When I think of a “sword,” something like what the English used is generally the first thing that comes to mind, however, there is something really cool about how the ancient Roman gladius looks (and sounds when you say it). “SirKeyboardCommando” decided to build his own using modern tools and heat treating methods that have been refined throughout the ages.
The inspiration for this came from three years of high school Latin, where the creator was introduced to this weapon. Quite a bit of research was done before the build, so the final product would end up as “something close to what the Romans would have used, just made with modern materials.” It’s a fairly short sword, so less finishing work was involved than a longer piece blade, but as seen directly below, it’s still a deadly slicer of watermelons!
The build, which took somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 hours, started with a ¼” thick and 3″ wide piece of 1075 steel. This type of steel can be heat treated to make it harder, but comes fairly soft to make it easy to work with. Outlines of the sword were traced, then cut out with a bandsaw to make a rough outline of the blade. The sides were then marked and ground for a nice bevel and edge on both sides.
After this, the sword was put into a makeshift brick kiln, where it was heated to around 1650°F, then quenched in oil. This process makes the sword extremely hard although somewhat brittle. Although the results were good, the oil ended up catching on fire at one point, so be careful if trying this at home. The sword was tempered at 450° for two hours in a conventional oven to make it less brittle.
Finally, a great-looking wooden handle was made and installed, making the excellent watermelon-slashing device that you see here. I just hope the author takes it to picnics once in a while to help prepare the snacks!
I would like to note that above you can see a cat being knighted, not threatened. Granted, the feline in question looks unsure about the process.