I love fantasy literature. Pretty much every swordsmith I have ever met loves fantasy literature. Not, perhaps, a huge surprise but it is really nice to meet up with people who whilst being very practical are also massive geeks.
This is my current project, a leaf shaped knife blade to be hilted in the manner of Sting from the Lord of the Rings films. I may even engrave or etch the elvish script onto the blade as I do find it rather lovely.
This is not intended to be a slavish copy of the film prop, but rather my own version with a similar form. I have collaborated with my master on a number of extremely accurate replicas of medieval weaponry, and although it is always a challenge it does lack a certain spontaneity so I rarely do it in my own time.
This is the first photo I took of the knife. Its the point when it transitioned in my mind from idle fiddling with steel to having a larger purpose. I had ground the fuller into the “raw” file, as its much easier to grind an accurate trench into a flat surface than onto the peak of a profiled blade. I then roughly ground in the edges and the ricasso to get an idea of the proportions of the blade.
At this stage, the edges were still parallel and I wanted more leaf shaped profile. There are several ways to do this and they vary from fairly simple to incredibly tricky. I did the simple one, obviously, and ground the edges to the shape I wanted before restoring the bevel at a stronger angle. It is possible to develop the leaf shape straight from the bevel angle, but it is painful and tedious work and the result is exactly the same.
After I had the shape I wanted, I gave it a rough normalising cycle by heating it to a dull red and allowing it to cool slowly. it may seem counterintuitive to soften the steel before hardening it but will reduce the chances of failure during the stresses of quenching. And it looks really cool, right?
In a similar vein, I forged this crossguard to shape with the intention of using it with this blade. I decided not to use it in the end as I want to make something a little more fantasy, but I think the glowing metal looks really cool so it makes it into the post nonetheless!