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A Blacksmith's Shop, 1771

How to Make a sword - The Six Step Process

There are many different ways that swords are made but here is an overview of the steps for the most common sword making process.

  1. Forging A bar of the desired metal or combination of metals is heated in a forge and then it is hammered into shape. This hammering process can take a long time. This is called drawing out the sword. The sword is worked on in sections (usually around 6 inches in length) and repeatedly hammered and heated until the sword comes into the desired shape.This process is repeated and the sword is often heated then allowed to cool without hammering. This is required by the metal to keep the desired properties of strength and flexibility.
  2. Annealing When the final shape is complete the total sword is heated and then allowed to cool very slowly. Often it is wrapped in an insulating material to slow down this cooling. It can take as long as 24 hours and this process is called Annealing and this makes the sword soft and easy to grind.
  3. Grinding Now the blacksmith uses a grinder to work out the edge and point of the sword. This would also be when any engraving is added. This is not a completed sword yet. It is still much too soft.
  4. Hardening Now the sword is heated to a very high temperature and then placed into a quenching tank. This quenching allows it to cool quickly and evenly which will harden the metal.
  5. Tempering Again the blade is heated and quenched. But now the heating is at a much lower tem perature than was used at the hardening. This heating/quenching cycle may be repeated several times. This tempering allows the blade to be strong but not brittle. It will have a certain amount of flexibility yet still retain its sharp edge.
  6. Completion The sword blade itself is now complete. Now the additional parts will be added such as the pommel the guard and the hilt.

 

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