Few people know that Francis actually started doing sword work on European swords. In 1969 he was encouraged by Helmut Nickel to pursue his passion for bladed weapons. Mr. Nickel was the curator for the Arms and Armor Department of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York for over 30 years until his retirement in 1988.

Klockars/Blacksmith- In 1971 Francis was looking for something that would help him build his understanding of metallurgy and pay the bills at the same time. He found a position available at the now famous Klockar's in San Francisco. He worked the forge and hammers as a blacksmith learning everything he could. The owner of the shop, Edwin Klockar, recognized Francis' skill and enthusiasm. Shortly after his arrival in 1971, and continuing to1980, Mr. Klockar took Francis on as his own apprentice. Because of this close relationship, Francis was able to draw on the decades of skill, and understanding of metals, that Edwin Klockar had developed.

Japanese- Francis had already been working on his own, attempting to create a traditionally made Japanese blade. He tried the construction method described in John Yumoto's book, "The Samurai Sword - A Handbook" and had successfully completed a wakazashi. In early 1972 he heard through the grapevine about a man in the San Francisco area named Nakajima Muneyoshi who was doing traditional polishes and restoration work on Japanese swords. Francis was excited to meet Mr. Nakajima since he had been described as an expert in the field. To say that their first meeting didn't go well would be an understatement, to say that it was a disaster would be more accurate. The next few encounters did not go much better. Finally, Mr. Nakajima relented and started to teach Francis how to make habaki. Francis also worked on his own forging blades during this time, and after several attempts, made a tanto that he felt had finally incorporated all the elements of a well-made folded and forged blade. Nakajima looked at the tanto and started to polish it. At this point he told Francis that it was too hard, when Francis argued, he snapped it in half over a polishing stone with his hands. With a newfound sense of humility and determination, Francis tried even harder, the rest is history. Francis trained under Nakajima until the end of 1979, learning every aspect of traditional Japanese sword construction, manufacture, and restoration. One interesting note about Francis' time with Nakajima; even though there were several apprentices who were learning the different aspects of this kind of work, there was only one person that was taught fully in all of the necessary skills. Whether it was coincidence, a well thought out plan, or just dumb luck, Francis Boyd was the only apprentice of Nakajima Muneyoshi who was taught fully in all of the skills that are needed to create a traditionally made Japanese sword. Francis continues to make some of the highest quality, traditionally made Japanese swords, that are currently available.