Francis has worked since 1969 on just about
anything with a blade. From Japanese, Chinese, Mongolian, and European
short and long swords, to pocketknives and more. Francis has made
them or restored them at one time or another.
From the very beginning he was never satisfied
with just making a blade that worked. He always wanted to know
why and how it worked, and what could make it work better. He studied
many aspects of metallurgy to gain an understanding of what went
on "inside" the metal and what would make it better at
doing its expected task. Francis has always held the belief that
a cutting tool should be built to do its job first. Even though
his blades are beautiful to look at, it is not at the expense of
the quality of the construction.
Because of his long-term interest in metallurgy
and an ever-increasing knowledge of blade construction, Francis
is now able to look at most blades that are in good condition and
determine how they were constructed. Even more important is that
he has the skills to re-create these swords in his own forge, or
make one entirely of his own design.
Far from being just a blade smith, Francis has
also been trained in the arts of kodogu (fittings); soft metal
work; saya, tsuka, and horn work (koshirae); painting (usually
lacquer); and handle wrapping. He has honed his skills over the
working on many different types of swords, and is familiar with
many historical periods of different countries, and the styles
of swords and fittings for each.
Francis Boyd is certainly one of the few sword
smiths in the world today that can build a high quality, traditionally
made Japanese sword from scratch. From the finished blade, to the
kodogu, to the koshirae, he has the skills and expertise to turn
out a beautiful, unique, and highly functional sword.
Well that's not totally true... he doesn't weave
the silk for the handle wrap!