The merest mention of the word sword evokes images of legendary figures: English knights, Roman gladiators, Japanese ninjas or Viking warriors. Our imagination paints them larger-than-life, with their shining swords slicing through the air in dazzling arcs. We are fascinated by the sword like no other weapon, often seeing it as a thing of beauty. In fact, many swords are breathtaking works of art made by the skilled hands of a craftsman.

The price range reflects the variety. You can find all types of swords, from inexpensive machine-made replicas for as little as $50 to hand-crafted masterpieces that cost $35,000 or more!


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Photo courtesy Don Fogg Knives
A Japanese katana. See more pictures of swords.

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­Basically, a sword is a sharpened piece of metal that is typically between 24 and 48 inches (61 to 122 cm) in length with a handle (hilt) on one end. The other end usually tapers to a point. In this edition article, you will learn about swords and how they are made using modern sword-making methods, including the steps needed to create a sword:

  • Choosing a design
  • Selecting the stock
  • Forging and shaping the blade
  • Normalizing and annealing the steel
  • Adding the edge
  • Tempering the steel
  • Adding the guard, hilt and pommel

This article covers the basics of modern sword making. There are many other methods that have been used throughout history and many differences between swords made by bladesmiths of different times and regions. The development of a Japanese sword varies significantly from the creation of a European sword. This article provides a glimpse into the fascinating world of bladesmithing.

Let's get started with a look at the parts of a sword.

Thank You
Thanks to Don Fogg of Don Fogg Knives, Adrian Ko, editor-in-chief of Sword Forum International, and Tommy McNabb, president of the North Carolina Knifemakers Guild.
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