marqueepic3A dagger in the style of late 14th or early 15th century long daggers. The blade is 350 layers of torsion (twist) style pattern weld composed of L6 and 1095 steel. The hilt fittings are inspired by a number of common european quillon daggers.

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Historic Examples: (L) Short-sword or long-dagger from Philadelphia Museum of Art. (R) Dagger from British Museum

Some examples in museums have quillons that are more lobe shaped, but others feature faceted surfaces with filework accents. My approach was to combine elements of different examples to create a harmonious and elegant guard.  The result is a guard with octogonal quillons, well defined facets, pleasing arc shape, and crisp filework accents. 

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The tang slot was drifted then filed to a precise shape to create an interference fit between the guard and the blade shoulders.  In addition, an inset for the blade shoulders was hand forged into the center of the guard with a drift that was the same dimension as the blade. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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The pommel is based on the familiar “wheel style” and has a slightly oval profile.  It is topped with a small frustum shaped rivet block that is accented with additional filework. The guard and pommel are both made from 1018 low-carbon steel, and polished to a high luster and then drawn back to a consistent satin finish. _

 

 

To facilitate the fitting of the pommel to the tang, a hole was drilled through the exact center of the pommel.  A tang shaped drift was used to form the centered hole to the shape of the tang. This slot was then cleaned up with a file in order to make a precise interference fit between the pommel and tang.

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The grip is composed of a hardwood core with a linen and leather cover, and features three half-round risers to help fill out the volume of the grip without making it appear bulky and unattractive. 

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The hardwood core was formed in two pieces which were chiseled and carved to the tang dimensions.  The core was then glued in place. Linen string was used to establish the foundation of the three risers. The core and risers were then covered in leather which was secured in place with hide glue. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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The blade is composed of 350 layers of L6 and 1095.  The pattern weld billet was given a rather tight twist, and then forged flat.  The result is a striking pattern that displays some star-like effects as well areas that are like wood grain.  Although it is a stout blade, it had a fair amount of distal taper that comes to an efficient awl like point.

 

 

 

 

 

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The sheath that comes with the dagger is constructed with a thin wood core that is covered in high quality leather. The seam of the leather cover is sewn shut with linen thread in a “Z” pattern which is quite common on surviving examples from the period.

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Decorative lines were inscribed on the front of the scabbard with a polished bone knife. Drawing inspiration from period examples, this type of leather work does not utilize leather working tools that are often seen on high-quality leather work. It is rather a clever answer to the desire to have a decorative flare on knife and dagger sheaths (or sword scabbards) without the need for the tools and experience to do more complex leather work.

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The artisan would simply use a bone-knife, hardwood stylus, or burnishing needle and combine it with a straight edge or other guide to incise various shapes, lines, and figures into the surface of the damp leather.  Some period examples show a great deal of freehand work with the stylus.  The result is a sheath that is both pleasing to the eye, yet frugally produced. For this period inspired sheath, straight evenly spaced incised lines were made with the thin tip of a bone knife to create a somewhat abstract “feather” effect on the front of the sheath.

A belt or suspension loop was purposely left off of the sheath so that the new owner can decide what type of suspension he or she would like to have.

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The iron chape at the end of the sheath was hand forged over a mandrel that was identical to the dimensions of the the sheath end.  The result is a chape that fits perfectly over the end of the sheath.  There is a small amount of decorative filework at the top of the chape. Finally a small orb-like finial was added to the tip of the chape.

 

 

 

PICTURE GALLERY:

REVIEW BY PETER JOHNSSON:

I had an opportunity to show this piece to renowned swordsmith, Peter Johnsson, and I asked him to write a short review:

A Long Dagger in the Medieval Tradition

This beautiful dagger has a strong understated elegance about it. It´s form is clearly rooted in the medieval european tradition, inspired by surviving examples of these long slim weapons that straddle the distinction of dagger and short sword. The unusual proportion between hilt and blade sometimes cause these weapons to misleadingly be labelled “Sword for a child” despite the fact their blades are not scaled down sword blades. They have a robust awl like point and a cross section that is much stouter than what you would expect in a sword. They are simply unusually large daggers with a very purposeful design.

