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I Forge Iron

Basic schematics and guides for a novice swordsmith.

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If blades are the direction that you wish to follow, may I suggest the American Bladesmith Society (ABS) for learning the basics of forged blades. They have hammer-ins and classes several times a year somewhere in the country. One is bound to be within a long days drive from you. 


Many ABANA chapter meetings occasionally have demos from members who are bladesmiths. Most regional conferences will have one of the forges continually manned by someone doing knives and/or axes. The national ABANA conference always does.


It should be noted in passing that many of the descriptions and weights for blades in old books not written by museum curators ARE WRONG! They are off the cuff estimates, and even the best descriptions frequently fail to mention thickness, distal taper, depth of grooves, cross section changes, etc.   Many of the blades that you see outside of museums are forgeries, even though they are centuries old. If given the chance to look at, photograph, or (with very good luck) handle any old artifacts, always say YES!


Some folks who make their living crafting high end period correct knives and swords spend their foreign vacations in museum basements, while wife and family tour the town. They are down there wearing white gloves and documenting relics of known provenance with digital scales, hundreds of photos, and notebooks. Lots of notebooks. Some of them have been kind enough to share some of their hard-won knowledge with the rest of us.

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Das Zweischneidige Schwert Der Germanischen Vo:lkerwanderungszeit von Elis Behmer  1939

Good book. Translates as "The double edged sword of the German walking around period"...or close.


BR...get to a museum or private collection. If you have no such contacts then attend a few of the Antique arms shows that are around the US. Baltimore has a good one as does Las Vegas. You get to pick things up off the tables and meet folk who know stuff.



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I got my copy from Ric....  I'd throw in "german people" in the title..


However remember *ALL* research is biased.  During the late 19th and early 20th century there was a great rise in nationalism in Europe and this encouraged and coloured a great deal of research done in history and "folkways".  We are greatly indebted to it for preserving information that would have been lost in the wars; but you must remember the inbuilt slant as you evaluate it.  Some books are so bad that discarding all the writing and only working from the pictures is appropriate. Others are pretty sound throughout.  (This is not only in blades; I have a thoroughly interesting book on European log building from that time period as well as archeological reports...) 


Part of getting an advanced degree in areas covering such things is learning how to evaluate previous research and understand the underlying bias it may have---at a medieval technology conference I attended one presenter remarked on two common works saying that "one author thought the medieval time period had no technology and the other that it had too much!"  so if you based your research on only *one* of those books you could be led quite far astray...

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