The Seraph Aegis sword is a joint project between Forge Direct and Bronze by Jeffrey Robinson in the United States.
The blade is a high end Winsdsteel/Feathersteel Chinese Jian made by Master Smiths from Forge Direct in Longquan, China.
This is an extremely rare and difficult blade style with only a handful of smiths in China who are able to make them and makes the PERFECT compliment to Jeffrey’s stunning work in bronze.
PREPARING THE PROTOTYPE
While the actual production run of this sword will be bare blades and a stripped down scabbard, the prototype was made from a completed traditional Feathersteel Jian – so needed some modifications to make the sword in our project.
As Jeffrey plans to peen the sword, and the original has a threaded tang, it was first necessary to extend the tang by welding and finishing some additional steel.
Below is the original tang with threaded tang.
The threaded portion is cut off and a steel frame seated around it.
The two halves are then welded together with a steel block under where the weld will be to act as a heat sink to prevent the heat from the TIG welding from damaging the blades temper.
This step is only applicable to the prototype, as the production blades will be made with full length 12″ peened tangs like shown above.
Next up, a master copy of the hilt components is made – as both sides of the guard are symmetrical, half the guard is made in one mold and will pour two waxes to make the double sided guard.
You would think it would be possible to just press the guard down into the clay, but it actually needs to be built from below to the desired level using a two part, room temperature vulcanizing rubber that looks suspiciously like bubble yum..
Once the rubber has cured overnight, a “mother mold” is made from casting plaster to hold the otherwise floppy rubber in place. Once that has set, the whole thing is turned over, the clay removed, and the second side will then molded in the same way.
From here, the original insert is removed and the mold is reassembled and filled with hot wax.
After the wax cools, the part is removed and the process repeated for the other side.
A small piece is hand cut and formed into the shape which will be the bottom of the guard.
The two halves are joined together and more wax is used to build up the detail of the central portion of the guard.
Before the casting, the wax guard and pommel are test fitted to the blade – giving you some idea of how it will look when it is finally complete..
Here is the guard and pommel (along with several other waxes for different projects) in the slurry room. At this point they are a few coats in and will be getting several more to build up the thickness of the ceramic shell. They are attached to a system of wax gates and sprues on a wax cup and all of that is covered in the ceramic shell.
Jeffrey pouring the bronze parts for this sword.
Here is the hot peen in the pommel after being sanded smooth.
Here is the ‘banzaipeen’ on the back side of the guard – Jeffrey’s patented method.
And here are the two halves of the grip core waiting to be assembled.
And finally, the sword is completed!