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How to Forge a Sword Part 2 - Shaping and forming the blade

This is part 2 of my series on how to make a sword. In this part of the tutorial we get the sword to almost its final raw shape. We work on the blade, form out the point, hammer in the bevel and get the blade into shape.

If you came directly to this webpage you can find part 1 of this tutorial (the beginning) right here: Part 1

And I have a video on this part of the tutorial at the bottom of this page.

 

 

This picture shows us what we end up with after this part of the tutorial. It's starting to look like a sword!

The forged sword

 

lengthwise on the anvil

A Note Before Starting -

Now you really need to start focusing on the shape and trueness of the sword. And one way to insure this is to spend a fair amount of time working the sword lengthwise on the anvil like shown in the picture here.

Make sure it stays flat and true. You will have to hammer it down often. But keep this in mind as you are working on the sword.

 

The Forging Work We do in this lesson:

There are a few major things that we want to accomplish in this part of the sword making.

  1. We want to get the whole sword pretty close to its final form. This will save us a lot of sanding and grinding work later on.
  2. Get the whole sword so it is flat and straight
  3. Form out the shapes of the sword including the tang and the point. We had previously worked on the tang and now we get it close to its final shape
  4. Hammer out the ridges and unevenness of the whole blade
  5. Hammer out the bevels along both sides of the blade

Hammering the point

Let's start by forming out the point of the sword. At this point don't get it fully to its final point. You can do that at the very end. This is because you have a lot of work to do on this sword and that point, being repeatedly heated, will be a bit fragile. So get it close to final form but a little beefy for strength. I get it roughly pointed but leave it a bit rounded.

working the blade

Now let's work on the blade and get it into shape. The majority of what we are doing here is working out the inconsistencies in thickness and the various lines and marks we have created during the forging process. If you drew out the blade like I did then there are lots of marks that need to be removed.

You work on the blade in heated sections starting from either the hilt or the point. Just do repeated heatings working your way slowly down the whole blade. And then work your way back up if you need to.

Remember, be conscious of it being straight and true and of an even thickness, with, if you can, a slight thickening toward the handle.

IF: If your blade is pretty even and clean already because you didn't work it much you could go ahead and also hammer in the bevels. This way it saves time and reduces the amount of heating and work done to the sword.

But, for this sword I do most of this work then I move on to working in the bevel of the sword.

Working the bevel of the sword

Now create the bevel of the blade. In the case of this sword I am beveling both sides.

This might be a good time to switch to a smaller hammer just as I have done.

Just as you did with cleaning up and flattening the blade you work your way up and down the blade, heating it in sections, and hammering in the bevel.

You do this by slightly lifting the far edge of the sword and hammering the bevel into the near end. Flip it around and do the other edge while each section is hot.

Keep an eye on it. At this point you need to work with your eyes close to the sword. Keep it as straight and as flat as possible. And it takes some practice but try to keep the thickness very even. The better you do here the less work you will have to do by hand later.

Finish the point

As you are working in the bevels of the sword finish up the point. Get it very close to the desired final shape.

Finish the tang

And finish the tang.

the forged blade

Ok, our sword is looking great. It is pretty much in its final shape and form. Next we will need to anneal it which softens it up so we can work on it with hand tools.

NextHow to Forge a sword part 3 - annealing the blade so we can work on it

 

Video:

The backyard Blacismith

The Backyard Blacksmith: Traditional Techniques for the Modern Smith

The Backyard Blacksmith shows you how -- with some patience and a working knowledge of metals, basic tools, and techniques -- blacksmithing can be easy to learn, and a rewarding hobby. Through instructions and illustrations, readers will learn to make simple tools and useful items, such as nails, hinges, and handles, and also an interesting mix of artful projects, such letter openers, door knockers and botanical ornaments.

Detailed step-by-step full color exercises teach all the universal skills and techniques used to forge iron; it's like having a master blacksmith by your side
Provides the reader with an understanding of the properties and characteristics of forging hot metal, making the craft accessible to those without previous experience
Over 20 beautiful and function projects organized by difficulty level allow new blacksmiths to progress at their own pace and master the skills they learned in earlier chapters

 

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