It is evident that Eric has based the design of this dagger on detailed observation of originals from the 14th and 15th century. The aesthetics of the period is present in the shaping of the hilt components but not limiting in his choice of material. The blade shares the functional properties of the originals but with added joy for the eye in its bright and crisp pattern welded construction.

As a fellow maker I find work of this level inspiring. I see how Eric has studied and internalised the finer details of function, aesthetics and methods of craft and design and internalised these ideas in a way that allows him to freely express himself in a seemingly effortless manner. The result is a unique dagger that express the joy of the craft and its roots to an ancient tradition.

                                                                                                                    – Peter Johnsson, Swordsmith

SPECIFICATIONS:

Overall length: 21.375″ (54,3 cm)
Blade length: 16″ (40,6 cm)
Blade width: 1″ (2,54 cm)
Point of Balance: 1.125″ (2,86 cm) from bottom of guard
Weight including sheath: 1.1 lbs (500 grams)
Weight of dagger: 0.91 lbs (413 grams)
Blade Material: Pattern welded steel, L6 and 1095, 350 layers, twist pattern
Hilt Material: Mild steel guard and pommel. Wood core with leather cover

Price: $2,200 USD SOLD

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Comments from the new owner:

Recently, Eric, after a discussion with his good friend Peter Johnsson, contacted me to see if I would be interested in this dagger. Initially, I declined the offer because I already had a number of commissions for the upcoming year, but after a few hours of reflection and closely studying the photos, I hurried to contact Eric again to buy this dagger. I am glad I did because this dagger exceeds all my expectations. The degree of finish is incredible (as an owner of a sword from Peter Johnsson, I have good references) as is the sharpness of the damask, the details of the pommel, guard and chape of the scabbard. The balance of the weapon and its sharpness are such that if you take it in hand, you feel that you want to fight hand-to-hand with a knight in armor and to introduce your point between the plates of steel and hear the knight scream « Miséricorde »… and get back a ransom from his family (and pay Fedex – private a private joke with Eric). “Miséricorde (Mercy) or Daguasse” is the name in French of this type of “long” dagger which was not a weapon of left hand but used with right hand. By-the-way this is my second purchase with Eric. The first one was a small Danish axe (with two steels) which is in reality the most murderous weapon in my collection. An example of this is the exercises of cutting an old armchair covered with thick leather (you can think about a fat warrior with leather armor) which is very different and really more difficult to cut than plastic bottles filled with water as often seen on Internet (in my experience, most swords fail to really cut, it is an interesting experience). My conclusion is that Eric is really one of the best blacksmith. This is evident by his knowledge of the steel but also by his degree of knowledge of the history and by the finish of his work. Furthermore, he is a really nice person – as is his friend, Peter!

                                                                                                                               — Pierre

wideThis is the final axe in a series of three hand forged, single-hand war axes I’ve been finishing.  Like the previous two axes, this axe is patterned after the many examples of late 10th to early 11th century single-hand war axes.  This type of axe was an agile yet brutal weapon that would have been a common choice for a soldier fighting in close quarters or in a shield wall. ……………………………………………………………………………………………..

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This axe features a 1018 low-carbon steel body and eye socket and a 1080 high-carbon steel bit. The body and eye were drawn out like a “bow tie.”  The two sides were forge welded together to form the body.  The eye was further refined by forging over a steel mandrel to arrive at the desired socket shape. ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

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The hardwood haft is made from hand hewn oak. Careful attention is given to the grain direction. Having the grain run parallel with the head (edge to poll) helps to prevent cracking when a powerful cut is made.  I use rasps and scrapers to shape the top of the haft to a tight fit with the eye socket.  This helps to prevent the axe head from twisting or moving during use. ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

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The wedge is pre-fit to the top of the haft to create the correct amount of widening to secure the head to the haft.

