Preface How to Start Sword Smithing
We get many questions to our team on Facebook regarding the smithing of these beautiful weapons. While we would love to just tell you to begin on your journey, we thought you should get yourself familiar with the art first.
First, you should ask yourself,
"Why do I want to make a sword?"
What do I intend to DO with it?
A sword is a weapon. Like a Bowie knife or gun they are a weapon designed for one person to kill another. Do you intend to kill someone? Are you playing games? Or do you just think it would be "neat" to have a sword hanging on the wall?
Most of the time I know the answers to these questions, perhaps better than you. But, do YOU know the answers?
You are a young male (99% of you and under 30). You are fascinated by weapons of all types. You like the movies Conan the Barbarian and Highlander (I, II, III. . .), and watch the television shows Highlander, Zena, Hercules and The Immortal (among others).
You may be into Dungeons and Dragons or the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism). You think a sword shouldn't be too hard to make. You will want to play with it. Perhaps mock combat with one of your friends. You haven't thought about the fact that you or your friends could be, maimed, blinded or killed "just playing".
Do not deny it. It is your nature. It is why there are 10 - 12 accidental gun deaths of children every day in America. It is almost always boys handling the gun and the victim is almost always their best friend or neighbor. Swords do not kill quite as easily as guns but dead is still dead.
Now ask yourself,
How will I feel if someone (maybe a friend or relative) is killed with a weapon I make?
Do I want (or need) to make a REAL sword or a toy, a wallhanger?
Am I responsible enough to be making or possessing dangerous weapons?
No matter how you answer, the problem is the same. Swords are weapons. They may be harder to kill with than a gun, but they ARE killing weapons. Even a soft steel or aluminium "wall hanger" can be a lethal weapon. Custom blades made as object'de art have been used to commit murders causing great anguish to their makers. It may not have been the swordsmith's fault but they DID make the weapon.
We are attracted to swords because they are shiny, exotic, dangerous. . .
They reek of adventure, swashbuckling, heros and gallantry.
Their making is full of myth and mystery. Earth, air, fire and water, the elements of alchemy, runes, the myths of Damascus and Japanese steel.
Robert S. Boynton writes in, By the Sword: The Microhistory of a Weapon
"From the earliest days, from China and Japan in the East to Persia, Greece and Rome, the sword has served as a symbol of justice, power and righteous authority."