Making a claymore sword at home takes a lot of time, patience and brute-strength. You also need some basic blacksmithing and power tools to shape the sword, temper and harden steel and add flexibility. If you want to try your hand at blacksmithing here are at the basic steps for making a broadsword like claymore.
- Buy a piece of sheet metal, thick enough for a sword, around ¼ inch thick or a piece of old leaf spring. Check local metal scrap shops and junkyards. The shop may even be able to cut the sheet metal to your desired width and length. You do not have to make it to the exact length of 55 inches. Choose one that is not too rusty. Sheet metal is better for a beginner since a leaf spring is curved and you may have a hard time getting it straight.
- Sketch your sword design with the actual measurements on paper. The tang length should be the size of your two fists plus one inch. Mark the length from the other end inward. The tang for a long broadsword should start as wide as the blade and tapered slightly to a square tip.
- Transfer your design on the metal bar with a fine felt tip marker. A good size would be ¼-inch by 2 inches by 48 inches. Draw 2 lines along the center of the metal about ¼-inch apart to mark the center of the blade and the area where the blade beveling will start to shape.
- Grip the metal bar in a vise and shape the sword tip with a disk grinder. If you do not have a disk grinder, then you will have to use rough metal files to shape the tips of the sword. Do the same to the other end to shape the tang. Drill three evenly-spaced small holes in the middle of the tang.
- The next thing to do is to forge the metal bar to get in shape and give it strength. Ideally you need to have a long trough forge or furnace to heat the metal in workable 6-inch sections. You do need to have an anvil and a sledge hammer of about four to ten pounds to hammer the metal into shape. An alternative to a forge is a blow torch. Heat and pound until you get the sword into the right shape and have beveled the edges.
- The next process is called annealing which will make the sword softer and easier to shape and grind. This is done by heating the whole bar and then allowing it to cool slowly by wrapping it with an insulating material to slow down the cooling process. It can take 24 hours for the annealing process to be done.
- You are now ready to grind the sword for the blade edge and the final shape of the point. The sword in gripped in a vise to steady it. Protect the sword from the vise teeth with some cotton fabric. Grind the edge of the sword at a 45-degree angle using a disk grinder.
- Harden the metal by heating the sword to a very high temperature. Before you do this, fill a tall drum with cool water and place it under an eave or an overhang. Slip a length of twine or thick wire in one of the holes on the tang. After the sword has been heated, suspend it on the eave and immediately immerse the sword in the water. This is done to cool the metal quickly and harden it. Suspending the sword vertically while being immersed in water will ensure that the sword is straight.
- Temper the metal by heating the sword at a much lower temperature than the one used to harden it. You may have to repeat the heating and water cooling (quenching) process to give the sword flexibility. After the tempering process, the sword part is now complete.
- The pommel guard can be made from two pieces of sheet metal and bent into shape to accommodate the curve of the sword. Grind edges of the metal pieces and give it rounded ends. Drill holes on the edges of these pieces. Sandwich the sword just on the point where the shape of the tang begins and rivet the two pieces to close the ends. You may have to use metal epoxy glue to seal in some of the gaps. If you know someone who can solder the pieces for you, that would be great. A cheap alternative is to use two pieces of metal cabinet handles. You can add a decorative touch to your sword by choosing those with ornate designs.
- The hilt can be made from a round solid piece of hardwood grooved in the middle to accommodate the tang. You can have one done in a lathe shop. You can also use two half-moon pieces of hardwood, and screw these to the tang. A big round dowel split in half can also be use. It is better to use hard wood for strength and durability and will handle the weight of the sword without splitting.
Remember that this type of sword is not a toy. Exercise caution when you handle it. The edges are sharp and can cut you. As proof of your initial success in blacksmithing, how about displaying your first claymore sword on the wall where people can view and admire it?