Fabricating the Weapons and Armor of The Lord of the Rings

JOM: The November 2002 issue of JOM, a materials engineering e-zine, includes this detailed article, with lots of photos, on the fabrication of the stage weaponry that made LOTR so visually stunning. Peter Lyon had spent years creating weapons for historical reenactment groups and others, but didn't realize exactly how large a job he was undertaking when asked by Richard Taylor, LOTR special effects specialist, to become the lead swordsmith for the movies.

The article explores the design process, which involved not only visual but also functional factors, and how Taylor and Lyon felt about taking on this challenging assignment.

"'Tolkien's plots revolve around good and evil, and weapons are integral to the story. The integrity of the weapons, especially the swords, was essential to remain true to the book,' Taylor said. The starring swords, with names of their own and lengthy histories, were treated in Tolkien's writing almost as characters in their own right, lasting through the ages longer than the hobbits, elves, and humans who possessed them."