Once the top of the haft is correctly shaped for the socket, I carefully saw a slot for the wedge.  The wedge is cut from the same section of wood as the haft so the grain direction and size will be similar to the haft.  The wedge is then pre-fitted to the slot.  This creates a mushrooming of the haft above the top of the axe head that secures the head in place. …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

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Tannic acid and iron acetate are applied to the haft.  The two solutions react in the fibers of the wood staining it black

The haft was also ebonized to give it a faux bog oak appearance.  This process, which I explain in my essay “Making Your Own Bog Oak Axe Haft,” deeply stains the wood fibers giving the haft the inky black appearance of bog oak.  Unlike regular wood stains, this process occurs in the wood fibers and creates a much more durable finish. …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

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Specifications:

  • Body and Eye: 1018 low carbon steel
  • Edge Bit: 1080 high carbon steel
  • Haft wood: Oak
  • Blade Length (toe to heel of bit): 3.875″ (9,84 cm)
  • Axe Head Length (edge bit to poll): 5.375″ (13,65 cm)
  • Haft Length: 28″ (71,1 cm)
  • Overall Length: 29.875″ (75,9 cm)
  • Axe Head Weight: 0.84 pounds (381 grams)
  • Weight: 1.5 pounds (678 grams)

Price: $635 (plus shipping) SOLD

If you are interested in purchasing this axe, contact me at eric@crownforge.net or ericmycue374@comcast.net.

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Comments from the owner:

I have been a long time collector of historical weapons but had no axes in my collection. I came across Eric’s work, and was impressed by his attention to detail. The axe arrived in perfect condition and did not disappoint. The axe is well made and excellently balanced. It is solid to swing and bites hard. The axe head itself is perfectly formed and fit perfectly to the shaft. The ebonizing effect is a beautiful addition to the oak, and brings out the grain in a way that stain would not.

                                                                                                                                — Douglas Pierce

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wideview

This is the second axe in a series of three hand forged, single-hand war axes I’ve been finishing.  Like the single-hand, wrought iron axe, this axe is patterned after the many examples of late 10th to early 11th century single-hand war axes.  This type of axe was an agile yet brutal weapon that would have been a common choice for a soldier fighting in close quarters or in a shield wall.

edgeviewThis axe features a 1018 low-carbon steel body and eye socket and a 1080 high-carbon steel bit. The body and eye were drawn out like a “bow tie.”  The two sides were forge welded together to form the body.  The eye was further refined by forging over a steel mandrel to arrive at the desired socket shape.

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A fine rasp is used to carefully shaped the top of the haft to create a tight fit with the eye socket.

The hardwood haft is made from hand hewn oak. Careful attention is given to the grain direction. Having the grain run parallel with the head (edge to poll) helps to prevent cracking when a powerful cut is made.  I use rasps and scrapers to shape the top of the haft to a tight fit with the eye socket.  This helps to prevent the axe head from twisting or moving during use.

IMG_4471
The wedge is pre-fit to the top of the haft to create the correct amount of widening to secure the head to the haft.

Once the top of the haft is correctly shaped for the socket, I carefully saw a slot for the wedge.  The wedge is cut from the same section of wood as the haft so the grain direction and size will be similar to the haft.  The wedge is then pre-fitted to the slot.  This creates a mushrooming of the haft above the top of the axe head that secures the head in place.

I then give the haft its final sanding followed by multiple applications of Danish oil to seal and harden the wood. Once the Danish oil is dry, I buff the haft with ultra-fine steel wool to give it a smooth, semi-gloss finish.

