Northwoodsman

Good steels for swords and the perfect grinds

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Hey I was wondering what would be the best steels for making an English broad sword. It would be a one handed sword. I want to have a very sharp edge while staying quite strong as so it will not just snap in half on a thrust. Also what grind will give maximum sharpness and durablility to the swords edge. One more thing is the suggested Rockwell hardness of the steel to make it quite powerful. 

 

And also to the people helping me out on the other form about the crucible I did not mean to offend anyone I was considering the dangers but my post did not indicate that. I was mostly asking for future reference and sorry to not indacate that either. I was also having a kinda difficult week so kinda wanted something to go right. Then also someone suggested I was trying to be cool about that. I don't have anything to act cool about I'm just kinda ugly. And have just a handful of friends. Also I don't boast about any of my work. I do it silently just to satisfy and awe people. But yeah I never meant to come off as arrogant or attention seeking just kinda wanted the challenge so I can appreciate the easy way of doing everything also. So sorry to everyone I accidentally offended. 

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Hello:

OK what you are asking is not something that can be answered simply..I mean what is YOUR idea as to what is "best"? There are so many variables as far as various aspects of swordsmithing and I can tell right off that you have NOT read the primers in this section.. Cause if you have you would realize that there is NO "Perfect" sword and there is no "Perfect" sword steel..there are trade offs as far as hardness vs toughness vs shock resistance vs durability.. There is a WHOLE LOTTA stuff going on in a sword blade that you HAVE to get "right" or else someone could get FUBAR'd..

I am more than willing to "help you out" with my limited knowledge..and all of that... but...since you mentioned it and as you said above that you "awe" people with your work .. I take that as a gauntlet thrown.,.. so since you threw the gauge.. well then "Awe" me in whatever way you prefer..  I have been doing this for a good 5 years or so (and a weee bit more..)so you can take what I say or leave it. Show me (and everyone else here) what you have done.

In the mean time here is my Bonefides,,,

JPH

 

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7 hours ago, JPH said:

In the mean time here is my Bonefides,,,

A reference to your affection for bovine ivory perhaps?

As always your work makes me alternate between being inspired and pondering whether my meager attempts at creating something of similar beauty and quality are futile. I know you put in the time and effort to get there, but still....  Either way I'm looking forward to the next book.

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Thank you for saving me a lot of typing!  I was just about ready to give my standard rant on "best" and juxtapose the use of blister/shear steel---most authentic to the time vs adamantium or mithril as "best"....(and North Woodsman you may want to see about requesting JPH's books for Christmas "The Complete Bladesmith", "The Master Bladesmith" and "The Pattern-Welded Blade"  You will find a *lot* of information on bladesmithing and even swordsmithing in them.  They have been on my book shelves for decades!)

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I should have specified more clearly on my goal to lead me to the best steel choice. I want a sharp and durable edge and ridged enough to not snap or bend easily. I do know that there is no perfect steel. I want steel that would have a balance between everything I listed above. What would a suggest grind be also to keep the edge nice and sharp with the maximum durability. And what is the suggested Rockwell hardness to have the sharp edge and bend for the blade. 

The blade I want to make is one from a book that I am reading and I wish to make a replica since one does not exist yet. 

Edited by Northwoodsman

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I'm going to stick with simple answers, as subtle ones don't seem to get through:

  1. You are probably not anywhere near ready for forging swords, or even making them by stock removal.  Make a couple of dozen knives first, starting with 4" blades and working up to 12" blades.  When you can do that successfully, then start to think about swords.
  2. When you are ready, take a class in sword smithing from a teacher who knows what they are doing.  Expensive, but will likely cost less than getting completely setup yourself and going through all the trial and error necessary.  You are lucky that there are teachers out there these days.
  3. For my interpretation of what you are looking for I would suggest 1084 or 5160 for your work.  These are relatively easy and forgiving steels to work with.
  4. Unless you are really excited about smithing, and remain that way after getting burned, cut and bone tired from forging and the extensive grinding and filing needed to make a decent blade, you should probably look into either commissioning an actual sword smith to make your dream sword, or do better research to see if one can be purchased that will suit.  Places like Cult of Athena sell a wide variety of replicas at cheap prices.  Note that if no one has made your dream style in the thousands of years that swords have been forged there might be a good reason (like it is only practical in fiction).

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Do you have a computerized heat treat furnace with ramping? Or will you be paying to have it heat treated?  

Do you have expertise in forging of finicky high alloy steels? They tend to be expensive and so messing them up is easy and costly.

For someone getting started I generally suggest 5160 as it's easily available at reasonable rates and fairly easy to forge and heat treat to get a decent edge and a tough blade.

Note that an english broad sword from the 600's would look quite different from one from the 1300's or one from the 1900's  can you narrow it down a bit?

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If I may ask, what do you intend to do with this sword?  The appropriate steel may be different depending on whether it will hang on a wall, be used in medieval reenactment, chopping down small trees, etc.  The steel selection is important, but equally or more important is the heat treatment to give the characteristics you want.  Then there's blade and edge geometry, vibration nodes, and other fun things to keep in mind if it is to be a quality functional blade.  In short it's not a beginner project and it's a lot more than just a big knife.  If you haven't even made a good knife yet then you are getting pretty far ahead of yourself - assuming you want to end up with something that isn't likely to fail in use.

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For live steel fighting: most organizations have requirements on the blades used as well.

What's the book(s)?  We may have read them as well. (Though I've seen different makers come up with very different blades based on the same book, "Glory Road", RAH)

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And one question completely off topic why does it say hidden and needs to be approved by a moderator. 

