(c) 2004 Kansas State Collegian
I ran into Benaiah Anderson1, an acquaintance of mine, in the lobby of Nichols Hall2 this afternoon, and ended up getting to inspect two of the swords (similar to the ones wielded by Young Siward and Macbeth above) from the upcoming run of Macbeth.
Also, I got a beginner's tutorial in theatrical swordmaking. Fun. Now I know my quillions from my tang (um, well, I kind of had an idea before, and not my tang per se, aw heck, you know what I mean). Seriously, have seen swords out of their hilts before, but this one had a threaded tang and a LEXAN®3 core grip. Also, it was about 3.5 pounds (barely 1.5 kg) - so much for the crapdoodle on
alt.tv.highlanderabout General Katana and his 22-pound blade! "People will believe a lot of misinformation they read online," said Benaiah. Ohhh, man, ain't that the truth.4
All the blades started from 2-inch wide bars, tapered and thinned by stock removal using a steel saw (and probably flat-end mills). Macduff's sword in particular had thick shoulders and a thin center.
A short lesson, but maaaaaan, was it fun to swing those things around. :-D
In other news, we have a new administrative assistant!
She's joining us from our Grants and Contracts office, and is an altogether great person to work with. She's also unbelievably overqualified for her job, but amazingly she took the offer.
I'm really looking forward to this, and I'm sure the other CIS faculty members are, too.
1 Benaiah is a senior in theatre who teaches theatrical fencing and has been studying sword-making for several years, at least since we started talking about the SW prequel trilogy and Jackson's LoTR films c. early 2001. He's also active in the local SCA chapter. As you can see from this article and this one, he's the fight choreographer for this production.
2 Besides my students, darana and phawkwood might know this, but the rest of you might not: the Computing and Information Sciences (CIS) Department shares Nichols with Speech Communications, Theatre and Dance (SCTD). It gets funny when their flamenco dancing brings our grad students and secretaries out in a huff, or when our robot mazes wall their faculty into their offices. (Wlokay, funny for one of the parties at a time, but whatcha gonna do? ;-))
3 Edit, 16:15 CDT Sat 24 Apr 2004: As deire pointed out, LEXAN® (the latest synthetic material from LuthorCorp?) is relatively new stuff. It's a polycarbonate resin (thermoplastic). Oh, and this 2004 article (recapitulating this old article from Food Additives and Contaminants, an NCBI PubMed journal) is why all you pirates should still hold the blade between your teeth, yarr:
"Trendy Nalgene water bottles made of Lexan polycarbonate resin can leach the potent hormone disruptor bisphenol-A, shown to have adverse effects on prostate development and tumors, breast tissue development, and sperm counts."
4 Of course, you should believe anything I write, for I am all that is good and pure.