Bill Blake / Alae Swords – Reddit AMA – Sword-Site.Com: The World’s Largest Free Online Sword Museum! http://www.sword-site.com

Sword-Site.Com: The World’s Largest Free Online Sword Museum!

http://www.sword-site.com

I just finished an AMA on Reddit! It was alot of fun!

http://www.alaeswords.com

http://www.sword-site.com

Rather than just post a link I’ve copied the text, Reddit archives all it’s data after a little, this way it will be viewable indefinitely.

All the best,

Bill

/r/AMA

I make swords for a living! Ask me anything. (self.AMA)
submitted 19 hours ago* by AlaeSwords
Some background about me. I graduated from a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Ancient European Literature. While at University I became deeply enamored with European Swords, subsequently my interests have branched out to include Eastern European, Byzantine and Sassanian swords. My website is www.alaeswords.com and I run a forum www.sword-site.com
Look forward to fielding questions from budding sword makers and sword collectors alike!
Kind Regards,
Bill Blake

[–]Landja 
That is a very cool job!
How many swords do you make/ sell in an average month? How many different “standard types” (, i.e. not for a specific customer) dou you make? What kind of sword is most fun to make?

[–]AlaeSwords 
Hi Landja!
Thanks for your questions!
I make about two swords in an average month, sometimes less, sometimes more. I don’t make any standard types like specific models that I repeat, but I do start from a basic shape which is cut out en masse by an industrial guillotine maker for me. These lengths are like cardboard cut outs and require extensive shaping by hand, hilting, sharpening etc. The swords that are the most fun to make have a ‘lenticular’ blade cross section. The thing I like about making them is that they always seem to stay on track as projects, whereas some other types are much more fiddly to get right. I guess what I’m saying is that lenticular are the easiest truth be told ;D I also have a deep fondness for that style.
The reason I don’t make standard sword types is because I get bored of doing the same thing repeatedly, so I don’t do custom orders, but rather make the swords I like and then sell them. Sometimes this means swords take a bit of time to sell, but I don’t mind because it keeps things interesting for me always working on what I want to. I used to do custom orders, but found it to be problematic for another reason, which was that some customers are serial mind changers… it was frustrating to work really hard on something someone wanted, only to have them have a change of heart and decide they wanted something that was difficult to change redone in a different way, it frequently left me out of pocket, and used up alot of my time.

[–]Landja [+1]
Thank you for the quick reply!
If you know that someone wants to use a sword for re-enactment or sports (like Iado or Tai Chi) what would you suggest? Would you do anything different if you design a sword for this?

[–]AlaeSwords [+93]
No probs!
I’m not well versed in Oriental Martial Arts but usually for sport / reenactment type swords a number of things are done differently: edges are blunted and rounded, the swords also tend to be made lighter so there is less force behind them. One really important one for reenactment is that the tip is really round, so it doesn’t have penetrative power. The last thing is that if it is designed for sword on sword clashing, and lots of it, certain parts of the sword tend to be reinforced, especially around the base of the blade; also the fittings tend towards being utilitarian, no point having gold or silver decoration on a sword that is purely designed for recklessly beating into other swords.
Regular swords on the other hand tend to be treated with more care, so ornamentation is more practical on them. Some of the above features though are pretty common on ‘battlefield’ swords. Me personally I specialize in the ‘battlefield’ aesthetic. I see swords as tools, and I expect my shovel and hammer to be tough, so I expect the same from my swords ie. they should be ‘fit to task’.

[–]Fox_Here
How can customers do that, if I asked someone to build me a house and then said I didnt like it, I would be stuck with that house because its what I said I wanted, ugh people

[–]AlaeSwords 
It’s just one of those things that happens in business, fortunately most people aren’t like that though  :)

[–]airbadfly
What is the most unusual sword you have been asked to make?

[–]AlaeSwords 
Hi AirBadFly!
Thank you for question!
I once had a customer start enquiring about me making a sword for him. Emails went back and forth, it was all pretty normal until he started explaining to me that he was a practioner of black magic and the sword was for ritualistic use…
Hey whatever floats his boat! I’m not his hall monitor he can do whatever he likes with his life as long as he’s not hurting anyone. I wasn’t very keen on doing business with him though, guy seemed a bit unhinged, fortunately the sale never progressed as he encountered financial difficulties and had to back out.