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Specifications:

  • Body and Eye: 1018 low carbon steel
  • Edge Bit: 1080 high carbon steel
  • Haft wood: Oak
  • Blade Length (toe to heel of bit): 4″ (10,16 cm)
  • Axe Head Length (edge bit to poll): 5.25″ (13,34 cm)
  • Haft Length: 27.25″ (69,22 cm)
  • Overall Length: 27.75″ (74,0 cm)
  • Axe Head Weight: 0.86 pounds (392,0 grams)
  • Weight: 1.46 pounds (663,8 grams)

Price: $550 USD (plus shipping) SOLD

If you are interested in purchasing this axe, contact me at eric@crownforge.net or ericmycue374@comcast.net.

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This axe is patterned after the many examples of late 10th to early 11th century single-hand war axes.  This type of axe was an agile yet brutal weapon that would have been a common choice for a soldier fighting in close quarters or in a shield wall.

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Shaping the oak haft with rasp and scraper

 

This axe features a hand-forged, wrought iron eye socket and body.  The high carbon bit was then forge-welded to the body.  The wrought iron comes from a 19th century farm in rural Wisconsin.  It was part of the iron banding from one of the old silos that was demolished on the farm.

 

 

I etched the head to bring out the gorgeous random pattern of the iron.  I then used water stones and a leather strop to bring the bit edge to a hair shaving sharpness.  It was then buffed to a near mirror finish to show a pleasing contrast between the edge and etched wrought iron.  I hand shaped the kiln dried oak haft with rasps and scrapers and sanded it to a smooth consist finish.  I sealed it with multiple coats of Danish oil.

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Specifications:

  • Body and Eye: 19th century wrought iron
  • Edge Bit: 1080 high carbon steel
  • Haft wood: Oak
  • Blade Length (toe to heel of bit): 3.625″ (9,2 cm)
  • Axe Head Length (edge bit to poll): 5.063″ (12,9 cm)
  • Haft Length: 26.0″ (66,0 cm)
  • Overall Length: 27.75″ (70,49 cm)
  • Weight: 1.4 pounds (633,3 grams)

Price: $880 USD (plus shipping) SOLD

If you are interested in purchasing this axe, contact me at eric@crownforge.net or ericmycue374@comcast.net.

10C original
The original axe found in the Swedish History Museum

This 10th Century Broad Axe draws its inspiration from a fine example in the Swedish History Museum. It features a hand forged eye socket and axe body made from low carbon steel.  The high carbon 1080 bit is forge welded to the body. Careful attention was given during the forging of this axe to create graceful, flowing lines and smooth transitions.  The result is a lively axe with a razor sharp edge.

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Shaping the ash haft with a steel scraper

The top of the ash wood haft is meticulously hewn to fit the eye socket in a precise manner. This detail ensures the axe head will stay secure during use.  The rest of the haft is shaped and sanded to a smooth, comfortable finish.  The entire haft is treated with linseed oil to preserve and harden the finish.

Specifications:

  • Body and Eye: 1018 low carbon steel
  • Edge Bit: 1080 high carbon steel
  • Haft wood: Ash
  • Blade Length (toe to heel of bit): 5.25″ (13,33 cm)
  • Axe Head Length (edge bit to poll): 6.25″ (15,88 cm)
  • Haft Length: 35.8″ (90,93 cm)
  • Axe Head Weight: 1.16 (524,4 grams)
  • Overall Weight: 2.33 pounds (1056 grams)

Price: $900 USD (plus shipping) SOLD

If you are interested in purchasing this axe, contact me at eric@crownforge.net or ericmycue374@comcast.net.

Comments from the owner:

I have been wanting an axe for a while now but hadn’t seen one that thrilled me until I saw this one by Eric McHugh. I’ve bought pieces from him previously so I knew the quality would be outstanding. It is! The shape of the components work perfectly together, it’s just great visually. The quality of the craftsmanship is absolutely top tier. Everything is just done beautifully. The edge is razor sharp. It feels great in hand too. One handed use is possible because of its excellent balance, but using it two handed really brings it to life. I couldn’t be more pleased with this axe and with everything about dealing with Eric. I liked the axe so much that I’m in talks with him about commissioning another piece. Nothing says you like what someone does better than return business, and Eric will have mine.

