Movie swordmaking is a big long orange-glowing lie


I plead ignorance. My knowledge of forging is limited to “Forged in Fire” on History Channel. Me know nothing much.


Apparently one of the things with historic bloom steel. Especially in particular places or times. Is it didn’t actually melt all of the metal. So what came out the bottom was a mix of steel, unalloyed iron, unburned charcoal, and a fuck load of slag. To get a consistent piece of metal you had to hammer it all out to flake off the slag, and fold it repeatedly to even it out. Like kneading dough.

So maybe that’s where he picked up that “fact”?

But yeah apparently you can build one of those basic furnaces out of a five gallon drum packed with charcoal, and it’ll mostly melt iron/steel. Which is pretty god damned primitive.


And pretty darned impressive when you can make iron and steel with nothing but sticks, mud, dung, and a goat hide.


Lotta rocks too. Rocks are great.


So you have discovered Lindybeige.
Guess I will help other youtubers and ruin them for hipsters.


There are some really cool dendritic steels that can be cast, but they’re usually used for smaller blades, and certainly not cast in the sort of setup that movies show.

Also, on the ones that do show a bladesmith forging out a blade, as a bladesmith myself, you want to know what really pisses me off? The movie sequence is usually a montage of hammering at orange, which somehow emits a huge shower of sparks like you’re forge welding or something (much higher heat), then when it’s blade shaped, it’s always quenched in water. AND THEN THE A-HOLE PULLS OUT A FULLY POLISHED AND MOUNTED SWORD?!?!?!

WTF!!! Yeah, because that’s how it works. Nobody has to spend hours and hours polishing a blade, then making fittings for it, etc… ad nauseaum. A blade that may take me a couple of hours to forge out, may take another couple to grind, then some weeks to polish and mount.

Man, I wish I had me one of those magic water quench troughs…


Movie everything is a big lie. Like when Tom Cruise does some fantastic maneuver in a fighter jet, we see him head off for a night out with his girlfriend. We don’t see the team of engineers who work all night to put his airplane back together.


Even what you hear in a movie is often a lie. This is why so many people don’t recognize what gunshots sound like in real life. And relying on Hollywood for medical advice is a recipe for disaster. See also: the overdose scene in Pulp Fiction. An intracardiac injection of adrenalin to treat an OD? Are you fucking kidding, Mr. Tarantino?


I think Peter Jackson was trying to contrast industry (Saruman) to craft (the elves). And to a certain extent, so was Tolkien.



I doubt that LindyBeige has Sony’s budget for cameras, lighting, film crew, and multiple takes.


I wonder if beryllium bronze could be cast into a sword - it has really impressive strenght. Grinding would produce nasty(deadly) dust though.



… they said pedantically.


A little bit haha image


Came here to see actual metallurgy talk and see actual sword smiths get out.

Was not disappointed. :crossed_swords:


The best steel blades are pattern-welded, like Japanese blades and Damascus steel, Viking and Anglo-Saxon blades were forged from twisted wires, heated and hammered out into shape, then sharpened. There’s an example in the British Museum that was found at a grave site, X-rayed to see how it was constructed, then a smith made an exact replica, and it’s a thing of great beauty.
As are the finest Katana and Wakizashi blades, a piece of iron hammered out to length, cut with a chisel, folded back, hammered out, cut, folded, hammered…
Repeat for hours, until the steel that results has hundreds of layers.
Here’s an article about the making of the replica of the Sutton Hoo ship burial sword: