Making a Sword – Processes

Wouldn’t it be fun to create your own sword? Custom swords are not hard to forge if you go by how simple the movies make it look. A regular Joe should be able to get there with some research and practice, right? Not so fast. It takes skill and years of experience to produce high-quality blades. While technology has improved over the years, the basic processes of sword making have remained more or less the same over many centuries. Let’s look at them briefly.

Forging: Here, the chosen metal is heated in a forge and hammered into the shape of a sword. Forging can take a long time. The sword is worked in sections (a few inches at a time) till it reaches the desired shape. This process has to be repeated several times and the blade is often heated and cooled without hammering to maintain the properties of strength and flexibility.  

Annealing: After forging, the sword is brittle and difficult to grind into shape. The process of annealing softens the blade and makes it easier to shape without breaking. Here, the sword is heated and cooled very slowly often by wrapping it in an insulating material. Annealing can take up to 24 hours.

Grinding: In this process, the blacksmith will use a grinder to work out the edge and point of the now-flexible sword. Engravings are also added during this step. But the sword is far from complete and has to be hardened. Cue the next step. 

Hardening: Here, the sword is heated to a high temperature and placed into a quenching tank (filled with water, oil, or even air). This enables the sword to cool quickly and evenly and harden the metal. The sword is now hard but brittle and ready for tempering.  

Tempering: The previous step is repeated but the heating takes place at a much lower temperature. The sword is heated and quenched several times to get rid of the brittleness.  This process arguably takes the most skill, as the sword has to be flexible and still maintain a sharp edge. After tempering, the sword is ready for completion. 

Completion: Now the hilt is added, which includes the pommel, grip, and guard. The sword is polished and you are ready to go!

At Museum Replicas, we offer you the chance to create your own sword! You can choose from a range of beautiful parts, all manufactured by the expert artisans at Windlass Steelcrafts. Mix and match these parts to bring about unique possibilities.  Check it out, here.

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