Learning to Weld Sword Hilts

The basic design I’m using starts with a pair of triangles. You can see them clearly in this dagger hilt.

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You can see many examples of this in the hilts offered by Darkwood Armory.

2 Ring Swept Hilt I - Round Stock Rings - Click Image to Close

First Attempt

For my first attempt, I placed the triangles on either side of a sold bar with the intention to cut the hole for the tang later. To actually drill the hole, I plan on using a milling machine. In the pictures you can see that I’ve already used the milling machine to remove the bead from the weld.

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Running a mill into here for the tang hole isn’t impossible, but care is needed to avoid clipping the sides. I may try drilling it from the bottom instead.

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A minute or two on the belt sander and most of the firescale on the triangle is almost gone. You can see some undercutting along the bottom from the weld.

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Still needs some touch-up, but the mill has taken all of the bead off. What looks like a bubble on the left quillon is really some undercutting where the bar stock melted away. I probably need to reduce the power a bit. Or maybe fill in the side and grind it back down.

Actually, that may make for a less jarring transition from the quillon to the triangle.

Second Attempt

After examining my existing swords more closely, it seems to me that they actually used two bars. This has the advantage of not needing to be drilled out. Unfortunately, it also made the setup much harder. I had to tack the triangles onto the bars from the top, before flipping it over and sticking it into the vise.

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Here you can see the tack marks on either side of the shoulder. I can probably avoid this if I can find some better welding clamps. In any event, the beads are far enough away from the point of the triangle that I can easily cleaning them up with the mill. Or ignore them, as there is still enough shoulder for the blade.

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The general consensus is that the smaller triangle looks nicer when using straight sides. That said, I wish to eventually learn to make the smooth curves of the Darkwood hilts. That’s going to take practice with the bandsaw, and probably a new blade.

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The mill wasn’t available to I touched it up a bit on the belt sander.

Materials

All material is 1/4” thick rectangular bar stock with a per-piece cost of about a dollar. Like with jewelry making, most of the shaping and polishing has to be done before you assemble the parts. Even without the rings, filing the tops of those triangles is going to be hard and the belt sander is no longer an option.

In retrospect, I think I can use thinner material for the triangles, maybe even 1/8” thick.

The 1/2″ by 1/4” quillons look awfully big, but once I round-over the sharp edges they should look right. If not, I’ll drop down to maybe 3/8” by 1/4”.

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