traditional tools for blade making
here is a hand plane for shaping the steel of the blade.. in cultures that lacked files or grind wheels it was a vital too, still used today. in the philipines for example a grinding wheel is 1 us wage per day is maybe 5$ in some areas and this tool lasts a lot longer than a sanding disc and makes the blade much smoother.
i wounder when these planes disappeared in europe .. you can see images form the middle ages they were standard.. but i dont see later images.
in much of the rest of the world they are still used now .
i also wounder what is the original english name for these tools
any one else has images of them form around the world ?
I've only seen these referred to as scrapers in western blacksmithing, usually configured as a draw knife like your photo or mounted as a toothless file with a square edge. In Japanese blacksmithing it's called a "sen" or "sensuki"- several images of this style can be found on google.
Scraping tools get a finished edge faster than abrasive stones & can be found in most blacksmiths shops in the west where agricultural or cutting tools are made. Whetstones & grinding tools tend to be more popular with the end user of a tool as they can be used to sharpen tools more casually, without having to mount a blade in a vise or fixture (blade on stone vs tool on blade).
That said, what we would consider steel files of considerable quality have existed in most well-traded cultures since the middle ages & softer iron/bronze files date back at least 3000 years.
I'd like to hear any information on what metalworking culture has progressed entirely without the concept of the rasp/file, or if it's simply not popularly used in manufacturing edged tools.
Interesting looking tool.
Can I ask how it works?
What is used as the abrasive?
hi , you just it to shave of steel.. it works like a plane..
there use to be machines made called metal planers or planer mills... i think in the 1700s they were invented in france or england..
in medival europe there was hand opperated ones used to shape sword blades later they go quite complicated,,, water powered and later steam..
its a hard sharp steel blade that scrapes away the soft unhardened steel..
now metal planes are no longer made but they are still in use, mills and surface grinders took their spot in industry..
many of the old metal planes in america and europe were sent to china and india in the 70s and 80s in china they are still a regular machine to see.
they are still in use but i dont know if there is any major producers of them still making an effort to premote newer updated machines of this type there is still makers but mostly for specialized tasks,, these use to be what rotary mills are today
with the hand plane after rough filing or grinding to make the surface smooth and ready for abrasive finishing and to remove hollow spots a metal plane is used. this is they way they got sword blades so smooth as grinding alone gives hollows
so basically its cutting away the steel. other types are used to cut the grooves in the blades ect.
basically just imagine a wood plane but in steel not wood
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBG652_9wl0 here is a manually opperated machine these appeared in the 17th ceutnary i believe.
operated totally by hand
Many thanks for the education
Just to point out that grind wheels were also standard in medieval Europe as the attached 14th century illustrations from the Romance of Alexander and English Luttrell Psalter attest to.
Differing tools existed for final polishing and beveling edges which seem more similar to the tool you are referring to.
a grind wheel is not used for a plane and plane is not used for a grind wheel.
ok i shall explain how these are used .. its two different process for the making of the sword...
people forgot the use of the plane first as the mills that were mechanical and also very accurate rolled forging for sword blades replaced this.
now our belt sanders and cnc mills fill the place making both the planer or shaper and the water wheel redundant so people forget how they were used
firstly you shall not use a plane on a hardened blade
medival images of planes being used on hardened blades are misinterpretations.
it is a polisher on a planer handle being used and hard to interpretate in a crude artwork.. but when ever you see a handle on the sword its a hard blade and is having the fullers polished
or just a lazy artist.
the water wheel is used on the blade when it is both hard or soft depending on the wheel
how swords were made then and even now in some more isolated parts of the world is first rough form is made
the it is either filed... or previously worked on a very very coarse stone .. or in europe a water wheel
this removed the forging scale and highlights the bevel for the edge
this bevel is rough and not defined.. as you can not put a straight grind on a round stone it will always have dips and hollows.
then the soft white blade is put into a special harness like a shave horse.
a very hard steel plane is applied to the surfaces to make the bevels all flat and perfect and make all flat surfaces true and remove grinding marks.
the blade is painted and the fuller or grooves are scribed with a sharp pointy scribe plane with a gauge .. and using a gauge with a little hard plane blade make to the shape of the fuller the fuller is cut.
some fullers can be preforged depending the shape and size.
a rough polish is applied to all surfaces to make sure all gouges and such are gone before it is hard.
now the blade is annealed equalized ect then quenched
cleaned breifly on a fine water wheel to remove the scale on the bevels then tempered.. ..
then back to the stone of a finer grade to clean everything up (stones dont make things flat the plane must)
the flat surfaces are rubbed with a stone of different grades by hand to
remove the grinding, including the cleaning of the fullers to a fine satin finish and to draw the edge together
and then a plane is used with a nonmetallic tip wood or leather powder from the stone to polish the fuller more and the finally it is ready to be used
and thats how you do a sword. unless you are form a culture that has neither metal planes nor files and water wheels in which case its .. well lots of rubbing on a stone .. naga is one that comes to mind, ifugao.. dayaks as well .
the medival pictures of grind of the already handled swords are either poor depictions or the blade is being reshaped due to some damage .. broken tip or such and the handle is to nice to remove.
im sure people didnt take such care for the knife they used in the market to cut meat.. just grinding wheel and wet stone
but words were weapons and symbols of status not agricultural tools
the process i have described has been used right up until the 21 century in some parts of the world to make sword blades
thats fine glad to be of some help. i wish to took more pictures when i traveled , ive became selfish .ive seen these tools used in many different countries and never bothered to take a foto
Thanks, I'm well aware of the process.
The images depicting swords with hilts can of course be simply interpretation and don't necessarily reflect in anyway tempered blades being ground (i.e. grinding the profile, not sharpening). As noted in my post the second series of tools in the images I posted are not analogous to stone grinding wheels, but used defining the profile and polishing, again artistic license can be shown with respect to hilts and as you noted makes it hard to ascertain the exact part of the process depicted.
Perhaps you misunderstood my post which was simply to add some interesting and relevant illustration, I understand the distinction in the tools you are making. ;)
In any case, don't let me distract from the thread by going further into medieval forging and grinding techniques. :) But since you obviously have an interest in blade production you might enjoy some other threads on the European section, I think I started one a while ago regarding trip hammers and other water powered medieval forges.
no problem. i just wanted to make clear the images are confusing as they dont really show what is actually being used, they are infact sharpening and polishing the blades with mounted stones and leather and wooden bits in what would normally be a metal plane handle. .
the cutting tools for planing are only ever used with a steel edge on soft blades.. they were always used with a grinding wheel but not a wheel alone by its self .
in the modern era wevhave belt sanders, mills ect and such machines to make a flat surface but in the past the only way to make it truly flat is with a plane.
the images are probably more likely .. lazy artist skipping on detail or people of the time just knew what the process as and understood the image.
there is a good german 16th century set of images on the internet floating round showing the polishing planes being used and there it can be more clearly seen that are not metal planes but tools of wood or leather bit in them.
the water wheel can not make smooth flat surfaces not matter how hard you try
the reason for posting an image of this tool is that i have never seen one discussed on the internet.... and outside of medieval images from europe i have never seen them depicted... and yet in tibet or isolated parts of the sudan i could just buy one for 10 or 15 $,
i own several of these.
i wounder when was the last time these were used in europe.. and where are the images of their use??
i just find it odd such a useful and cheap tool vanished so long ago..
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