Blade material

Discussion in 'Sword Arts Talk' started by PhotonGuy, May 14, 2015.

  1. PhotonGuy

    PhotonGuy Senior Master

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    With the advanced knowledge in metallurgy I don't see why they wouldn't use a titanium alloy for sword blades. They have used that for certain sports gear and for knife blades as well, so I don't see why they wouldn't use it for swords.
     
  2. Uchinanchu

    Uchinanchu Green Belt

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    Who are the 'they' that you are referring to? And is there a specific type of sword that you are referring to?


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  3. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    It is brittle I think. Mission use them for knives. Carbon steel still rates as a go to steel though. So we haven't really found a better alloy for blades yet.
     
  4. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Because titanium makes crap blades, mostly. It won't take a decent edge. It won't hold an edge. It's brittle.
    The only bonus to a titanium blade is that it won't rust, so some people like them for diving, since even stainless rusts, especially in salt water.
    But they're still crappy blades.
     
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  5. PhotonGuy

    PhotonGuy Senior Master

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    Sword makers in general. I've seen all sorts of swords from all sorts of makers, but I've never seen any that are made with a titanium alloy.
     
  6. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    Perhaps you should research the metals used in various blades. The particular blends or types of metal used (various levels of carbon, chromium, even titanium) are selected based on the purpose of the blade. It's a balancing act of flexibility, rigidity, how well it holds an edge, rust or stain resistance... Whatever the qualities fit the use of the blade. There's generally a reason for the particular alloy in each blade.
     
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  7. elder999

    elder999 El Oso de Dios!

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    Because titanium sucks......for blades, especially swords, its generally inferior to steel. The cost of making a hardened, beta metastable titanium alloy with the correct characteristics for having a sword edge, then actually working it into a large blade make steel all the more attractive.
     
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  8. Transk53

    Transk53 The Dark Often Prevails

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    So anything other than Sci-Fi, the blade mixture could not be bonded and shaped.
     
  9. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    No, you could certainly make a titanium sword.
    It would be total crap, but you could make it.
     
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  10. elder999

    elder999 El Oso de Dios!

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    Not quite true-it's just not worth the effort and expense required to get the blade to anything like the quality of a multitude of steels. There are beta metastable titanium alloys that would be adequate for swords, but I wouldn't want one, and really wouldn't want to bother making one.
     
  11. kuniggety

    kuniggety 2nd Black Belt

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    That's the only reason why I have a titanium knife... my dive knife so it will never rust.

    The problem with titanium is that it is too hard of a metal and so it's brittle. Steel, in particular carbon steel, has a malleability to it, giving it much more survivability/making it much more practical.
     
  12. Langenschwert

    Langenschwert Master Black Belt

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    A good sword is not just an oversized knife. It has to have certain qualities (flexibility, vibrational nodes, etc) that a simple knife doesn't need. Thus far, the best thing discovered has been steel. 5160 is a very common modern analogue for medieval steel.
     
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  13. PhotonGuy

    PhotonGuy Senior Master

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    Well a blade made entirely of titanium might not be a good blade but it could be a titanium/steel alloy. Usually alloys are better than elements with metal. People are saying steel is one of the best materials out there for blades but supposedly titanium is stronger so I was thinking a titanium/steel alloy for the blade.
     
  14. Tgace

    Tgace Grandmaster

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    I don't know that modern sword making needs to be concerned with better materials seeing that nobody really uses them for real combative use anymore.
     
  15. PhotonGuy

    PhotonGuy Senior Master

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    People still do use blades quite a bit for combative use and self defense. Its not uncommon for soldiers and infantry men to carry knives. Blades are silent, you don't need to load them, and they are less regulated than firearms in lots of places.
     
  16. Tgace

    Tgace Grandmaster

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  17. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    Blades. Not swords.

    The closest thing I'm aware of in current military use to a sword is either the Gurkha's kukri or machetes.
     
  18. Langenschwert

    Langenschwert Master Black Belt

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    People still train with swords, and those who spar with them need them to have the same (or ideally greater) resilience as their historical counterparts. They have to be constructed so that when they break, they break straight across, not on an angle so people don't get stabbed in tournaments. If a modern material could be made that behaves like steel and is even more resilient to the rigours of training, I'd be very interested. A good steel training sword that's safe for sparring and tournaments will run about $500, and will last a maximum of a couple of years if you're lucky. It may still need repairs such as replacing the grip and wrap which get banged up easily, not to mention the odd broken crossguard. I replace mine every 1.5 years on average, which gets expensive. At Longpoint 2013, the organizers supplied the swords. They were made by Ensifer, and are very durable. The crossguards curve gently towards the blade. By the end, they were curving backwards towards the handle and had to be hammered back to true. That's a lot of impact. Seems pretty combative to me! :)
     
  19. Tgace

    Tgace Grandmaster

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    Reenactment is a different story. Nobody is taking to the battlefield to kill or be killed with swords these days, so the drive for weapon development in the long blade realm just isn't there anymore...
     
  20. Langenschwert

    Langenschwert Master Black Belt

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    True, the motive now is profit. The drive will increase as HEMA does, at least for long training blades. For sharps, it is important that they adhere as close to historical originals as possible, so there's no reason to improve on them. Then again, we haven't even equalled the finest historical examples yet. Modern high-end sharps would probably fall under the "pretty darn good" category when compared to their predecessors.

    Reenactment is a different beast than historical sword arts. Since their combat is largely ahistorical, they overbuild their weapons to make them last, and have their requirements largely fulfilled. HEMA on the other hand, is still defining what it needs... the development now is the creation of blades that are safe and allow for the use of historical techniques. Even so, modern training blades are still based on historical trainers. The so called "federschwert" is now very common. It hasn't been improved upon since the 15th Century, just modified for different clubs' needs.
     
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