[–]airbadfly
Thank you for the reply, did he mention what type of rituals he would be performing with it?

[–]AlaeSwords 
Hahaha, no, and I wasn’t about to ask. I think swords are used in processions by those ceremonial types, I think when they shed their own blood they do it with daggers? He insisted his interests were in nothing illegal, otherwise I would have ceased dealings with him.

[–]airbadfly [+1]
Ok fair enough thanks for answering x

[–]NumberMuncher
Do you get requests to make swords from books/movies? If so what are the most popular?

[–]AlaeSwords 
Hi NumberMuncher!
Thanks for your question!
Definitely the books/movies that I get the most enquiries about are Lord of the Rings. People don’t usually want direct copies of the swords in the film but want my interpretation of say the WitchKing Sword or Orcrist for example.
The great thing about J.R.R. Tolkein is that he gave the sword the importance it often had in sagas and epics of the Northern European cultural tradition, in this way he has kept alive the traditions of the past. His works of fiction were a great gift to the world because of his voluminous knowledge of language, history and literature. He successfully put back into the collective consciousness many noble and fascinating ideas from the past.

[–]kittymommameowmeow
this gave me a thought! My husband loves swords and LOTR books. I don’t really know anything about the specific swords in the books, but do you have a suggestion for a good sword he might like from LOTR? I’d be really interested in getting one for him, but I know nothing! Cool AMA, by the way!
I guess I’ll pose a question too, even though I’m a noob about swords: What do you most of your clients do with their swords? Are they for use or display or something else?

[–]AlaeSwords
Hi Kittymommameowmeow!
Thanks for your question!
I’ll answer your questions in reverse order if ok. So alot of people I sell swords to want an heirloom they can hand down to their children. Also they want a nice decoration and talking / display. Alot of people want a sword for display that could be used for fighting, but they have no intention to use it that way, but might occasionally take it into the back yard and chop watermelons with it for fun. Other people like the idea of having a sword, because swords are so important in our cultural history, it can be a nice thing to have. Lastly, and people don’t usually say it, but I think some buyers want to have a sword for home defense, kind of like having a baseball bat, and safer than having a loaded firearm in the house (though if swords are not treated with care and respect the risk of accident or injury is very high so I always advise people to be incredibly careful with them, never unsheath them when standing near anyone, and never ever swing one unless they are absolutely positive no one is anywhere near them and have checked there are no children in the general area). So the ironic thing about keeping a sword for home defense is they really do need to be treated with the same respect as a loaded firearm, but then I guess the chance of a sword going through three walls and a fence is far less than an accidentally discharged bullet.
A LOTR sword for your husband I would recommend is Sting by United Cutlery. It’s a beautiful piece, a reasonable price and it comes in stainless steel so it doesn’t need to be oiled. That’s if you’re in the market for a display piece (stainless steel isn’t suited to being used to cut with as it is prone to breaking).

[–]kittymommameowmeow
Thank you for such a thorough answer! I was going to ask what you recommended for cleaning as well. I’ve usually just wiped down his others, but never put anything on them because I wasn’t sure. I think he would like a display piece. He has only actually used his swords once…at his bachelor party chopping pumpkins! Where should I go to get some info on a custom order?
Ninja Edit: googled the sword, I do recognize that one, great suggestion!

[–]AlaeSwords
No probs!
I recommend denatured alcohol to clean the blade (methylated spirits) but don’t get it on any painted areas! Then wipe down with a thin coat of baby / mineral oil once dry.

[–]Go_To_Jail_Card
If you were able to make a sword from any work of fiction, which would it be?

