Adam Savage’s One Day Builds: Excalibur Sword!



another day another one day build and we
are going to grind our way through this one bear with me that pun actually bears
fruit okay so in 1981 I am a 14 year old boy and I go and have my mind blown by
John Boorman's unbelievable film Excalibur everyone's walking around an
armor but mostly there's also this sword this amazing sword I went home from
seeing that movie grabbed a slat off of the basement of my parents house and
made myself an Excalibur pretty much exactly like this one with aluminum tape
so I could swing it around and pretend that I was the King Arthur okay
flash-forward to last year I go to wet a workshop where my new friend Peter lion
the sword master for wet it works I've made all the swords for Lord of the
Rings helps me get my sword on and together we make this he teaches me how
to grind myself a Strider sword in a single day and we make this and it's one
of my favorite objects but now it's time to put those two things together and use
the sword grinding skills I learned from Peter with my passion for Excalibur and
to grind myself an Excalibur sword Oishi now when it comes to sword grinding it
turns out that you need more than just a standard belt grinder you need what's
called a lineage er which is a type of belt grinder specifically for grinding
swords and blades and Peter Lyon and the wonderful books at Wetty have built
their own and this is apparently sort of a rite of passage for a sword grinder
and I took that as a challenge and I made my own Linna sure based off the
design of the one that I was using to make my Strider sword at Wetty
it works beautifully it has interchangeable belts you can do heavy
you can do light you can do the 3m material and this is the primary tool
I'm going to be using today to grind Excalibur it's gonna be a long one
because there's a lot of work to do so how do we begin well with this I bought
this beautiful rendition of Excalibur this is a very very good copy of the one
from the film a few years ago so I'm going to be copying in form this sword
one notable difference the hero Excalibur from the film has a wider
fuller than this that's the groove the fuller is the groove here in the middle
of the blade and it's done for lightning it's not a blood groove it never was but
the one in the movie is actually wider than this so I am going to be
replicating the one from the film and using a wider fuller design this alright
this piece of quarter-inch aluminum will be my Excalibur when I'm done with it
but first I've got to trace and make sure that I'm getting my sword the right
shape all right so it's gonna be half an inch okay so here is an interesting dilemma a
couple of years ago at comic-con there was a display of some screen-used
Excalibur armor and what was claimed to be a screen-used sword hero Excalibur
sword from John Boorman's Excalibur so I took some close-up pictures of it and
you'll notice here that the fuller is quite wide and disappears right into the
guard however I also have a picture of Nigel Terry who played King Arthur
grabbing the sword in the stone here from the film and you'll notice that the
fuller here is not as wide and actually ends in a bowl rather than disappearing
right into the guard so I have choices to make I have something claim to be the
hero's sword that has a different shaped fuller than the one that I can see is
definitely one of the hero swords so I think I'm going to split the difference
definitely the fuller in this film is a little bit wider than the fuller on this
replica but because I can see the bowl that the fuller makes here I am going to
follow that which is harder but I feel like it's more true I'm cleaning up one of my Sharpie lines
because it's not accurate enough and it's not even if I'm not even now I'm
not gonna get more even later and since a Sharpie is an alcohol-based marker a
little rubbing alcohol gets rid of it quite handily I have never ever
regretted marking something too carefully
never regretted it got to make a couple of cuts here I'm gonna slice this off
here I want to trim this blade down because I don't need all this aluminum right I have one more mark to make and
that is I'm gonna mark right up the center of the fuller so that I can see
my centerline oh I I get it you're wondering what is this far-out marker
that you are using Tom Sachs turned me on to these these
are called pica inks and they're meant for transferring patterns from holes so
you can see that the tip of this is very very very narrow and it's long so it
gives you this Sharpie type mark with extreme precision they make it in red
and black and I bought a dozen of each all right so I have marked the fuller
it's now time to grind it so I'm going to use a two inch wheel and a basic
medium grit sanding belt let's get to grinding that's not actually bad oh okay
I'm really pleased with that that is a full er done on one side I am hitting my
marks almost exactly I'm here to tell you the dudes that do this every day
Peter lion Tony swattin man-at-arms I'm looking at you guys my hat is off whew
this is back-breaking and I'm only like an hour into it I've got to grind the
