Why Own A Custom Sword? | Jonas Blade

Why Own A Custom Sword?

Swords have been a part of our history for more than 5,000 years. For much of that time—in fact up until only the last century or so—the sword has served dual roles as both an object of function and deadly purpose, and also as an object of ceremony and symbolism. Although they clearly play less of a part in modern society, it is worth asking the question of why someone might want to own a custom sword today.

Much of my thinking on this topic has been developed in conversation with renowned swordsmith Peter Johnsson, a dear friend and close colleague. He is widely regarded as the finest medieval swordsmith in the world for many years, and more recently he has focused on what he says are swords “out of time,” meaning that he is making original works that are meant to be neither contemporary nor historical in their expression. Peter has spent a lot of time thinking about why someone would own a custom sword.

A sword is an object of power, and an object of reflection, especially one that has been customized to one’s liking. When you hold one, it is all but impossible not to understand very clearly that you are holding the safe end of a very dangerous thing. The experience brings one to a sense of focus and attention that can make you think. Today, this is one of the reasons why to own a custom sword. This moment of focus.

Aside from its very real and solemn potential for violence, a sword’s power is its ability to spark emotion and reflection. In this way, a sword becomes art. People tend to have strong feelings when they pick up a custom sword, whether they own it or not. Sometimes the feeling is revulsion or even fear. Sometimes it is awe as the sword becomes a part of why they are and how they see themselves. For some, owning a custom sword might reflect their commitment to safeguard their family. For others it may be a metaphor for cutting through the fog of uncertainty and finding the truth, or finding the will to act.

Like any good art, a custom sword means different things to different people. To own one today is to make it yours, and to crystallize some meaning or some part of yourself in physical form. Of course, another answer to “why own a custom sword” could be much, much simpler. Swords are cool! They are unlike any other object, in both look and feel. 

A custom sword can be whatever you want it to be. It can be inspired by some deep personal meaning. It can emulate—or even copy—some ancient or antique artifact from a period of history that you love. It can simply be an exciting and unusual adornment. But one thing does remain true: whatever the custom sword is to you, owning one is a statement about how you see yourself. 

About The Author

Zack Jonas was born and raised in Massachusetts in the 1980’s and is still a New Englander today. With his growing love for art over the years, he took an introductory bladesmithing class at MASSart. It was there that he learned one of his most valuable lessons, which is that everyone has some insight worth learning. Today, he is a full-time bladesmith and feels incredibly fortunate to have found his calling.