Inc. is owned and operated by Master Daniel Watson. Unlike many other sword
smiths, Daniel is also a talented martial artist that is highly skilled in sword
work. Certainly, Angelsword is the most controversial sword making company
I know of. I've heard all kind of negative things about Mr. Watson and
his company, but since I have the luxury of living a relatively short distance
from his forge, I get to check things out for myself. Something all too few
critics bother to do. I have long held the belief that any fool can criticize,
but it takes someone special to actually create something.
First off, I've heard that his blades are made in Mexico. This is patently false. I've seen his swords made by American artisans from bar stock to finished product entirely in his forge.
My first visit to Angelsword in 2002 was an enlightening one. I examined many of Master Daniel's work, and was very impressed by his "Techno-Wootz" style swords. One daito had the motif of Mt. Fujiyama repeated in the layers of steel! I was also very impressed by his vast collection of antique weaponry.
In 2005, I wanted my class to see for themselves what the art of swordmaking is all about. So, we arranged a "field trip" to Angelsword.
Master Daniel greeted us warmly, and gave us a tour of his forge. Master Daniel uses both ancient and modern techniques and methods in the production of his blades. He began a very educational lecture and demonstration on the art of metallurgy. This man impressed us with his casual skill and knowledge of heat treating.
For starters, Mr. Watson demonstrated how to create a blade with a differentially hardened edge. This is a long favored type of blade, having a harder edge for edge retention, and a softer body to better absorb shock.
Many cultures produced this kind of blade which is well suited for combat. Often, when the subject of high quality antique swords comes up, most enthusiasts think of the famous sword wielded by Japan's Samurai - the katana. I am familiar with the use of ceramic clay to produce the different hardness on a Nihonto (Japanese Sword), but have always been curious as to exactly how the sori (curvature) was put into the sword. I have an extensive library, and my books on Japanese sword crafts mentioned how the original blade was forged straight (chokuto) and then during the quenching process (plunging the hot blade into liquid to cool it), the blade acquired it's curvature. It was also normally stated that the ability to do this properly without cracking the steel was seen as a true expression of both an artist and a Master.
In answer to this question, Master Daniel decided to show the class just how it was done!
The class all let out a collective "wow" as they watched a straight sword blade slowly acquire it's curvature as Master Daniel repeatedly and deliberately dipped it into the bath.
Some say Angelswords are totally worthless as weapons. While I was there, my burning question was what cutting media did they use in the contests they hold? Same omote tatemi from Tameshigiri.com as we do!