[–]AlaeSwords
Hi Go_To_Jail_Card!
Thanks for your question!
I’m planning on making Hrunting (Beowulf’s Sword). This will make it an approximately 3rd century Northern European Spatha type sword.
A few movies have had a go at it, but I don’t really like what they came up with. I figured I’d have a go and do something I like!
There’s also Durandel from ‘The Song of Roland’ which I think I will try sometime, and another sword that fascinates me is Excalibur. The thing I like about Excalibur is the fusion of Celtic / Roman and Germanic sword culture it embodies, a fascinating mythology, and the whole story revolves around the sword as the central character.

[–]djfutile
What are the major differences between the “replicas” you can buy at the sword stores and a “real” sword you make? How much would you charge to make me a real broadsword with sheath?

[–]AlaeSwords
Hi Djfutile!
Thank you for your question!
The main problem with some swords is that they are made out of stainless steel. While it is great for decoration (won’t rust) stainless steel tends to be a material that is a bit too hard for use in swords, so can end up breaking when using it to cut things. There’s a video on youtube of this happening to an unlucky TV presenter:

…poor guy looks like he really got hurt, though at least the piece coming off didn’t hit anyone in the eye, throat or temple – it could have been even worse.
So the material of choice for handmade sword makers like myself are high carbon steels. There are other differences though like how the sword is designed, aesthetic details and so forth too though.
Honestly though there are some great store bought swords out there, though some are obviously better than others. I’m not against stainless steel swords either, as display and talking pieces I think they are great as they never have to be oiled.
Where I differentiate myself is that I offer swords that are one of a kind. I only ever make a sword design once, and I place a maker’s mark on the sword to show it’s mine.
The price of my swords range from a few hundred dollars through to more than a thousand. A good sheath is maybe a couple hundred.

[–]Dr_Merkwurdigliebe
Damn that video’s scary. The guy who comes in at the end is priceless, though.

[–]GreenStrong
Do you use traditional forging techniques, or do you shape blades by grinding bar stock and then tempering it?
If the former, /r/blacksmith would probably have a ton of technical questions for you…

[–]AlaeSwords 
Thanks for your question!
I work from hardened stock, traditional forging doesn’t necessarily produce a better product any more and it is fraught with pitfalls.
I can do forging, actually I’m pretty good at it, but I don’t do it very often for the above reasons.

[–]moltenrock [score hidden] 15 hours ago (0|0)
Is it true there can be only one?

[–]AlaeSwords
Yes!

[–]moltenrock
Why I’m not rolling in up votes like George Jones rolled in country poon-tang I’ll never know.

[–]AlaeSwords
I think they turn the votes off for a week on comments so the group think can’t affect the results of AMA’s

[–]cavemanbud
Have you ever attempted Damascus steel blades?

[–]AlaeSwords
Hi Cavemanbud!
Thanks for your question!
Yes, I have made pattern welded blades, but these days I work almost exclusively with monosteel blades. I really love the damascus look, but it just doesn’t grab me as much as homogenous steel swords do.
I think this is for a couple of reasons. Firstly damascus / pattern welded blades are not as cost effective to make. It takes a really long time to make them, and so they end up costing alot more, and I try to make swords that are within the price range of the average person, rather than cater to an elite crowd. The second is practicality, damascus / pattern welded swords no matter how well made can be prone to unpredictable behaviour. For instance splitting and warping during heat treatment, coming apart under extreme stress and so on. It takes alot to get a damascus / pattern welded sword to disintegrate, but a comparitive monosteel sword (modern monosteel as compared to modern damascus) is less prone to those sort of problems. Mostly this is not an issue because damascus swords in the modern world are usually so expensive they are never used. My personal point of view is that a sword is a tool though, so I make them with that in mind, form in tandem with function.
There is a type of steel called Wootz which is made in a crucible which sometimes people refer to as damascus steel that I have not attempted making, smelting is not really my cup of tea, but there is an amazing documentary about it called ‘Secrets of the Viking Sword’ that was on PBS a little while ago if you’re interested, it’s available to watch online.

[–]cavemanbud
Awesome! Thank you for the lengthy reply.

[–]Obliviouschkn
really cool ama! I’d upvote just for the video of the sword breaking.
My question is more about old swords. Was it common for swords to be the high quality you see in movies? How would a blade from that era hold up to a similar sword of yours and what makes the difference, if any.

