Frequently Asked Questions
Are those real swords? (aka "Are they real or did you make them?)
A sword is one of the simplest devices ever created for wreaking havoc on the human body. Essentially a sword is a type two lever combined with the properties of an inclined plane. The idea of putting a wedge shape along the length of a bar of metal dates back to the earliest uses of bronze alloys and even before to pieces of stone carefully chipped into knives. Use of steel allowed for lighter, stronger and longer swords than ever before. Since that time just about every shape and structure possible for swords have been tried. Our blades are well suited to the most basic function of a sword, that of severing limbs and hacking into the bodies of well armoured opponents.
Are your swords better than....
The short answer to that is yes. We believe that for the price we charge, you will not find a better made sword anywhere. There are less expensive swords that are made to look pretty and there are magnificently forged replicas, accurate to the last detail. What Badger Blades strives for is a high quality, durable blade priced such that our customers feel comfortable trying just about any kind of cutting, chopping or random destruction that they can imagine.
What kind of steel does Badger use?
Our swords start as bars of 1095 steel that we buy by the ton from Chicago. The ten part of the number indicates a steel that is relatively close to "pure", containing only a few other elements other than iron and carbon. The 95 denotes the parts per million of carbon in the alloy. Higher carbon contents tend to be somewhat brittle while lower carbon contents tend to be too soft to hold a decent edge. The steel we use is close to the types of steel, both in carbon content and material content to the steels that would have been used during the medieval and renaissance sword making periods. 1095 steel provides an excellent combination of hardness and flexibility when properly heat treated.
What do you mean by heat treating?
When talking about how swords are made, proper heat treating is often what distinguishes between a sword and a sword-shaped object. After being shaped, whether by grinding or hammering, blades are heated to very high temperatures (the temperatures are determined both by the type of steel and by the desired properties in the finished product) and then cooled rapidly in some form of quenching medium to harden it. Lower carbon steels were quenched in "fast" mediums like water or brine (rumor has it goat urine is excellent for this) whereas higher carbon steels need a slower quench such as oil. After being hardened the steel is then heated to a lower temperature and allowed to cool slowly to "relax" the steel and remove potential break points where the steel is too hard. For those with an interest, further discussion of this later.
What do people do with your swords?
Whatever they want to. The number of innovative, bizarre or even insane uses for our blades has continued to amaze us. At least one professional jousting troupe has made good use of our weapons since 1997. Our blades have been used to eviscerate washing machines, old stoves, and at least one Subaru. They have also been used to break someone into their car and even as a carving tool by a kosher butcher at a pig roast (can you stand the irony?).
Do you make historically accurate replicas?
Not really. Badger's designs are based on the idea of function and durability but are not based on any specific sword designs or styles. We make no attempt to make the exact same blades over and over. The designs for the hilts and ricassos are a constantly changing expression of the tastes of our customers and the whims of Badger and his trolls. When we do base a blade on a specific type, we name it as such. Even then they are interpretations of those pieces, not recreations.
We do not make replicas of copyrighted/trademarked items from movies, books or other media.
Some of your blades aren't very renaissance, why do you make them?
Our customers like them. Or we do. Katanas, for instance, represent a style of combat that has continued to be developed even today. Of all the schools of swordsmanship the Japanese have most carefully maintained a connection with the traditional use of their ancient weaponry. Katanas are elegant, cutting weapons and are used in a very different fashion than European swords. We make what we like and Badger likes to try new designs when he has the time to make them. If you see an exotic piece you like, get it when you see it. Some designs only get made every few years and some only happen once.
Will you make me a.......
Sure. If you have an idea for that perfect blade that you must have, we can make it. To have a serious discussion about getting your sword made come armed with a thousand dollars as a deposit (we'll take checks for this), a good idea of what you want made and a good supply of patience. Custom blades are not our primary business and we have to work in custom orders around our production schedule. Check out the custom orders page for more information.
I read somewhere that.. (Fill in the Name) says that.. You guys are full of.....
Feel free to come and discuss it. The management encourages friendly argument. Be aware that we're not going to try that hard to change your mind, especially when there are paying customers in the shop. Catch us when we're slow we'll talk all day. Bring a mug of cider or Guinness around towards the end of the day and we'll be happy to argue with you.
What happens if I'm nowhere near a Renn Faire and I break my sword?
we ship everywhere that FedEx ships, so you can send it back to us at the address on our contact us page, along with all the pieces and we'll warranty or repair it as it needs.