After The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring hit cinemas in 2001, I think we all wanted a sword from the movie. My heart’s desire was Bilbo’s (and subsequently, Frodo’s) sword, Sting. At the time, Weta Workshop wasn’t producing a replica Sting, so I was stuck with a cheap knock-off with a wobbly hilt. That didn’t keep me from sleeping with it under my pillow.
Hobbit warriors need fear no longer! Weta has just released Sting as the fourth sword in their The Lord of the Rings – The Master Swordsmith’s Collection. It joins Andúril, Strider’s Sword, and Glamdring.
Sting marries the cutting edge (literally) of modern precision engineering with ancient and all but forgotten techniques. While the blade was made in Weta’s smithy using time-honoured traditional techniques and great skill, the grip is also a testament to Man’s mastery of the machine.
10 years ago when the original prop was made for The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the technology wasn’t available to create a grip quite like the one Daniel Falconer designed for Sting. But since then, technology has brought Modern Man just a few inches closer to the skills of the Elven swordsmiths of old.
Peter Lyon therefore proposed an embellishment upon the original prop design.
This is Sting the way the swordsmiths of the lost realm of Gondolin would have made it. Peter took what was a world class hero sword in 2001 and improved it considerably in 2012. It’s the Weta way.
The grip chosen ten years ago for Sting was South American cocobolo wood. A dense and fine grained wood, deep in colour and with a waxy, grippy feel to it.
Little did Peter realise at the time that those qualities also made it eminently suited to the finest and cleanest cuts using computer aided milling.
The 2001 Sting had the elven vine applied as a vinyl transfer. The 2012 Sting Fine Art Limited Edition has had the elven vine pattern machined into the grip with ultra-fine precision and the same pattern is then used to wire-cut a Fine Silver inlay. Fine Silver is the purest grade of Silver, softer and cleaner in colour than Sterling silver. Wire-cutting is a technique that allows for incredibly accurate bends and the sharpest of corners and angles. Precisely what Daniel Falconer’s beautiful design requires.
Peter Lyon then spends three whole days – almost as long as for the rest of the sword – on each grip carefully working the silver vine into the groove in the wood under a magnifying glass. This is a zero tolerance process.
The gently curvaceous blade features etched elven runes ‘Maegnas (Sting) is my name. I am the spider’s bane’ along the central ridge.
This sword is the absolute epitome of craftsmanship.
The sword is available in two varieties. The Fine Art Limited Edition Sting has the grip that is described above, and can be purchased for $7,999.00 (US). The Movie Prop version of Sting was created using the techniques of 2001, including a vinyl transfer for the vine on the grip. This sword can be purchased for $5,500.00 (US). In both cases, you will not only be buying the sword, but you will also receive a wooden display case, a certificate of authenticity, and a DVD about the Master Swordsmith’s collection.