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Jason Dingledine
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Location: Tacoma, Wa. USA
Joined: 18 Aug 2003

Posts: 219

PostPosted: Sun 28 Nov, 2004 8:35 pm    Post subject: Marketing, Fad-words, and hype......         Reply with quote

Hey Guys,

I spend a bit of time surfing a number of different fora, ranging from movie/fantasy sites to historical and modern discussion boards. One of the things that I have noticed lately has been a dramatic increase in the use of "Fad-words" and titles lately.

Ex: I could tell all of you about how wonderful my new katana designs are that I putting together, both in my custom work and the production blades I've designed for Albion/Filmswords. I could tell you all how they are the best because I've incorporated tori-niku into all of the blades. Nobody else has tori-niku in their blades yet, I'm the first to use it.

This makes them superior cutting swords to anything else made in history. More on this later.


I've noticed a large number of the fad-words being tossed around like they were going out of style, and in the grand scheme of things, they are either meaningless, or wrong in the given context. Context is everything, and once things are pulled out of context, it becomes noise, instead of a clear signal. The key is education, and it is something that this site and a few others are not only striving for, but to a larger degree, achieving.

Questions to fellow posters is a great way to get things started, but get more than a single opinion, and don't treat any of it as absolute gospel. I have seen both very good advice and things that I know as a swordsmith are dead wrong being passed off as the absolute truth. I've seen enough antique nihonto that "break the rules" to understand that there are always exceptions. Even among swordmakers/smiths, what works for somebody in their shop, may not work for another person, or even that same person in somebody else's shop (this has happened to me--not being familiar with someone's differing equiptment).

There are a number of FAQ's out there (Kevin Cashen has one, as does Albion) with a good starter lists of definitions (like the differences between "Differential Tempering" and Differential Hardening". I invite everyone to read these, where-ever they may find them, and pass them on to other collectors, especially beginners.

Now back to the comment above about the "Tori-niku". It sounds like a great thing.....................it means chicken. Like I said, hype words when taken out of context can be made to sound like anything.

Sorry for the rant guys.

Jason Dingledine
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Sun 28 Nov, 2004 9:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Jason. It's good to see you and this post!

I agree with you that "the key is education" but a statement like that is a completely open-ended thing. Who's going to do the educating? I know i'm doing my best to do my part, but my abilities, resources, and knowledge is severely limited. I've heard people say this for years, time and time again, but very few step up to the plate and do anything about it. It's akin to those who complain about the government, but who take no active interest to get involved.

The world's curse is "good intentions". Let's face it, nearly everyone has "good intentions". These things are nothing if not followed up on and actively attacked. It's not what we each want to happen, intend to happen, or expect to happen.. it's what we DO that defines us.

So having said that, I'd very much like to see more makers, retailers, historians, part-time scholars, and hobbyists get involved and actively do something to improve the education. We all need to share the knowledge we have if we want to improve the hobby, community, and market.

So, I'll say this to all the people in the categories above (makers, scholars, etc.): I challenge you all to actively participate in this goal. Write an article. Share some research. Work with us at myArmoury.com (as an example) to get this stuff published and in the hands of everyone. Actively participate on the forums and do your very best to dispell the myths, encourage others to learn, and share research and knowledge to the best of your abilities.

That challenge goes to you, too, Jason. Razz Your post count isn't very high for as long as you've been here and I don't see you participating in nearly enough things. I've talked to you enough to know all the good bits of knowledge in that head of yours and would like to see you share it more. Step up to the plate. You're one of many others that I can say this about, but since you're posting this I'm using you as an example. Sorry, man. Happy

Arrow What say you?

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Ruel A. Macaraeg





Joined: 25 Aug 2003

Posts: 306

PostPosted: Sun 28 Nov, 2004 9:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan,

I've been grappling with the same question for some time, and have decided that it's simply not possible or even necessary to have alot of facts and tidbits about swords crammed into one's head. Rather, what one needs is critical thinking skills, which can help one sort through information and reach reliable conclusions about whether that information is good or bad.

I wrote the essay below to address some of these issues, though they deal more with historical/ethnographic aspects of weapon research rather than marketing/salesmanship. Still, I think it would be good for people here to read it.

http://weaponspage.homestead.com/theory.html


Also, I think it is important to be critical of source materials; there are lots of books about swords circulating, but many are of very poor quality. I started reviewing some of them here (though this page isn't done yet):

http://weaponspage.homestead.com/bookreviews.html
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Sun 28 Nov, 2004 9:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There you go, Ruel. That's a perfect example of stepping up Happy

I'll go read it now.

