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Thread: Bronze age rapier

  1. #1

    Bronze age rapier

    Here's one of Neil Burridge's rapiers which I just finished:

    This rapier has a much higher tin contents then normal, about 20%. I know an original rapier with 17.4% tin, so it's not actually that far off the range of the originals (mechanical properties are not that much different). The rapier was initially intended to be used to test the properties of chinese high tin bronze compared to regular. But as I got to know the material through destroying failed daggeraxe castings, I decided to finish this one and hilt it. The blade was quenched to reduce the brittleness. The edges are not hammered, as this bronze is quite hard already. This also means the edges are not hollow, but ground with a flat bevel.

    The hilt is pear, which does quite a bit of a color change after applying lineseed oil, starting out as light pink. Unlike my previous rapiers, I first glued in the blade using a resin/fat/charcoal mix before riveting, to prevent any looseness.

    I've got one more of these rapiers from Neil in the process of being finished (but in regular bronze).

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Fayetteville North Carolina
    i would love if you sent me the formula for the resin/fat/charcoal mix I am doing some other work and would like to remain true to history.

    the blade does not have the red colors that I love so much in bronze work but it is still beautiful. will you cut with it and has any one you know done cutting with bronze age weapons like is done with katana or other modern weapons

    "modern" is anything steel in this context, not anything made in the last century or so

    Respect and regards

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Newcastle, NSW, Australia
    Barry Molloy has done plenty of cutting and published a few papers on the subject.

    Molloy, B., "For Gods or men? A reappraisal of the function of European Bronze Age shields", Antiquity, Vol. 83, (2009)

    Molloy, B., "Swords and Swordsmanship in the Aegean Bronze Age," American Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 114, No. 3, (2010)

    Molloy, B., et. al., The Cutting Edge: Studies in Ancient and Medieval Combat (Stroud: Tempus, 2007)

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by David Lewis Smith View Post
    i would love if you sent me the formula for the resin/fat/charcoal mix I am doing some other work and would like to remain true to history.
    What I do is melt and mix the resin with an amount of charcoal dust as filler. The amount of fat needed is just enough so that when cooled and let set for a few hours, you can just press your nail into it without chipping the resin, about the same consistency of dried chewing gum: tough and strong, but still sticky. I found that you can easily add too much fat, which makes it goopy and sticky. The amount needed also depends highly on the resin (ideally hard, fully dried resin, or it will dry out and become brittle over time).


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