[–]AlaeSwords
Thanks for your question!
So the main difference between the swords of history and the steel if today is that modern steel making is able to produce a more consistently pure product. The purer a steel (less contaminants) the better it is – stronger and more reliable. Also because of modern chemistry we understand which other elements to add and how much of them to add to ensure a high performance steel, for instance copper improves hardenability.
Another important difference is heat treatment which can be done more accurately and evenly.
It would be a terrible waste of an irreplaceable artifact to bash an old sword against a new one, but say if it we’re done hypothetically the old sword would be more likely to be dinted.

[–]Kill_Kendall
Is it possible that you could make a hammer? Say .. Mjolnir?

[–]BigKev47
I love the little mental-movie you gave me of OP accepting your challenge, and slaving night and day over his forge to create an exact replica Mjolnir, only to finish it, and realize he was too exact because he or any other mortal is completely incapable of lifting it, as to remove it from his workbench.

[–]AlaeSwords
Yes!
Where is Thor when you need him?

[–]AlaeSwords
Thanks for your question!
Hammers are not my thing, but Museum Replicas make a pretty nice looking Mjolnir!

[–]Lucky75
What’s the process for “folding” the steel like? Do you do that on all blades, or just the katana ones? Does doing this always make it stronger and the more folds = more strength?
As a related question, how can I tell when I’m buying a sword that it’s strong enough to use and not just for decoration? Are certain techniques stronger than others? And what type of metal is the best, carbon steel?

[–]AlaeSwords
Thanks for your question!
It’s a good question! basically folding is an optional extra these days. The best way for me to answer this one is to direct you to an article on my forum:
www.sword-site.com
Click Feature Articles>What to look for in a Functional Sword
It contains a really detailed explanation of the things to look for, and to look out for!

[–]Gryndyl
About how long would it take the average complete beginner to go from zero to swordmaking should they take up smithing as a hobby?

[–]AlaeSwords
Thanks for your question!
It can be done pretty quickly, especially if you get your head into some good books, and outlay a bit of money on some equipment. It’s taken me ten years to be really happy with the swords I’m making, but I think if I had a belt grinder that was decent earlier I could have been happy with the results much earlier than that. I worked alot by hand on the beginning which has been really good training for me, but it was frustrating at times.

[–]ckenney
How did you learn how to make swords? Are you self taught?

[–]AlaeSwords
Thanks for your question!
I learnt by talking to metal workers, reading every technical manual I could find, and by spending many years trawling the net for every bit of information I could find!
In 2007 a book came out called The Medieval Sword in the Modern World by Michael Tinker Pearce which contains pretty much every bit of info you need to get, I really recommend it. It’s pretty much a one stop source for sword making info.

[–]smiles134 [score hidden] 15 hours ago (0|0)
What’s it like living in the 16th century?

[–]AlaeSwords
Thanks for your question!
Not sure, you’d have to ask Shakespeare!
I don’t go in for reenactment and dressing up in period clothing myself, I prefer the comforts of the 21st century!

[–]BigKev47
So let’s talk about Valyrian steel (I can only assume one in your position is familiar with Game of Thrones/ASOIAF, and it’s minor point, but I’m gonna to try to use spoiler tags just in case…

Also, much less of a spoiler so unhidden, but kinda the inverse… Does “Andruil, forged from the shards of Narsil” actually make any sense as a weapon? I’m not well-versed enough in the text to be sure, but the impression I always got was that the actual shards were simply heated and “rejoined” or whatever, but that seems from my layman’s understanding of material science to be a really bad idea…
Thanks for the AMA! And I’m totally with you in opposition to the oppressive Obama sword-control agenda!

[–]AlaeSwords
Thanks for the questions!
I pride myself on being an honest man, and truth be told I don’t watch Game of Thrones! I can see why people love it, it looks great, but it’s not my cup of tea.
As for the shards of Narsil in the movie it’s a magic swords and Elves are magical, so it’s perfectly plausible  ;) in real life yes repairs were sometimes done like that, but it tended to involve just two pieces, like when a sword tip broke off and I do not believe the sword would then be actively used. It was just to repair and keep intact an heirloom that would then be retired from active use.
I’m Australian so I don’t know about sword law reform in the U.S. but I have noticed that almost all sword crime involves samurai swords. In the UK they have tightened the law on Samurai Swords only. I think that was a sensible approach to policy change.

[–]Australian_Translate
˙ǝƃuɐɥɔ ʎɔılod oʇ ɥɔɐoɹddɐ ǝlqısuǝs ɐ sɐʍ ʇɐɥʇ ʞuıɥʇ I ˙ʎluo spɹoʍS ıɐɹnɯɐS uo ʍɐl ǝɥʇ pǝuǝʇɥƃıʇ ǝʌɐɥ ʎǝɥʇ ʞ∩ ǝɥʇ uI ˙spɹoʍs ıɐɹnɯɐs sǝʌloʌuı ǝɯıɹɔ pɹoʍs llɐ ʇsoɯlɐ ʇɐɥʇ pǝɔıʇou ǝʌɐɥ I ʇnq ˙S˙∩ ǝɥʇ uı ɯɹoɟǝɹ ʍɐl pɹoʍs ʇnoqɐ ʍouʞ ʇ,uop I os uɐılɐɹʇsn∀ ɯ,I
˙ǝsn ǝʌıʇɔɐ ɯoɹɟ pǝɹıʇǝɹ ǝq uǝɥʇ plnoʍ ʇɐɥʇ ɯoolɹıǝɥ uɐ ʇɔɐʇuı dǝǝʞ puɐ ɹıɐdǝɹ oʇ ʇsnɾ sɐʍ ʇI ˙pǝsn ʎlǝʌıʇɔɐ ǝq uǝɥʇ plnoʍ pɹoʍs ǝɥʇ ǝʌǝılǝq ʇou op I puɐ ɟɟo ǝʞoɹq dıʇ pɹoʍs ɐ uǝɥʍ ǝʞıl ‘sǝɔǝıd oʍʇ ʇsnɾ ǝʌloʌuı oʇ pǝpuǝʇ ʇı ʇnq ‘ʇɐɥʇ ǝɟıl ǝuop sǝɯıʇǝɯos ǝɹǝʍ sɹıɐdǝɹ sǝʎ ǝɟıl lɐǝɹ uı (; ǝlqısnɐld ʎlʇɔǝɟɹǝd s,ʇı os ‘lɐɔıƃɐɯ ǝɹɐ sǝʌlƎ puɐ spɹoʍs ɔıƃɐɯ ɐ s,ʇı ǝıʌoɯ ǝɥʇ uı lısɹɐN ɟo spɹɐɥs ǝɥʇ ɹoɟ s∀
˙ɐǝʇ ɟo dnɔ ʎɯ ʇou s,ʇı ʇnq ‘ʇɐǝɹƃ sʞool ʇı ‘ʇı ǝʌol ǝldoǝd ʎɥʍ ǝǝs uɐɔ I ¡sǝuoɹɥ┴ ɟo ǝɯɐפ ɥɔʇɐʍ ʇ,uop I ploʇ ǝq ɥʇnɹʇ puɐ ‘uɐɯ ʇsǝuoɥ uɐ ƃuıǝq uo ɟlǝsʎɯ ǝpıɹd I
¡suoıʇsǝnb ǝɥʇ ɹoɟ sʞuɐɥ┴
FTFY

[–]AlaeSwords
Finally someone who speaks the language of my people!

[–]BigKev47
Thanks for the response. The sword law bit was a bad joke about the current gun debate here in the states. Though I appreciate the earnest answer, as I don’t spend much time considering the legal hurdles of your industry. Did your study to do the more ornamental work you currently do involve much work with like ‘battle ready’ weapons? Or are swords-as-weapons pretty much all machined these days?

[–]AlaeSwords
Most big company sword makers produce machined swords – Albion and a number of others. Myself and makers like me lovingly craft swords by hand, which produces a truly handmade sword, a one off, a superior product.
My swords are definitely ‘battle ready’ – man that term is a stinker!  :)

[–]airbadfly
Also while I am asking what type of sword is the hardest to forge? What piece of work are you most proud of?

