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"Carl's Lounge" (Off-Topic Discussion, Traditional Knife "Tales & Vignettes")

Discussion in 'Traditional Folders and Fixed Blades' started by jackknife, Jul 5, 2010.

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  1. Cambertree

    Cambertree Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 29, 2014
    JC - congratulations and well done my friend. I’m happy for you. :thumbsup::)

    Gev - you’re a good man. I’m glad to know you. :cool::)

    Jer - thanks for reinstating your rant - I always enjoy reading your thoughts, particularly on this subject.

    I’m both a big fan of the Norse Sagas, and the metallurgical studies of their swords.

    Others here may be able to correct me, as I’m recalling information I’ve read over the last 30 years or so.

    The mention of named swords in the (mostly Icelandic) Sagas is particularly fascinating.

    I recall (perhaps in the Orkneyinga Saga) an account of a bunch of longboats that were grapnelled up against each other and some hard fighting was going on.

    The King on one side was unhappy with the progress of his warriors and was shouting at them like a coach on the sidelines.

    They shouted back that their swords were dull, and he had to pull out a bunch of freshly honed ones he had stashed under his throne on his ship, and throw them over to the ships where his boys could reequip themselves and charge back into the fray.

    A few accounts of duels - holmgangs - have the participants having to stand on their swords and straighten them back out in the midst of combat.

    One sword named Greysides was passed down through multiple generations. Once it was taken by the wronged wife of its last owner when she left him on a boat, taking their children with her.

    He ran down to the beach pleading that she could take everything else, but just leave the sword.

    She threw it into the sea.

    Someone else picked it up on a stony beach later on, and it resumed its bloody career.

    Greysides later snapped in a duel, and it was recorded that the broken stub was used to kill its owner’s adversary.

    The leftover piece was then reforged into a spearhead and Greysides the sword became Greysides the spear.

    In Egil’s Saga, Egil’s brother, Skallagrim dived into the Icelandic ocean to find a stone that he could use as a smithing anvil.

    The Ulfberht swords are particularly fascinating. There are multiple Ulfberht swords which have survived to posterity, from a roughly 150 year period.

    We don’t know whether Ulfberht was a man or a smithy, or perhaps a line of smiths, but what we do know is that the genuine Ulfberhts, which were possibly Frankish, were evidently much copied.

    There are many Ulfberhts which are metallurgically inferior, and even contain spelling mistakes on the inlaid text in their fullers. Some of the fakes are richly appointed and decorated.

    An analysis of some of the surviving Ulfberhts shows that the presumably genuine ones are miracles of advanced craftsmanship, like the Muromachi period Japanese katanas. That is, they are about as good a sword as a modern skilled bladesmith with knowledge of modern metallurgy could forge today.

    There are examples which are differentially heat treated to the high 50s on the Rockwell scale at the edge, and some of the carbon content is in the region of modern Shirogami 1 steel - about 1.4%.

    This is the exception rather than the rule, of course.

    Many examples are in the 40s on the Rockwell C scale, which explains the fast dulling and bending in extended combat in the sagas.

    Those isolated examples of smithing masterworks though, must explain how some storied swords were known by name, and coveted by all, and passed down through the generations.

    This is a paper which examines some surviving Ulfberhts.

    And a so-so documentary on the Ulfberht blades.

    And some better BBC docos on the Icelandic Sagas and Viking history.

    If we could be transported back to those times, like Twain’s Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, pretty much any of the blades we now have in our pockets would be deserving of a name as an heirloom quality cutting tool, considering the cleanliness and quality of the steel and more controlled heat treatment.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2019
    meako, r redden, Jack Black and 3 others like this.
  2. scrteened porch

    scrteened porch Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 19, 2012
    Thanks, @Cambertree . Lots of good stuff there. I downloaded the paper.

    Beowulf had at least one named sword, Hrunting, which at least some say means something like Stabber, so of course B tries to whack with it.
    Lots of things bug me about Beowulf. Why could he swim underwater all day and why didn't the poet think that needed explaining? Why did he bring back another piece of Grendel instead of a piece of G's dam, when he'd gone to kill G's dam? (unless she melted when her blood melted the seax) How could the poet end the poem by saying it was B's fate that weapons always failed him because he was so strong, when the only thing that saved him from G's d was the seax he killed her with after losing the wrestling match?

    I should read it again, though I find it rather heavy sledding.
     
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  3. Prester John

    Prester John Gold Member Basic Member Gold Member

    May 20, 2018
    Beowulf was the first super hero.
    I want a funeral like his.
     
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  4. scrteened porch

    scrteened porch Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 19, 2012
    Me too.
    Well, we do cremate, but not so dramatically. It improves shelf life and portability.
     
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  5. JTB_5

    JTB_5 Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 6, 2017
    Gilgamesh and Enkidu, brother ;). The original dynamic duo.
     
