This is the most challenging piece I've made to date. It's a collaboration between myself and Jamie Lundell that is based on a 19th century original made in Toledo, Spain. The original (last 2 pictures) has a blade that is 20mm wide, 810mm long, and .7mm thick. Ther are some inscritions on the blade: "Fca de Toledo in 1846" and "Acargo del Cuerno de Artilleria". The scabbard is silver, I believe, but there is little information available.
Our version of the sword also has a blade that is the same size as the original, but is pattern-welded to have a snake-like pattern in the blade. It was made from 1080 and 15N20, and is about 56 Rockwell in hardness. The scabbard is made from .925 sterling silver along with the handle. The eyes of the snake are 6mm natural rubies set in 18kt gold bezels. The display case was made by my brother, Peter Berry, from black walnut that the two us cut and milled ourselves.
How flexible is the blade? Very. You can easily bend in into a full circle. As a weapon it functions purely by slashing. It's to flexible to support thrusting. It's not something you would carry onto the battlefield, but if you are confronting an unarmored person in your study you could easily slice them into ribbons.
The blade was made by Jamie and was technically challenging, the scabbard even more so.. The scabbard is a hollow sculpture made from 7.5lbs of .925 sterling silver. The carving of the sculpture in wax took seemingly forever. It's all done by hand with over 5,000 scales all laid out, carved, and textured. As daunting as that was, it was the casting and assembly of the snake that was the biggest challenge. Normal jewelry techniques don't really work when you are dealing with pieces this big. How to solder 10 pieces of silver tube without melting the silver or previous joints was probably the biggest challenge. Normal soldering techniques simply don't cut it. In the end we abandoned soldering and welded the pieces together using a very unorthodox technique.
Creating a smooth sheathing and drawing mechanism was also extremely challenging, and was compounded by the fact that the curled blade acts as a strong spring on the whole interface between sword and sheath.
This is one of those projects that you hate while you're in the middle of it, but you're very happy with when it's over.