A LITTLE MORE ABOUT US
My name is Rory Duncan, and I've been fascinated by Medieval and Renaissance weaponry for most of my life. I've also been a woodworker, having worked as both a construction and finish carpenter in my pre-technical career. If I'd had the room, it would have been a more serious hobby than it was. After retirement, my wife and I moved to a home with the room and time to set up a fully functional wood shop (pictures below).
Late in 2018, I saw on the ARMA mailing list that Jim Colgate intended to retire from his business, New Stirling Arms. Jim has been making the best wooden practice swords for martial arts training schools around the world for the past 16 or 17 years. I contacted him with the intent of learning a little about his craft, not knowing if he was even interested in meeting with me. Turns out he lives just 25 miles from me, and was eager to meet and discuss. From our very first meeting, we hit it off. After a couple of working sessions where he was able to assess my skills, I became his apprentice. I had no idea what I had just signed up for, I only knew I was having fun. Meanwhile, Jim and I became friends. So now the rest of the story begins, under the name of Duncan Arms.
I want to enjoy my retirement, so this won't be a full-time business for me. However, when I'm not fishing, camping, or exploring foreign lands I'll be happily making fine wasters in my shop. The joy of seeing a rectangle of dense hickory sapwood take shape into a smooth wooden blade with its curves and angles is something that can't be duplicated.
I will be asking Jim to perform occasional quality control on my work to make sure that I am, in fact, carrying on his tradition of fine craftsmanship. If you see something you like, please feel free to order it from the on-line catalog. I will respond with an estimated shipping time for each order.
Feel free to get in touch via the contact form.
Below are a couple of pictures of the shop, where the magic happens. I recently acquired a Powermatic table saw that's almost as old as I am. Unlike me, it's still strong and solid as a rock. To the left of the PM 66 is my planer. Behind the planer you may be able to make out my 1945 Walker-Turner 6" jointer.
Also pictured is my organizer for the various jigs, templates, and materials for the swords. Generally, they are 100% dense Hickory sapwood but, I will occasionally substitute and exotic wood for use in the guard, hilt, and/or pommel.
The last shot are some of the old tools in storage, including my 1926 H&A 14" band saw and a ca. 1918 drill press (both with leather belt drive). Behind them is a 1937 Walker-Turner wood lathe.