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Making of the Sakkala Sword

The Sakkala sword is a one off custom piece being created by the artisans at Blade Culture International in Pangasinan, the Philippines. It is being made as a gift for a lifelong friend of the editor – because custom castings are required for the highly detailed components, such a sword would commercially cost at least $2,500 plus shipping, though if made as part of a small production run (which would allow the castings to be re-used) would be closer to USD1000.

FORGING THE SWORD

Forging and shaping of the blade took place in early March 2019. As with all their blades, it was hand forged and hammered into shape from stock 5160 spring steel. Here is a picture of the blade itself pre-grind and heat treatment.

THE FITTINGS

The most detailed part of this design are the fittings. Completed in early May 2019, it took several attempts to get the fittings to look right and a to scale blueprint of the sword was created to reference its size and dimensions.

The 1:1 scale blueprint based on the original supplied design

Here is a gallery of the first rendition of the ‘claw’ that will hold the clustered semi-precious stones.

Once satisfied, progress towards the hilt construction was quite rapid.

The next most complicated piece of this custom design is the spider like blade collar that runs down both sides of the ricasso which is entirely made by hand.

With the two hardest elements out of the way, progress on the sword gained pace to the stage where within a few days, each element was refined and the various hilt components fitted together for the first time..

As you can see, it looks pretty darned good..! And next, the wooden hilt components were hand shaped and checked to create the hilt assembly and pommel.

Next up, additional refinement and shaping of the blade, including the two triangular side protrusions (called ‘flukes’). These have a practical function, preventing the opponents blade from sliding all the way down the cross guard during the bind.

Now the original design was to have clusters of black semi precious stones held in the claws of both hand guard and pommel, however it proved difficult to find stones that were the correct size and hue to fit as needed, so an alternative approach was taken.

What you are seeing achieves the desired effect, but is actually hand shaped ‘marbles’ made from the wood of the local Kamagong tree (Diospyros discolor).

Personally, I think it worked out extremely well and achieved the desired look. Here is what it looks like on further modified and refined hand guard.

Next up, the blade is further refined, polished, shaped and otherwise is now in the final stages of assembly before shipping.

And here is the completed ‘fangs’ that run either side of the blade down from the guard on the ricasso.

Finally, the blade is fully polished up and sharpened, the wire wrap of the hilt secured in place, all components cleaned up and viola – the sword is ready for battle.

 

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