this is a perfect excuse to do a bit of reshaping on the blade. Since I prepped another blade for heat treating I learned a bit more, and I looked down the first one, so needless to say it isn't in great shape right now, but I will have it ready for the salts by the end of tomorrow, and I think Sat morning I'll make another guard, or keep making them until I get it right. The design that I picked for the pommel would be best made in a lathe so I dropped off a drawing and material at a machine shop and they should have it ready next week. If I can get my salts up next week that would be a surprise. I ordered the tubes...... Let’s say long enough ago that I should have had my baths up and running for about a month.......

  11. #11
    Join Date
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    Don't even bother trying to heat-treat the tang/ricasso junction, there's no need to and it will make filing/fitting more of a pain. In fact the blade's a bit less likely to break in use with the area soft.

  12. #12
    interesting.... I thought that the blade should be hardened with about 1/3 of the tang. I guess you learn something new everyday.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Pikula View Post
    ...
    ...Then I came up with the perfect way, EDM! Ya right, after I win the lottery maybe. Any takes on a good method? .....
    Either EDM or waterjet - $$$ ? you don't have to buy the machine...

    A job shop should be able to do the work for a reasonable price.

    Of course jewler's saw & files as others have suggested will work, and perhaps not any slower by the time you find & wait for the vendor's queue of work...

    Cheers,

    Byron
    ...And the rest is just...engineering - Physisist lecturing on applications of cyclotrons

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