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Addison C. de Lisle




Location: South Carolina
Joined: 05 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Sat 18 Feb, 2006 3:22 pm    Post subject: Knives to Swords-How much of a leap?         Reply with quote

I'm going to be taking a knife-making class in March, which I'm viewing as the starting point to hopefully making my own swords (eventually). I was wondering how much of a leap in skill/technique it is from making a knife to a sword, and would appreciate any input you may have. Thanks!
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Sat 18 Feb, 2006 3:59 pm    Post subject: Re: Knives to Swords-How much of a leap?         Reply with quote

Addison C. de Lisle wrote:
I'm going to be taking a knife-making class in March, which I'm viewing as the starting point to hopefully making my own swords (eventually). I was wondering how much of a leap in skill/technique it is from making a knife to a sword, and would appreciate any input you may have. Thanks!


Addison,

This is a lay-man's answer, so keep that in mind when you read it. But it would seem to me that there is a significant leap from making knives to swords, maybe not so much in skill and technique as in understanding. To make a good reproduction of a sword requires a lot of understading- an understanding of how swords and knives are different, an understanding in blade geometry, an understanding of how tangs and pommels can be constructed well, an understanding of heat treatment, an understanding of hilt assembly, etc. I don't think the skills are that radically different; there's probably a large degree of cross-over between knife and sword making. But without the understanding necessary to bridge that gap, the skills will go to waste. I think this is one of the main reasons that for so much of the 19th and 20th centuries reproduction swords were so low quality- people lacked the understanding of swords that would allow them to do a good job of recreating them.

And now Peter can step in and correct me. Razz
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Peter Johnsson
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Location: Storvreta, Sweden
Joined: 27 Aug 2003
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PostPosted: Sun 19 Feb, 2006 12:15 am    Post subject: Re: Knives to Swords-How much of a leap?         Reply with quote

Craig Peters wrote:
....And now Peter can step in and correct me. Razz


Ha!
Happy

What Craig said is right.
Making knives is good for developing cutlery skills. It will develop your eye for details and precision. When you work with larger blades it is good to have that in your "tool box".

What you chose to do next depends on what swords you want to make.
Try to learn as much as possible about heat treat, grinding, cutlery and so on. This is a list of skills that can be made long or short depending on what you want to do.

...But, regardless if you want to make fantasy swords, reconstructions of historical types or explore the possibilities of the contemporary sword, I think you will need to go look at actual swords from the age when they were used. Just spending time looking at old blades in exhibitions will inspire you and equip you with new questions and observations.
Try to absorb their character and precense.
Look at small details asking yourself why and how the old craftsmen did what they did.
Bring along a sketch pad and a camera (some museums allow photography). Build you own reference library of sketches and your own original ideas.
Make *a lot* of sketches. Always draw. Always.
Then make some more drawings.
And when you´ve run out of ideas of swords, draw some daggers.
Then draw some more swords: the same you´ve already drawn.

Try to handle as many swords as you ever can. They often feel different than they look.

A sword is made to be in motion. It is not a static object. Study this.

The idea is to create strong images in your mind. This is what you draw from when you work. If you poison your subconscious with swords, spirits will rise from the muddy waters of your mind when you work: they will help you along.

There are a few excellent makers who have good info of the technical aspekts of swordmaking on their sites: Kevin Cashen (www.cashenblades.com/) and Don Fogg (dfoggknives.com) both do a tremendous job in sharing insights and knowledge to the community.

Good luck!
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Addison C. de Lisle




Location: South Carolina
Joined: 05 Nov 2005
Likes: 27 pages

Posts: 614

PostPosted: Sun 19 Feb, 2006 9:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you both for your advice! I really appreciate it, and will be sure to share my first attempts here with you all.
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Kenton Spaulding




Location: Connecticut
Joined: 18 Jul 2005
Reading list: 12 books

Posts: 285

PostPosted: Sun 19 Feb, 2006 1:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey Addison,

This might be a bit off topic, but where are you taking a knife making class? I've been thinking about looking at the area tech schools for some metal working classes over the summer. Is it a public class? I would be interested to hear about it.

Thanks,

Kenton
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Michal Plezia
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Location: Poland
Joined: 07 Oct 2005
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PostPosted: Sun 19 Feb, 2006 1:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

And don't forget to show us Your first swords! Cool
Good luck!

www.elchon.com

Polish Guild of Knifemakers

The sword is a weapon for killing, the art of the sword is the art of killing. No matter what fancy words you use or what titles you put to
it that is the only truth.
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