Because you are still not listening.  Since you asked this question AGAIN....  either you have a very short memory or you refused to read why the last time. 

Read the pinned posts, stop asking us until you start doing something, Now is a good time to learn general smithing,  which was suggested to everyone in the pinned posts you refused to read for yourself,

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2 hours ago, Northwoodsman said:

I want a sharp and durable edge and ridged enough to not snap or bend easily.

Did you mean "ridged" or "rigid"?

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2 minutes ago, ThomasPowers said:

Well both will help with what he wants...

I was hoping for a fuller answer.

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I again need to specify more so sorry for that inconvenience. The sword would be for hacking down trees and something cool to own. I've also contacted the author and he said it was a cool idea if I can pull it off. 

Also I do agree weapon making sould not be done with children. I am however considered a young adult (other people say that I am a young adult so I guess that's what I am considering I'm over 16). I will have other blacksmiths helping me along on this build. My family is aware of me doing this and fully support me doing so. 

And again I'm not blessed with the power of writing. So if I come off as arrogant or anything offensive truly I don't mean it as such. Just a young man working to fulfill my dream as a bladesmith. 

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Well, if he has a good enough temper that he can be flexible without getting bent out of shape there's hope. Right now he seems to be the center of percussion in this discussion.

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12 minutes ago, Buzzkill said:

Right now he seems to be the center of percussion in this discussion.

And we'll keep banging the drum for reading the pinned posts, doing your research, and asking informed questions.

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Go to Paladin Press and purchase The Complete Bladesmith, The Master Bladesmith, and The Pattern-Welded Blades.  They are EXCELLENT references that should answer most of your questions. 

   

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Ok thank you Glenn I will consider reading all of these. Also I do go through an read all the post. I have excellent control over my temper. I had a D- in a class I took (very very difficult class) not a single moment did I get mad even though I did not pass it. I've worked with two blacksmiths and both have asked how long I've been doing some of this stuff for and I said first time and second time ever and to some degree I've impressed them with the skill I had. 

I don't really have hope to go get a job anywhere else or do anything else really because I don't have any skills that would benefit the people. My generation is very skilled with technology usually. But I am not I'm just kinda that weird outcast kid of the school so yeah this is my only hope pretty much that's why I'm not giving in to giving up. I'm kinda shy so I don't talk to new people all that much. And my knowledge of what my generation likes is slim. In the business world like Trump and all them I would not do well in either. So that's why I'm not letting this go. 

I do feel sorry for making you people try to help me out because I know some people may not be happy about that and I'm sorry about any backlash from me. 

And with dangers I know what can happen with what I'm doing. And growing up for me I pretty much grew up around fires. I work with, by, and around them for fun every week. When I was younger I was taught respect fire and I won't be burned. To me fire is like driving a car to you. And I love the fact you are worried about my safety and thank you for showing some care it means a lot to me. 

But anyway I guess I need to restate my initial question which it for the typical sword look we have of the English broad sword what metals would accomplish most if not all of what I wish to have in parenthesis (durable edge, will not break easily on powerful thrusts) for the grind I wish to have what is in parenthesis also    (grind that keeps a sharp edge well and is durable. I was thinking of a Scandinavian grind) finally what Rockwell hardness would make the steel be more like a spring. The sword is just for me to mess around with and cut down trees with. Also to say I have the only sword ever made that is know of from my favorite book series. (The sword is realistic in design and not an the over exaggerated swords like in anime shows). 

If more info is needed just ask and I'll do my best to respond to the question. I guess I'm not to good at that and makes some people kinda mad. So sorry for any inconvenience. 

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The temper they were referring to , and many of the other posts were a series of wordplay over your post that had ridge in it. You probably meant ridgid, but a ridge (a raised section) would make an item more ridgid. The following posts then played off of that, and other smithing / blade terms. Many of the guys on here will start these. It is all in fun, so no reflection on you personally.

There are tons of threads on the knife making and heat treating threads that you need to research first. Your questions have probably been answered in the past, a few times. 

The books Glenn recommended are also a worthwhile investment if you want to pursue this as a career. Steve Sells, another member here, also has a book out on bladesmithing, Introduction to Knifemaking

To be very honest, I would save this particular project for awhile, and concentrate on the basics first. Once you have the hammer skills down from making objects square to round , round to square, tapering square and rounds, drawing out rounds and squares, etc then attempt a small knife from some known alloy steel. Then test it to destruction to see the grain, and asses the whole process from forging to heat treating. Then work up to a longer blade, testing again. Then think about something like a sword.  Heat treating something like a 4" blade is far different than a 12" blade, and vastly different than a 30" blade. Don't let you enthusiasm ruin your journey.  

Now on the business aspect of this. Can you make $16,000 a year by working on blades for ONLY 40 hours a week the first year? That would be the same as an $8 an hour job without taxes taken out-remember those have to be figured in, as well as the consumables like fuel, steel, grinding supplies,etc...  It takes years, if not decades, to gain name recognition in a field. You may want to look at this as a hobby to start, then work it into a business if the demand is there. Hand forged items are still a very niche market, so making a living at it will not be an easy proposition. People won't be flooding you with orders for the next 40 years just because you can heat a piece of steel and pound on it. Also read the posts that Rockstar esq. has posted about business on the forum. 

At 16 you are only now starting on this journey called life. Many things that you think are absolutes now may not be in just a year or two. Things have a way of changing, they always do. I am not trying to discourage you from pursuing your dreams, I am just giving you some advice from my 51 years of life experiences.  There is a book out called Psycho-Cybernetics that you may want to read, it did me some good recently. Good luck on your journey

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