- 27 March 2017 at 3:30 pm #310462
I have to admit, that making spoons is not my cup of tea, indeed, i don’t need any, so it is kind of useless, to make them. A Gladius (Roman short sword) has similar features, long, handle, rounded areas etc., so it should be as good a practise project as a spoon. of course, it will be quite useless as well, but it is more decorative than spoons (ok, matter of taste).
After watching some images, I came up with a simple design. Blade about 60 cm long, handle to hand width, guard about 1″ wide, barely protruding the blade width, pommel in disk shape. The blade is 6,5 cm wide, straight and has a tip. The original idea was to make the sword in one piece, but I had an “accident” while shaping the blade, so it will be four pieces: Blade, guard, handle and pommel. At this point, I am leaving the basic spoon carving methods. More details later…
I retrieved two boards from an old pallet, probably pine, planed one smooth and flat, cut to width and squared it roughly. Then I drew a center line and put on the basic design. Then I drew center lines on the sides and more lines to limit the width of the bevels for the edges. then I started to plane the bevels for the edges.
At this point, I made the big mistake that drove me to change the construction: I made a bevel all along the length. At the upper end of the blade, there will be a long tenon to hold the guard, handle and pommel. I don’t think, that I can make a mortise hole of over 10 cm without splitting the handle, so it might be made from four pieces instead. Mortising the guard and pommel shouldn’t be a problem.
I roughly finished the other three bevels and called it a day.
I still think, that making a Gladius out of one piece is possible, because I have a bandsaw (which is more accurate than my other saws, when it comes to resawing). So I can partially resaw the board to the thickness of the blade and leave the rest thicker. It might break at the transition, when used as a practise sword, but that is not the plan (practising isn’t). This is for the second sword, of course.
I will keep posting the progress.
Perhaps the pictures tell the story a bit better…28 March 2017 at 7:55 pm #310676
No news, I was busy fighting the legs of my worbench to be (not the one on the pictures). Anyway, I wonder if anyone can see this topic. It wasn’t visible to me, when I started it, it only appeared yesterday.
Dieter28 March 2017 at 9:26 pm #310678prbaylissParticipant
It appeared yesterday for me. I also had the same problem posting over the weekend31 March 2017 at 8:19 pm #310772
I finished the handle, the guard is fitted, but needs shaping. And I need another piece of wood for the pommel.
Attached new images, the pommel isn’t real, it is a broken bottom from a tankard, too thin, but it will be the shape of the pommel.
I made the handle from one piece, unlike planned, because I found a long enough drill bit with a suitable diameter. Then I cut the hole to shape with a mortise chisel and another smaller chisel. Then I shaped the outside. First, I added bevels with a plane and planed them smooth. Then, first with a coarse rasp, then with a fine one, I cut the grooves and sanded them. This shape is quite typical for bone handles and it feels very good in my hand.
The guard mortise was simple chisel work, then I reshaped the tang to fit in. I also added a recess to accomodate the blade shape.
The edge of the blade is still fairly thick, but I will leave it like that. A sharp edge would break easily, and, being a decorative piece of wood, there is really no reason at all, to have a sharp edge.
Holding this sword in the hand, it only requires a little bit of imagination to see, that the gladius was quite a serious weapon. Being this short, it would probably be quite well balanced with a hardwood pommel.
PS: Perhaps I should point out, that I hate war and violence. Though, I have to admit, that there is something appealing about weapons. Part of that is the simplicity and effectiveness of the design, but there is also something about power. Psychologists will have an easy explanation…2 April 2017 at 9:03 pm #310803
The pommel is shaped and got a mortise hole now.
I need to square the handle top and bottom, then I can glue. I think, squaring it before cutting the center hole and shaping the outside, would have been better, because it would be easier to clamp the piece and I am expecting a lot of tearout in the center hole now, when planing.
The sides of the guard need to be planed too. I have kind of decided to leave the corners instead of rounding the top. It makes a nice contrast to the round of the pommel.
For finish, I consider shellack for the blade and oil for the rest. If I want to apply silver lacquer onto the blade later on, it might be better, not sure. However, shellack will give the blade a nice shine.
I am going to use hide glue, because it can fill the gaps very well, and it is reversable. Furthermore, if the Romans had made similar practise swords, they wouln’d have used PVA 😉
Dieter4 April 2017 at 11:11 pm #310890Richard GuggemosParticipant
Good to see you having fum while honing skills!5 April 2017 at 8:37 pm #310900
Ha, I might even learn some basic carving. I want to run a small groove near the edges of the pommel and guard eventually. And I just watched Paul’s new video about carving…
By the way, I noticed again, that the handle has very tight and straight grain. It was cut from a corner block of a pallette. These corner blocks are often made from such wood, quite useful for certain applications.
I also finished glueing the sword. It doesn’t look any different now, so I didn’t take new pictures. The next step is to scrape the surfaces, in order to create a good base for the finish. I think, I am going to return to making my workbench soon, so I won’t do any carving yet.
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