Have you ever watched a movie with a burly blacksmith pounding out molten steel into a sword and thought, ”OH, YES… I want to freakin’ do that! I will forge a sword the likes of which has never been!”
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Meet Sword Casting Guy and Austinite, Greg Wenderski, who teaches a 3 hour class in Bronze Age sword casting right in downtown Austin. Much like the casting of his swords, Wenderski’s mastery of metalworking and sword-casting came about as a multi-step process. After discovering an interest in French ironwork in college, he began to make epic art-pieces as functional as they were graceful. He once bartered an iron-wrought bannister with a midwife for delivery of his daughter, and was commissioned by Trout Fishing in America’s Ezra Idlet to create a funky light-fixture of interwoven branches. The piece was featured in The New York Times.
How exactly Wenderski ultimately landed on sword-casting, however, is a story best conveyed in his own words. Wenderski told Austin.com, “I teach middle school science and one time I assigned my students to research an element and bring in a sample of it as part of their presentation.” He recalled, “The girl who was presenting about zinc forgot her sample at home, so I helpfully suggested that we could cut a penny in half and melt the zinc out of it with a Bunsen burner. The kids practically jumped out of their seats–“What!? You can do that??” That was my first clue that kids and melting metal were a thing.”
As it turned out, kids aren’t the only ones who like to do cool stuff with hot metal. Though he started the classes for children, Wenderski began to take stock of the fact that often half the attendees were adults without children. With that in mind, he created a Thursday night class for adults only, which usually wraps up for drinks at Steampunk Saloon, and opens up some very cool possibilities for date-nights!
Frankly, it just sounds amazing to walk away with your own custom-cast sword. Agreed?
Wenderski told Austin.com, “Classes allow novice armorers to choose their level of challenge, from designing and cutting an original sword out of wood, to casting one of the historical swords or daggers in the arsenal.” He added, “For everyone, the next step is messy—getting their hands dirty making a sand cast of the wooden sword pattern. Finally, students hold their breath and watch as the molds are poured in molten aluminum.”
Considering the medieval revival here in Austin, what with our dearth of thick-bearded hipsters, an axe-weilding pedi-cab passenger, and the upcoming Sound on Sound Festival taking place in a castle, you should probably gear up for a head-trip back to the Bronze Age anyway.
Each session costs $85, is limited to 15 slots, and spaces fill up quickly! That’s 15 swords in 3 hours, people. Head to Sword Casting Guy’s website or Facebook to keep up with the class schedule, and take home an Excalibur, a Sting, a Hanzo, or some Valyrian steel of your very own!
Oh, and this Thursday June 30th, there’s an adult ‘Molten Metal Sword Casting’ class taking place from 7-10pm… Still has a few slots open.