Thursday, August 15, 2013

Swordsmiths - some musings

Jake Powning has an interesting story of the crafting of a classical Norse sword (I think that's right) with six other swordsmiths from around the world. Called Arctic Fire 2013, the story is fascinating. The blade is hidden somewhere in the world. "All you have to do to win the sword is to be the first to solve a two-part riddle: What is the name of the blade, and where is it buried?"
Good luck on that one. Email me if you win. That's just cool.

I never considered smithing of any type to be a beginner's trade. I mean sure, you might be able to hammer a piece of metal, but shape it? That's practice. The right metal for what you're making? Practice. Get it the correct hardness? Practice again! Now what? Practice!

I can see why a person should be an apprentice first. It's too bad I didn't live two hundred years ago or more. I might have been an apprentice blacksmith.
I suppose I might also have been an apprentice weaver, too, so maybe it's okay the way it is.

This is a good discussion thread on swordsmithing in general. To sum it up, a swordsmith is an artisan crafter in metal, not just some beginner blacksmith making a pointy piece of metal.

The same site that has an excellent article on creating an anvil and a wide range of articles on blacksmithing has an excellent page for those people who "want to make a sword."

There are many smiths who do blades, though. (I'm not endorsing any of them. I simply did a search for sword smiths in Texas.) For instance, this one.
Morrow's Blade and Blacksmith Shop

You have to wonder at the life of a smith, though. I don't think it is exactly as portrayed in the movies (and one site said so). I suppose there aren't any female smiths who look like Cory Everson either (from Hercules: The Legendary Journeys).

According to one on-line magazine, the best swordsmith in the world lives near Austin Texas. Daniel Watson currently has four apprentices. It takes twelve years, full-time to become a swordsmith: "Four years in knife making, four years in sword techniques, followed by yet another four years in either metallurgy or artistry." Obviously this is something I should have started as a younger man. In 1990 I did look into it, but you couldn't make a living as an apprentice, and I had child support payments. And I was afraid of disrupting my lifestyle so extremely. (That last one haunts me in so many avenues of my life…)

Daniel O'Connor works out of Dallas, and makes hand-crafted wood-working tools. He also makes fiddles. I just liked the site.

There is a Dragonfly Mountain Sword School (Dragonfly Forge) in Oregon where Michael Bell teaches classes, but in the twenty years of the school only one apprentice finished graduation. It's just that hard.

One of the links gives other links. I found them interesting, too, especially the third one, which is about ARMA and swords, since my youngest daughter was big into ARMA for a few years (losing a tooth in the process, actually!).

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