I have been getting reports on the new *Star Trek: The Experience* in Las
Vegas. If any of you have the opportunity to partake of this I am sure the rest
of the Guild would like to read a nice article on it. mupwI' yI'uchtaH !! (Keep holding the hammer ! )
STRENGTH, SIMPLICITY, POWER and DANGER
I hope you enjoy it. As always your comments and input are welcome.
K'Daq son of Toragh
Master of the Heart of Kri'stak
I have just returned from my shop, I was trying an experiment that was suggested by a friend of mine who is an authorized SCA armorer.He uses a time honored method of cutting all his metal,the hammer and chisel method! Now I have used this method to cut a d'k tahg out of 1/8th inch carbon steel and it worked wonders on the cut out potion of the blade,I am planning on cutting out a batleth out of 3/16 stainless sheet metal next.Now here it gets a little tricky. I tried cutting that 1/4 inch mystery metal that I made the Meqleth out of, and only succeeded in banging up my hand . I was using a 1/2 inch wide cold chisel with a slightly sharper than normal bevel. The cutting edge of the chisel held up remarkably well! I was using a 7 lb. sledge hammer with the handle cut down to a more usable length. I was hoping to report a method that would help you in your current dilemma, but I wouldn't suggest it to anyone who is not accustom to some physical abuse on a regular basis! Nor would it be useful on anything thicker than 3/16. I may be going over some old ground for you, but it was soothing new to me ,so I thought I would share it with you.Is titanium more shock resistant than steel ?
I really liked this letter. It shows the *driven* nature of the craftsman. I can recall a number of times when the tools at hand didn't do the job so I had to improvise. I have known a number of SCA armorers (I still consider myself to be one) and they tend to try the more ancient methods more often than you'd think. Its all a part of *existing* in the medieval times. OUCH though ! My arms hurt thinking of pounding a 7 lb. sledge against unyielding metal. I was so determined to cut out my first *Conan the Barbarian Sword* that after I had broken all of my bandsaw blades I switched to a hack saw and then finished with a Dremel tool and *separating* wheels. To say I was obsessed with getting that thing cut out would be a gross understatement.
On a serious note, this is a good option for the *machine impaired* members who have smaller gauge steel in their projects. As long as the steel is dead soft, this method can produce good results. It will build your arms as well
I'm wondering if your mystery metal has been heat treated ? Perhaps its just average steel but hardened ? Could you anneal it and try it again ?
Great news on the titanium front. I got three new blades over the holidays and the new ones cut the titanium about the same as steel. I am getting a feel for the stuff. It's major *quirk* arises when it is subjected to heat. For example if you try to drill a hole in it with a high speed drill the drill overheats and the metal doesn't cut. It responds much better to very slow blade and drill speeds. With my drill press set on its slowest revolution I went through the quarter inch stock with a quarter inch drill for the rivet holes with no problems at all. I think this quality is what led to stripping the teeth off of the last two bandsaw blades. I have now developed a very easy feed technique on low speed and the blades last and the metal cuts. Finally, as I mentioned in an earlier letter, you can always cut it with a torch and on the future large projects that is exactly what I will be doing.
Excellent letter. As always , thanks for your input - it always elicits good discussion.
Great and Honorable One!
I am but a humble apprentice. I seek to be a member in good standing in the Weapon Guild. I am not a maker, but a designer of good and reliable weapons that a warrior can be proud. It would mean great honor for me to be called a member of the Guild.
However, whenever we welcome a new member into our midst, the honor is definitely ours. Welcome to the Guild. May your forges burn bright and the light in your eyes never go out. ! I look forward to seeing and posting your designs to the site.
mupwI' yIuchtaH !
I have an interest in this Guild you've formed. I'd rank myself as knowledgeable about edged weapons in general. A rank amateur in methods and skills necessary to create them though.
Dennis & Kim Orosz Home Pages http://www.cl-sys.com/dorosz
IKV Hand of Kahless Pages http://www.cl-sys.com/dorosz/klin.htm
Reshtarc Family Pages http://www.geocities.com/Area51/6803
Klingon Marine Pages http://members.tripod.com/~dmorosz/index.htm
KLAW E-Mail list page http://www.cl-sys.com/dorosz/elist.htm
Knowledge is power.
