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Scott Roush




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PostPosted: Wed 09 Mar, 2011 5:44 am    Post subject: Sword of Ehud - WIP         Reply with quote

I've been looking for an excuse to forge my first sword and when Kevin Rolly, a member here, showed me some of his incredible photographic work I decided to work with him. Kevin is working on a biblical themed mural project that is a combination of live action models and oil painting. It is spectacular work. He is preparing a scene depicting the murder of King Eglon by Ehud with an 18" double edged sword that he made just for this purpose:

"He was Ehud, son of Gera from the people of Benjamin, who was left-handed. Israel sent Ehud to give Eglon king of Moab the payment he demanded. Ehud made himself a sword with two edges, about eighteen inches long, and he tied it to his right hip under his clothes. Ehud gave Eglon king of Moab the payment he demanded. Now Eglon was a very fat man. After he had given Eglon the payment, Ehud sent away the people who had carried it. When he passed the statues near Gilgal, he turned around and said to Eglon, "I have a secret message for you, King Eglon."

(Kevin... feel free to post some links to your work)

So I decided on a general sword profile that would fit in with late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age. We are working on the theme that perhaps Ehud was not a full time bladesmith and was making something to simply get the job done. I originally wanted to do a wrought iron work hardened Naue II type sword but then realized I didn't have the wrought stock of the right dimensions. And being new to making blades of this size, I wasn't up for welding. So I decided to just do sort of a Naue inspired shape profile only... I wasn't up for attempting the multiple ridges, etc that you see on these blades. I also wanted to go with more of a diamond cross section with a ridge for aesthetic purposes.. and my own practice. I figured this would be a great project to introduce myself to forging a basic sword shape and heat treating.

The sword was forged from 1 1/2"x 1/4" 1084. I forged the tip and the bevels:



Forging the bevels down and keeping everything straight and centered was great practice...and a lot of fun. I can't wait to do more of this stuff!





After forging, I used a flapwheel attachment on my angle grinder to get out hammer marks and prepare for draw filing:



Here it is being drawfiled after a brief run on the flat platen of my grinder:



And here it is after drawfiling and marked to check for symmetry:



Since the theme of this sword was 'make something to get the job done', I'm leaving some hammer texturing and forged finish on the blade where it comes out of the hilt. I've also elected to use some distressed looking wood for the handle that will have a braintan doeskin wrap. The wood is driftwood that I dry and season for just such a purpose. It soaks up Minwax for 'stabilization' very well.



So that is where it is right now. I still have some profile adjustments to make and more shaping of the hilt/handle area.


Since this was partly an educational experience and an attempt to learn more about basic sword forging, feel free to comment and critique what I've done thus far. More later....

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Greyson Brown




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PostPosted: Wed 09 Mar, 2011 6:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That looks really nice. I am a hobby blacksmith and have tried to make a couple knives and daggers. One was about 14 inches, so I sympathize with all the hammering you have had to do. The main thing I learned from that project is that good hammer control and not using the cross pein helps avoid deep gouges that are hard to grind out. It looks like you managed to avoid that issue so you are well ahead of me.

I may have to send my brother a link for this. He has always had a fascination with Ehud.

-Greyson

"So long as I can keep the path of honor I am well content."
-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The White Company
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Scott Roush




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PostPosted: Wed 09 Mar, 2011 6:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Greyson... Thank you. Sometimes it's important to use the cross pien to facilitate drawing out of thick stock. I don't often use it anymore since I now have a 'guillotine' on my Peter Wright anvil that I use for that. Those deep gouges that you mention are what really get the steel moving. And if you work hot, they aren't that hard to get out with finish hammering.. and, like I said, it really gets things moving. And the more you can get done in less heats, the better off the blade will be.
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Matthew Stagmer




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PostPosted: Wed 09 Mar, 2011 6:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am loving this. My father will be excited to see this project, both the sword and the mural.
I love my father. How many ministers do you know that always carry a weapon to the pulpit. Makes people listen he says.

Matthew Stagmer
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Greyson Brown




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PostPosted: Wed 09 Mar, 2011 6:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Scott Roush wrote:
Greyson... Thank you. Sometimes it's important to use the cross pien to facilitate drawing out of thick stock. I don't often use it anymore since I now have a 'guillotine' on my Peter Wright anvil that I use for that. Those deep gouges that you mention are what really get the steel moving. And if you work hot, they aren't that hard to get out with finish hammering.. and, like I said, it really gets things moving. And the more you can get done in less heats, the better off the blade will be.


Agreed, but I got a little over zealous. I was also using automobile leaf spring which I didn't want to get too hot (I'd burned some up on another project). Using a propane forge in a shop environment would also have helped, but I did it with a coal forge in the open air at Warren AFB's For D.A. Russell Days. At least I had a canvas fly for shade.

Again, great work. I can't wait to see the finished piece.

-Greyson

"So long as I can keep the path of honor I am well content."
-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The White Company
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Kevin Rolly




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PostPosted: Wed 09 Mar, 2011 12:50 pm    Post subject: Great Scott!         Reply with quote

I can't tell you how thrilling this is. It is looking fantastic. And the fact that it's being left with a good deal of rawness only backs up it's historicity. Scott....you do me, and everyone working on this project, honor.

Matthew Stagmer wrote:
I am loving this. My father will be excited to see this project, both the sword and the mural.
I love my father. How many ministers do you know that always carry a weapon to the pulpit. Makes people listen he says.


That may make two. And that's great to hear. I am working day and night on this.
To give a little history to this, I'm a visual artist and when it comes to swords, a dedicated fan. I don't have the skill set that you all possess, though we are probably going to set up a forge at our new art compound.

This project is called "In the Time of the Judges" and it will be a 70+ panel series of the entire book of Judges from the Old Testament. The technique is shooting traditional film, making the prints in the darkroom and mounting them to custom wooden panels. Then comes the painting, where oil paint is placed over the entire piece (so it's black) and then I begin wiping it off to reveal the image. Then I add color and keep removing and adding until it's done. I often do this live in front of an audience.

This is a video of me doing another piece in the series called "TWELVE - The Levite and the Concubine"
It was done live in about 10 minutes. (With a week of prep)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNKff5sxl_M

I've been working on this since 2006, got a grant, but it's only in the last month or so that it has finally taken full time flight. I'm glad I waited. I wasn't ready four years ago....and I've had to figure out how I'm supposed to shoot and paint scenes like Samson and a thousand Philistines. I realized that in order to do it right I have to "Lord of the Rings" it.

As one can imagine, it has been a bit overwhelming. I've had to make a limited amount of money stretch a long way. Every part has to be cast and costumed and props made or acquired. As for the weapons I wish I had the budget to get custom made weapons for each scene, but that would be impossible. I've had to rely on props that simply look good for camera. There are still more to make. But even though I have a life long love of swords, it has been doing this project and looking at what you all do, that has made me fall in love with this art form. For it is an art.

This sword however is special. It is THE hero sword in the story and the only one in which details are given. Scott making this has, in many ways, fueled this new fire of completing the series. I'm going to shoot two more panels for the series just for this and composite the sword into the panel of the actual stabbing that I shot three years ago with a plastic prop.

This is the panel I have of Ehud just after the deed....


Ehud - Son of Gera
-Oilgraph on wooden panel 48"x24"-


And another of Shamgar who killed 600 Philistines with an ox goad.


Shamgar and the Ox Goad
-Oilgraph on wooden panel 48"x24"-


So, Scott....you're my hero

-Kevissimo
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Scott Roush




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PostPosted: Wed 09 Mar, 2011 1:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matt... That is awesome. What does he carry?!

I'm glad you are excited Kevin..so am I. It will be real cool to be involved with what you are doing. I hope my blade lives up!

It is actually wrapping up and I'm taking a few preliminary shots to see how it looks on camera. That is my best method for finding flaws in my work!

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Michael B.




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PostPosted: Wed 09 Mar, 2011 2:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Awesome project, one of my favorite "unknown" stories of the Old Testament. My father is a minister, and he's used my weapons, and armour in sermons before. He also made a cat of nine tails in a historical fashion as well. He's a firm believer in people seeing an example. I've been thinking of getting some more historical weapons for him to use.
Michael B.

"In the sword you shall have trust and belief, so that blood runs not over your eyes..." Hans Tolhoffer

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Greyson Brown




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PostPosted: Sun 20 Mar, 2011 12:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just curious if you've had a chance to get any further on this sword. This is just one of those projects where I really want to see the final piece.

-Greyson

"So long as I can keep the path of honor I am well content."
-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The White Company
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Kevin Rolly




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PostPosted: Mon 21 Mar, 2011 2:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It should be arriving in Los Angeles any day now...

Scott added some patina to roughen it up a bit and I'll have images soon. The visual idea is that Ehud quickly forged it, ran it through some objects to test it and went off to do the job.

As I may have mentioned, I'm adding two panels to the series just for this sword alone. One being Ehud forging it and the other strapping it to his leg. (I'll also do a 'hero' portrait of just the sword because it deserves it) Since I shot the panel of the actual encounter with Eglon two years ago, I am tempted to reshoot it even though the prop sword is barely visible.

Again, huge thanks to Scott for taking this on. Everyone on this end is very excited to see it....

-Kevissimo
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Scott Roush




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PostPosted: Tue 22 Mar, 2011 11:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi... Yes.. I should post the final pictures... And Kevin will you post some of your stuff when you get it? Have you gotten it?



Then, after talking to Kevin, I decided to torch-temper it to give it a fresh out of the forge look.. which softened it up a bit :-), then used a rasp to rough sharpen.

(I have offered to Kevin to re-heat treat this and put on sturdier handle material after the shoot)


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Kevin Rolly




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PostPosted: Tue 22 Mar, 2011 2:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

JUST ARRIVED!

Here's a quick shot just as I got it out of the box....



It's gorgeous, Scott. You hit the mark perfectly. And it wasn't just about making a sword, it was also about telling a story and being true to what this weapon probably looked like - not just a sword, but a character itself. I will have more shots soon as I bring the actor back and we shoot the scenes. The paintings will take some time, but I'll have something to show in a couple of days.

Scott, again....I can't thank you enough. You are a true artist.....

-Kevissimo
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Sa'ar Nudel




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PostPosted: Tue 22 Mar, 2011 3:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Although I like this project ALOT, I hate to be a killjoy...
Ehud supposedly lived at the end of the Late Bronze age, circa 1200-1100 BCE, which means he had a double-edged bronze sword, cast and cold forged. Something like this: http://www.archaeological-center.com/images/auction31/31-89g.jpg

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Scott Roush




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PostPosted: Tue 22 Mar, 2011 3:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

awesome Kevin. Can't wait to see more pictures...

Sa'ar... Thanks man... but there was iron being used in the Late Bronze age... work hardened. Things aren't always so cut and dry. Things were happening at different rates in different regions. It might LIKELY have been bronze, but iron wasn't out of the question.

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Sa'ar Nudel




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PostPosted: Wed 23 Mar, 2011 6:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Scott Roush wrote:
awesome Kevin. Can't wait to see more pictures...

Sa'ar... Thanks man... but there was iron being used in the Late Bronze age... work hardened. Things aren't always so cut and dry. Things were happening at different rates in different regions. It might LIKELY have been bronze, but iron wasn't out of the question.


You are mostly correct (same as with copper: there are secluded evidences of using small amounts of smelted copper still within the Neolithic Age, and so on). However, use of iron in the LB levant was very restricted and probably known only to the Hatti empire (Hitites, from Anatolia). Iron has entered the Land of Israel with People of the Sea (=Philistines, Siculu etc.) ath the turn of the Iron age, appr. 1200-1150BCE and it took a long time for the new technology to penetrate. Book of Samuel 1, 13, verses 19-22: " Now there was no smith found throughout all the land of Israel: for the Philistines said, Lest the Hebrews make [them] swords or spears:
But all the Israelites went down to the Philistines, to sharpen every man his share, and his coulter, and his axe, and his mattock.
Yet they had a file for the mattocks, and for the coulters, and for the forks, and for the axes, and to sharpen the goads.
So it came to pass in the day of battle, that there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people that [were] with Saul and Jonathan: but with Saul and with Jonathan his son was there found
."