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Patrick Kelly




Location: Wichita, Kansas
Joined: 17 Aug 2003
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PostPosted: Sun 28 Nov, 2004 11:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

"I've been grappling with the same question for some time, and have decided that it's simply not possible or even necessary to have alot of facts and tidbits about swords crammed into one's head. Rather, what one needs is critical thinking skills, which can help one sort through information and reach reliable conclusions about whether that information is good or bad. "

Your articles are very interesting Ruel. I will have to say that I disagree to a point. Critical thinking skills are neccesary in any field of study. The utilization of these skills is the only way to reach logical conclusions. However, it is possible to " have alot of facts and tidbits about swords crammed into one's head" This information is just as important as critical thinking skills. These mental skills are useless without having a knowledge base on which to exercise them. One is honed and developed by the other. Progress cannot exist in a vacum. Critical thinking and knowledge are two sides of the same coin.

btw, Swords and Hilt Weapons is all together an inadequate book. Not just the sections dealing with non-western weapons Big Grin

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Ruel A. Macaraeg





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Posts: 306

PostPosted: Mon 29 Nov, 2004 1:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks guys. Patrick, I didn't mean to say that critical thinking skills are a substitute for a knowledge base; indeed they are as you say -- complementary. But I think there are a whole lot of people out there who feel that knowing certain sword-related facts -- including obscure ones -- is all that is required for "expertise," and that's the attitude I hope to challenge.

The many "knife-store" and "ren-faire" horror stories are good examples. In such places, we constantly encounter people who know much of the terminology involved, maybe even a little bit of history or technique too, but they most definitely haven't progressed to the critical thinking stage. So developing a knowledge base isn't really the main problem; it's developing a GOOD knowledge base that is, and that can only be doon by weeding out the bad knowledge.

When a person new to swords wants to start researching, s/he won't have any problem finding information, whether it be from books, websites, or people. It's important to encourage that critical facility right at the beginning, so that s/he can quickly discard the accrued mass of misinformation and concentrate on the good stuff.

And I think this can be done relatively simply, or rather the investment in developing critical reflection is simple when compared with the effort that would be otherwise wasted later. We should be encouraging people to ask questions like:

* Where did these people (websites/books/etc.) get the information they're offering? Is that source reliable?

* How did theyget that information? Was a valid methodology used to obtain it? Is it corroborated by other reliable sources?

* Does they derive any benefit from having me believe their information versus some alternative (eg. are they trying to sell me something)?

* For people who have "credentials" (eg. SCA titles, martial arts ranks), do such credentials imply that they applied high stantards of scholarly reflection on the information they're now promoting?

...And so forth. Maybe we could even work together and come up with a short "critical thinking questionnaire" that people could use to evaluate sword-related info, a list of a dozen or so simply questions like the ones above that could act as a check against that impulsive excitement that I'm sure we all felt (and often still do!) when we first get interested in weapons.
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Steve Grisetti




Location: Orlando metro area, Florida, USA
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PostPosted: Mon 29 Nov, 2004 8:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

These are all excellent points.

Of course, as a relative newcomer to this area of interest, I don’t necessarily know who or what is reliable, understand what methodologies are valid, the meaning of various credentials, or, especially, who has what axes to grind. So of all the points mentioned, at my level of knowledge, I still value the ‘corroboration by other sources’, as Ruel mentioned. The critical thinking comes into play when one finds points of conflict.

The idea of a ‘critical thinking questionnaire’ has some merit. So would a compilation of Frequently Asked Questions, or maybe links to the FAQ’s of other sites that are trusted by those here with a lot of experience.

With that, I think it is time to have some Tori-niku soup for lunch.
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Alexi Goranov
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PostPosted: Mon 29 Nov, 2004 9:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ruel A. Macaraeg wrote:


When a person new to swords wants to start researching, s/he won't have any problem finding information, whether it be from books, websites, or people. It's important to encourage that critical facility right at the beginning, so that s/he can quickly discard the accrued mass of misinformation and concentrate on the good stuff.



Applying critical thinking means knowing/appreciating the facts first. If one is a new comer, gathering the facts de novo form published literature/websites/discussions is time consuming and tedious, especially for part time hobbyists. What I think really helps is for the knowledgable people to compile some sort of recommended books and FAQ list, as well as few simple articles, which are easy enough to understand and digest .

That means that these articles(such we are accumulating at this site, and this is how I found this site) are to be taken as valid with minimal critical thinking. This is only the beginning. Once a hobbyist has found a firm ground in understanding the very basics of the sword, s/he can start expanding their knowledge and going to the primary literature and examining it more critically.

