Last weekend I took my own travelling monster, Horatio Bobbles, on a bronze sword-making course. We headed off to the
Bronze Age Foundry in Wales with a group of friends including Travelling Monsters hosts Seb, Fairy Jo, The Scientist, David Gullen and Gaie Sebold. Mr. Gullen has written an excellent post explaining the making process.
Bananas Bunny was supposed to be there, but he’d run away from Fairy Jo to play with one of her friends. That was probably for the best. There was a very hot furnace, an angle grinder, and lots of other power tools and sharp weapons around that I’m not sure I’d trust him with.
Mr. Bobbles is a quieter, gentler monster altogether. He was happy to help with some of the work, drink tea and supervise, and stroll around the lovely garden bursting with spring flowers while the sun was out.
Our instructor melts copper and tin in the furnace to make bronze.Mr. Bobbles wants to see what he looks like with a green flame Mohican.
Some swords have been cast, but which one to choose?
There are many like it but this one is mine.
The first job is to nip off all the rough edges where the bronze ran in between the 2 halves of the mould.
The sprue where the bronze was poured in is sawn off the top. Then starts the filing…
..and more filing…
…and yet more filing.
All that filing is thirsty work. Time for tea! Mr. Bobbles wonders if it would be rude to take two biscuits.
After the filing, we started sanding. And filing some more. And sanding some more. Mr. Bobbles decided to supervise this bit.
He checked up on my work after I’d done some rough sanding to take the file marks off. Note how scratchy the blade is.
He decided I could be left unsupervised for a bit while he went for a wander in the garden.
Day 2, the oak wood hilt has been fitted. It has to be filed, sanded and oiled with linseed oil.
Then it’s back to 40 grade sandpaper, 80, 120, rough, medium, smooth and has-it-got-any-sand wet and dry, wire wool, and repeat hunting and killing scratches.
Time for more tea!
A wander around the lovely garden.
Mr. Bobbles is a gentleman and is protecting this lady’s modesty.
Exploring is hot work in the sun.
A nice refreshing drink of spring water from the pump is just the thing.
Then a bit more sunbathing with the soothing sound of 12 people sanding and swearing in the background.
Back to work. It”s polishing time!
Mr. Bobbles checking the finish on my sword.
Marvelling at Jem’s super-speedy polishing…
…and the impressive mirror finish.
We had to leave a little early, so here’s our sword nearly done. It needs a little more polishing and an edge put on.
Thank you to our instructors, Dave Chapman and Rob, for putting up with our quirks, and to the amazing Erica who kept us all fed in splendid style!
And finally, here’s everybody looking fearsome with their swords.
Well done, everyone! Shiny.