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  6. Gevonovich

    Gevonovich Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 17, 2011
    Great read and I'm still deep diving the links :D And I You ;):):cool::thumbsup:
     
    Cambertree likes this.
  7. veitsi_poika

    veitsi_poika Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Nov 25, 2016
    This was great to read John :):thumbsup: 52" waist down to 40"... just WOW! :D Having to spend money is rarely fun but I'm sure it is a welcome exception when you're having to buy smaller clothes ;)

    Ugly day outside in Green Bay today but when I look over from my desk and see the Orioles... it's not so bad :)

    Capture.JPG
     
  8. scrteened porch

    scrteened porch Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 19, 2012
    Here's my folk harp so far. 62"x11"x1.25" Cherry for $7.00 at an antique mall.
    [​IMG]
    I found some hardboard in the garage that will be a good template.
    Edited to say,"oops, that's 72", not 62"".
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2019
  9. scrteened porch

    scrteened porch Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 19, 2012
    $20 guitar. 3/4 size, so call it a parlor guitar. I've slacked the steel strings and ordered some nylon. That should decrease the strain on the bridge, which someone has put a couple of screws through. The saddle is mashed also, so I'll replace that with a bit of brass if it fits, or something else if the brass doesn't fit.
    [​IMG]
     
  10. scrteened porch

    scrteened porch Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 19, 2012
    Wouldn't it be funny if my musical attempts to stave off dementia were really a demented refusal to accept my lack of musical talent?
    So let's hope it's true that "the fool who persists in his folly will become wise".
     
  11. Cambertree

    Cambertree Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 29, 2014
    Nice rundown Jer. Yeah, I think some of the pages of the original manuscript were burnt or damaged in a fire in the early 1700s. The first transcription of the manuscript we have is from after the fire.

    It is rather heavy going. I thought I should take another look at it though. I thought I’d try Seamus Heaney’s version. I’m enjoying it so far.

    It’s interesting that a lot of those old swords are found at the bottom of rivers and lakes. Some of them are probably from ship burning funerals.

    I thought this story from last year of an 8 year old Swedish girl who found an old relatively intact sword in the shallows of a lake, was pretty cool.

    Definitely Joshua. The original epic tale.

    Thanks Gev. Speaking of Seamus Heaney, I thought you might appreciate the epitaph on his gravestone: Walk on air, against your better judgment.

    I applaud your self deprecation Jer, but I’m sure making, restoring and playing new instruments will be firing new neurons aplenty, and is a worthy pursuit in itself.

    How’s the sound on that cigar box uke now? I recall you had a couple of mods you wanted to do?
     
  12. scrteened porch

    scrteened porch Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 19, 2012
    I was stalled for a while, wondering whether to hammer my old license plate flat and how much of it to use for a resonator. Now that I have those little tole ware trays, I can just make one fit, without having to theorize. Once I've cleared enough space to swing a saw. First I have to make a hanger for that guitar. I've been moving it from couch to bed and back.
     
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  13. scrteened porch

    scrteened porch Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 19, 2012
    Wouldn't it be great to find an intact and older one. Could happen.
    I've got Heaney with the OE on facing pages. Saves a lot of time.
     
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  14. 5K Qs

    5K Qs Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 20, 2014
    I missed this earlier.
    Joshua, are you referring to Gil Gamesh, the baseball player, in Roth's Great American Novel?? ;):thumbsup::cool:

    - GT
     
    meako, Cambertree, JTB_5 and 2 others like this.
  15. meako

    meako Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 4, 2006
    "It’s interesting that a lot of those old swords are found at the bottom of rivers and lakes. Some of them are probably from ship burning funerals.

    I thought this story from last year of an 8 year old Swedish girl who found an old relatively intact sword in the shallows of a lake, was pretty cool. "
    @Leslie Tomville ...
    And here was me typing the blurb with a legend about a curmudgenous old captain whose rope knife is washed overboard in a ferocious typhoon. The ship is wrecked and his ghostly voice can be heard through the centuries, eerily moaning in the fog ,searching for his lost knife. Only when the knife is trawled up and found among the catch of fishing boat does the fog clear and the groaning wind ease to a light breeze....or something like that...
     
  16. Jack Black

    Jack Black Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 2, 2005
    A lot of old knives are found in the River Thames, in RELATIVELY good condition. The reason they are found there, rather than elsewhere in London, is that the clay at the bottom of the river protects them. Other knives, left exposed to the air and the elements have rusted away long ago, or at least are in less good condition than those preserved by the clay. Of course, at the bottom of the river, they are also protected from USE, and from the Dremel! :eek: :thumbsup:
     
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  17. r redden

    r redden Gold Member Gold Member

    May 23, 2015
    I sure hope that quote is right Jer. Since I finished the recording set-up in my apt I have lost my mind I have abandoned everything else and this is what my living room looks like. :eek::eek:

    [​IMG]
     
  18. scrteened porch

    scrteened porch Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 19, 2012
    Looks great!
     
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  19. scrteened porch

    scrteened porch Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 19, 2012
    @Cambertree's got me working on an alternate soundboard for my 5-string steampunk uke. I've been going from knife to rasp to Dremel trying to inlet the resonator. I think it needs a big drum-sander on the Dremel to make the step down. If this doesn't improve things, my next soundboard might have a normal sound-hole where a normal person would cut it.
    [​IMG]
     
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  20. Fodderwing

    Fodderwing Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 31, 2017
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