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Nathan M Wuorio




Location: Maine.
Joined: 17 Mar 2008
Reading list: 3 books

Posts: 151

PostPosted: Tue 11 May, 2010 11:33 am    Post subject: I'd like to learn to make a sword, any suggestions?         Reply with quote

Hey all,
I've been wanting to learn to make a sword since I was 11, and now I really have the time to do so. I live in Maine, about 20 minutes outside of Portland. Are there any places near here that would have the kind of equipment I would need to make a blade?

Also, are there any swordsmiths or blacksmiths who would be able to help me? I already have an intermediate level of metalworking experience, and I plan on buying some books on blade making. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Thanks!

P.S. On a side note, are there any sabre/cutlass classes around here that I could partake in? Because I would really like to further my knowledge of that as well.

Nathan.
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Dustin R. Reagan





Joined: 09 May 2006

Posts: 264

PostPosted: Tue 11 May, 2010 1:22 pm    Post subject: Re: I'd like to learn to make a sword, any suggestions?         Reply with quote

Nathan M Wuorio wrote:
Hey all,
I've been wanting to learn to make a sword since I was 11, and now I really have the time to do so. I live in Maine, about 20 minutes outside of Portland. Are there any places near here that would have the kind of equipment I would need to make a blade?

Also, are there any swordsmiths or blacksmiths who would be able to help me? I already have an intermediate level of metalworking experience, and I plan on buying some books on blade making. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Thanks!

P.S. On a side note, are there any sabre/cutlass classes around here that I could partake in? Because I would really like to further my knowledge of that as well.


Hi Nathan,

One of the best online sword making resources I've found is Don Fogg's forum: http://forums.dfoggknives.com/

Here's the 'newbie getting started' sticky from the forum: http://forums.dfoggknives.com/index.php?showtopic=3328

Here's one of the most pertinent points from the post, and i'd strongly recommend you take it seriously:

"I want to make a Sword, I don't care for knives"...
this attitude is often to be found and I tell you it is the very wrong approach.
Swords require their very own set of skills, have a lot of "complications" compared to small stuff and are anything but a beginners project.
Even for an experienced craftsman a good sword can be a challenge.
Start out with smaller knives, go with simple shapes and patterns. Get good at this, and then try your hands at larger knives.
When you feel that it works out nicely, go ahead and try the sword, you'll still be amazed at how demanding a work swords can be.

I've been making knives for about 3 years now and am just now tackling my first sword-length blade. I went into it with the same goal you did (making swords) but quickly realized that you are saving yourself lots of frustration if you become at least proficient at making knife-length blades before venturing into the much more difficult world of swords.

Dustin
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Sean Flynt
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Location: Birmingham, Alabama
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PostPosted: Tue 11 May, 2010 2:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

And I'd say, if you want a sword, skip the knives but don't jump straight into the deep end. Buy some bare blades and spare hilt furniture or some Deal of The Day pieces from MRL and do the research and experimentation to improve them as much as possible. If you make a catastrophic mess of things, you don't have lots of money and time invested and you'll still have learned valuable lessons. Then, if you still want to make blades it probably is a very good idea to start small.
-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Jared Smith




Location: Tennessee
Joined: 10 Feb 2005
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PostPosted: Tue 11 May, 2010 2:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would try emailing a blacksmith association in your area to find out if there are any close to you. You might start here. http://www.westernmaineblacksmith.org/

Many of them are happy to teach a truly interested beginner who is willing to study seriously and provide some raw materials.

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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Dustin R. Reagan





Joined: 09 May 2006

Posts: 264

PostPosted: Tue 11 May, 2010 3:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jared Smith wrote:
I would try emailing a blacksmith association in your area to find out if there are any close to you. You might start here. http://www.westernmaineblacksmith.org/

Many of them are happy to teach a truly interested beginner who is willing to study seriously and provide some raw materials.


Good advice. I'd add, though, that if you get in touch with some potential mentors, you should explain that, while you'd like to eventually learn to make a sword, you want to learn the fundamentals of blacksmithing/bladesmithing first.
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Addison C. de Lisle




Location: South Carolina
Joined: 05 Nov 2005
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Posts: 614

PostPosted: Tue 11 May, 2010 4:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There is a blacksmith in Freeport who offers classes through the Maine College of Art (in Portland) - he might be worth asking. I'm currently on summer break or I'd get his name for you.

A bit farther away, there is the New England School of Metalsmithing and they do offer bladesmithing courses apparently. Here's a link:

http://www.newenglandschoolofmetalwork.com/bladesmithing/

I think there's a group in Portland somewhere who do Scottish swordsmanship but I don't really know much about it or where it is, or what it's called. Sorry I can't be more helpful.

Good luck!

www.addisondelisle.com
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Nathan M Wuorio




Location: Maine.
Joined: 17 Mar 2008
Reading list: 3 books

Posts: 151

PostPosted: Tue 11 May, 2010 9:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for all the replies!

Sean, ever since I saw your different projects, I've been doing just that, piecing together new swords from old parts or improving already assembled swords. Currently, I have pieced together a two handed sabre from a katana blade and a simple straight crossguard, and it handles really well. I also have two other swords in the works from old parts, an early colonial hanger with clamshell guard, and a short sword with a wide blade (that one is still in the design phase).

Dustin, thank you so much for the links and advice, I will definitely look into them. I have wanted to make some knives and daggers for awhile now.

Jared, through all of my searching, I never came upon that site. Thanks! I have really wanted someone to help me along in making a blade.

Addison, I think I might know the guy you're talking about. Is his name Burt? I took some classes with him last year, some of his intermediate blacksmithing classes. I'm not sure if he's still doing it though, because I know he was talking about going back to being a lawyer full time. Thanks for the site! That really seems up my alley. Also, it's good to know there's a group near here, I'll see if I can find them.

Thanks again! Any more info is much appreciated.

Nathan.
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Jared Smith




Location: Tennessee
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PostPosted: Wed 12 May, 2010 2:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan M Wuorio wrote:


Thanks again! Any more info is much appreciated.


All of the above advice is sound. I would take any blacksmithing related or knife making opportunity that offers itself inexpensively as an introduction to skills and tools that would at least compliment future sword making. I would not be surprised if you discovered that you enjoyed something more than "sword making" by the time you experimented in some shops. Equipment suited for a high quality sword (size of forging hammer, ideal grinder, heat treat oven) tend to be bigger than what is required for utility knives and general blacksmithing. You will still be very proud and excited with a small utility knife if you can say "I made it myself." Despite the fact that I am starting to lose track of the number of pattern welding projects I have done, my favorite keepsake is a bottle "pry cap" type opener that I made from a discarded bolt. Every time I use it I remember; "That was the first coal fire I managed properly." "This works better than any store bought one I have ever tried." "Mine has this and that thought well out feature and an extra ornamental twist. It is actually a unique creation." Etc.

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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