Midway through the introduction to his aluminum sword-casting class, teacher/swordmaker Greg Wenderski holds up a slightly worn-down blade, explaining that he thinks of it as his “hobbit sword.” He then asks the class — a mix of mostly tween kids and their parents, along with a smattering of unaccompanied adults — if there are any Lord of the Rings fans in attendance.
“This is kind of like my version of Sting,” he says. “A lot of Bronze Age swords were this size. I find that sometimes people with shorter arms like shorter swords.”
Wenderski teaches classes in Austin under the moniker “The Sword Casting Guy.” In these lessons, he shares the finer points of how to cast both aluminum and bronze into swords, with literary references thrown in as a bonus.
In front of him, a table is covered with rough-cut wooden prototypes and a handful of already-cast swords. Wenderski explains how some of these swords were used throughout history, which civilizations preferred which designs, and what metals they would have been made from, once upon a time.
It’s a fascinating lesson if you’re into living history. Or swords. I’m keen on both.