Angel Sword operates one of America's premier forges - one of the few that still crafts swords, knives and daggers using the traditional methods of hammer, anvil, fire and sweat. Each Angel Sword piece is a fully functional combat weapon that also stands alone as a work of art.
Master Swordsmith Daniel Watson is an artist, smith and swordsman who creates works of art with an edge.
Daniel first embraced swords as a martial artist, gaining first-hand experience in the use of a sword. Swords are, after all, weapons and their capabilities in this respect are an aspect of their beauty. Understanding this is one reason why Angel Swords, when held, feel like no other blade.
But the art of the sword manifests itself in many other ways as well: materials used, method of construction, purity of form. Watson combines all these with skill and devotion to create unique blades, each with a personality and style all its own. Through artistry that can be compared to magick, each blade comes to life through the heart, soul and hands of the swordsmith.
The heart of every blade is the steel from which it is forged. The basic ingredients for steel are iron and carbon - but there is much more to the tale. The amount of carbon and other alloys in a steel blade affect hardness and flexibility, and these amounts can be varied according to the skills and desires of the swordsmith.
Hardness lends steel an armor-piercing, edge-holding toughness. But steel must also be flexible enough to withstand the stress of combat without breaking. In most cases, swordsmiths compromise hardness for flexibility, or vice versa, to strike a balance between these two properties.
It hasn't always been so. In fact, the ancients forged blades of Damascus steel that provided a sharpness and durability unmatched by modern steels. The origin and true nature of Damascus steel are still hotly debated among modern smiths and metallurgists. The underlying cause of much of the debate is the inability of modern steels to replicate the properties of Damascus steel.
But a recent breakthrough at Angel Sword has resulted in the creation of techno-wootz Damascus steel.
So, what exactly is techno-wootz Damascus steel?
Pattern-welded steel - Often referred to as mechanical Damascus, this steel consists of two or more dissimilar irons or steels which are forge welded and then folded or twisted to produce the characteristic Damascus pattern. This represents one of the earliest ways of making steel. Romans employed forge welding in the production of their swords, and Viking swords are well known for the beautiful patterns developed using their forge welding techniques.
True Damascus steel - While a number of steels fall under the modern definition, it can be argued that there is only one original Damascus steel. Original Damascus refers to Indo-Persian wootz or bulat steel. Wootz is metallurgically superior to pattern-welded steel. It is not folded, rather it achieves its characteristics through the segregation of a single steel into multiple steels with different carbon contents, crystalline structures and alloy levels.
While there are different theories as to why this occurs in true Damascus steel, there is general agreement that it possesses superior hardness and flexibility.
Today, techno-wootz Damascus steel has achieved the same segregation and crystalline structure as true Damascus. The result is a very aggressive cutting edge.
For the painter, a studio; for the photographer, a darkroom; for the swordsmith, a forge. The forge is the focus of the forging, hardening and tempering process. There, all the required tools and supplies are assembled -- charcoal and steel, anvils and hammers, as well as quenching vats, furnaces and kilns.
Tradition plays an important role in the crafting of a blade. Swordsmiths have always relied on hammer, anvil, fire and sweat to create their art. Today, the swordsmith may augment work with more modern tools - milling machines, sanders, grinders and presses - blending technology and tradition into a superior forged work of art.
History is a guide, not a constraint, in the design of a fine sword. The swordsmith is not just a craftsman but also an artist working on a canvas of steel. Whether stiletto or tanto, rapier or katana, the maker imbues each blade with a unique character and spirit that transcends the graceful shape and intricate design, the temper and precise balance, the chrome-like brilliance of the razor sharp blade.
Blade types vary greatly from traditional European to Middle Eastern Damascene to traditional Japanese folded blades with thousands of layers. But for the swordsmith, honoring the form and character of each style of blade remains constant.
Come visit us at Scarborough Faire in Waxahachi, Texas (30 minutes south of Dallas).
Directions and ticket information can be found at the festival's web site.
|SwordMagick.com is sponsored by Angel Sword, maker of fine swords, daggers and other edged weapons since 1979. Angel Sword operates one of America's premier forges - one of the few that still crafts swords, knives and daggers using the traditional methods of hammer, anvil, fire and sweat. Each Angel Sword piece is a fully functional combat weapon that also stands alone as a work of art. © 2002, 2003 Angel Sword Corporation. All rights reserved. Questions or comments? E-mail our Webmaster|