(Many thanks to the Hill
Country Sun and editor Allan Kimball
Swordsmith and inventor on cutting edge
Daniel Watson's Angel Sword studio in Rolling Oaks
By Oda Lisa Hernandez, Hill Country Sun, Nov. 2004
Epic movies like Lord of the Rings always bring a spike to business at Daniel Watson's Rolling Oaks studio and workshop, better known as Angel Sword.
"There is a new crop of sword movies every year," he says. He lists Pirates of the Caribbean, The Last Samurai, and The Lord of the Rings trilogy as recent examples. Anyone who remembers Crocodile Dundee's famous knife scene has seen an example of Daniel's artistry.
Frequently, a popular movie determines his market focus, but not always.
"I'm still doing one of a kind pieces," Daniel says. "I'm not copying what the movie did. There are things that I know will sell, but I don't do them because I didn't get the emotional spirit to follow it."
The swords from the recent movie Troy fall into that category. Daniel says, "I loved the movie, but wasn't so inspired to do a series in that direction."
Last year's popular sword was the rapier. This year, the craftsmen at Angel Sword have made many Japanese styled pieces.
Currently, Angel Sword combines art and science to create what Daniel calls "new and interesting." He has filed nine patents in the field of metallurgy, the science of metal.
"We are pushing metals a little bit further using advanced processes of hot and cold," he explains. "Old metallurgy principally used hot to harden and temper the metal. In the last decade there's been some big advances in the use of cold. We've done research in combining hot and cold in some new ways. We're chilling down to minus 300 Farenheit. You can see the frost and vapor running off the machine."
Within the custom-built machine, the cold process uses liquid nitrogen vapor to get that kind of chill. With computerized technology, he controls the exact rate of heating and cooling.
"We're getting harder, tougher metal, which is very good for steels," Daniel reports. "There is greater conductivity, less resistance for carrying electrical current. A side development that I wasn't expecting is thermal polishing. Because the molecular structure is rearranged to a more highly organized fashion, it micro-polishes the metal."
Sword-making and knife-making has become an arena for advanced metallurgy.
"I'm a research and development facility where I can sell everything that I research and develop as I'm making it," Daniel points out. He adds that unlike other R&D companies, his funding is not grant-based, but self-funding.
"I'm using art to help pay for research and development," he says. "I'm putting imagination and artistry into science." Quoting a favorite saying of Albert Einstein's, he adds, "Imagination is more important than knowledge."
Daniel has two trademarks concerning hot, forging techniques.
"Forging is a hammer, an anvil, fire and sweat," he explains.
However, not all of the pieces go under the hammer. "There are different thoughts to metallurgy," he adds. "I will use different techniques to enhance certain properties depending on what we're trying to do at that time."
Forging allows a manipulation of three-dimensional patterns within the body of the metal material. "I recently created a sword that has Celtic knots woven throughout the steel," he says.
Daniel takes his art on the road for showings at national knife shows, and the New York and Texas Renaissance festivals in the fall. His touring schedule is posted on his web sites. He plans to have an open house some time this winter which will be posted on the sites when available.
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