– Tim Lison

Just completed my interpretation of a late republic era Gladius Hispaniensis commission.  This sword is based on the idea that the swords of the Celts served as possible inspiration for the shape and length of some Gladius Hispaniensis.  The blade features a slight waisting and hollow-ground bevels.

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The boxwood guard and pommel are made from the same block of wood.  The beveled shape of the guard is based on a guard plate from one of the few surviving Gladius Hispaniensis blades.  The blade is inset into a bronze guard plate that is countersunk into the bottom of the pommel.  The overall shape of the guard is based on period art.

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The pommel shape is based on period art and a survey of other late-republic era swords.  The pommel is topped with a basic bronze rivet block into which the end of the tang is peened to secure the hilt furniture in place.

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The grip is made from a block of holly and features a common, segmented shape.

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Obviously, there are only hints as to what a Gladius Hispaniensis may have looked like intact.  With this piece, I am not trying to say that this is the way that it would have looked.  I am merely offering my interpretation of a possible configuration based on surviving blades, hilt pieces, and period art.  I have to give credit to Peter Johnsson for many late night alcohol infused discussions about the Gladius Hispaniensis.  I am not too proud to say that I borrowed liberally from the shape and features of a Gladius Hispaniensis that Peter made years ago.  While it is true that many surviving blades feature a leaf shape, it is my opinion that this shape is over done in many modern reproductions.  Peter’s design hints at a leaf shape without an exaggerated waisting of the blade.  In addition, the blade is reminiscent of La Tené blades that feature a similar profile.

Specifications:

  • Blade Length: 24.75″ (62,9 cm)
  • Overall Length: 31.25″ (79,4 cm)
  • Blade Width: 1.875″ (4,8 cm) features hollow-ground bevels
  • POB from bottom of guard: 6″ (15,2 cm)
  • Weight:  1.37 pounds (622.3 grams)
  • Blade Steel: 1080
  • Hilt Furniture:  Boxwood guard and pommel with bronze guard plate and bronze rivet block.  Segmented grip made from a block of holly.

Price for similar piece:

  • Similar hilt with flat bevels, $1,800 USD (plus shipping)
  • Similar hilt with hollow-ground bevels, $2,300 USD (plus shipping)

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This axe is inspired by a small Danish style axe (Petersen Type M) from Sweden.  It features a stout construction with a reinforced edge.

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Original from Uppsala, Sweden

This axe is not an exact reproduction.  The original is quite corroded, so I attempted to estimate the missing sections of the profile.  I also made a small departure from the tilt of the blade to make the axe a bit more visually pleasing.  In addition, rust swelling has made determining the original dimensions difficult.  I thinned out the thickness to allow for the rust swelling.  The resulting axe is still quite stout for its size.  This is a viciously fast cutter!

The haft is cherry wood (Prunus) treated with linseed oil, and it has an octogonal cross-section.  I tapered the haft so that there is a pleasing arc that starts out wide at the head then tapers to a thinner section before it swells gradually to the end of the haft..  The wood displays some beautiful figuring on both sides of the haft.

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Specifications:

  • Body and Eye: 1018 low carbon steel
  • Edge Bit: 1080 high carbon steel
  • Haft wood: Cherry (Prunus) treated with linseed oil
  • Blade Length (toe to heel of bit): 5.25″ (13,33 cm)
  • Axe Head Length (edge bit to poll): 6″ (15,24 cm)
  • Haft Length: 32.25″ (81,62 cm)
  • Overall length: 34.5″ (87,63 cm)
  • Weight: 1.67 pounds (757.5 grams)

Price: $765 USD (includes US CONUS shipping) SOLD

If you are interested, contact me at ericmycue374@comcast.net.

More Photos: