Swords symbolise power and gallantry but also exoticism and danger. In stories from the Lord of the Rings to He-Man, swords are not just weapons but mystical talismans of empowerment and self-actualisation for characters. Nowadays we do not live in times where swords are popular and romantic weapons of justice. They are collector's items and some people make them. But sword-making is an art and craft and is not as simple as pounding steel against an anvil. It takes practice to become fully proficient. Celtic swords are usually long with a strong blade and have a specific design from the culture. There are basic key methods for making a sword.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Tools and equipment
- Ventilated work space
- Steels and alloys
- Grip materials and scrimshaw
- Cable blades
- Heat-treating and tempering equipment
Forge your piece of metal into the shape that you want. You can obtain "blade blanks" to work with. Or obtain 6 inches of metal, 2 inches wide. Many kinds of steel are used to construct swords, including stainless steel and metal mixtures like iron, carbon, silicon and other trace elements. Place the metal in a forge, defined as a blacksmith's furnace. You should decide the length of the blade at this stage. In the book "The Celtic Sword," Radomir Pleiner says long swords were preferred by Celtic warriors. Usually, a blade is forged in sections because heating a whole blade would make it too soft and unmanageable, according to the website Anvilfire.com. Once the shape is as you want, let the blade cool and move onto the next step.
Heat the sword again, so that it is soft enough to grind. Grinding is honing the shape of the sword, working the edges and point with a grinder. At this stage, engravings are added and any fittings, such as the hilt, are made. Typical engravings can be added, including the classic Celtic knots or a twisted serpent.
When the grinding is complete, the engravings done and the fittings made, the sword must be heated again to a very high temperature and placed in a "quenching tank," according to fantasy author, Will Kalif. This allows it to cool quickly and evenly, his article adds. The heating and quenching process can be done several times to ensure the sword blade is as smooth and as even as possible. After this the sword is brittle and must be strengthened.
This is done through hardening. Heat the sword again but at a lower temperature, and then cool, the Kalif article says. This can be done several times to ensure it is not brittle. Once completed, polish the sword. The sword is now complete. A hilt, a pommel and jewels can also be added at this stage of the process if they have not already been attached to the metal, Anvilfire.com says.
Tips and warnings
- Making a swords requires a lot of expertise, patience and commitment. Do not be afraid to seek out the help of an experienced blacksmith when starting off, according to author of swashbuckling fantasy novels, Will Kalif.
- The Anvilfire.com website advises you to thoroughly think through the reasons you want to make a sword before committing to the task of making one.
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