The pages of the Guild Site are fairly self explanatory. If you love weapons (and what Klingon doesn't) then your presence and membership are welcome. There are no dues and no requirements of participation, although the Guild grows through the creative input of it's members. I believe everyone has something to offer .......but I also believe they will know when the time to share their knowledge will be. Do not hesitate to wade in with letters or articles, or pictures of work you have done or observed.
Over the past months I have come to look forward to the energy of the Guild. K'Daq is a very old Klingon and not long for this battlefield. Sharing the knowledge, teaching the interested and singing songs with honored warrior friends is making the battle a glorious victory.
One popular section of the mupwI' has been the member's history section. If you have developed or are developing a Klingon family history it would be an honor to display it in the newsletter. You can review the past examples - they cover a wide range
I look forward to your input........or just the knowledge of your presence.
Master of the *Heart of Kri'stak*
As the Guild grows, we will try to enhance camaraderie by publishing histories of our members (both Klingon and Terran). It is not necessary to develop a family history to be a Guild member, but it does help to solidify an image of you as a fellow crafts person and Klin.
So many of the guild-members are members of or owe a great deal to the House Kasara that I felt it fitting to honor it this month. Especially fitting since it is the first issue of a new year and thoughts of the friendships that have grown from my fortunate contact and acceptance by the truly honorable warrior who now leads the House of Kasara - Lady K'Zin epetai Kasara.
The origins of this family line date back approximately two centuries ago when it was a predominately Imperial Klingon line. As a Major Family Line, House Kasara is a forerunner of innovation in the Klingon Empire; it actively promotes the superiority of females in many fields and encourages them to achieve highly. As such, there are many highly placed Kasaras in the Empire who are female; the most famous is the current Head of the Line, Thought Admiral Kamla epetai Kasara; a strong woman who is loyal to the Empire and dedicated to the cause of the Grand Alliance. The first female head of House Kasara, she is also one of the few female Admirals to be found in the Empire. This but emphasizes her skills in leadership and her power within the *Komerex*.
Admiral Kamla was recently granted a seat on the Klingon High Council, partly due to the growing influence of the *Kasara Alliance*; a network of major Klingon lines allied through consortships, adoptions and friendship pacts. Currently, the *Kasara Alliance* has connections with the following family lines: Baclar, Cheghjihtah, De'Hal, Dyzala,Decara, G'Bcyn, Jev, K'Hoska, K'YaRT'ash, Subaiesh and T'aw.
Also in a notable position is the heiress to the line, the Lady K'Zin epetai Kasara, eldest daughter to Admiral Kamla. Lady K'Zin currently holds the influential position as the Klingon Ambassador to Terra and heads the Klingon Imperial Diplomatic Corps mission located there. She is presently consorted to the leaders of the Houses Dyzala, Decara, Jev, K'YaRT'ash and T'aw amongst others, contributing to her high status.
House Kasara has become a powerful line in the past century for many reasons, however it is also well known for its two private schools; the Kasara School of Diplomacy and the Kasara School of Military Arts; and for its large Kasara Merchant Fleet.
The House of Kasara is presently a matriarchal line and it is best not to insult or raise the ire of any high-ranked Kasara female as all have graduated from KaSMA with honours. The line seeks to embrace the ideals of the Grand Alliance and believes that all races and species have their own strengths and skills.
House Kasara is an open, extended family line with a composition of 35% Klingon/Human Fusion, 40% Imperial Klingon, 20% Klingon/Romulan Fusion and 5% other (Human , Vulcan, etc) The line is estimated to have between 30,000 to 35,000 members throughout the Empire with approximately 50+ members (as well as 150+ Kasara Alliance *relatives*) located on Terra. It welcomes new members, particularly females, who have intelligence, skill, strength, loyalty and are willing to bring honour to the line. The Terran liaison is the Heiress to the Line, Ambassador Lady K'Zin epetai Kasara and she can be reached at the following address: Klingon@klingon.org
***** I am very happy to have had the opportunity to present the Kasara history on these pages. Steel knows no gender. I know when my time comes that the strongest blades at my side will be wielded by females - my consort, Taant'an is the rock that supports me, Lady K'Zin who has given me the singular honor of calling her my little sister, is the blood that flows through my veins and Kaatje who I am honored to call my Great-Granddaughter puts the fire in my eyes and the strength in my arms.
