TimB

question about Japanese sword steel

Recommended Posts

I know we're getting pretty far off topic, but . . .





That's the nature of these boards :D

I been a member of another trade board, much like this one, for years, and one trueism in common is that at any time, any thread can take a rabbit trail and, 100's of pages later, might get back to the original topic. ;)

I learn a lot from rabbit trails too. :)

Thanks again for the responses.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm kind of new on this board, but I've been around the block a few years now.

Once you fold and weld a piece 2 or 3 times, carbon has pretty much equalized. Such is the nature of shear steel, tamahagane, or any modern damascus. The only thing that will inhibit it is something impermeable, like a pure nickle layer. Anything in the 200+ layer count is going to equalize out fast.

The different wear rates may absolutely be a function of the original material, but will come from some other alloy like manganese, nickel or chromium. Not really a function of hardness, but wear resistance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah I once read that it took the Japanese sword smiths a really long time to master the blade making, but it took even longer to master the polishin method. (can't remember the exact number of years, and I'm sure it varied a bit)I'm not sure if that's true or not though.

Also in respect to the Wootz steel, I read in a book (I think it was called "Feats and Wisdom of the Ancients" or something) that the swords would often times be quenched into the body of a muscular slave. They believed that the strength would go into the cherished blade, but I think there may be some legit physics/chemistry that may have purged impurities from the steel that they didn't know about back then. But I haven't looked much into it yet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Quenching in the body of a slave makes good story telling, but that's about it. A body is flesh, bone, blood and air spaces: all different density and remove heat at different rates, so it would be a real gamble as to the performance of the final blade. I would doubt any master smith would gamble his reputation on a technique that was not repeatable.

Phil

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Obviously I don't believe that the strength of the person transfers into the blade. But perhaps they really believed in that. Recently there was a post in the swords forum about the last Taiwanese Swordsmith, and he uses bones during the process. And in that instance, there is a scientific explanation as to why it makes a "better" blade (can't remember the explanation in the video, and it doesn't seem to be working so I can't check) And you can't just say flesh, blood, bone and air spaces. Think about the different compounds that makes up each, like the phospherous, calcium, iron, oxygen, etc.(although I'm sure a pig or cow would work just as fine as a slave... no one needs to die) :wacko:

All I'm saying is, that the book I got that from is a fairly reputable source, so it probably happened, and that the smiths back then probably didn't know about things like chemistry and molecular compounds, but those compounds were still there, and could have had a positive effect on the blade.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

sadly many so called reputable sources are still wrong, many seem to sadly re quote what they heard, not researching for themselves. History channel is a good example, with a few reports with blatantly wrong information.

Just for fun, sometime try to poke a 1550F blade into any hunk of meat and see what happens. FYI for those that wont try this, it may not get through with out becoming a twisted blob, as most any meat is much tougher than the hot metal, and bone...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.