Real Steel: Kobold’s Choice—Building the Mace

In the recent past, we talked about the options for my next project. Then I asked for input from the kobolds, who made their choice here, and who also gave generously here and here. The mace is done—ready to ship to its proud new owner. As promised, I did my best to document the build in the video below. I also did my best to incorporate as many of your suggestions as possible. Sorry about the blur in the beginning; my autofocus went a little...

Real Steel: Kobold’s Choice Benefit Raffle Update

Our little benefit raffle to help out a fellow gamer in a time of need is done, and one thing is very clear: Kobolds care . . . a lot. All told we raised $580 to help Ernie get back on his feet. I’m in contact with his brother, Luke, who has set up a fund to handle donations, and that’s where the contributions from the warrens are headed. What a great community this is! I’m proud to be a part of it. You guys rock hard. The next order of...

Real Steel: Kobold’s Choice

In case you haven’t heard, Ernie Gygax recently had a disastrous house fire and lost pretty much all his possessions. All people and pets got out OK. Although we’re friends on Facebook, I’ve never met Ernie in person. But that doesn’t matter. Ernie is a member of our community. Let’s use this project to help him out. I’ll stick to the plan and document a build for the mace the kobolds selected. (The mace pictured here is what a flanged mace...

Real Steel: Kickin’ a Kickstarter

Curious to find out what our master of Real Steel is up to, are you? Then here’s the gist of it: Mjolnir, the Hammer of Thor from Norse mythology, will be created in forged steel, high-quality art prints, and T-shirts. Further, original graphic art will be created using pencil and/or pen and ink by the project graphic artist, David Gdula. David and Todd will collaborate so the graphic art represents the style and feel of the finished...

Real Steel: Kobold’s Choice Results

The results are in. The kobolds have spoken. The results we have at the end of this post are not what I expected, but kobolds are sneaky and unpredictable by nature. And the winner is… [Ahem. You probably guessed part of it by the image chosen for this update! Without further ado….] The steel-hafted flanged mace is the simplest of all the choices, and is essentially a cut and weld project. So to spice this up a little, I’ll consider...

Real Steel: Kobold’s Choice

Real Steel has been around for over two years and 24 installments. Although I’ve done my best to act on suggestions, I haven’t been able to get to them all. In part, this is because I have received so many suggestions, and also because I have the practical matter of Real Steel projects needing to fit in with what I have going on in the shop. So this time I’ll make sure I create what the kobolds ask for. Here are some projects I’d like to try....

Real Steel: Tetsu-Ken

In honor of the annual destruction and consumption of the dire turkey, we present to you Todd Gdula’s Real Steel, wherein we learn of the creation of a potential weapon that could help with the aforementioned destruction of the dire turkey. The tetsu-ken, or tekkan, is a little-known swordlike weapon from feudal Japan. The originals were mostly wakizashi-sized and appeared to be a wakizashi, but were made of iron rather than steel and had...

Real Steel Moon Hammer Auction To Help Christina Stiles Get to Gen Con

Put in your bid today! Bladesmith Todd Gdula’s brick-smashing moon hammer video is one of the high points of his Real Steel series here at KQ.com. Now that brick-smashing power can be yours — and you’ll be giving to a worthy cause. Todd has generously donated one of his moon hammers for auction at eBay, with all  proceeds after shipping costs (USA only) going to help Christina Stiles get to Gen Con. He says these typically go...

Real Steel: San Mai

In the past, we covered forge welding as it relates to Damascus steel here. But forge welding can be used to stick hot steel together in lots of different ways. San Mai is a Japanese technique now in widespread use in Japanese style and non-Japanese style knives. It translates to “three layers.” Gimme the Steel Sammich, Extra Flux, Hold the Fries San Mai steel is three layers forge welded together. The two outer layers are of the same type and...

Real Steel: Manrikigusari

The manrikigusari, or 10,000 powers chain, also called the ryofundogusari, or double weighted chain, is yet another obscure Japanese weapon. The story about its origins that I like best is that the samurai who guarded Edo castle were forbidden from spilling blood, and so they set aside their usual weapons in favor of this unusual but effective weapon. The same story tells us that this is a modification of the kusarigama, or sickle and chain,...

Real Steel: Steel Types and Properties

Volumes upon volumes have been written about steel chemistry and properties, and which steel is best for a particular job. The kobolds prefer if I keep it to around 500 words (kobolds have short attention spans), so I’ll quickly cover simple carbon steels and low alloy tool steels. Although stainless and high alloy steels have their uses, they cannot be used effectively for high impact weapons such as swords and axes, so perhaps we’ll deal with...

Real Steel: Edge Geometry

There are three basic edge geometries used on cutting tools, and those three types have some variations. Each has advantages and disadvantages, and some are useful only on specialized tools. Each type has its advocates, and some makers like one type so much that they specialize in making only that type of edge. The Hollow Grind The hollow grind, or concave grind, is probably the most familiar; you’ve probably at least heard of it, even if you...

Real Steel: VIDEO! Moon Hammer

Okay, okay, I promised the Danish axe next. Sorry it didn’t work out — we will do the axe real soon. I think you’re gonna like this one! Sam and I had fun making both the moon hammer and the video. So, How Do You Make a Moon Hammer? It’s really simple. I took a 3” long piece of 1.125” inside diameter mild steel structural pipe with 0.1875” thick walls and MIG welded a 3.25” forged mild steel ball to it. I then drove a 24” length of 1.125”...

Real Steel: VIDEO! Tetsu No Bo

Remember the tetsubo? Remember asking for some video of stuff getting cut and smashed? Good! Check this video out: What else do you want to see? We can do videos on the subjects of previous written Real Steel articles, or we can do something completely new. Tell us what you want to see! If we like the idea and it’s practical, we may just give it a try. What video is next? I’m thinking something “edgy.” As always, feel free to axe questions…...

Real Steel: War Club

The war club, in the form of a stick, was probably the first or second weapon ever used by human beings—a rock also being on that early list. Although a stout hardwood branch can get the job done, many cultures have improved both the function and appearance of the humble bludgeon. Native Americans have given us a number of designs, ranging from all wood with a large heavy knob, to a rawhide wrapped stone on a wooden handle. The Celts gave us...


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