How to Make Swords, with Craig Johnson
Craig Johnson is Manager of Arms and Armor, a sword lover's dream job, as they make a wide variety of items from the Medieval and Renaissance periods to faithfully recreate the look, feel, and function of historic weapons. In this episode, we talk about recreating medieval swords as faithfully as possible, modern fashions in sword design, and the intricacies of sword manufacture. If you are interested in anything to do with swords and how they are made, this episode is a must-listen.
Craig has been involved in Historical European Martial Arts / Western Martial Arts since the early days of the community and he is the secretary of the Oakeshott Institute, a non-profit organization, established by Christopher Poor in 2000. The Institute is named after the late Ewart Oakeshott, a leading authority on European arms and armour. Ewart spent a lifetime researching and collecting swords and Craig tells us about continuing his legacy, and we talk about how being able to handle original swords is how you can really come to understand them and the people who wielded them.
In this episode Craig mentions blog posts about heat treating swords to imbue them with different qualities, which are linked for you here:
HISTORICAL SWORD MAKING – HEAT TREATMENT Pt1
HISTORICAL SWORD MAKING – HEAT TREATMENT Pt2
HISTORICAL SWORD MAKING – HEAT TREATMENT Pt3
HISTORICAL SWORD MAKING – HEAT TREATMENT Pt4
For sword typology, (type XVIII, etc.) see Oakeshott’s Typology on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oakeshott_typology
One of Craig’s top two “golden swords” is this Swiss sabre (from the Wallace Collection). We talk in some depth about what makes it so special, and you need to see the pictures of it to understand:
Related to this, here’s a blog post about complex hilted longswords: Complex Hilted Longswords
Later on in our conversation we discuss the difference in size between medieval steel gauntlets and their modern counterparts. You might find this blog post interesting about medieval sword grips: https://www.arms-n-armor.com/blogs/news/medieval-sword-grip-size
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