Aluminum Blades
Aluminum Blades

Crafting Aluminum Blades: The trend towards aluminum for stage weaponry

Jay Duckworth

We have a pretty well stocked armory in the basement of The Public Theater. Old swords, new swords, flamberges, schlagers, hilts, pommels—you name it; we probably have it. But when we started the process for this summer’s Coriolanus, our fight director Steve Rankin requested that we have some custom blades made of aluminum. It struck me that a lot of requests lately for blades have been aluminum. It is in fact a trend in the last decade. But why? We have been using iron and carbon in blades since 1100-800 BCE. Why the change?

I spoke with weapons experts, J. Allen Suddeth and J. David Brimmer, to get some insight. Suddeth is a fight master, and past president of the Society of American Fight Directors (SAFD), works as a fight director with Disney Theatricals, and has taught at Rutgers Mason Gross School of the Arts, SUNY Purchase, and the Lee Strasberg Institute. He’s the author of Fight Directing for Theater. Brimmer is a violence specialist and is also a fight master with SAFD and teaches at NYU Tisch School of the Arts.

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