K'Daq's Law ---Don't EVER underestimate a warrior because of gender. Lukara (Kahless's future consort) agreed to be his wife after they together withstood the attack of 500 warriors at the Great Hall at Qam-Chee. This is considered to be the greatest romance in Klingon History and it certainly shows that Kahless new the strength of a good woman at his side.
Next month: The story of may'qel
The history of the 'aqleH or *Half- bat'leth*
The 'aqleth is the traditional weapon of the Clerics of Boreth . This sect was formed shortly after Kahless's death. When Kahless pointed to the star that Boreth orbited and promised that he would return there one day, the clerics traveled to Boreth and set up a monastery so they could meditate and await his return. The returning Kahless would be recognized by his ability to recite the ancient origins of the first bat'leth ( a tale that was kept closely guarded by the clerics to ensure a valid test of the *returning* hero). In order to separate themselves from the ordinary warrior and also to honor the memory of Kahless, the clerics cut their bat'leths in half and mounted them on shafts approximately one and a half meters long. This design spoke of their ancient origins (pole weapons are ancient) and their sole purpose in life (to await Kahless's return).
mupwI' yI'uchtaH !!
'aqleH or Half-bat'leth
The 'aqleth is one of a very few *pole* weapons in the Klingon warrior's arsenal. A variety of spears available for use in battle along with the 'aqleth make up the inventory of shafted weapons. It is possible that the need for pole weapons was not a common one since they are primarily a weapon used by ground troops against mounted opponents. There are no common passages relating to the use of mounts in battle. My own feeling is that a Klingon would look down upon trampling his enemy with a beast and would therefore disdain any form of combat that developed from it.
However, the 'aqleth has the advantage of being a very *usable* weapon in its own right. Although it has half the blade of the standard bat'leth (19.5 inches) it's shaft gives it a reach of 72 inches which puts it past the bat'leth by 33 inches. So you have a trade off - sharp edge for reach........an interesting proposition. When trained properly in its use, a warrior using a 'aqleth is every bit as lethal as one using a standard blade.
The smaller blade gives you the option of moving to thinner stock. The 'aqleth featured here is done in 3/16 stainless and is mounted on a 1.5 inch diameter shaft. The blade follows the exact contours of the standard bat'leth but it has a cutting edge on the spine instead of blunt areas for grips. This in effect makes the 'aqleth into a form of axe but it is wielded quite differently. The shaft length is going to be variable depending on the warrior's build and needs. The shaft in this case is 58 inches long (with the final 8 inches covered with hardened leather to provide additional gripping ability when needed) and finished with an inch thick stainless pommel.
'aqleH Dimensions - average:
thickness of blade -- .1875 inches
length of blade -- 19.50 inches.
Primary blade tip to
secondary blade tip -- 7.00inches
width of weapon -- 15.5 inches
Shaft Material -- 50 inch *Dymondwood* Cylinder
Handle material -- 8 inch X 5/8th inch steel dowel overlaid with hardened leather
Total length -- 72 inches
weight -- 5 pounds
Next month : ghIntaq - Battle Spear
*Starter* project - Family Warrior's knife or QIS
This month the tips section continues a step by step construction series for a sheath knife that the new members can consider making. We will try to identify terminology that is used in everyday knife making. The project we will be working on is drawn in it's most complicated form, but by following certain simplifications, this knife can become a project any novice can complete and be proud of.
This month the pattern gets cut out (which makes it easier to follow the design and construction phases) and a variety of decisions points are reached. We will pause at each point in the construction and give you the good points and bad points about the many options that present themselves.
Quarter inch steel is still not available in Houston so I started the project with a blank of titanium. All of the steps will be the same except we will not be *hardening* the blade at the end since titanium cannot harden to our desired levels. I will go over that process just as if we were using steel when we get to it.
In step one I have cut the pattern out using only the borders of the main curve of the bevels. No attempt has been made to cut the *sawteeth* or to reduce the blade thickness at the guard/handle junction. In order to simplify things, I usually use spray contact adhesive and glue my pattern directly to the metal. It peals off easily when finished, and in this case, with all the secondary cuts, it pealed off during the process itself.
The first decision to be made comes at this point. In this picture you can see that I have gone with a partial tang. (It will be shaped and threaded on the end to hold a screw on pommel). You can elect to make your tang full thickness in which case you follow the design of the handle's outline, or you can choose any number of tang designs and use the corresponding handle materials. With the type of tang shown here, you can use a threaded pommel or completely hide the tang within a solid handle material. Antelope horns make comfortable, interesting handles and are hollow so this type of tang fits conveniently within their *walls*.
