Newbie help! Doing some sword research
I'm writing a novel and as my characters have swords as their weapon of choice, I thought I'd do some fact checking. Trouble is there is so much to learn about the world of swords that I'm finding it overwhelming. I really hoping someone can answer a few direct questions?
One of my characters is a weaponsmith, but I like the idea of him offering maintenance services as well as creating swords. Is this a 'normal' thing for a forge to offer, and what kind of maintenance could he offer (i.e. what is involved in sword upkeep that owners might not trust themselves to perform)? I'd also like to know if its common for a forge to 'sign' their weapons in some way, so that at one glance someone could tell who made the sword? Or is identity more in how the sword handles than how it looks?
Does anyone here know about (or can provide links to info about) Zanbato, and how easy they'd be to carry, use, maintain etc? I've found limited info about them through Google. (I guess since their use is kind of historically debated anyway I can use my story's fantasy settings to just...make shit up, to a point anyway.)
At what point does a sword become a dagger? Is there a particular length that separates the two, or are they built differently?
Is there a difference between a scabbard and a sheath? When carrying a sword around, is the belt considered part of the scabbard/sheath?
Just for fun, what is your favourite sword and why?