Nevertheless, this was not to arise an argument, just to sort out a certain point. I just love this kind of projects and the result is awsome. I think of something similar yet different of my own for quite some time.

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Scott Roush




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PostPosted: Wed 23 Mar, 2011 10:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

sure... no problem. but there are so many fantasy elements associated with this that it ends up being a moot point really. We were happy with a general blade profile that wouldn't be too outrageous in terms of historical context... but ultimately it is about telling the story of Ehud in pictures.

Besides... I'm not a worker in bronze. :-)

But thank you for the education. It is indeed something I want to learn more and more about as I myself delve into primitive/historical iron making.

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Kevin Rolly




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PostPosted: Wed 23 Mar, 2011 2:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the input Sa'ar. It's the research I've done as well. But as Scott said, things were not so cut and dried. Though in a handful of accounts we hear of the Israelite's basically having no weaponry other than farming tools, we see that those who led them in fact carried swords. Yes, most of them were probably bronze since the Philistines kept a lock on iron technology.

But there was also the culture of taking the spoils of war which would allow at for at least some iron weapons falling into the Israelite's hands and namely for the leaders. But we have no specific information on the nature of their weapons other than references such as

"At Barak’s advance, the LORD routed Sisera and all his chariots and army by the sword" Judges 4:14
"His friend responded, “This can be nothing other than the sword of Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite." Judges 7:14
et al...

And though I'm telling the story with as much historic accuracy as I can...I am telling a story. I need to fill in details where there aren't any and allow myself the freedom to express these stories in the most visual way possible. So though I'll be textually accurate some things may not be historically likely...but at least possible.

For example the next story I'm shooting is the account of Abimelek (the bastard son of Gideon) who hires thugs and murders all 70 of his brothers, in public, in one day and takes over as king. There is no visual description of him or his thugs, but I thought that they should look terrifying. So I'm making all of their outfits and weapons out of bones and leather. Below is the first step in making one of the thugs helmets....



So you see where I'm going.....

But as far as the metal with which these weapons are made, it won't necessarily show. I'm shooting in black and white and covering them in paint. So visually the distinction between iron and bronze may be irrelevant.

Anyhoo....here's another shot of the Sword of Ehud. I brushed down some of the patina so we had a balance between the raw and the polish....and also really show off that signature metal texture of Scott's work.





Again, Scott.....much gratitude. I'll let ya know when we shoot. Thanks for your thoughts, all....

-Kevissimo
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A. Heidalen Skog




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PostPosted: Wed 23 Mar, 2011 4:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Love the rough look of the sword ^^
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Kevin Rolly




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PostPosted: Thu 26 Apr, 2012 4:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Scott Roush wrote:
awesome Kevin. Can't wait to see more pictures...


So a year after Scott did his brilliant work on the Sword of Ehud, we were able to get the costumes, blood and actors together and shot Ehud delivering the deadly message to Eglon. This is the first of the two works. The moment just before the blow. No sense making an awesome sword to only see the tip of it coming out his back...

Again, these works (that I call 'oilgraphs') are a hybrid of traditional film photography, darkroom prints and oil paint mounted on wooden panels. This was painted live in 10 minutes for an audience. I'll be doing the second piece of the actual stabbing next. THAT was a messy shoot....

But here it is, Scott. I'll send you the hi-res version and still need to make you your custom piece.


THE MESSENGER (THE SWORD OF EHUD)
-OILGRAPH ON WOODEN PANEL 33"x33"-




There was even a documentary being shot on the series, so Scott gets some extra kudos in there....Thank you again, Scott!

-Kevissimo
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Scott Roush




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PostPosted: Fri 27 Apr, 2012 5:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Whoa Kevin! Very raw and wild! And my sword looks even more gnarly than I remember. Very cool..... You are doing some very original work with huge visual impact.
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