For enthusiasts of pre-modern combat weaponry, especially handmade swords, the beauty of a blade is seen in the crafter’s attention to detail and careful choice of material. Their use in battlefields gained traction in the early 5th Century when close combat became the tactic of choice. Initially, these weapons were very crude, but as time went by, they became more refined in design and function. So what is the opinion of handmade swords experts on this subject?
Sword Symbolism in Ancient times
Different civilizations around the world had different styles of swords. While they were all crafted to injure and kill, some of the cultures in ancient history considered their swords way more than small arsenal.
The Samurai warriors of the 16th to 18th Century were permitted to wear two swords as a symbol of their position in society. This bestowed great pride and served the warriors a contestant reminder of their Bushido values of honor, bravery, and personal loyalty. In many European monarchies, the sword symbolized power, and epic legends were woven around swords, such as King Arthur’s Excalibar, which was said to hold magical powers.
The Basics of Making a Sword
Even though the days of close combat in battle have all but disappeared, and weaponry has become very sophisticated and even long-ranged, swords still hold a fascination for a good number of us. From the crudity of the earliest swords to the refined elegance of the modern fare, sword makers continue to deliver beautiful and classic pieces.
The first consideration that goes into forging a sword is the period from which it comes. For instance, in the 5th Century, swords were weapons. They were designed more for function rather than aesthetics. As such, they were not overly adorned. Once settled, the next step is to choose the material.
In the early days of sword use, Damascus steel was used. The use of steel hasn’t changed. An alloy of carbon steel is used, and it is preferred that have carbon point of about 65 points, give or take 5. This is the optimum carbon strength that offers flexibility, as well. If too much carbon is used, then it makes it less malleable, hence easily broken.
Let’s go through the necessary six steps involved in crafting a sword:
Your chosen bar of alloy metal is heated in a forge, cooled, and then hammered into the desired shape. This process is repeated severally to instill strength to the final product.
- The blade is heated and insulated to lose the heat slowly, in about 24 hours.
- Next, a grinder is used to shape the edges and tip of the sword.
- The sword is then heated to a very high temperature and then dipped in a water bath, which cools it immediately and uniformly. This hardens the metal.
- The blade is then reheated and quenched, this time at a lower temperature. This cycle is repeated. It is known a tempering, and it gives it pliancy while maintaining its lethal edge.
- Once these steps have been applied, the blade is ready for finishing. The pommel, guard and hilt and pommel are added to make it a complete sword.
A great deal of patience is required to forge a sword properly. Any rush and the final product will show weaknesses. Besides, if the artwork is to be carved into the handle, thought should put into crafting it for heightened beauty.