Dagger 6

Found: Collooney, Co. Sligo, Ireland
Age: middle bronze age

The original dagger is in the National Museum in Dublin, Ireland. It's a typical Irish style dagger, with decorative ribs and hammered in grooves.

Material: soapstone

The mould is made from soapstone. It's actually the former mould for the palstaves, where I used the backside for casting this dagger. Because of this, I was limited in size, and had to reduce the size of the dagger by around 25%. As even smaller daggers of this type have been found, this is not a problem. During the casting, a fired clay/sand casting funnel is bound on top of the mould to be able to cast the bronze into the mould. This prevents the bronze pulling apart the mould when it shrinks as it cools down. No integrated funnels are found on original stone moulds, so seperate casting funnels have definately been used. 

Casting result
It took several attempts, and adjustments of  the mould to get a complete blade. The mould has yielded two blades so far, of which this is one.

Finished dagger
The dagger is finished using modern tools. The cutting edges have been hammer hardened. The hilt is is a single piece of ash, and is coated in lineseed oil. This dagger was also an experiment to see if it's possible to burn the slot in the hilt for the blade, by heating the blade and pressing it into the wood. The blade (another example) was heated to redhot, and pressed into the wood using wooden tongs. The wood was kept moist, to prevent the wood from burning to far. After about 10 burns, the slot was deep enough to insert the blade, giving a tight fit. So it's possible to make the slot using special tools. The only downside was that the pores in the wood had turned black, giving the wood a dirty look.