Someone who makes Swords is called a Swordsmith or a Bladesmith or sometimes even a "Smith" for short. An Armorer is a close trade but this is someone who specializes in making either replica or authentic protective armor. A Blacksmith is someone who specifically just produces various types of blades. Armors and Swordsmiths still operate today, however, they have a very targeted clientele.
Ancient Sword Making has been around for centuries, and in the medieval and renaissance era have been manufactured out of a wide variety of various materials and using a plethora of techniques. There are a lot of different methods people use for evaluating a particular sword, however, there are 4 primary methods which are:
1.) How Hard is the Sword?
2.) How Strong is it?
3.) Is it Flexible and will it bend back after it bows?
4.) It is Balanced (versa being awkward)
A good sword should be about 18-26 inches in length. It also needs to be strong and flexible enough to absorb a great deal of impact at any point on the blade and not break in the process. Balance is important because it allows the user to wield it. Take note however that many swords are unbalanced on purpose, however the above is just a general rule.
Ancient Sword Making can be broken down into 3 steps:
1.) Forming (forging) the weapon
2.) Heat Treating the weapon
3.) Finishing Touches
Forging is the process of making metal pliable, so it can be worked with and shaped. The metal is heated red hot first. Then a Swordsmith will usually hammer, or use an anvil to produce the shape they are looking for. Sometimes fuller tools are used as well, which is a set of tools used just for this purpose.
Heating is done by a process called tempering, which is a 4 step challenging process used to prepare the metal for forging. Ancient Sword Making materials used were steel, iron, bronze as well as copper. Nowadays other materials are used.
Next they will sharpen the sword with a metal file or similar instrument. The final step in the process of Sword Making is the finishing process. This involves the process of decorating the sword blade or preparing the guards, tsuba or pommel if applicable. There is a steep learning curve involved in this, and is not something one would just jump into. If you are serious about this, the best way to learn would be to find a good Swordsmith, work with them on some projects and get some mentoring.