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Thread: sword smithing

  1. #1

    Swordsmithing School?

    I recently picked up the newest copy of this informative magazine and read through all the sword articles. I'm an avid kung-fu practitioner for a good year now and just can't seem to get enough. For quite some time now I have had great interest in the traditional methods of blacksmithing but in swordsmithing in particular. I just graduated college last year and am contemplating whether i should go back for graduate school. Most schools I have looked into on the subject of sword-smithing have it only as a 1 semester specialty added onto their welding and metalworking departments. Seeing as how you guys at the magazine must have an immense list of contacts and references, I was wondering whether perhaps some of those would be able to enlighten me on the path I should take to get into such a career. The education needed and possibly places to get it. I understand it is mostly apprenticeships since there are so few interested in it anymore. Would I have to leave the US? If so any places abroad? Any info would be greatly appreciated by anyone.

    Peace
    you rockin loud but you ain't sayin nothin

  2. #2
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    my guess is you'll have to apprentice if you want the "Real deal". I apprenticed out to a traditional bowyer and never saw anything like a "school" for it. Swords may be different.
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  3. #3
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    Swordmaking

    Thanks for you kind words on our Jan Feb 2005 issue. First off, making blades is hard, hot, dirty work. Shaping metal takes a lot of physical strength. I worked as a sword maker for several years. I wasn't in a forge. I was a cutler, which means we bought blades and fashioned hilts. It still involved metal shaping and it sucked.
    I'm not trying to discourage you, just warn you.
    That being said, smiths are either self-taught or have apprenticed under a recognized master. In America, the best resources can be found in knife making magazines. There are bodies that certify master blade makers, although they focus on knife makers. The art of blade making is amazing now. Modern technology has improved the process in many ways. Look to the knive community to find resources - it tags along with the gun shows.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  4. #4
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    sword smithing

    I was curious if any of you make your own swords. If so, where did you learn? I think it might be an interesting hobby to take up but i wasn't sure how to go about learning. Are there trade schools for that sort of thing? Do you have to apprentice under someone that does it? Any information would be appreciated. Thanks.

  5. #5
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    www.angelsword.com

    Peace,TWS
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  6. #6
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    I have done my own Bowie knives. I have been in metal fabricateing for a number of years, and it just happened one day.
    Those that are the most sucessful are also the biggest failures. The difference between them and the rest of the failures is they keep getting up over and over again, until they finally succeed.


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  7. #7
    http://www.badgerblades.com/

    These swords are realy nice and very cheap for the quality. Unless its a custom sword they cost between $35 and $450.

    I got a hand-made batleth from them for about 500 dollers last year. The batleth is by far my favorite weapon in my arsenal.

    BTW: here is a picture of a batleth for those who dont know what they are
    http://www.weaponscentral.net/fantasyswords/batleth.jpg

  8. #8
    Get involved in reenactment and living history, from there you will find the people who make swords.

    Its not something you can pick up quickly, however; a lot of guys make armour, spears, short blades, all kinds of stuff in their spare time, most will buy their swords. So its a fairly specialist skill that will eat up your time and money like no tomorrow, but then so is martial arts, so whatever floats your boat. If its a bit too heavy for you, consider finding a reenactment group that does some more general armouring, its all good fun.


    *edit: oh, and go here

    http://forums.swordforum.com/

  9. #9
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    thank you all for your input. it is a good starting point. thats sometimes the hardest thing to find. greatly appreciated.

  10. #10
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    I procurred all of the tools that i needed for this and got started a bit in the art. however you need to be at a location where you can generate alot of heat in a forge.

    Step one look at the properties of metals used for combat blades and the ways they are attained from the forgeing process. Then you can find the homemade forge instructions online. find a source of scrap steel or iron etc. get brine baths and oil baths. Learn the art of woodworking for handles and sheaths study attaching tangs as well as securing handles to decide the best process for the applications you wish to pursue. one note of interest is that if you combine metals in certain ways you can use their individual properties for desired effects.
    i.e. japanese katana has a soft core for flexibility and hard edge for incredible sharpness and the ability to hold an edge.

  11. #11
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    Funny you should mention smithing...

    Nanotube secrets of Damascus steel blade
    By Roger Highfield, Science Editor
    Last Updated: 2:23am GMT 17/11/2006

    For hundreds of years, some of the keenest minds searched in vain for the secret of how blacksmiths in the ancient Middle East fashioned a tough and flexible metal known as Damascus steel.

    The metal was highly prized for its extraordinary mechanical properties and an exceptionally sharp edge, and may have helped Islamic armies repel European crusaders with inferior weapons.