Next decision is whether to follow the cuts that bring the base of the blade to a narrower profile. These are quite easy to do and make the knife itself more graceful. In the following section we will discuss the *sawteeth* and in that the technique used to make this profile cut will be covered. I highly recommend that if nothing else, you make this one addition to your knife.
OK in this section we address the additional cuts in the knife project. Sawteeth are an interesting aspect of any knife project if done correctly. If you don't take your time on them they can ruin an otherwise successful project. TAKE YOUR TIME.
Choice number three. Do I go with sawteeth or not ? When I see sawteeth that catch my eye it is because they are uniformly laid out and evenly ground. Irregularly placed and roughly finished *teeth* belong in a Pakled's head, NOT on a Klingon's blade.
Good sawteeth are easy to achieve. I start by drawing the layout and making sure that each tooth reaches the same depth (or in the case of a curve that it follows a similar curved pathway). With this knife the teeth become progressively larger but maintain a similar overall profile - because of this the depth of each tooth as it moves from the tip of the blade to the guard gets larger. Layout the depth of each tooth and mark it with a sharpy or any other dark marking pen. Then take a *center-punch* as seen in the picture and punch each depth marking. This creates an indentation at the desired point and prevents your drill from *running out*. NOW take a drill that corresponds to the arc at the base of the tooth and drill at your punch mark. This creates the lower margin of your tooth and smooths the metal at the same time. If you are careful, you can greatly reduce the finishing steps by drilling these holes properly.
In this picture you can see each *base hole* started including ones for the guard area of the blade. Now it is a simple process to follow the lines of the pattern toward each hole and finish your teeth. Each tooth can be shaped with your belt grinder at this point but hand files might be safer for a novice. When grinding metal that has been cut to a point the metal tends to overheat and burn at a very fast rate ......you could quickly ruin a lot of work with one poor placement of the blade on the grinder. My suggestion is to work the main bevel down first with the grinder and then come back to finalize the tooth profile when it is thinner and easier to work with hand files. **See the next photo.
In this picture the teeth have been roughed out and you can make out the start of the upper main bevel. It is important to place the teeth edges down or away from the rotation of your grinder when putting this bevel in or they might perforate your belt and cause it to tear. You are also more likely to have them *catch* and grab which could tear the blade from your hand. Always approach the grinding steps with a firm grip in order to maintain control over your work.
Finally note the bevel lines marked directly on the metal. This is the depth on the profile that I want to carry my grind. It is only a roughly placed line to give me a reference point.
****Important Note. Before starting your bevel *grinds*, mark the centerline of your metal..... ie. in quarter inch you would want a line that runs the entire edge of the grinds marked at one eighth inch. In other words imagine that you have glued two eight inch sheets of steel together to make the quarter inch blank. This reference line allows you to keep your blade edge straight. If you don't mark this reference point you will probably grind past center in many places and could have a blade that resembles a Ruffles Chip. I usually color the edge of my steel with a black marker pen and then take a *scribe* set at the desired edge and drag away the ink at the centerline. There are a number of commercial scribes sold, but you can easily make one with blocks of plastic and nails or heavy needles. One of the first ones I made sat on an elevated block of plastic that I ran along side the work while it sat on another flat sheet of steel.
These two pictures show the grinding in of the two primary bevels. I use a large wheel since I make mostly large blades. This prevents excessive grinding and irregular bevel surfaces but it is a liability on smaller projects and detail work. When I have details to work on I use drum sanders *chucked* into a bench mounted grinder, or I use a variety of files. Patience is a key virtue here.
Grinding Primary Bevels
In this final picture you can see the initial placement of both bevels, the roughed out sawteeth and *punch* marks indicating the central blade *cut-outs* that the complex project has. I have purposely waited to make the central openings until after the bevels were ground in in order to center the openings. Whether to make the cut-outs will be a major decision since they require a good bit of work and patience. Take the month to decide if your knife needs them or not and we'll meet back here to discuss it.
Klingon Battleaxe or 'alngegh
(from Okrand's Klingon for the Galactic Traveler)
Completion of the ghIt (blade) and assembly of the weapon
Well the holidays were glorious !! I hope all of your projects proceeded as smoothly as this one did. Thanks to the addition of some new blades for my bandsaw and a refined understanding of the working characteristics of titanium, the blade for our 'alngegh has been completed. I will try to relate as much of the process as I can in the following paragraphs and pictures.
