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What better way to spend a Friday lunch break than watching a couple of videos about old-school craftsmen making badass swords? If the information in these vids is to be believed, less than 30 people in the world make their living as sword-makers. Wow.

A friend of mine tipped me off to the interesting 3-minute-long video above about a Taiwanese sword-maker, part of a list of seven short films about “obsolete occupations” featured over on the blog Brain Pickings. (If you visit, check out the vid on the sign artist, too.) It’s light on specifics about the art, but still gives you a cool look at the true spirit of making — a man sacrificing much to learn a skill which he applies lovingly and hopes to pass on to his children. Read on past the jump for another video about a Japanese sword-maker.


I found this second video over on Etsy, a site where people make and sell things. Lots of what you’ll find there consists of clothing or knitted items, but you’ll find harder goods as well if you dig.

Though it’s nothing on the level of the skill shown here, I’ve always kicked myself for not setting aside more time to learn basic machine work from my father before he died. We kept planning to make time, but I was young (and had “more important” things to do) and he was old, with failing health. By the time he finally got his shop together, I’d dropped out of college and was working full time to pick up the pieces. I realize now that I should’ve just made the time. I could’ve bumped any number of those things that seemed so critical at the time and it wouldn’t have made any serious life difference to me.

Have a good weekend, all.

 

2 Responses to Video Friday: Sword-Makers

  1. rembret says:

    Chuck – I feel you, brother. There is so much knowledge out there that is slipping away from an older generation. There is an elderly couple that lives across the street. We have always been friendly to each other, but never spent the time to get to know each other very well. I knew he had worked in a trade at the old Imperial sugar mill that had closed years ago. Well, one day I’m out in the driveway trying to cut a piece of 24″ schedule 40 pipe with a grinder and cutting wheel to make a fire pit, when he walks over. He tells me he worked for 50 years as a pipe welder. He described how I need a cutting torch and I if could come by one, he would show me how to use it. Well, it turned out my dad had one that was given to him, but he didn’t know how to use it, so I snagged it and spent the rest of the afternoon getting a lesson in setup and cutting from a master. I took tons of notes, but I wish I could spend weeks soaking up everything he knows. Sadly, his health is failing now, but I will always think of him every time I drag out that torch.

  2. 99octanr says:

    There are well more than 30 people making swords for a living out there. Japanese, european, modern or antique styled. 😉
    Have a look around on google, or try Swordforum.
    Very interesting.

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