Medieval Sword Crafting Research

As modern day sword makers we could just make pieces that look right and call it good. But, one of our strengths and passions is to dive deep and try to really find the core or soul of these items that have survived from the past. To that end we support and participate in research to understand the materials and the evidence left to us from the past. 

To that end we will be sharing some of our recent efforts in a presentation entitled "TEMPERA IN QUESTA AQUA": EXPERIMENTING WITH IMPACT OF MEDIEVAL QUENCHING RECIPES ON STEEL HARDNESS. This will be one of our quarterly lectures done at the Oakeshott Institute and is the combined efforts of The Oakeshott Institute, Arms and Armor, and University of Minnesota materials science & engineering department. 


Our project took two medieval recipes for affecting the hardness of steel left in medieval sources and compared their results against some modern quenching mediums. The medieval world saw the use of recipes and ritual to imbue the traits they desired into materials and objects. Today we rely on the tables and charts we find in text books, exact control of processes by time, temperature and refined materials. How they achieved their results was by observation, tradition and experience methods that many smiths around the world still use today. 

This type of work helps all of us understand the medieval sword in new and deeper ways and with the goal of making our replicas closer to the truth of the originals in every way we can.

If this interests you we welcome you to join us on Wed the 25th at 6:30pm central time in person at The Oakeshott Institute or streaming online.  Details on streaming to be available soon.

Check out more info here 

divider swords

Nathan Clough, Ph.D. is Vice President of Arms and Armor and a member of the governing board of The Oakeshott Institute. He is a historical martial artist and a former university professor of cultural geography. He has given presentations on historical arms at events including Longpoint and Combatcon, and presented scholarly papers at, among others, The International Congress on Medieval Studies.

Craig Johnson is the Production Manager of Arms and Armor and Secretary of The Oakeshott Institute. He has taught and published on the history of arms, armor and western martial arts for over 30 years. He has lectured at several schools and Universities, WMAW, HEMAC, 4W, and ICMS at Kalamazoo. His experiences include iron smelting, jousting, theatrical combat instruction and choreography, historical research, European martial arts and crafting weapons

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