Who made swords historically in Europe? Nathan Clough, and Craig Johnson of Arms & Armor help answer that question for us in this fantastic article! Blacksmith vs Cutler An excerpt: "Over the last few years there has been a renewed cultural appreciation of the figure of the blacksmith. Television shows featuring bearded fellows hammering on hot steel have helped to popularize the idea of the smith as a kind of modern folk hero. At the same time the title of blacksmith is pretty misunderstood. Historically a blacksmith was someone who smote iron to make black goods. These included tools, hooks, decorative iron work, wagon parts, barrel rings, and all manner of gadgets and trinkets that were usually left with a black finish. People like armorers and weapon makers were more likely to be known as bright smiths. These folks tended to work with steel instead of iron (though plenty of bright work was actually done in polished iron).
Medieval smiths smiting iron
So perhaps it's really bright smiths who have captured the popular imagination, but with a misnomer. On the other hand, there's a whole category of medieval craftsman that is often forgotten in the contemporary romanization [sp] of the smith. This figure is the cutler. While the smith forged the blade, there were grinders and polishers to take it the next step and it was the cutler who assembled all of the various parts into a sword, give it a final hone and produced a weapon. Today we tend to think of this as mere assembly, but nothing could be further from the truth. It was the cutler who needed a deep understanding of swords and daggers to turn raw blades into weapons that functioned like they were supposed to."