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Francisco Rodriguez





Joined: 28 Jan 2011

Posts: 5

PostPosted: Fri 28 Jan, 2011 11:30 am    Post subject: Steel And Medieval Wepons         Reply with quote

I have been a collector my self for the last 12-15 years, and i never thought about the relationship between steel, carbon and good swords.

I use to think that stainless steel was the best kind of steel for swords ad long swords, but a couple of days ago I arrived to a blog post (at http://www.forgedintime.com) where an expert says that stainless steel is good for small swords and daggers, but not for swords and longswords.

In his opinion, to create a good sword we need to look at a steel with between 50 and 75 points of carbon in it. Lets say 0.50 % or 0.75% carbon in it. Steels with less than 50 points of carbon are generally too soft and do not harden to a great degree, making a blade that will be tough as can be but wonít hold an edge and will stay bent if flexed. Alloys with between 50 and 75 points of carbon are better when talking about real medieval swords, according to these expert.

I believe, that if you want a battle ready sword, well, this guy is 100% right. But when i buy a sword, sometimes i just want it to look good in my office or at my house, so a stainless steel "too soft" but "Shinny" works for me as i said in my blog http://eliteswordsblog.com.
What do you think about it?
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Eric Allen




Location: Texas
Joined: 04 Feb 2006

Posts: 207

PostPosted: Fri 28 Jan, 2011 12:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stainless isn't too soft--in fact just the opposite, its too hard and thus too brittle.

But, yeah, stainless steel is pretty much useless for a sword that is anything other than a wall ornament. In fact, because it is so brittle, a stainless steel sword blade is actually dangerous--and not just in the sharp-n-pointy way.

But for an inexpensive decoration piece that is never coming down off the wall, sure, whatever floats your boat. Personally, I find the color and texture of stainless steel off-putting, like a cheap, bad pseudo-chrome job on a bargain-basement kitchen utensil. I much prefer the muted grey of proper steel.

Even professional chefs avoid stainless steel if they can help it.
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Timo Nieminen




Location: Brisbane, Australia
Joined: 08 May 2009
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Posts: 1,492

PostPosted: Fri 28 Jan, 2011 1:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Eric Allen wrote:
Stainless isn't too soft--in fact just the opposite, its too hard and thus too brittle.


This depends on the particular alloy, and the heat treatment, both the hardness and the brittleness. But just the same thing can be said of carbon steels. What is mostly true for stainless steels is that it isn't possible to get as good a combination of both hard and tough together as carbon steels, so if a high-carbon stainless is heat-treated hard (e.g., as hard as some people like their 1070 swords) it's likely to be too brittle.

Don't want to repeat what was said before, so I'll just say that we discussed this in http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=21330 .

Eric Allen wrote:
Even professional chefs avoid stainless steel if they can help it.


They're interested in sharpness, edge-retention and wear resistance and all that. Not so relevant to swords unless you like razor edges, and even then, the knife-solutions to these problems are too brittle or otherwise fragile.

These days, there are some very nice stainless alloys for kitchen kives (at least, they get used in kitchen knives), and I doubt a professional chef would avoid stainless steels with hardness above 65HRC, excellent edge-retention etc., unless an outrageous steel snob. They might avoid the price tag, though!

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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