replica bronze age knife

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Jack_D

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May 11, 2009
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Hi there - looking for some wisdom from the group.

My eldest son is studying (in final year) Archaeology at Southampton uni - he is doing his dissertation on bronze age barrows in Sussex.

anyhow when he was meeting with one of his professors he noticed a replica bronze blade and offered my services ( as i have dabbled in knife making ) to put a handle on it.

The design shouldn't be an issue as he is getting me the "authentic" layout - or their closest guess anyway, although any input will be gratefully received. Where i could do with some advice is wood type and also the correct or best method of attachment. My initial thoughts would be ash for the handle and copper pins peened into the holes in the wood ( slightly wider at the top of the hole) or would bronze or copper washers make more sense. I hope i am making sense, anyway a couple of pictures below.

Thanks in advance for any advice.

Jon
 

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robin wood

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Oct 29, 2007
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www.robin-wood.co.uk
probably the best person to ask would be Wayland, what he doesn't know about vikings and saxon is really not worth knowing especially the kit.
Problem is Saxons Vikings are closer to us that they are to the Bronze age, not sure if Wayland does earlier stuff. Dave Budd may have info.
Here is a similar knife/dirk handled up http://forums.dfoggknives.com/index.php?showtopic=15765
though he doesn't give any evidence for choice of wood or attachment method. I would expect some originals to survive with handles and would be interested to hear if you find any.
 

Jack_D

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May 11, 2009
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Robin - thank you for that link - very useful and a beautiful sword as well. He has used bronze washers as part of his riveting process but his sword is far larger than the dagger that i need to do. As I am not gluing then the only thing I will be wasting trying several methods is time :). I have used a peening process before when making a folder but that was much lighter than this dagger.

Thanks again

Jon
 

Toddy

Mod
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Jan 21, 2005
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S. Lanarkshire
I have one, it's a copy of one found in a woman's bronze age grave. The handle scales are holly and it was pinned on with hazel.
The original one had bone scales (won't swear to that, but that's what I read, yet the illustrated remake is wood ) and an amber pommel :)

Right now it's stacked away in my bronze age costume box...........which being as it's Christmas and Hogmanay, I have stashed behind the chairs that had to be moved to put the Christmas tree up.

If you can give me a week or so I'll have the house back in order and I'll take some photos.
That said, there should already be some on the forum.

It's a lovely tool to use :D fits the hand well, doesn't weigh so much that when worn it's an irritation. I use it on an elm bast baldric that PatrickM made too.

http://www.wiltshireheritage.org.uk/galleries/index.php?Action=4&obID=161

cheers,
Toddy
 
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Jack_D

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May 11, 2009
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Thank you Toddy - thats very helpful - would like to see a photo of the hazel pin area when it is convenient to do so - very kind of you. do you know what the attachment process would be for that? dry slightly oversized holly hammered through and then oiled to expand? i never thought of a wooden pin.
 

Jack_D

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May 11, 2009
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I have found a similar(slightly wider) version - this one is done in yew with copper pins, which is close to where i was thinking originally. I think this sort of style could do it justice and I am sure Yew is as likely as most woods to have been used. I quite like toddys idea on the willow pins though - Will have to have a think about this.

Cheers

Jon
 

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Toddy

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Jan 21, 2005
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S. Lanarkshire
That's nice :D like a sword attachment that one :D
Copper pins would look good, but I know that copper work hardens, how does that work with the action of the knife in use though ? Peening the ends would harden the riveting ends, but would the middle bit hold ?
I've got no idea, might be worth speaking with one of the knifemakers like Dave Budd, Everything Mac, FGYT, etc.,

Interesting to see how it goes :)

cheers,
M
 

Jack_D

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May 11, 2009
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Thanks again Mary,

My understanding is that the knife would not be used but displayed or used occasionally - i know bronze work hardens, i didn't realise that about copper. will have a go at getting the handle done and then leave the call on the attachment until later - it will take me a little bit of time to source some seaoned yew of the right dimensions - i will use this as thinking time ;)

Cheers

Jon
 

Toddy

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Jan 21, 2005
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I mentioned those knifemakers because I know they make replicas, and Dave's an archaeo metalurgist himself :)
The other person who might be well up on this stuff is Gary Waidson (Wayland), though Jojo does this kind of thing too.

(No offence intended to anyone else by omission, these were just the folks who came to mind on this topic)

How big a bit of yew are you likely to need ? I've got some seasoned stuff in a shed somewhere. It came from the Galgael, and was intended to make tablets for inkle loom weaving, but I ended up using apple instead. Won't promise to burrow it out right away, but if I come across it soonish you're very welcome to it.

atb,
M
 

mrcharly

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jan 25, 2011
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North Yorkshire, UK
Are all of the bronze-age knives double-edged? What about working/kitchen knives? I have a bit of bronze lying around (cut off a boat toilet fitting).
 

Jack_D

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May 11, 2009
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The straightforward answer mrcharly is that i dont know. I would imagine the majority that have been found in their are original condition are those from high status tombs or other ritual sites. Day to day knives with no specific significance may well have found themselves being recycled into other items - bronze being a very valuable and time consuming to make resource. I wouldnt surprise me that standard single edge knifes were quite common. I hope someone with a bit more knowledge than myself could point you in the direction of a design.

cheers

Jon