Kyle Willyard has been making fine hand-forged knives, swords, and axes for more than 20 years. He strives to reproduce 18th-Century and early American cutlery that has the look and feel of traditional blades by researching the unique traits of early English, French, and American pieces. He enjoys making both reproductions and contemporary pieces that are faithful to our early heritage.
Willyard achieves a period feel by using traditional methods and tools, in some cases original tools. In his shop, which is based on examples at Colonial Williamsburg, he hand-forges blades from carbon steel using a bellows-driven coal fire. Then he draw-files them and polishes them. He uses period-correct materials for the handles, which he carefully patterns after original examples.
Over the years Willyard has outfitted countless re-enactors and living historians, taking care that each piece is authentic to the style and region intended. His blades are carried by some of the most respected individuals in living history as well as the National Park Service, various state parks, and historic sites, museums and museum shops.
His work has even been featured in several productions including the Jerry Bruckheimer/Walt Disney movie Pirates of the Caribbean and the HBO miniseries John Adams.
Artisans wishing to participate in the 2021 Directory of Traditional American Crafts™ may download applications by clicking here. Because of the uncertainty of mail delivery caused by the Pandemic, we have extended the deadline for entries. We will accept entries postmarked by February 15, 2021. Those selected will be notified after judging in April, 2021. The 2021 Directory of Traditional American Crafts™ will appear in the August 2021 issue of Early American Life.
1,991 days until America's Sestercentennial
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