OK, now that we’ve shown our age with a pop-music pun that 90% of the audience will not get, we want to send you to the imgur link where  Sir Keyboard Commando, whoever he may be, converts this piece of steel stock:


…to this replica of a Roman gladius, the short sword of the legions.


SKC made the sword from 1075 steel alloy by, essentially, cutting away everything that didn’t look like a Roman sword.

The page shows a photo essay of the whole process:

  1. laying out the outline with machinist’s layout die and a scribing tool;
  2. cutting the shape with a bandsaw;
  3. grinding to section;
  4. draw-filing to a smooth, ripple-free surface;
  5. heat-treating in a homemade furnace;
  6. quenching;
  7. tempering in a kitchen oven.

And best of all, he can say, “I made it myself!”

This entry was posted in The Past is Another Country, Unconventional Weapons, Weapons Technology on by Hognose.

About Hognose

Former Special Forces 11B2S, later 18B, weapons man. (Also served in intelligence and operations jobs in SF).

9 thoughts on “He’s Feeling Gladius All Over


Ugh. Seeing that much 1/4″ steel gives me flashbacks. Never again.


He did a real nice job on it and proves that a fellow with a little determination can do good work without a bunch of specialized power tools. Add another couple hours work and it could have been cut out with a hacksaw.

Even better, with that sporty homemade forge he could have beat it into some shape to start with.

Law of Self Defense

That was pretty awesome, thanks.

Thank God there’s people in the world with more patience than I possess. 🙂

-Andrew, @LawSelfDefense


I like it!

Maybe a starter piece before I tackle the Ulfberht…


i dug the music reference…

songs from back when i was young and had a future.

T Coyne

For those of you insufficiently elderly to get the musical allusion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P94S8IAv94w

Ah, mid-twentieh century. Back when the men had the tattoos and the women wore the earrings.


This seems just wrong, to use cutting and grinding tools to make a sword.

Would forming the shape by forging be that difficult?


Having tried my hand at forging without many of the tools used by for-really-real blacksmiths, I can say… Yeah. Yeah it is. I use the stock-removal method (same as the gladius guy) which comes with its own problems, but there’s a level of artistry needed to forge correctly that only comes from experience.


That makes sense. I imagine forging something into the correct shape is easy, but making sure the material stays in the desired state is way harder.