fuller on the other side and then it's grind grind grind grind grind lots of
grinding but I am really pleased with how even this looks it's a nice start an
auspicious start on to the other side I have completed the fuller on both
sides and it's now time because I no longer need this guide of the flat edge
for the fuller to cut out the outer shape of my blade okay that is the rough outline of my
blade now I need to take it on to my belt sander and even it out so I can
start to carve the shape of the rest of the blades
so I've replaced my sanding belt with a very rough one for hogging out that's
because this edge of my blade is super uneven and I want to get it really nice
and straight all right my blade
starting to look like a genuine blade the outer shape has been ground and it's
nice and smooth one of the things that I took away from Peter Lyons patient
training when I made the Strider sword was that at every stage your marks
should be clear and your edges should be smooth and flat and like each stage
should be preceded – after everything is really nice so that is what I'm trying
to do teacher I hope that I'm not making you guys cringe okay time to make some
marks up the center of this thickness because that is what I'm going to start
to grind – oh and one other thing my Excalibur will actually be a slightly
easier blade to grind than the Strider sword and here's why notice that on the strider sword from
the fuller to the edge it's a concavity that's called a hollow grind and on
Excalibur it is a convexity it is not a hollow grind I don't know what the other
kind of grind is called but it is a it is a slope rather than a valley does
that make sense yeah it's convex instead of concave that should make it easier to
grind now with my fuller cut my edges shaped
and my markings done it's time to rough out the slope and that I'm gonna do on
my other belt sander my big Linda sure is a 72 inch belt
Linda sure this is a 48 inch belt Linda sure and this is a really lovely knife
grinding machine it can change its orientation from upright to horizontal
you can swap out multiple sizes of wheels here one two three I am only
using this because it gives me the right attitude with which to do the grinding
I'd have to radically alter that one so all right I have finished the rough
grinding with the 3m belt on the linee sure and that is where I actually
stopped on the Strider blade but there's a key difference of Excalibur which is
that Excalibur is a polished blade like highly polished so I'm taking 220 grit
sandpaper to it to bring it that final bit of finishing before I hit it with a
polishing wheel should brighten it up to a nice bright bright shine now it's time to attack the groove and I
want to be very careful about this because the sharpness of the transition
from the fuller to the rest of the blade keep things that really sells this blade
as a high precision item don't want to get sloppy about that I have
successfully 220 gritted this to my satisfaction wait
haven't quite it's never quite finished all right that's enough 220 gritting
it's time for polishing dude I'm getting so happy with this okay
I'm just gonna do a rough wipe off of the polishing compound so you can see
where we've gotten to that's roughed out with 220 grit that is polish now I have
some more polishing to do but dude I am so psyched about this all right before I
get too psyched I'm gonna get back to work ladies and gentlemen oh that we're close
that's beautiful I still think I can do some more polishing of this clearly I
need to do a little more polishing wheel action but hells bells that is really
really shaping up nicely Excalibur I must say 14 year old me is quite
impressed now it's time to make the rest of the attachments for this so that it
can officially live out the rest of its life as a sword instead of just a piece
of aluminum that's been shaped to look like a sword blade first order of
business is to fit the guard now off-camera a few months ago in a peak of
brass cutting zeal I made the guard for Excalibur this is exact to the other
sword so I have already marked it it's now time Oh to make the cut on the
bandsaw for the guard and the handle I know the handle has a name but I can't
remember it right now ladies and germs that's it awesome we are proceeding a pace I have a guard
on here made of brass that matches the original exactly I have the handle part
I have not wound silver wire around it I do have that silver wire here I'm gonna
wind it an actual silver but I haven't done that yet before I do that I want to
make sure all the other parts work so I'm gonna have to cut down this little
part of the tang and thread it so that it threads onto this brass part and now
it's time for me to make the brass part yeah this is gonna be fun I get to use
the lathe oh look at that
all right I'm going to give this some softer edges and then I'll get the
tapping what does this think called in my hands
this is called a die it is for cutting threads it's the other half of a tap and
die set I'm cutting these threads at 1/4 inch to 20 threads per inch standard
