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Old 10-14-2011, 09:32 PM   #1
michaelryannh
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New writer needs help on Fantasy novel (blacksmithing)

I never thought that in writing my new book, I would actually need to ask help from this forum since I had the main plot idea of my book fully mapped out in my mind. It's seriously just waiting to be written out on e-paper (Microsoft word 10 is what im using to write the story down.)

My problem is I'm stuck. My character starts out in a village as the blacksmith's son. Right now i'm in a scene where he needs to make a sword for someone.

I currently have no knowledge of how a sword is made in medieval/classical times. Nor do I have knowledge of how a sword is made in the modern world.

Anybody with experience in blacksmithing in a fantasy medieval world have any tips on how swords were made in that era?
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Old 10-14-2011, 09:54 PM   #2
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Perhaps this might help.

http://swordforum.com/swords/histori...ofmedswds.html
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Old 10-14-2011, 10:58 PM   #3
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Thank you for the article. I had previously looked at this article, but I had missed an essential paragraph that showed me exactly the information I was looking for. (How typical, right?)

I'm also going to hit up my local library to see if there's any books literally on Medieval sword blacksmithing.

Thank you for the quick reply.

Also, youtube videos *not sure if I'm allowed to link them or not* helped me out because I was actually able to see most of the terminology of blacksmithing in action, such as the forging, shaping, tempering, and folding of steel.
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Old 10-15-2011, 12:28 AM   #4
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Do you have a Renaissance Fair where you live? If you do, hit them up, and talk to the sword smiths there. As long as you're polite, and take them seriously, I expect they'd be happy to talk about something they love doing.
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Old 10-15-2011, 08:09 AM   #5
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You heat the metal up in a fire, hit it with a hammer, then cool it quickly with water. Don't try to over-write something you have little knowledge about, otherwise you WILL get caught out.

Something I read a few days ago had someone "release the motorcycle's brake and push it away". Another had 2 people on a motorcycle racing through deserted streets at 60mph carrying out a really long-winded conversation.
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Old 10-15-2011, 08:46 AM   #6
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...Another had 2 people on a motorcycle racing through deserted streets at 60mph carrying out a really long-winded conversation.
There would be a lot of wind at 60 MPH.
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Old 10-15-2011, 10:17 AM   #7
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You heat the metal up in a fire, hit it with a hammer, then cool it quickly with water. Don't try to over-write something you have little knowledge about, otherwise you WILL get caught out.

Something I read a few days ago had someone "release the motorcycle's brake and push it away". Another had 2 people on a motorcycle racing through deserted streets at 60mph carrying out a really long-winded conversation.
I agree with you fully on not overwriting something you know nothing about. The basic gist of what you said is what I planned to write.

However my mind is strange in order to write something simple as that I want to know in full detail how they are made.. not sure why. Its just natural for me to want a vast knowledge of the things I talk about even though what I actually write about it will be fairly simple.

(Grammar nazis: have away at this post. I typed it from my phone so it's not perfect)
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Old 10-15-2011, 06:02 PM   #8
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However my mind is strange in order to write something simple as that I want to know in full detail how they are made.. not sure why. Its just natural for me to want a vast knowledge of the things I talk about even though what I actually write about it will be fairly simple.
That's not strange. That just means you're a true geek.
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Old 10-15-2011, 08:29 PM   #9
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That's not strange. That just means you're a true geek.
Exactly! lol. Apparantly there's no books at Barnes and noble that really explain the topic I'm looking for. Most bladesmithing books are all about modern techniques and a how to.

I do have another question though.. in the medieval days with no electricity a forge wouldn't exist right? The forge would be a simple fire? Or is there something I'm forgetting?
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Old 10-15-2011, 08:46 PM   #10
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Old 10-15-2011, 09:04 PM   #11
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I do have another question though.. in the medieval days with no electricity a forge wouldn't exist right? The forge would be a simple fire? Or is there something I'm forgetting?
Oh, there were most certainly forges. Wood and coal can burn very hot if you treat them right.. that's what the billows were for.
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Old 10-16-2011, 12:04 AM   #12
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The labor of a bladesmith was not an easy task, generally requiring the work of many specialists, but a simple blade as this could be done by one with dedication. Waylon had arrived long before sunrise this morning, as he always did, to ready the shop for its daily labor. This benefitted Eli greatly; his father had already prepared the forge for use. He squeezed on the bellows to force air into the forge, raising the heat of the coals. With the tongs, he grabbed a slab of the finest steel in Oakshire, placing it partly inside the forge. When the slab had finally molten, Eli began to flatten out the steel against the anvil, beginning the rough shape of his creation. Continuing this routine until lunchtime, Eli was so absorbed in the process that he did not hear the bang of the shop’s door behind him.
What do the fellow writers think of this? I tried to keep it as I thought would benefit me best.. A quick, simple, and short explanation of how he begins the process with a fading out until the next scene forces it's way in.

Also, any suggestions on writing could help me out also. Any overusage of words? Grammar usage?

I'm not sure what my writing looks like to the outside reader, so I would love to hear some constructive criticism.
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Old 10-16-2011, 01:32 AM   #13
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What do the fellow writers think of this? I tried to keep it as I thought would benefit me best.. A quick, simple, and short explanation of how he begins the process with a fading out until the next scene forces it's way in.

Also, any suggestions on writing could help me out also. Any overusage of words? Grammar usage?

I'm not sure what my writing looks like to the outside reader, so I would love to hear some constructive criticism.
L.E. Modesitt in his Recluse series of about a dozen books, has several where iron working by the protagonist in that time frame you spoke of is very detailed. Gives a good feel for it. You probably don't want to put the "magic feel" into your work, but everything else is there and feels very authentic.

Modesitt likes to delve into handcrafts in his books, but not in every book. Ironwork, woodwork, printing, and the like.

The other thing I would mention is "charcoal." Learn about charcoal. It was very important in that field along with the forced ventilation.
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Old 10-16-2011, 01:56 AM   #14
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L.E. Modesitt in his Recluse series of about a dozen books, has several where iron working by the protagonist in that time frame you spoke of is very detailed. Gives a good feel for it. You probably don't want to put the "magic feel" into your work, but everything else is there and feels very authentic.

Modesitt likes to delve into handcrafts in his books, but not in every book. Ironwork, woodwork, printing, and the like.

The other thing I would mention is "charcoal." Learn about charcoal. It was very important in that field along with the forced ventilation.
I will definitely check out the series. as for charcoal, the reason it was omitted was because they are a bit of a rarity blacksmith.. Their village is in the middle of a forest.. Would it be possible to have a wooden forge? Coals referred to just coals instead of charcoals which I'm not sure they would have great access to except from maybe traders.
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Old 10-16-2011, 05:14 AM   #15
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I do have another question though.. in the medieval days with no electricity a forge wouldn't exist right? The forge would be a simple fire? Or is there something I'm forgetting?
Huh? Haven't you ever seen a blacksmith at work? A traditional blacksmith's forge has a fire with air forced through it with bellows, which were traditionally made from leather.
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