A modern bladesmith rooted in the old traditions

F.L.O. Falcata Like Object

This blade and its concept represents the exploration of a new venue, another step forward in the learning process and a departure from some of my old ways.

The concept developed as a result of an interest in the form and function of an antique Iberian blade, the falcata. The choice of steel is W2 since I wanted a shallow hardening steel to create a hamon by means of the Japanese-style heat treating method. I wanted a bold and striking hamon that will immediately draw the attention to the blade. But before I polished the blade I took it for some test cutting as I wanted to feel how this blade performed. It is a hefty blade that has all the characteristics of a chopper but is surprisingly fast and capable of quick turns and alternating cuts with amazing grace for a 20 inch long blade.

The handle itself represents the exploration of a new process for me. By that I refer to carving. Although I have done some stylistic carving in handles before, I had never approached the more realistic carving of a form before. In this case, the animal form. Two animal heads were carved in opposing ends of the handle creating a striking look. The choice of wood: ebony.

The blade itself was carved with fullers. Two larger ones on the belly of the blade and two smaller ones in the spine. The blade was then polished to a very fine level to show the hamon.

The scabbard is made of stained curly maple. I wanted the right coloring of the wood to fit the rest of the blade and that took trial and error through different chemical and pigment-based stains until I found what I was looking for. The rim of the wood was completed by a laborious weaving of a single thread of leather.

Everything about this project was time consuming but I appreciated every minute I had to work on it. I found something clearer in my understanding of why I an a bladesmith in the making of this blade.