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Doug Ayen

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More on the sword [Jul. 16th, 2011|04:54 pm]
Doug Ayen
Spent most of today trying to finish off the sword, but messed up and won't be able to finish until tomorrow.



I was going to work on this last night, but fell asleep early instead. At least I was able to get up early this morning and get some work done.

First, a bit of straightening -- I emptied the quench tank of oil, wiped it clean, then filled it with water, and clamped the blade edge-down so that the edge was immersed about 1/2" in water, while leaving the back exposed. I used a propane torch to completely distemper the back of the blade, allowing me to straighten the blade out using a couple of C-clamps as levers. It's not perfect, but it's pretty good. I could fiddle with it more, but there's more to do.

On to handle-shaping -- forming the steel of the full-tang to the final shape. I've got different sized contact wheels, and the 1/2" diameter wheel is great for getting inside and rounding off inside curves and the like.

I pulled some 1/4" brass sheet from the stockpile, and cut out a couple of pieces for the butt of the handle, just a partial covering. After some shaping and fitting, I prepped for soldering . . . oops, I'm out of silver solder. Off to the hardware store! Ugh, the price of silver bearing solder has gone way up.

Soldering went well, just use the heat from the torch to pull the solder through the joint. Cleaning up the joint didn't go so well -- while grinding the brass to match the tang, I accidentally overheated it and the solder let go. It was simple enough to fix, just clean, clamp, and re-solder, but annoying nonetheless. Making sure to keep it cooler this time, I finished up the grinding and moved on to the grip.

After reviewing the woods I had on-hand, I selected some black palm -- a brown wood with black rays through it, very distinctive, hard, and it takes a good shine. Using the tang as a template, I marked out the scales and cut them on the bandsaw. I spent a couple of minutes on the belt sander flatening the side that will face the tang, and adjusting the edges where it meets the brass to ensure a snug fit, lastly trimming it to size.

Then, I selected what I had thought was a 15 minute epoxy, mixed it up, and clamped the scales to the tang after coating both with the epoxy. Half an hour later, I went inside and looked up the specs on the epoxy. This is the first time I've used it, it's a special high-temperature epoxy, good to up to 150C. Also, it takes 24-48 hours to cure. Ooops.

Well, looks like it'll take at least another day to finish off, maybe two. I still need to shape the wood, drill and fit some tang rivets, finish the handle, and sharpen/polish the blade. Still, very close to being done.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: dcseain
2011-07-16 11:09 pm (UTC)
How annoying about the epoxy. The blak palm will look smashing.
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[User Picture]From: blackanvil
2011-07-17 02:08 am (UTC)
Well, to be honest, a longer set time should also mean a better adhesion, and black palm is pretty oily. I did sand it down with 36 grit and hit it with degreaser, but every bit helps.

I really like the look of black palm -- I bought a good size chunk of it a few years ago, slabbed it up, and vacuum stabilized it. I should be able to get a good dozen hangles or more out of that piece, though I should probably pick up more well before I run out.

I like to let woods age, especially the more resinous ones--it takes a long time for all the moisture to come out, and even when stabilized, they don't become truly dimensionally stable until the water is either evaporated or content to stay where it is.
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[User Picture]From: chocorua
2011-07-17 11:20 am (UTC)
What are you using for silver-bearing solder? I've got wire from a jewelry supply place which doesn't melt till brass is red hot. I wouldn't expect that to let go while grinding, are you using something intended for plumbing?
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[User Picture]From: blackanvil
2011-07-22 03:21 pm (UTC)
Silver bearing solder is sold as a high-strength, low temperature solder, and has a melting point low enough that you don't have to worry about distempering/rehardening the steel. The hard silver solders, usually copper/silver brazing alloys, require so high a temperature to go liquidus that they have to be used *before* the final heat-treatment, or you run the serious risk of damaging the temper of the blade, or even heating it to the point that it hardens again, requiring re-tempering.

Besides, I couldn't find my hard solder (though I did later, for some reason stuck in the scrap bin) and the local hardware store doesn't carry jewelry making supplies.
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