This sword, together with the rapier, I made at a bronze casting course
from Neil Burridge (see his website: Bronze
Age Craft). I did this course to the some
experience in bronze casting, so I could start out on my own and have some idea of what to expect. The course was a truly unique experience, and I'd highly
recommend it to anyone. And if you don't believe me, read my review of the experience on this site (along with many photos):
The mould material and casting process are not fully authentic, which nobody can within a single day. But the method itself is very similar, and about as close as anyone has ever gotten to casting swords authentically to my knowledge. So far casting a full sword authentically has remained an elusive goal amongst bronze casters. Hopefully I'll get there someday!
|Found: Icklingham, Suffolk, UK
Age: late bronze age
The mould is directly copied from a drawing, so in terms of shape and size it will be a close match to the original. Aside perhaps from details in thickness distribution that is, as the drawing was only 2 dimensional. The weight at least is close at 600g, which is the typical weight for swords of this type.
||Material: lightweight ceramic material
The mould is carved from a ceramic material, which is soft and easy to shape. This made it possible to make the mould in a matter of a couple of hours. The same method of carving a shape from the mould I've now adapted for my own castings, for which I use clay or clay/sand instead, and it works very well. It's the same method which was used for stone moulds, only that stone is a lot harder and therefore more difficult to shape. The only problem of this method, compared to pressing a wooden shape into soft clay, is that it's more difficult to visualize what the final shape will be (especially in terms of thickness).
||Here you see the mal just after casting. The bronze is still glowing, which you can see through the seem. The mould was placed at an angle, which makes the bronze flow better into the mould. The mould wasn't closed well enough near the top, resulting in bronze pouring out of the mould. Fortunately though the mould had completely filled.|
|Here is the sword just after casting and still hot. My very first bronzecasting and my very first sword! Little did I realize just how much work it would require to finish it:)|
Finishing the blade
5 May 2003
|Here is the blade after the flash and feed had been removed, and I've started sanding the blade. For this I used a quartz riverstone. You can see me working on this in the photo on the previous page. The side of the handle has already been sanded smooth. The photo on the right shows a defect in the metal, a gap in the hilt. Unfortunately it's right at the weakest point of the blade, but as I'll only use it for display that won't be a problem. The rest of the blade is very sound, without any inclusions.|
8 November 2003
||This is the sword after many days of working on it in Archeon (while also speaking to the visitors as well). The last few months I haven't been able to work on it, so unfortunately I haven't finished the blade before the end of the season as I had planned.|
19 May 2004
|This season I've spend most of my free time in casting, so I haven't done much work on this sword. Here is te latest status. I've started on the blade itself, but it will require a lot of sanding to remove most of the irregularities.|
|For the hilt I'm planning on using taxus wood. The two halves will be attached on either side with bronze rivets, 7 in total. To shape the wood I'll be using my bronze chisel.|
|My first attempt at casting the rivets failed. The bronze wasn't liquide enough, and didn't fill up the mould.|