Round 3 - Day 5 Finished!
Starting day 5 I felt a little nervous. Nothing really awful had happened and I was ahead of schedule. I felt like something was bound to happen and I’d be scrambling up to the last second. I started the final day knowing that it was going to be all about fit, finish, polish and finally adding the edge. I spent the better part of the morning making a few more brass washers for the pommel and added some ‘gear work’ decorative file work and ground in some faceting on the locking nut to match the grip and pommel. I found a slight wobble in the clam-shell guard and had to do a little filing on the arms and the clam-shell and remove a little material from the blades ricasso to get it all to lock up tight. I made a few leather spacers to cover the space between the enclosed ricasso and the underside of the clam-shell guard. These spacers would also serve to add a bit of historic accuracy as leather ‘scabbard washers.’ I spent the better part of the day with the blade taped up working on the polish of the handle, shining up the wrought iron parts on a scotchbrite wheel and generally making sure that everything was finished and fit together well. The final step was to add an edge to the blade. I worked with a worn 220 grit on the top bevels to narrow down the thicker edge sections and then worked the bottom of the blade against the large 12 inch contact wheel to try and start with a flat chisel edge. I then worked the edge on the top side of the blade against the contact wheel to bring the edge sharp. I put a final edge on the smallsword using a Razor Sharp edge-making system. I left some portions of the blade sharper than others simply because I was too nervous about making the blade any more narrow from grinding the edge. At the end of the day I was happy with how the blade turned out and I waited until my family got home before packing it up. It was my son’s birthday that day so i let him hold it first and then let everyone else handle it before assembling a pine box to pack it in. The blade was sprayed down with oil and wrapped before packing it all away with plenty of bubble wrap.
The experience has left me with a lot of cuts and bruises on my hands but a very intense feeling of personal validation and satisfaction in the final product. I was happy to be done but also second-guessing myself in regards to heat treat and wondering how it would perform. It was nice to be done with a very challenging project and I was proud of myself. I screwed the lid on the pine box and handed it off to the FiF staff so that they could overnight it to the studio. Up next - The Final Showdown.