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Robert B. Marks

Location: Kingston, Ont.
Joined: 04 Feb 2004

Posts: 82

PostPosted: Tue 13 Jul, 2004 5:29 pm    Post subject: An update on my book (and a little excerpt)         Reply with quote

Hi all!

Well, the momentum has started, and so has the edit of my book manuscript. I'm going to change the title to "Swords: A Practical Guide" for now (it's a bit less clumbsy than "The Practical Guide to Sword-Buying").

But, the new stuff is pretty cool, and almost half of it is in. I've actually found a way to afford another sword during the school year, and Al Massey will be making me a nice pattern-welded Viking sword (which I will be paying off in monthly payments over the school year) - and Al will be documenting every step of the way, and it will all be appearing in the book.

(For the record, the sword's name will be "Skald" - I've asked him for a sword that truly sings to me.)

There will be a profile of Albion Armorers in the book (I'm just waiting on Amy Christensen-Waddell to return the questions before I write it up), and with luck Museum Replicas will let me do a profile of them as well. Angus Trim has agreed to do an interview, and I'm waiting for answers from him, and interviews with Christian Fletcher and Kevin Cashen are already in the book.

I just had to share some of Kevin Cashen's interview, though - he has been wonderfully helpful here, and his insight is simply incredible. So, begging Kevin's forgiveness for spilling the beans on this so soon, here's a little look at one of his answers:

What factors do you consider when determining a price for a sword?

A: Time is foremost. And almost always the hilt and embellishments will be the greatest time factor. The blade is what smiths are most familiar with so we can estimate the time and labor involved fairly accurately and accomplish it more easily within the allotted time. But most folks want extra "special" touches here and there. These always end up being something that the smith has not done before, so his estimates will be more inaccurate and times almost invariably go longer than expected. Often it can be what appears the simplest of things that ends up being a Herculean task. For example, carvings in metal are always labor intensive, (the carving is fairly quick, but the polishing of the surfaces can be more involved than all the labor that went into the blade) but something as simple as an inscription in the blade (one that always makes me cringe a bit) can appear fairly straight forward but can become a can a of worms very quickly. I think I am like most smiths when I say that we will add a little onto the original price quote if things get too crazy, but most of us will end up working quite a few hours for free due to our inability to accurately estimate the labor involved.

Secondary to time, there is the price of raw materials involved, but it is often easier to allow the customer to obtain very special materials themselves and then send them for use. This, of course, eliminates them as a factor in the pricing.

Anyway, with luck everything else will come in soon, and the next draft will be off on its rounds to the publishers!

Best regards to all,

Robert Marks

Robert Marks
Darksword Armory, Inc.
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Brock H

Location: West Central ND, USA
Joined: 17 Dec 2003

Posts: 58

PostPosted: Wed 14 Jul, 2004 1:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Best of luck with this and the publishers, Robert. Something like this is needed by the community.
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