Iridescence/rivet holes and rivets
This first picture shows the finished blade with the two holes that will secure the blade to the handle along with the rivets that I will be using. These are dead soft carbon steel rivets. I believe they are called *water tank* rivets due to their most common use. They are quite useful in making articulating armor joints and for joining larger blades to shafts. I have used them on the half-bat'leth and also to hold the horn handles to the standard bat'leth. To drill holes in titanium you need to set your drill at it's slowest speed and take your time. If you allow friction to generate heat the titanium becomes resistant to the cut and the drill will be ruined. On a slow setting it literally glides through the metal.
The short partial tang has been rounded to a quarter inch diameter cylinder and rests in a corresponding hole drilled at the base of the groove in the handle. Most tangs are made to provide retention, but in this case all the retention will be achieved from the rivets and this tang helps to stabilize the blade from any pivoting in the groove. Although the rivets are paired, an impact of great enough force could rotate and split the handle without the additional help.
If you examine the picture closely you can see the iridescence of the titanium that results from heat treating it. You can control what color the iridescence is by the temperature that you bring the metal to. The first color change is a bronze/brown shade, that moves to a royal purple, next a spectacular blue and finally a silver-white. All of the colors are iridescent and create a very dramatic surface texture.
In the case of this project (and as you will see in the final picture) the iridescence was created and then the final bevels were applied to produce an eye catching border between the cutting edge and the body of the blade.
Finally in this picture you can see a streak of color extending between the two rivet holes. This is blood. Its really hard to find virgins to sacrifice these days, so I used my own blood. Well.......lets face it, if you make knives, you're going to occasionally get *bit*. I just left it as a reminder. When I made the Sword of Kahless I got cut and stabbed so many times that I was lucky not to bleed to death.
Rivet holes on handle with their *countersinks*
The next picture is a close up of the attachment end of the handle. The most important thing in this step is to make sure you bore the holes squarely through the cylinder of the handle. Do this slowly and against a backing block to minimize *tear-out*. Tear - out isn't a major concern in this case since I have countersunk both ends of the rivet hole. The large counter sink holes in this pic hold the established rivet head. On the back side the countersink isn't as big. It should be large enough to allow for the expansion of the rivet when it is *set*.
******VERY IMPORTANT NOTE !!
When peening the end of the rivet (the act of hammering the rivet end flat) you are actually working and expanding the steel rivet. This *sets* the rivet in place and secures the blade to the handle. In cases where you are setting a rivet in other metals there is no problem with the expansion of the rivet, but in this case you are setting the rivet through the brittle material of the handle. If you *lay* into the rivet you might find yourself with a nicely split handle that is good for nothing (except maybe knocking yourself unconscious out of extreme anger). Take your time. Make sure you have the rivet head securely placed against a piece of steel to back it up. I have a slab of half inch steel in which I have ground a variety of spherical indentions that allow for a number of rivet head sizes. The rivet slides into the depression and doesn't move while you work. Carefully work the free end of the rivet starting in the center and working to the outer edges of it. Center hits will cause the metal to *mushroom* out and the edge hits will draw the metal down toward your *seat* area.. You will see the steel start to mushroom out and it will slowly fill the area of your countersink. After this area is filled a few more taps in the center will draw the rivet tight and that's it. Check for *wobble* and apply a few more taps until there is none, but always be careful to control the force of your *taps*.
Assembled 'alngegh. Awaiting final *touches*
This is the final axe assembly. You can see the broad range of iridescence much better in this view. It has great balance and really gets your heart beating when you swing it. It could end here - this is fully functional and quite deadly, but this is where the artist's skill surfaces. Make the axe YOUR creation at this point. Engrave the handle or the blade, drill a lanyard hole in the handle and dangle braided cord.......or the hair of your ancestors in it. It is a common practice to engrave the rivet heads in Klingon weaponry. This stage is where you go from the ordinary 'alngegh to the 'alngegh vaQqu' !
Come up with your own ideas over the next month and we'll see how they compare to mine. Send your thoughts in by e-mail and maybe I'll incorporate them into the final piece.
Remember to write with any material you'd like to have discussed or placed in *mupwI'* ..
mupwI' yI'uchtaH !!
mupwI' yI'uchtaH !! (Keep holding the hammer ! )