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Forging a halberd, Part 1



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My buddy Dave Wylie and I are making a French Marine sergeant's halberd for the Guerrette Family Reunion at the 2008 Acadian Festival. It was used in Quebec (New France) to identify sergeants in combat. The weapon was ceremonial and symbolic and was replaced by a musket during the French and Indian War :


Click on any image to see a bigger version.
First, a picture of the shop. It has double doors in front, a tiny woodshed on the side and sleeping quarters upstairs, with a sunroof and it's own tiny balcony, on the right:

This is the shed structure where I currently have the forge set up, about 20' on a side:

The forge. What could possibly tip you off that the owner's from South-Africa where theft is a way of life?

Always make a template! This is a template of the initial cuts for the halberd. The template's made from the inside of an old toaster. Never throw anything away!

This is the progress so far. To give perspective, the truck spring's exactly 3" wide. Even though the cuts are slightly uneven, I hope to straighten things out during further forging. These cuts were made with a chisel while the iron was hot. The top little "wing" on each side will be the middle spike of the halberd and the one underneath will be the bottom spike. I've marked in black the remaining cuts, after the socket's cut the top little "wing" will form the top spike:


Halberd with the blade end cut out, next to a 12" square. Kinda looks like a horseshoe crab:

This is how it looks with the socket cut out. All the major cuts have been done, so now the rough edges get taken off and the final shaping starts:

Here I've annealed the halberd and the filed away all the nasty bits of steel left over from the cutting. Hot-cutting leaves an uneven edge which will fold over when forged, so I hand-file these off before forging ahead (ha!)

Here I've forged the "tines" (what are those things called?) and the tang. The tines need to be bent more to be parallel with the direction of the tang, for better yanking a rider off his horse.

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