Blade material

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

  1. Hyoho

    Hyoho Black Belt

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    As far as Japanese swords go the answer is yes. They can and do make blades that are better than they produce in Japan. But problematic if you try to take one into Japan as it will be seized at customs. They still make them the same old way there and always will as its a 'tradition'.
     
  2. Ken Morgan

    Ken Morgan Senior Master

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    If the Japanese smiths of old had access to the materials and processes we have today, they would have gotten rid of tamahagane a very long time ago.
     
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  3. Langenschwert

    Langenschwert Master Black Belt

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    Yeah, the invention of the blast furnace saw the demise of pattern welded swords in Europe. Swords got better, to be sure, but there's something just magical about swords like these:

     
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  4. pgsmith

    pgsmith Master Black Belt

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    Absolutely! I'm a big fan of Daryl Meier, and love some of the things he's done with pattern welded steel ... Meier Steel Portfolio - Meier Steel
     
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  5. pgsmith

    pgsmith Master Black Belt

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    Have to throw in a few lines about why modern swords are not made of titanium, since it seems to come up on a semi-regular basis. Here's my understanding of it ...
    By weight, titanium alloys are generally stronger, and can be made more resilient than steel. This is why so many modern constructs brag about being made with titanium. The key words in there are "by weight". A sword needs a certain amount of mass behind it in order to be able to be used properly. To make a two pound sword out of titanium alloy would give you a blade that was shaped more like a crow bar than a traditional sword (although some modern "sword" companies make steel swords like that anyway! :) ) A titanium sword in the same size and shape of a steel sword would be too light to properly operate as a sword.

    The second part of the equation, is making the edge hard enough to stay sharp without making the entire thing too brittle to withstand the forces generated. To harden titanium alloy to a spring hardness makes it much more resilient than steel, but not hard enough to hold a decent edge. To harden it enough to hold an edge, makes the rest of it too brittle. While I'm sure it would be possible to manage to differentially harden a titanium alloy to achieve both a hard edge and more resilient body, the process would be much too difficult to render it anything other than a scientific curiosity.

    In the couple of thousand years that swords have been in use, they still haven't found a better alloy to use for them than steel.
     
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  6. elder999

    elder999 El Oso de Dios!

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    A most succinct and accurate post, Mr. Smith....I've left the above bit for emphasis....it is more than possible, it's been done-but it's not really worth the effort, for all the reasons you've posted.
     
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  7. pgsmith

    pgsmith Master Black Belt

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    Thanks Aaron,
    Always good to have confirmation that I've actually managed to absorb some of the information I come across! :)
     
  8. Hyoho

    Hyoho Black Belt

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    I should have added that Japanese swords falling under the ju to ho (gun sword law) are controlled by the Bunka cho (Cultural office) The way they interpret rules such as bringing blades in and out is determined by the present head of that offices interpretation. This could mean anything from just a simple local document to having you licence sent back to Tokyo for pick up. I had problems just getting blades out let alone bringing them in. Technically a blade is not a blade unless there is a mekugi ana and does not have to be registered. So I was able to bring out shoto as kitchen knives.
     
  9. PhotonGuy

    PhotonGuy Senior Master

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    Well there is, or was Damascus Steel. Supposedly its a lost technology but I've heard people claim they still use it. This video talks about Damascus Steel swords at 1:33
     
  10. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    There is no shortage of bladesmiths making Damascus steel.
    Most of what people claim about it is bunk.


    Sent from an old fashioned 300 baud acoustic modem by whistling into the handset. Not TapaTalk. Really.
     
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  11. Blindside

    Blindside Senior Master

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  12. Hyoho

    Hyoho Black Belt

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    We have been using the same Global Knife (Japanese) every day since 2006.
     
  13. pgsmith

    pgsmith Master Black Belt

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    Not exactly ...
    What most people refer to as "Damascus steel" is simply pattern welded steel. Beautiful to look at in my opinion, but not what was originally sold in the middle ages as "Damascus steel". A number of metallurgists have spent time investigating the properties of original Damascus steel, and have managed to reproduce it. The modern terminology for it is "Wootz". The visible pattern in old Damascus steel, and modern Wootz steel, is developed during the smelting process and not by folding different alloys together as pattern welded steel is made.
    I do agree that quite a lot of the claims made about it are bunk.

    As for kitchen knives, I have heard great things about Shun. A couple of my friends swear by them. However, I have not been able to make myself pay that much for kitchen knives, so I can't say first hand. :)
     
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  14. lklawson

    lklawson Senior Master

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    Claim to have, anyway.

    One of the more interesting avenues of research was into potential carbon nano-tubes that one researcher found in historic wootz.

    Sharpest cut from nanotube sword Nature News

    Nanotech Used 2000 Years Ago to Make History s Sharpest Swords WIRED

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     

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