Large knife

Found: Bargeroosterveld, Drenthe
Age: late bronzeage

The original is found together with a razor. The tip of the blade is broken and missing. Using the bronze hilted knives with similar shaped blades, I reconstructed the full shape.

Material: clay & sand, baken 

The mould is flat on one side, with the knife shape carved out of the other. This prevents mismatch of the two halves. Due to the length of the mould, it was very difficult to fire. I had around 6 moulds break during the firing until I had a good one.

Casting result
The first cast was a failure. During the preheating, the mould had curved and didn't close properly. Therefore the bronze leaked out of the mould. The next day I decided to have another go at it. The mould had cooled and was less curved, and appeared flexible enough to close it by tightly wrapping the leather bands. The first following attempt was near perfect, aside from an ugly gap in the top edge. The next attempt gave a perfect blade, seen on the left. It surprised me how thin the knife is still filled easily, eventhough the mould was relatively cold (to prevent further bending of the mould).

The mould has by now given more then ten succesful blades. Eventually, one of the mould halves broke. Fortunately I kept one of the halves of a mould of which the other half didn't survive the firing. With a bit of work, I could make this fit to the remaining mould half, and I could continue to cast more blades. The blade shown here is one of the first to have been cast succesfully. The blade here is already partially finished.

Finished knife
It took quite a bit of time until I came across an antler with a suitable piece for a hilt. I separated the part for the hilt from the antler with my bronze chisel. The hilt was then put in boiling water for some time. This softens the porous core. This enables the tang of the blade to be pressed into the hilt. After the antler had dried, the blade was fixed to the hilt.