Edges & Armor
By Paul Evancoe
In today’s age of modern weaponry we tend to forget the historical significance of edged weapons and forged body armor in the evolution of warfare. The days when a fine edged sword made from Damascus steel, and full body armor forged and fitted by a skilled armorer, often meant the difference between a knight’s life and death. While those times are far behind us, the demand for yesteryear’s high quality combat edged weapons and fitted body armor exists today.
A small nondescript factory that authentically produces just such weapons is located in Marriottsvile, Maryland, not far from Baltimore’s busy west side I-695 beltway. Owners, operators and brothers, Matt and Kerry Stagmer, have guided Baltimore Knife and Sword (BKS) into being the predominant name in stage combat weaponry for the past several decades.
BKS’s mainstay is stage combat pieces, but they do accept a limited number of custom orders each year. They also make a handful of original design “one offs” for general sale at their dealers around the U.S. In addition, about once a year they smelt iron from ore and create their own blend of steel for high-end custom swords and knives. They also forge unique pattern-welded and crucible steel works of edged art – more on that in a moment.
BKS makes every weapon fully functional. “We make a sword first,” Kerry Stagmer asserts, “and then we make it look nice.” Every piece that leaves the shop is a functional durable piece that is built to survive the wear and tear of combat use. The Stagmers guarantee their work. “Our stage combat swords are forged, welded and leather wrapped for a good reason,” Kerry confidently smiles. “Over the past two decades we have found, through trial and error, that our means of construction out performs any other in day-to-day steel-on-steel contact. The handles almost never need repair. We strive to make swords that never break,” he claims, “but eventually all things can break over years of stress so we fully guarantee our work and we’ll fix it for you should it break. You get it back to...
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