[–]AlaeSwords
Thanks for your question!
When it comes to forging Chinese smiths say the octagonal cross section found on some of their Jian swords is the hardest. From what I’ve seen I’m inclined to agree with them.

[–]LibraryLass
How does the process differ for making straight bladed swords from making curved ones like scimitars or sabres?

[–]AlaeSwords
Thanks for your question!
Actually the processes involved in making straight and curved swords are the same, depending on how you approach making them.

[–]dimitrideas
What’s your favorite lunch meat?

[–]AlaeSwords
Tough call, probably roast beef. Mmm meaty.

[–]dimitrideas
I think my all time favorite would have to be pastrami. Thanks for answering my question.

[–]Redskull673
any good books on the subject?

[–]AlaeSwords
Thanks for your question!
I think Michael Tinker Pearce’s The Medieval Sword in the Modern World is the best book on the subject of sword making.

[–]striker746
can you post a gallery of some of your latest swords? do you make game swords (Links sword, swords from skyrim, etc.?)

[–]AlaeSwords
Thanks for your question!
On my website there’s a link to my Tumblr feed which has a gallery of some of my work.
Game swords no, I prefer the historical styles.

[–]striker746
So, like, spartan, Roman, Egyptian, etc.? Which style is your favorite?

[–]AlaeSwords
Without a doubt my favourite are Byzantine Swords! I’ve written a really length pictorial thread on them at SwordSite
www.sword-site.com
Feature Articles>Byzantine Swords

[–]tyrannosaurus_fred
Why is there a “W” in the word sword. Why not sord?

[–]AlaeSwords
Originally the w was pronounced, but it has fallen out of usage.
We should start writing it as sord all the time and see if it catches on!

[–]dragontouch
How much swords go for? whats your most expensive sword? Do you drink alot of milk?

[–]AlaeSwords
Thanks for your questions!
There are antique swords that sell for millions of dollars.
My most expensive sword was around two dollars. I could have charged alot more, but I don’t believe in charging prices I can’t hold my head high about. The customer got alot for his money, and would have been charged double elsewhere for what they got.

[–]dragontouch
my god you’re awesome…..

[–]AlaeSwords
Haha two thousand… oops!

[–]AlaeSwords
Yes I love milk!

[–]Zanowin
Ever thought about making mini sword streak knives….err streak swords?

[–]AlaeSwords
No, but that’s an idea so crazy it just might work!!! I like it!

[–]BigStickOSalami
I am 18 years old. Please for the love of god explain to me how I would become a blacksmith, swordsmith for a living. Always wanted to do it. Thanks.

[–]AlaeSwords
Thanks for your question!
I mentioned in one of the other posts, and it’s true, the way to make good money in this business is to get your work done by third world labour. Pretty shitty reality, but reality nonetheless.
I get by because I’ve got another passive form of income, so the swords provide a nice bonus every week or so. Making 50,000 a year is about as much as a handmade sword maker can achieve without utilising advanced machinery (in which case swords cease to be handmade) or outsourcing work to the third world. Doing either really requires making ‘models’ rather than ‘one offs’
Hey man I was in your position once, I really do know what it was like. I have to be honest with you though. If you really love working with steel / blacksmithing, then commerical wrought iron makers and farriers (horshoe makers) do pretty well for themselves, and you could make swords as well.
Until Western Governments stop using variable exchange rates as a tool of oppression, and China pegs its dollar at a sensible rate it will always make more sense to send work offshore. Pretty shithouse if you ask me. I’ve chosen to do everything in Australia and use Australian materials and that’s put me at a disadvantage, but I just love making swords and through sheer luck I am in a financial position that I can do it. Also I strongly disagree with Western Governments sending all our manufacturing jobs overseas, so I’m trying to do my bit to keep some work here in Australia.
Possibly the exception to the rule though is Japanese Sword Smiths. The apprenticeship is 11 years I think, but they command $20,000 a sword and more. I believe they are allowed by law to make one every two months, so they’d be pulling in $120,000 give or take. You’d need to go to Japan. I’m told it’s a beautiful place, so spending your twenties there could be lots of fun I imagine!
To start making swords definitely I’d recommend books. First one to get would be Michael Tinker Pearce’s The Medieval Sword in the Modern World. It’s invaluable. Very helpful.
Come and sign up to SwordSite too! www.sword-site.com we’d love to have you, and you’ll find lots of interesting and useful stuff there!
I hope my answer has helped you. I really do empathise with you, and trust me, if you want enough you will be able to figure out a way to make it work for you.

