How to make a sword?
Sword making techniques
Sword making is something that requires sufficient knowledge and great experience. If you want to learn how to make a sword, you do not only need the know-how, it is also a must that you have the proper metals and materials and the right equipment and tools.
Before actually making the sword, here are some tips:
1. Study sword making techniques very well. You are not supposed to start anything without a background of what you want to do. Learn the theories and try the practicalities.
2. Invest on necessary resources and you begin with the books. This is obviously related to the first tip. Though you can browse through the web some sword information, nothing beats the books and magazines especially if you are planning to take making swords seriously (e.g. for business) – they provide you more details and are more accurate at that.
3. Be accompanied by the experts. Needless to say, handling swords can be dangerous so you do need big help from professional sword makers. Watch him smith swords before you do it yourself. You might as well consider touring around a real sword smith’s workplace. You can also ask him questions to back up you reading about how to make a sword.
4. Begin with the smaller works. If you never tried working on metals ever, then don’t rush on making a sword. Why don’t you start off with daggers or knives? Great things start from small beginnings, don’t they?
5. Plan your first attempt. With that, you should have prepared all the tools and materials and be ready for the possibility of screwing up. A lot of bad things could happen for a first timer.
Making the sword blade
Traditionally, real swords are made through forging. Mass produced swords like wall hangers or ornamental swords are not forged since the process takes a long time and could only produce one sword at a time.
Prepare a metal bar (may be a scrap metal). During this time, you already have thought about the size and shape of the blade you want to create.
Forging happens when you heat the metal for your sword and hammer it until you form the desired shape of your sword blade. This is quite a long and repeated process until you reach the right strength and flexibility of your blade. Take note that the sword should not be too hard or stiff for it might break.
Annealing is still heating the blade but cooling it down slowly at utmost 24 hours. The process refines the metal, alters its composition, and softens it. The method prepares the steel to be softer for further shaping.
Grinding is done to form and work out the sharp edges and the point of the sword. It gives a smoother finish to the blade.
From grinding, the metal of the sword is still too soft to pass a sword blade so it must be hardened. The blade is put into very high temperature and then put in a quenching tank for cooling.
In tempering, the blade of the sword will also undergo another heating and quenching repeated over and over. The temperature used this time is much lower than what is applied during the grinding process. Because this would take an expert to determine that tempering is enough, consult a professional sword smith when you have reached this stage although it is advised that he is with you from the first phase of your sword making attempt.
For Japanese swords, tempering could result to the wave-like markings called hamon and are found on the edge of the sword.
To complete the sword, you have to attach the pommel, the guard, the hilt, and all the necessary parts together.
Trivia: Did you know that Masamune is the greatest sword smith of Japanese Sword history? Learn more about the Masamune sword here.