I have to say it...Respect to Ben Abbott

Chris Railey

KNIFE MAKER
Have you seen the sword Abbott built on a recent episode where the judges challenge each other to build something. He built a historic sword that was so technical I could not believe he got it on the first try. I have not seen such a technical build since Kevin Cashen and his friend built that Ulfberht sword for the History Chanel. Like the show or hate it that episode is worth checking out for Abbott's build alone. You can see pictures here. https://m.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=2953266051621962&id=1692747071007206&set=pb.1692747071007206.-2207520000..&refid=13&__tn__=+>
 
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opaul

Well-Known Member
I agree. Baker did a good job as well. J. Nielson built a chopper. I’m surprised they didn’t keep the challenge in line with Abbots build.
 

Chris Railey

KNIFE MAKER
I was thinking the same thing. Baker's was hard in a different way. The forge welding alone in Abbott's build was intimidating and I love to forge weld.
 

Owl

Gold Membership
Yep, that was a very impressive build.
But during that whole session I was thinking about how much skill and effort must have gone into the original.
Imagine doing all that forge welding without the benefit of modern power equipment and materials.
 

Chris Railey

KNIFE MAKER
Yep, that was a very impressive build.
But during that whole session I was thinking about how much skill and effort must have gone into the original.
Imagine doing all that forge welding without the benefit of modern power equipment and materials.
Exactly, I wonder what the original smith got paid for such a sword.
 

J. Doyle

Dealer - Purveyor
I watched the episode. One of those guys got an EXTREMELY easy pass, IMO.

I think the pattern on Ben's sword turned out pretty neat. There were some other things I'd have liked to see done differently/better, again IMO.

Some of the rest, I'd have to see in person to comment accurately on.

But this does raise a doubt/question I had:

I don't know the answer so I could be wrong.... you blacksmith and experienced Damascus forgers can help me out maybe.

If I recall correctly, when Ben had his final billet drawn out to full length, he was 6" too long. Rather than cut it to length he decided to upset the end of the billet to shorten it.

My questions:
1: Can you really shorten a sword 6 INCHES! by upsetting the end?.....1.a.....why would you want to?

2. That upset steel doesn't disappear. It would get thicker and wider behind the upset so what happens to that steel then?

3. Wouldn't that amount of upsetting be visible in the pattern near the tip?

4. Was this bad editing? Intentional misinformation? Pure smoke blowing?

That part didn't sit right with me (well a lot of it doesn't sit right with me but we've wandered down that road before).
 
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Chris Railey

KNIFE MAKER
You can upset steel in that manner and it would get fatter as you push it back in I call it an elephants foot. In my experience, it would take an effort to accomplish though. Short of busting one of his welds loose I do not know of a downside to upsetting the steel. If you made that the base of your sword I guess you could grind the fatter part away to make your shape consistent. I really cannot answer the pattern question because I have never upset Damascus but I would assume it would have an effect like squishing the lines together. That is just a guess. If it was over length but he still had enough thickness then he could have just cut the excess off and rocked on. I do wonder if something got lost in the editing.
 

J. Doyle

Dealer - Purveyor
I guess he could have upset the tang end, I don't recall that he necessarily upset the tip.

But the question still remains why? Why spend the time and effort to upset 6" of length then just cut it or grind it off?

He specifically addressed that he wanted to shorten it 6" instead of cutting it. I guess it's unclear where he upset it and what he did after that point.
 

Randy Lucius

Well-Known Member
I watched the episode. One of those guys got an EXTREMELY easy pass, IMO.

I think the pattern on Ben's sword turned out pretty neat. There were some other things I'd have liked to see done differently/better, again IMO.

Some of the rest, I'd have to see in person to comment accurately on.

But this does raise a doubt/question I had:

I don't know the answer so I could be wrong.... you blacksmith and experienced Damascus forgers can help me out maybe.

If I recall correctly, when Ben had his final billet drawn out to full length, he was 6" too long. Rather than cut it to length he decided to upset the end of the billet to shorten it.

My questions:
1: Can you really shorten a sword 6 INCHES! by upsetting the end?.....1.a.....why would you want to?

2. That upset steel doesn't disappear. It would get thicker and wider behind the upset so what happens to that steel then?

3. Wouldn't that amount of upsetting be visible in the pattern near the tip?

4. Was this bad editing? Intentional misinformation? Pure smoke blowing?

That part didn't sit right with me (well a lot of it doesn't sit right with me but we've wandered down that road before).
I know less than zero about forging and I had those same questions too. I enjoyed this format of the show better. I've always liked FIF better when they went to their home forges.
 

REK Knives

Well-Known Member
Definitely gonna watch this one!

One of the best sword makers I've seen is Kyle Royer, dude is insane. Of course it took him 3-4 months (so didn't have the limits of the show) but he made a great sword that is incredible. You guys should look up the video when you have time
 

Les Medley

New Member
Not up to Ben's skill level of forging, but my guess is that he was trying to maintain the historical pattern. The Sutton Hoo sword's main pattern is made up of a series of interrupted twists in each of 4 bars. Here are two pictures of the replica in the British Museum (Photo credit: Trustees of the British Museum).

screenshot-www.britishmuseum.org-2021.01.08-11_56_51.png

screenshot-www.britishmuseum.org-2021.01.08-11_53_30.png

So, imagine I am making something similar (but simpler because I am not that good), say 18 inches long consisting of a 6-inch twist section, 6-inch straight section, and a final 6-inch twist section. If I draw that out to 21 inches, I will have 3 sections of 7 inches each. Now if I lop off the extra three inches, I am left with a 7-inch twist section, 7-inch straight section, and 4-inch twist section.

I am pretty sure that is why he tried to shorten the blade rather than cutting it. He was trying to exactly replicate the number and size of the twisted sections. As to how he did it, that is for some of you smiths that know what you are doing.

Les
 

KenH

Well-Known Member
Les, Your explanation is the one I used to my wife while we were watching the show. A simple cutting off would mess up the pattern, while upsetting would help keep pattern "somewhat" more even.

Still, I do agree Ben sure took the hardest choice followed by Baker's choice. J. Neilson is very talented but I was surprised at his choice.

Did it strike any of ya'll the strength test was tiny tad less strenuous than normal testing?
 

opaul

Well-Known Member
Well since we are discussing FIF judges. The beat the judges season was awesome. If I had to rank the results of those shows I would rate David #1 Ben #2 and J #3.
 

billyO

Well-Known Member
Did it strike any of ya'll the strength test was tiny tad less strenuous than normal testing?
I only saw the 10 minute video, but after spending 2 weeks making the damascus and the rest of the Hutton Soo sword, I can understand not wanting to beat the hell out of it.... ;)
 

Greg Rice

Well-Known Member
Seeing that pattern and how Ben did it - makes me wonder what that one Ed is doing will look like with those zig zag cuts....
 
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