Traditional Sword forging - where would I look?

Dirty Dog

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**edit*** "didn't see page two :S"
dura coat is a type of paint/spray deal that is used to protect the metal. there are a few systems of protecting the metal essentially it's rust resistant without the chromium that is add to steal which though makes it "stainless" also makes it more brittle which is not something you want in a blade over 12" IMO.

That, and stainless steel isn't.
 

cdunn

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I don't know enough about metals to argue whether or not modern steels are as good as pattern welded blades. But there's no modern steel that can compare with the beauty of a well made pattern welded blade. And I have strong doubts that modern (boring) steels are any better.

Art is art, yes. But modern steel ... isn't boring.

What is often lost, however, is not so much the quality of the steel, but the skills of forging and tempering.
 

cdunn

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One thing to consider is that whilst FC is quite right about the hugely superior average quality of steel we have now with both better refined ore and treatment processes, blades like the katana were not one mono-steel construct - they are made in interforged {made up word :D} pieces of steels with different properties.

View attachment 17626

I am betting (just a WAG but plausible) that the differential tempering processes available now could possibly achieve the same result (or better) but there is something very special about holding in your hand a sword that is the product of another man's inspiration and skill.

We can still interforge parts like this out of an assortment of monosteels if we care to do so. We just don't bother unless it's actually required. This is different from the 'folding' process, which results in the classically patterned appearence of the steel; this folding is done in order to clean and purify the steel, this, and this is alone, is obviated by modern metallurgical processes.
 

Flying Crane

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It's a type of airbrushed coating used on firearms and knives for prevention of rust, scratching, and sometimes just to make things look plain cool.

I'd have to see some of it, but personally I doubt I'd like it. I feel that if you are gonna have a weapon like this, you should take care of it. Properly cleaning it and oiling it after use is easy, quick, and not too much to ask, in my opinion.

I see a lot of people who don't clean them, and the get rusty. They just practice with them, rusty. I don't understand that. It's not that difficult to clean them. I think it's a lazyness.
 

Flying Crane

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What is often lost, however, is not so much the quality of the steel, but the skills of forging and tempering.

aye, it's that skill that I find fascinating. Quality of materials is one thing. The skill to do something with those materials, well that's something else altogether.
 

Sukerkin

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We can still interforge parts like this out of an assortment of monosteels if we care to do so. We just don't bother unless it's actually required. This is different from the 'folding' process, which results in the classically patterned appearence of the steel; this folding is done in order to clean and purify the steel, this, and this is alone, is obviated by modern metallurgical processes.

Aye, I am aware.

Are you of the opinion that it would still be a superior outcome to construct a blade (Katana in this case) using the segmented method with modern steels of the desired properties; or would it be no better than using a good mono-steel tempered in the correct fashion to get edge retention, resistance to twisting and bending forces and lessening the likelihood of breakage on contact?

Note: Please bear in mind I have no practical smithing expertise at all - all I know is what I have read up on as a matter of interest both in weapons in general and my sword art in particular.
 

Dirty Dog

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Art is art, yes. But modern steel ... isn't boring.

What is often lost, however, is not so much the quality of the steel, but the skills of forging and tempering.

I think it is. No modern monosteel blade will ever compare to a good pattern welded blade. Just look at the examples Suk posted. Now look at a modern blade. Booorriinnngggggg....
 

Flying Crane

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I think it is. No modern monosteel blade will ever compare to a good pattern welded blade. Just look at the examples Suk posted. Now look at a modern blade. Booorriinnngggggg....

Personally, I both agree and disagree. Some of the pattern-welded blades are wonderfully beautiful. Some, um...kinda obnoxious.

in the same vein, I can appreciate the monotonous dull gray of a 5160 spring steel blade. It's beauty in it's own way. I find that much more attractive than a bright chrome plated blade, or the mirror shininess of a stainless steel.
 

Sukerkin

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:grins: I got a reaction similar to that when I saw some unmounted re-polished antique katana blades at the Leeds Armoury - they were so mirror shiny they looked 'cheap' and fake :lol:. They had that 'chromed' plastic look if you know what I mean.
 

Flying Crane

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I saw a couple of unmounted katana blades at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. They were made in the 14th or 15th century, if I remember correctly. They were so well cared-for that they looked like they were freshly made. Flawless, unmarred, and also mirror-polished tho there was a darkness to the depth rather than a bright shininess. Altho perhaps that was because of the lighting in the display.

Anyway, what I noticed about them was that you needed to look closely to see the patterns in the steel. It was faint, and the layers were fine and thin. I contrast that with much of the pattern-welded stuff from elsewhere. The lines defining the layers are thick and dark, and you can see it from across the room. They kinda look like a topographical map.

I much prefer the faint subtlety that I saw in those two katanas, over the dark, in-your-face patterns that are common in the modern work.
 

Dirty Dog

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:grins: I got a reaction similar to that when I saw some unmounted re-polished antique katana blades at the Leeds Armoury - they were so mirror shiny they looked 'cheap' and fake :lol:. They had that 'chromed' plastic look if you know what I mean.

Can't abide the shiny stuff either.
Sadly, Sue and I missed Leeds (the city - we did visit the castle) when we were visiting England. When I was a kid, the Armoury was in the Tower, and I literally had to be forced out when they wanted to close.
But you can't polish pattern welded blades and expect them to look right. The pattern needs to be brought out with a fine etch. I presume the blades you were looking at were mid-restoration and this step was pending?
 

Sukerkin

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It was a very high polish typical of the period they were from - as with anything else, Samurai had vagaries of fashion :D.
 

cdunn

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Aye, I am aware.

Are you of the opinion that it would still be a superior outcome to construct a blade (Katana in this case) using the segmented method with modern steels of the desired properties; or would it be no better than using a good mono-steel tempered in the correct fashion to get edge retention, resistance to twisting and bending forces and lessening the likelihood of breakage on contact?

Note: Please bear in mind I have no practical smithing expertise at all - all I know is what I have read up on as a matter of interest both in weapons in general and my sword art in particular.

Define "Superior". And how much are you willing to pay? L6 is pretty intriguing as a sword-steel, and we have non-ferrous materials now that could make a harder, sharper, tougher edge if wrapped as a leading edge only, wariba-gitae style. If money isn't an issue, and you're willing to spend a lifetime developing it, we could probably use differential powder metallurgy - such as was used in the knives you posted - and 3D printing to build, grain-by-grain, a blade with precisely the desired properties at each individual point, then wrap the whole package in an amorphous Diamond-Like-Carbon coating. Your 'perfect' blade is going to depend on precisely how you apply it, but what we know now of metallurgy would probably make Ama-Tsu-Mara vomit in envy.
 

Dirty Dog

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It was a very high polish typical of the period they were from - as with anything else, Samurai had vagaries of fashion :D.

I know. I just never liked the polished blades, being a fan of function over form. But then, I never had anybody to polish out the scratches every time I used a blade.
 
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