[–]amayernican
What’s your favorite sharpening technique? Oil stone, whetstone, sthrap, grinder? I’m a chef and I demand a precision edge (especially with meat) and just want a different point of view on metal edges.
Thanks for the AMA, it’s titillatingly unique!

[–]AlaeSwords
For kitchen knives I find I always get the sharpest edge using a belt grinder with a fine grit on it, like 120 grit or higher. I can do a tougher edge with stones but I’ve never been able to make it sharper than a belt grinder does it. Never tried using a leather strop, but straight razor fans swear by them, and they seem to be key to getting a blade sharp enough to pop hairs.
A belt ground edge with the grain going perpendicular to the blade can be great, it has microserration. Also I achieve great results running the grain parallel to the blade too, which suits meat better in my experience.
All the butchers I’ve ever watched sharpening seem to start with belt grinders and then hone with steels. Butchers are the kings of sharp knives, along with Chefs, so I’m inclined to think they have a better idea about what they’re doing than I do.
The straight razor has become pretty popular again too, so there’s probably some really knowlegeable leather strop users out there who can maker a blade wickedly sharp!
Out in the field it’s amazing how good of an edge you can get on a knife with a suitable rock! River pebbles make for really good finishing stones toon because they are so smooth.

[–]amayernican
Wow, what an informative answer. Thank you so much!
You’re a gift to the world, sir.

[–]rko1985
How much money do you make a year?

[–]AlaeSwords
Thanks for your question!
At the moment not alot, I’m doing it for the love of the art. The money’s in off shoring to the third world so you can sell swords cheap and en masse. I don’t believe in that though, so I use all Australian materials and workmanship. Fortunately I do have another source of income too, and without a second source of income, honestly it is tough for handmade sword makers to support themselves on their craft alone. If you make 50,000 a year and you make one of a kind handmade swords, you’re doing well. Same goes for knife makers I’m told.

[–]wishabay
Have you ever tried knighting yourself but ended up cutting your ear off?

[–]AlaeSwords
No, but I saw King Ralph do that to someone accidentally. Ouch!
Funnily enough in the grand old days of yore the knighting ceremony was capped off with a punch to the jaw, so the knighted person knew what to expect from their career. It has since been gentrified to a touch with a sword on the shoulders.

[–]HeyThereMrBrooks
You sound like a pretty sharp man!
Have you ever considered making a sword for yourself for self defense, or something like that?

[–]AlaeSwords
Thanks for your question!
Yes actually I do keep a sword of my own! It’s got a broad blade so it cuts like a demon and it’s 30 inches long so it can be used indoors as well as outdoors. fbcdn-sphotos-e-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/1014791_540608496003093_933362679_o.jpg 
If I had to use a sword for real that would be my personal choice. The Polish apparently have a saying ‘Lord Grant Me a Sword & No Reason To Use It’. That pretty much sums up my attitude to self defense. Actually we were discussing self defense the other day on SwordSite, definitely worth a read: sword-site.com/thread/64/any-knife-fighters

[–]technoholic
Just wanted to say awesome work my friend. And just one thing, you don’t need to be all formal with the Hi <username> Thanks for the question stuff. This is reddit man…chill  :)

[–]AlaeSwords
Thanks man!
I have always prided myself on having good manners and treating people with respect unless they give me reason otherwise. I want to let people know I genuinely appreciate them taking the time to ask me a question about what I love doing!  :)

[–]technoholic
Cool !!! Best of luck man!

[–]AlaeSwords
Thank you!

Read more: http://sword-site.com/

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