Collector’s Weekly: More Than You’ll Ever Need To Know About Swords

A reader turned me on to a long and fascinating sword article in Collector’s Weekly. The profile of northern CA sword maker Francis Boyd is a fairly long read, but you’ll learn more than you ever needed to know about wootz steel, the etymology of the term ‘Damascus Steel’ and the construction of 100-layer swords like this one. Make the jump for more (not oddly disturbing) sword porn and the full article.

Was this actually Marco Polo’s sword, or just a Chinese knockoff? Head over to Collector’s Weekly for the answer, and more.


  1. Aharon says:

    Chris. my thanks to you and the Reader who sent you the link. I’m just now on my first cup of coffee so I bookmarked the linked article to read later. The pictures of those swords are great.

  2. Adam says:

    Hmmmmm…..the part where Helmut takes him to the dungeon sounds like quite a tale of ribaldry to me. Just a smidge homo-erotic.

    “And he whips out this sword on me. I’m like, ‘If you’re going to throw it out, throw it my way!’ And he goes, ‘No, I’m just teasing you. We rotate them.’ But he was jerking my chain. He admitted it, too. He just wanted to see how I reacted. Beautiful piece.”

    Maybe it’s late.

  3. g says:

    Amazing article, though it’s worth pointing out that many Chinese don’t consider the Yuan Dynasty (Mongolian) or Qing Dynasty (Manchu) to be “true” Chinese dynasties. Imagine if the US were invaded and occupied by Canada, installing an all-Canadian government under a Canadian dictator and you get some inkling of how the Han people felt about being under the thumb of people they considered to be outsiders and barbarians.

    Boyd does have good taste though, and it’s probably no coincidence that his favorite sword originates from the Wudai dynasties that succeeded the Tang dynasty. Tang dynasty China is still largely considered the “golden age” of Chinese history in terms of art, technology, government, religion, etc.

  4. Adam says:

    Great article! despite what I posted earlier. Very cool..

  5. Mark N. says:

    Great article! Hadn’t heard of this man before. This was my first visit from TTAG. I’ve been in love with swords for longer than I can remember, but cannot afford this level of quality and craftsmanship. Another great American sword smith is Paul Champaign of New York, who starts a sword by dredging iron ore from the river behind his home. This is a link to a Czech smith who makes pattern welded swords in the European tradition. There are many beautiful swords shown on his site.

  6. Jake F. says:

    If you’re into newer swords or just want some general knowledge look up the Sword Buyers Guide website. I’ve bought a couple swords for backyard cutting based off their reviews and suggestions and I’m glad I did; it’s too easy to get junk, expecially when buying online.

    1. Pat says:

      SBG website is great.

  7. I_Like_Pie says:

    Excellent article – And this my friends illustrates, in a roundabout way, the difference in knife (and to some extent – gun) owners. That sword collector is a historian first and a swordmaker second. Massive respect for people like this.

    There are people who appreciate the history and tradition of knifemaking, artesian metallurgy, and woodworking to create a piece of art that happens to be a tool. Form and function in a proper mix to create something practical and beautiful.

    Then there are people who really don’t care about the history, but want a tool that performs above everything else…function takes top spot.

    Fortunatly there are still people who are the former than the latter – I can’t believe how completely formless and uninspiring the knives under the glass countertop are these days. It is like walking though a 4 acre car dealership full of Toyota Camrys.

  8. Matt in FL says:

    That article was fascinating. Thanks for the link.

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Collector’s Weekly: More Than You’ll Ever Need To Know About Swords

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