quarter 20 and this is so that I can assemble my sword and take it back part
again which I'm going to want to do several times as I do the final fit and
polish up everything I have a full set of dies and they're amazing my pro tip
is use lots of cooling fluid and come back and break off the stuff that you're
slicing you'll understand when you're doing it it's quite impressive the
material I'm moving is being removed by cutting blades and their friction
against and cutting through the aluminum and this is actually quite hot the whole
tang is warm just from the friction of slicing and cutting these threads for
this rattail hey it's totally working ah it's awesome I'm leaving this proud
so that I can trim it later if I want to okay so I can see the next thing I'm
gonna do now that I've done the guard and the pommel is to do the checkerboard
thing that fits inside the pommel that's just gonna be a little more lathe work
here we go okay so now as I'm looking at this
pummel and it's checkered pattern I have a radius cutter for my lathe but that's
not a radius not by any means it's actually more of a in fact I noticed
that both sides are not equivalent to each other so this is sort of hand
pattern and I'm gonna do the same exact thing so what I'm doing right now after
having done the rough shaping of my brass convexity that goes into the
pommel is I am doing a Polish so I'm starting with a hundred and fifty grit
sandpaper after using the finger sander to shape it and this is hopefully going
to pull out any of the sort of large gross marks even the mouth but 150 grit
isn't close to a fine polish so once I've got some confidence that 150 grit
taking out like I said most of the big marks I go in with a little scotch brite
3m material kind of this allows me to sort of see it this also removes just a
little bit of material it's not going to take care of deep scratches but it will
help me see where I might need help and then I'll finish with a little triple
zero or quadruple zero steel wool and this is where I really get to see the
art of the possible that's it see that see I still see some
little marks in there I can take care of that with some 320 grams yeah ah man do I ever love polishing
brass look at that you can see your face or your cameraman in that reflection
here all right now it's time to grind my checkerboard I've never done something
like this before so your guess is as good as – to how well it will go I am uh
I'm not going to cut my pummel sides off until the checkers have been fully
ground and that's by design I want to have something to hold on to obviously
then once I've got the checkerboard in and polished I'll cut it off and install
it let's do the other side my checker is marked time to get to
filing I am going to go for a triangular file for this operation of which I have
a couple I've several good yeah alright time to install ah that's so pretty look look oh that
looks like I know what I'm doing that is freaking beautiful okay still have a
bunch of work to do next up I've got all the brass done the blade is polished
okay next up is the handle which is going to be twisted silver wire I
believe is how we're doing this Oh point one five let's actually say
0.14 Claire point one four yeah known each of these is 48 feet I'm in really
really really really really good shape so that's 22 feet and I've got 48 feet
Joey can I get your help can you hold that yeah you're we're we're gonna be
close to 20 20 feet here I think this is 30 wide all right come towards me
alright here we go about to twist silver wire times 22 feet working beautifully I had thought that
the wires on the handle were braided but they're not they're twisted but there's
two sets of twisted pairs and they're in opposition to each other so it makes
this kind of pattern haha practicode we're off to a good
start I need a little CA glue we got to tell you even something as
simple as winding this silver wire around this thing it's like you watch
Peter lion do its work or Tony swattin men-at-arms any of these YouTube
channels these guys make it look so easy but it's so hard to communicate how
physically demanding this stuff is my hands are cramping up I've got a hold
constant pressure on this otherwise it'll flip unwind and I don't get to
take a break until it's all completely wound on itself holy cow
I did it with four inches of wire on one side to spare crazy crazy good oh look at that damn productionvalue man
and that is all the wire I had left look I know you probably saw this spool too
but I don't know how much is on this spool so that was not necessarily my
plan B oh so cool okay alright alright the blade the card
pummel handle ah I'm really pleased with how this is
looking okay good okay so now it's time to put
these bad boys in and that is going to be with a little bit of cyanoacrylate ladies and gentlemen oh yeah I'm really
really really excited about this that's the replica there's my replica of
the replica I am damned pleased with that I have been wanting this sword oh
it's even actually almost correctly balanced I have been wanting this stored
forever all right let's go find it dragon you

pexels photo 139311

You May Also Like