600 apply for job as swordsmith

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An armoury boss on the hunt for new swordmakers has been flooded with hundreds of applications from across the globe.

Macdonald Armouries, which makes reproductions of edged weaponry for collectors, museums and historical fencers, is offering two people a unique opportunity to learn the craft.

Paul Macdonald is sifting through applications. Picture: Greg Macvean

Paul Macdonald is sifting through applications. Picture: Greg Macvean

Owner Paul Macdonald, 41, issued a call last week for two new starts, and is now beginning the mammoth task of searching through more than 600 applications from 24 countries and counting.

Word of the job opportunity – as reported in the News – went viral on reenactment and smithing forums across the world.

Mr Macdonald said: “I knew there would be a lot of interest but I’m really quite surprised at just how many people have applied. These opportunities don’t come up very often.

“A lot of the people who have applied have come from Scandinavia. Others have come from New Zealand, South Africa, the United States and Brazil – all over really.

“But I wouldn’t see the distance as a disadvantage. If anything, if an applicant is prepared to make a big move it demonstrates their commitment.”

Master-at-arms maestro Paul said a previous offer of three apprenticeships attracted around 150 applications – but he had not anticipated the level of interest this time round.

His Brunswick Street Lane studio, which opened in 1998, is one of only a few specialist sword makers in the country.

Mr Macdonald said: “I often regard myself as still being an apprentice, I’m always learning new methods and styles. It can be a lifelong process so you need someone who’s going to come on board for the longer term.”

Applicants do not need any past experience but they must be confident in their abilities to learn quickly and create with various power and hand tools.

Mr Macdonald will begin sending out application forms in the coming days. Once he chooses the most promising applicants, he will bring them in for a trial.

Over the years, Macdonald Armouries has earned a reputation for making some of the best quality and largest range of Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knives – commando knives – anywhere in the world.

The weapons made in the studio range from those used during the Bronze Age up to the Second World War.

David Ffye from the re-enactment group The Historic Saltire Society studied an apprenticeship under Brian Davenport, who crafted the swords used in Braveheart.

He said: “There’s certainly renewed interest in history and you can see that on TV.

“The chance to do that job will appeal to a lot of people – but I’m surprised it reached more than 600 applications. It’s great news for swordmaking and great news for Paul.”