    The search for the secret of the shimmering alloy may now be nearing an end, thanks to a study that reveals that the blacksmiths unwittingly managed to create "nanotubes" of carbon, structures at levels of a billionth of a metre.

    Elements introduced during the forging process gave rise to the earliest carbon nanotubes on record, according to a study in the journal Nature by a team led by Prof Peter Paufler of the Technische Universitat Dresden.

    The team used electron microscopy to study a specimen from a Damascus sabre made in the 17th century. Some remnants show evidence of carbon nanotubes. These, in turn, may have helped form iron carbide nanowires, which might explain the strength and beautiful pattern of the coveted Damascus blades.

    Sir Walter Scott's fictional tale of the Crusades described the Islamic army's swords as being "of a dull blue colour, marked with ten millions of meandering lines.".

    "To get the pattern, they made grooves into the blade and forged it to remove the steps. This was repeated many times," said Prof Paufler.

    Damascus blades are thought to have been forged from small cakes of steel known as "wootz", probably produced in India. A sophisticated treatment was then applied to the steel, but details of this were lost in the 18th century.

    Prof Paufler believes that, as further details of this material emerge it might be possible to reproduce the long-lost recipe.
    I made swords full time for about a half decade, but I never did any smithing. We bought blades from forges all over Europe and built fittings, scabbards, handles, etc. We did some metal bending and shaping, but no forging whatsoever.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  12. #12

    Thread quote:

    "Damascus blades are thought to have been forged from small cakes of steel known as "wootz", probably produced in India."
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Indian metallurgy was very well advanced. Blades of Steel packed in grease were shipped overland on donkeys from India via Iran to Iraq and Syria. Then handle making and sharpening -presto you have the Saracen blade.India's iron age came quite early. But the products generally went westward rather than east ward.
    Then later it spreads to the Russian and other sabres and Toledo steel.

    Many sword merchants even today contract with Indian forges...for Marine sabres
    ...check some of the cutlery catalogues and products(Atlanta cutlery etc) in detail--- you will see various kinds of
    metal weapons that are subcontracted via Indian forges.

    Indian blacksmithing craftsmanship still exists- in the making of functional Sikh swords and Gorkha kukhris.They can withstand great pressures without breaking.

    joy chaudhuri

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by jera View Post
    http://www.badgerblades.com/

    These swords are realy nice and very cheap for the quality. Unless its a custom sword they cost between $35 and $450.

    I got a hand-made batleth from them for about 500 dollers last year. The batleth is by far my favorite weapon in my arsenal.

    BTW: here is a picture of a batleth for those who dont know what they are
    http://www.weaponscentral.net/fantasyswords/batleth.jpg
    I knew that there were klingons living on earth!
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  14. #14
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    ttt 4 2015!

    I would love to see this guy's work.

    Man gives up white-collar job to forge swords in Henan



    A 33-year-old man has gained fame for crafting swords in a Henan farmhouse after giving up white-collar work five years ago, reports Tencent.

    At the age of 28, the man lived a typical metropolitan existence and held stable employment as a mid-level manager at a state-owned enterprise, after previously selling golf products and doing contracting work for a fish pond. It was at this time that the man abandoned his routine existence and moved to a remote farmhouse in a wheat field to follow his dream of becoming a blacksmith.



    The sword-enthusiast chose an ideal location to pursue his passion. The nearby town of Guying has a blacksmithing history dating back 2,000 years to the Han dynasty, and his new workshop is within a kilometre of the ancient site for iron manufacturing from the Han dynasty.



    The man's story would surely appeal to "Game of Thrones" fans, and the profitability of his enterprise may inspire others willing to escape the 9-5 rat race and create their own medieval-style niche. These splendid-looking swords sell for between 100,000 and 200,000 RMB (16,000 to 32,000 USD) apiece.

    While we never knew the sword-smelting industry was so lucrative in 2015, we wholly endorse the success of those who give up everything to follow their dreams. In 2014, the story of a humble Hebei animator went viral when his Ukrainian excursion yielded a beautiful wife and profitable business.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  15. #15
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    You will become wholly, obsessively addicted. It's so great!
    Museums, re-enactors, renaissance - depending where you are other guys working.
    Get a book called "practical blacksmithing" and a modern short cut version that has handy metal tables like Jack Andrews "edge of the anvil" (is one of the better fast facts and tables beginner guides. I used to give them those two books when they started..)
    That gives you fast start up and substantive theory for practice
    Last edited by curenado; 04-13-2015 at 08:31 AM.
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