The Sword from the 5-Day Sword Making Sprint

Rob recently participated in a 5-day sword build. To build a sword in 5 days is incredibly fast. Usually, a sword takes from 3 weeks up to 3 months to build.

 The 5-day sword build challenge was a way for sword makers worldwide to encourage each other while most of the world is in the Covid-19 lockdown. That also meant many makers faced challenges in getting the right materials and tools to make their sword. In South Africa, it was impossible to buy any knife making or sword making equipment or materials because the country was in full lock-down for the virus.

Rob has decided to follow the example of a number of other sword makers, and auction his 5-Day Challenge Sword.

What exactly is a Cutlass sword?

The Cutlass is a sword famous for being used by pirates. It has even been said that the cutlass has been invented by the Caribbean buccaneers.

In the English-speaking Caribbean, the word “cutlass” is still used as an alternative name for a machete.

In fact the Cutlass saw much use as an agricultural tool, used to clear rain forests and cut down sugarcane in the Caribbean and Central America.

ACutlass is a short sword made for slashing. Usually, it has a slightly curved blade. It has a cupped solid or basket-shaped guard. It was the sword of choice on the open seas, in the early Age of Sail.

A a side-arm used on sailing ships, it was strong enough to cut through canvas, wood, and thick ropes. And it was short enough for fighting in close quarters. It is also simple to use. And did not require much (or any!) training.

Read more about the Cutlass history here.

Rob Costall From Nothing to something sharp

Rob started with one file and a home built forge. He lives in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape. And he has  been making knives for almost 5 years.

It all started by attempting to put a new handle on a kitchen knife after seeing how poorly it was made; “I thought I can do better than that”. I started off with a home built coal forge and a file.
Things progressed from there and I got into making swords about a year ago when I was asked if I could make one. As I loved making big knives it was an easy transition.”


You can see more of Rob’s work online here:

Find Rob’s knives and swords on Facebook here:

Join Rob’s Facebook Group here:


How the Auction works

  1. The auction will start at 4 (Central African Time) in the afternoon on Tuesday, 2 June 2020. 
  2. To allow enough time for people from other time zones, the auction will end on Wednesday, 3 June, at 10 in the evening (22:00) (Central African Time).
  3. There will be NO minimum price or reserve price.
  4. Bids must be placed in increments of no less than R100. (ZAR100 is currently around US$5,73)

Auction Rules

    1. Your bid is only valid if it is in the MAIN comment. A bid in a sub comment is not valid.
    1. The winner of the Auction must acknowledge that he or she is aware they won the auction, within 24 hours of the end of the auction. If the winner does not acknowledge within the 24 hours, then the deal is canceled. And the knifemaker can either do another auction or offer the item to the second-highest bidder.
    1. Payment by the auction winner must take place within 36 hours of the end of the auction. Except if agreed differently between the maker and the buyer.

  1. The auction item will be sent by the maker within 36 hours of the end of the auction. And proof of the dispatch will be sent to the buyer within the same 36 hours. Except if agreed differently between the maker and the buyer. 
  1. There is a two-minute rule, to prevent “sniping”. To ensure everyone has a fair chance to win the auction, the final bid must stand (unopposed) for at least two minutes; beyond the closing time of the auction.

 If within those two minutes a higher bid is made, then that new, higher, bid is valid. The two-minute rule starts at the time that the auction ends. And the two minutes restart with each new bid within two minutes of the previous bid, after the closing time of the auction. The process continues until a bid has stood unopposed for two minutes. Only then the auction is closed. Facebook does not show seconds, only minutes. If there is any uncertainty then the highest bid wins. The winner is announced as soon as the auction is over, so any confusion or conflict is dealt with immediately.


  1. Items must be packaged properly so that the item(s) cannot be damaged in transit. A good test is that the packaged item must survive a fall of 1,5 m, without any damage.