The Strongblade Free-Forge Contest Results!

SwordContestThe Strongblade Sword Design Contest was a stunning success! More than fifty brave souls offered us the results of their earthly toils– more than fifty blades to be scrutinized by peers, inspected, judged and voted on. We didn’t know quite what to expect on our first go around of this, but we were simply blown away by the enthusiasm, creativity, and mad skills that flooded our servers.

We received an incredible variety of sword, created in a plethora of different mediums. The swords were hand drawn, computer designed, carved from wood, cardboard or metal, and, in one case, sculpted from dairy-free, low-trans-fat mayonnaise. Wait. No, that last one was a dream I had.


The Gondolin Cleaver, By Zach L. One part Elven. One part Dwarf. Three parts awesome.

So, the results?

Our winner was the exquisitely designed, elven-esque short sword “Gondolin Cleaver,” by Zach L. It’s not surprising that this skillfully rendered sword received the most votes (check back soon to read an interview with Zach and his techniques for designing swords). But there were other entries that gave this one a run for its money. Lots of others! We had a brilliantly conceived rapier with flat guards. An antler-hilted sword. A dueling saber and an Irish short sword. We were treated to a lovely 17th century polish saber, a wanderer’s sword, a lethal looking falcata and a double bladed cutlass. Some of the swords had thorns, some had teeth, all had inspiration and insane creativity to them.

I wish I could speak on each and every one, but I would get nothing done for the rest of the week and this post would reach manifesto length. So I will pick out a few designs that really caught my eye, for one reason or another. Beginning with our winner…


The Gondolin Cleaver
By Zach L.

It’s not often that someone can improve on the designs of New Zealand-based WETA Studios, but Zach manged to do just that. This sword is based on a beloved blade from classical fantasy, and Zach knocked it out of the park.  Not only is the weapon elegant and beautiful, but it has a marvelous efficiency of design. The lines flow freely and with grace. There is no clutter. And note the opposing curve of the blade and the hilt. A truly gorgeous weapon, conceived and drawn by someone with enormous artistic talents. My next post will be an interview with Zach, so come back to the Strongblade Edge next week for that!


TheCourtiersBladeThe Courtier’s Blade
By Phillip T.

Full disclosure: As some of you know, I am an author of historical fiction and fantasy. The novel I am currently writing is a fantasy set in a 16th-century-ish time period. So rapiers are on my mind…

The idea of combining a flaring leaf blade from Greek swords into a rapier is a stroke of genius. The flaring tip is not so wide that it would throw off the balance, but wide enough to give the sword a real uniqueness and beauty. I do wonder if the flaring tip might not be a little superfluous on a rapier, but it certainly looks awesome. My challenge for Phillip is to come up with a sheath design…


BerserkersSeaxThe Berserker’s Seax
By Michael K.

I love the brashness of this weapon, and had fun reading Michael’s description. What’s not to like about a hand-and-a-half seax? Beautiful angles, a squat guard shaped like ravens, and a pommel sculpted to look like Yggdrasil, the Norse Tree of Life. Great work Michael!





FragmentedBladeFragmented Blade
By Eric T.

An utterly unique design, with panels cut out from the sword. The panel shapes and positioning remind me a little of stained glass—if stained glass was made to cut you into little pieces. A beautiful juxtaposition of delicate and fierce.



DaedricDaedric Great Sword
By Simon H.

A wonderful show of fantasy craftsmanship. Simon put this sword together from cardboard. No easy feat considering the meticulously carved curves and the razored teeth on the large blade. This is a savage looking weapon, two-pronged and long-hilted. Great work.


By Russ S.

This one wins the “lethal” category, hands down. Or hands off (yeah, severed). Every inch of the sword is a killing tool. It doesn’t matter what direction an enemy comes from–only pain awaits him (or her). I imagine a gladiator using this type of sword might take wounds of his own from the pommel spikes from time to time, but what’s a little self-laceration in the face of the sheer terror of this murderous sword.




JulianDouble-Bladed Cutlass
By Julian C.

It’s a little difficult to make out all of the wonderful details of this sword, but the design is brilliantly conceived. Simple–but wide–hand guard, and a second edge on what is traditionally a back-bladed weapon. Well done, Julian.




RoyalRapierThe Royal Rapier
By Israel T.

And to close out the highlights, here’s another dazzling rapier entry. The blade is more reminiscent of a tuck, but the hilt is undeniably rapier. Beautifully color-coordinated, with brilliantly designed and drafted swept guards. Another madly talented artist, rounding out our snapshot of the entries we received.


Apologies to all the other entrants. Any one of the entries could have been highlighted in this post. They were all *that* good. In the end, we resorted to the time-tested rochambeau (rock-paper-scissors) to decide between a few of the swords. If you entered the contest, please watch your inbox for an email from Strongblade (and check your spam filters, just in case).

We want to thank each and every one of you for your entry, and hope to see more entries in our next contest.

Until next time. All hail the Strongblade Forgemaster, Zach L!


The Esterlina Line of Premium Swords!

BC1When I ring in the new year, it’s with alcohol and apologetic phone calls the next morning to everyone I offended or peed on. When Strongblade rings in the new year, they do it with gorgeous, live steel.

I’d call for a trumpet flourish as I make my next announcement, but my head still hurts. So, I will quietly announce Strongblade’s newest (and perhaps most exciting ever) sword lines. I present The Esterlina line of premium battle-ready swords.

What makes these swords so exciting, you may ask?

BC5Have a look at them.


Check out the images in this blog post.

They are some of the most creative, lovingly crafted, pieces of artwork that we sell on the site. And you know the best part? These beautiful pieces of art are fully functional! They can split a bamboo mat as easily as Japanese katanas. Let’s see you try to split a cutting roll with a Rembrandt. You see? These swords are better than multi-million dollar paintings!

Each of these oil-hardened weapons is hand-forged by master smiths, using only the highest grade steel, and tempered to a perfection. Blades are forged to a hardness of 55-66 on the Rockwell scale, and are used by martial arts masters in cutting competitions across the world.

BC4Yeah, they’re that strong.

The style of these swords is taken from pre-conquest Filipino swords—the same sort of blades that took down Ferdinand Magellan and his heavily armed and armored soldiers. But the look of these weapons is so different than what we normally see these days. They have a truly fantasy feel to them. In fact, swords of this type are no doubt inspiration for some of the swords seen in many fantasy movies, including the Lord of the Rings.

The craftsmanship doesn’t stop at the swords, though. Each of these beauties comes in a uniquely squared and decorated wooden scabbard. Put together, sword and scabbard are a thing to marvel at.

Have a look at the line. There are graceful sabers, lethal falcatas, awesome kris swords, and even a sword-dagger combo. Each masterfully designed. Each powerfully forged. And each whispering your name. They’d shout it, but I told them not too. New Year’s day, right?

Have a look at the gallery below, then head over to the Esterlina page and buy some before they sell out.