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Criswell Swords

Discussion in 'Sword Discussion' started by Jourel1, Nov 3, 2018.

  1. Jourel1

    Jourel1

    31
    Nov 1, 2015
    Criswell Katana and Wazikashi??? What are your thoughts? I bought a set back in 2002. They just sat in the safe and are still shaving sharp. I oiled them a few years ago...
     
  2. JJHollowman

    JJHollowman

    454
    Jul 16, 2016
    I think you should hang on to those if you can, highly unlikely he'll ever make more. A matched pair, too.
     
  3. willrise

    willrise Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 9, 2003
    I would say send them me :) I really regret getting rid of both my Katanas
     
  4. Triton

    Triton Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 8, 2000
    I always thought they were pretty rudimentary things back in the day and some of the early ones did not handle well. They were some of the earlier tactanas however and I agree that the values will likely only go up.
     
    Mecha likes this.
  5. Joseph Gardner

    Joseph Gardner

    139
    Oct 12, 2018
    Theres a thing about blacksmithing that its basically slave labor that doesnt pay out the time put into it.

    That said A2 is a steel most people do not have the patience the time or the arm capable of forging A2 out into a blade, you get about 5-8 seconds per heat to swing your hammer before you enter an unstable austonite phase and the metal will crack, and it has twice if not more the toughness of 1095 to forge. Its not like most simple steels where you can go from orange to red, you go from medium orange to dull orange and youre done.

    While its just a simple steel and theres nothing remarkable about the blade itself; Criswell hand forged his blades just with a hammer and used a steel most smiths are too weak to forge.

    Criswell was a badass.
     
  6. horseclover

    horseclover Basic Member Basic Member

    Nov 21, 2000
  7. Joseph Gardner

    Joseph Gardner

    139
    Oct 12, 2018
    Curves from forging on the spine are easy to spot, iv heard Phils name before but havnt looked up his work
     
  8. Triton

    Triton Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 8, 2000
    I always assumed he was a stock removal guy with more grinding than hammering.
     
  9. Mecha

    Mecha Madscienceforge.com Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 27, 2013

    Criswell swords are forged? Where did you hear that? I've handled a few of them and they were thick stock removal blades with no distal taper at all.
     
  10. Joseph Gardner

    Joseph Gardner

    139
    Oct 12, 2018
    A2 doesnt really take a hamon or flex with a coat to get the bend. That curve on the spine is done by forging, doesnt take much a light bevel and youre done rest can be stock removed pretty easy, I did a tanto of a2 two weeks ago and its pretty much the same thing.

    The way you can tell is the organic curve, a2 is pretty pricy too so cut away doesnt make sense for the metal.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2018
  11. Joseph Gardner

    Joseph Gardner

    139
    Oct 12, 2018
    Ah browsing his swords, there quite a few that are forged and some that are very very not.

    There is usually a very very very hidden blemish on the face of a blade where there was beveling done on an angled bar and then ran congruent with the angle, the thick section when beveled after that forms a big step and the smith has to forge down the steel along the step to even it out and rebevel and might have to do this two to three times to remove it, it will show on the back end and if one looks very closely it shows on the face after grinding as well an angle change. Its a bubble per say?
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2018
  12. Joseph Gardner

    Joseph Gardner

    139
    Oct 12, 2018
  13. Mecha

    Mecha Madscienceforge.com Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 27, 2013

    So what you're telling everyone is that A2 doesn't take much forging to make a spine curve, "a light bevel and you're done," but most smiths are too weak to forge it. That A2 is too pricey to do just stock removal so curvature should be forged, but forging is slave labor that doesn't pay for itself.

    Have you ever seen a Criswell sword that wasn't in a photo? They don't have dents in the spine like that billet you posted above, that looks like it was hit with an angle grinder. I'm just wondering why you're posting all this iffy and convoluted stuff about forging and swords all over the forum. There are people here who want the info posted here to be accurate or at least attributed.
     
    WValtakis likes this.
  14. horseclover

    horseclover Basic Member Basic Member

    Nov 21, 2000
    Rob Criswell used stock removal.
     
  15. horseclover

    horseclover Basic Member Basic Member

    Nov 21, 2000
    I guess he has never read of a laser or water jet for profiling blade blanks.
     
  16. Joseph Gardner

    Joseph Gardner

    139
    Oct 12, 2018
    Lol. Theres machines for curving steel, and presses with bends in them, it doesnt make sense to to get overstock make a trace and then cut off 60% of a material, no you just bend a bar and it has the same bend going throughout the bar, or you just make a few taps.

    Again mecha youre a noob.
     
  17. chugokujin

    chugokujin

    528
    Dec 21, 2002
    Rob Criswell did in fact use stock removal. How do I know? Because he told me so before I purchased his blades. I still have one katana left out of the four swords I purchased. I kept his second gen katana with g10 bolsters. At that time I was getting my Blade magazines monthly and noticed his new ad. I called him to get some info on his blades. He was friendly and spent a good bit of time on the phone with me. This was before he got busy with orders of course. He informed me he didnt forge and used the stock removal method. I also asked if the advertised pic was flawed as they showed his swords with a hollow grind. He confirmed the pics were accurate and that he didn't flat grind. He worked for Benchmade for quite a number of years before going on his own and did a lot of hollow grinding. Rob also employed the use of an oxy acetylene torch for his H/T process. Having spoken to Phil Harstfield and Jim Piorek at shows in NYC back in the 90s, they told me they also used a torch as a part of their A2 H/T process interestingly enough.

    Just throwing out what I remember from my conversations with Rob.
     
    Mecha likes this.
  18. Joseph Gardner

    Joseph Gardner

    139
    Oct 12, 2018
    There isnt a blade in existance which isnt stock removed in one form or another.

    Just depends at which stage you do it, not saying all of them are but theres evidence on more then a few iv seen at conventions that had.

    Im also jelly you got to speak with him.
     
  19. Mecha

    Mecha Madscienceforge.com Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 27, 2013
    If it doesn't make sense then why do almost all blade-makers do it that way? As you pointed out, forging blades isn't as efficient for repeat production, for various reasons. The cost of steel is usually miniscule compared to the cost of the work that goes into making a blade, forged or not.
     
  20. chugokujin

    chugokujin

    528
    Dec 21, 2002
    Evidence of what that you've seen at conventions? Forged Criswell swords? Not possible as the man politely told me he doesn't know how to forge. Not sure if he had an interest either. I spoken to enough stock removal makers who admitted such lack of interest. Yes, I know bladesmiths will have to do some kind of grinding at some point. ABS mastersmiths don't deny this, at least none that I've met.

    I don't know what kind of sword that is that you posted, but there looks to be no hollow grinding of the sort. There is also another reason why the katanas of Criswell, Piorek and Hartsfield possessed 26" long blades max. A2 could only be had 3ft lengths. If you wanted a 10" handle, you could only have 26" of blade. If they did forge, then they would have been able to draw out a longer blade as many of their customers asked if it was doable. Only after they told me about getting it in limited lengths did I realize why their swords had that particular length.
     
    Mecha likes this.

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