Originally Posted by Iain
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