Shop Productivity and the Story of the Sword

corby's picture

We just had a lovely weekend up in Maryland, enjoying the hospitality of Genevieve and Alan.
I also got to enjoy the use of Master Roland's shop, where finally, after a year of planning, I got the old sword furniture swapped onto my "new" Angus Trim Sword blade. This is just plainly the very nicest sword blade I've ever swung around. Even with the original furniture, which was too small for my hand, it was the only real sword I've ever felt I could do technique with.

As a bonus, I also (with Roland's help) got the new furniture attached to the old sword blade. Roland even ground out the crappy "INDIA" stamp on the old blade.

Now I need to make or get the wood insert for a proper sheath. Then I can get it all tricked out with a new belt and fittings.
So here's the story of the sword and its furniture.

Sharpen your own Sword

Several years prior to any likelyhood that I was to be knighted (probably 1993) I discussed some general preferences about it with Sir Iain, among others. Luckily, several years later when the accolade came my way, TRM Throbrandr and Eorann were monarchs willing to abide by the preferences of the candidate. So, most importantly, my knighting was not a surprise. More on that in another article.

So, I knew I needed a sword, among other things, and I had about two months to get one. Back then, you couldn't just go look up "sword purchase" on google. I asked around, and merchant Finnr was the only person who could get me a sword even close to the form I needed in time. He got me one of his viking swords whose blade was close to the form I needed. It was a hundred bucks.

This is what it looked like when I got it from Finnr.

Don Downie promised to cast a counterweight for me, but was unable to deliver anything but a rough wax positive master in time to get things done. In a rush, I cast around, and managed, the Thursday before 12th night, to secure the help of Otwel Weylaude (Ben Abbott,) one of the most talented makers of things I've ever met. He cleaned up the rather lumpy wax master and then we sand cast it on his apartment porch, using the brass from the viking sword. We heated it up with a welding torch with the crucible perched in a little corner made of three loose fire bricks, all on the concrete pad of Otwell's apartment patio.

After that, he annealed and straightened out the cross guard, changing it from its viking form to one more appropriate for a Norman knight. He had a few small pieces of some pretty walnut, and we made the handle out of that. I think we got done around 1 in the morning.

I had already painted the sheath and made a sword belt, patterned after the only surviving 12th century sword belt.

So on the day of my knighting, that sword waited behind Thorbrandr's throne. He dubbed me with that sword, not the kingdom blade.

In the same manner, but with less fumbling around, Colin purchased his own sword and was dubbed with that. My main advice to him there was "Spend as much as you possibly can, because you'll regret it if you want a nicer sword later, yet still feel sentiment toward the ugly old thing you were knighted with."

So the changes I've made are a reflection of that. I want to keep the sentiment, but I didn't want a heavy, wavy blade with "INDIA" stamped on it. Now I have what I want.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

I still have Sir Forgal's swo

I still have Sir Forgal's sword until such time as I am required to hand it over. But, also, I have my sword, which Melisent purchased for me at Gulf Wars from Therion Arms.

Best part is that it is rebated so I can fool around with that when I want to. Only thing I need is to have one of these leather working monkeys I know make a correct scabbard and belt for me. :-)

I didn't own a sword for at least the first 12 years I was in the SCA. The first one I purchased was a 'viking' sword very similar to the one you started with. (Though I have a crappy nickel plated blade.) I'm going to be selling it soon. No knight needs three swords...

Sir Bryce de Byram, OL

corby's picture

Uncredited quote

I don't recall where I heard the story, or who was supposedly talking, but the story goes that some knight was presenting a sword to a new knight during his ceremony, and blurted out one of those impolite truths:
"Two kinds of people in the SCA have swords. Knights--and geeks."