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Jared Smith

Location: Tennessee
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PostPosted: Mon 24 Sep, 2012 2:20 pm    Post subject: edge and quench tempering of swords         Reply with quote

I am wondering if any of the sword junkies here know of evidence of historical "edge" and tip quenching of European migration era swords. The authors of the article I linked below seem to consider it possible, although it would have been more of a rapid cool than a true quench. A chart on hardness measurements of cross sectional hardness at different lengths along a sword found in what is considered a 9th century grave suggests higher hardness near the tip and edges. My guess at the Vickers hardness scale range would be that the hardness varies from around 20 Rockwell C to near 30 Rockwell C. Unfortunately, the cutting edges are corroded away.. so edge hardening is a speculation based on the fact that it should be possible given the metallurgy and phases seen in the examination.

"Metallography of the 9th Century Sword of a Great Moravian", Hosek Jiri, and Kosta Jiri.

This was a pretty good article, and I was surprised how high the carbon content was, and how close the selection of the piled construction materials (near 1% nickel in some of the center sections) was to current modern pattern welding examples. (This was more in the Ulfbert tradition where there was no ornamental twisting of alternating nickel-plain carbon layers noted.. I would guess the central fuller would show linear lines where the fuller cut through alternating thickness of nickel and plain carbon layers.)

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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Robin Smith

Location: Louisiana
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PostPosted: Mon 24 Sep, 2012 3:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ohhh, thanks for finding the English Translation of that article. I only have the original, and had to have Google translate it...

Here is a similar article about the Nemilany Ulfberth. The construction is strikingly similar, with a core of 0.4-0.6%C and edges reaching up to 0.8%. They mention that the forte is left in "its natural state", but that the tip is "tempered at the right temperature to increase hardness"

Sorry, I don't have an English Translation, but Google will give you an okay emough translation to understand

Alan Williams documents a number of swords from this period that show evidence of quenching and most it seems that only the end was quenched. I know have some other articles I can dig for, but I gotta look...

A furore Normannorum libera nos, Domine
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