This is a gradual process, and I think it is foolish to expect newcomers to immediately start going over the blade inscriptions to question the proposed date of a sword.

Our "duty" as a community of more or less informed individuals is to point the finger towards literature and articles that have withstood some level of scrutiny and are worth reading, and at the same time explain conseps to beware (hype, marketing, titamium swords, etc.)

My experience, as a professional researcher, is that the more I know of a subject the more critically I can examine the provided data. On the other hand, information in new/distant fields I pretty much take for granted, (provided that there is no obvious gaping hole in the middle of the proposed theory).

I think that we may have hard time teaching people to think carefully and critically, but what we can do is tell them what the reliable information is and where to get it. Those that are interested enough will read it critically.

People have formed incorrect opinions (largely thanks to Hollywood) about arms and armor. They come with this burden to search for more information on the internet which is is flooded with misinformation, and in books that are sometimes vague, and sometimes overly academic for the beginning reader. That makes acquiring solid ground in the subject of arms and armor not such an easy task.

This is where we can help.

Alexi
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Mon 29 Nov, 2004 9:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

"Thanks guys. Patrick, I didn't mean to say that critical thinking skills are a substitute for a knowledge base; indeed they are as you say -- complementary. But I think there are a whole lot of people out there who feel that knowing certain sword-related facts -- including obscure ones -- is all that is required for "expertise," and that's the attitude I hope to challenge. "

I agree. There's a saying that goes, "I know enough to make me dangerous". This refers to people who know just enough to feel that they have it all figured out, but don't know enough to realize that they're really just beginning.

As I see it the issue really doesn't concern the development of critical thinking, or deductive reasoning. The issue is really one of ego. The first step is opening our minds and realizing that we don't know as much as we'd like to. This requires that we put aside our ego. Unfortunately this is something that a check list can't accomplish.

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Ruel A. Macaraeg





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PostPosted: Tue 30 Nov, 2004 4:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
This is a gradual process, and I think it is foolish to expect newcomers to immediately start going over the blade inscriptions to question the proposed date of a sword.

Our "duty" as a community of more or less informed individuals is to point the finger towards literature and articles that have withstood some level of scrutiny and are worth reading, and at the same time explain conseps to beware (hype, marketing, titamium swords, etc.)


The danger in this is suggesting reference material without explaining why; it would be tantamount to saying "We the experts think you should read this" -- it puts us in positions of unsubstantiated authority. We most definitely SHOULD point out good sources, but always explain what makes them good: "This book is good because it defines its key concepts and terms, has a clear research methodology, is well-referenced, etc. etc."


Quote:
As I see it the issue really doesn't concern the development of critical thinking, or deductive reasoning. The issue is really one of ego. The first step is opening our minds and realizing that we don't know as much as we'd like to. This requires that we put aside our ego. Unfortunately this is something that a check list can't accomplish.


A checklist can help, though, in the sense that egos thrive on uncritical praise from uninformed admirers; by making those people critical thinkers, we can help lower these "experts'" pedestals. Nothing bursts inflated egos like being bombarded with questions they can't answer. Again, we have reports from the field that this works at places like knife shops and renfaires.
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Wed 01 Dec, 2004 5:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan Robinson wrote:

Arrow What say you?


I guess not much. Oh well. Back to business.

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Jason Dingledine
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Location: Tacoma, Wa. USA
Joined: 18 Aug 2003

Posts: 219

PostPosted: Thu 02 Dec, 2004 8:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan Robinson wrote:
Nathan Robinson wrote:

Arrow What say you?


I guess not much. Oh well. Back to business.


Sorry it has taken so long to get back, but as you said, business.

I was attempting to not make this look like a long advertising post, basically saying do it my way. I wanted to see what others thought, and if I was the only one who felt this way.

I mentioned Kevin's two article in my previous post, here are a couple of links to the info. Given Kevin's background, credentials, and methodology (hi Ruel Wink ), I think these are a couple of very good reads.

Kevin's "Metallugical Rosetta Stone" post:
http://forums.swordforum.com/showthread.php?s...adid=39472

Kevin's FAQ/Info page:
http://www.cashenblades.com/Info/Info.html

As a second couple of links, these are Albion's glossary, and articles that were written by Peter, Howy, Eric, and myself. I was hesitant to put these originally for fear of it looking like self-promotion, but I feel they are still valid. They outline one method, and while there are others that are just as correct, this is on direction we have chosen:

Albion's Glossary of Terms:
http://albion-swords.com/swords/sword-terms.htm

Albion's sword construction articles:
http://albion-swords.com/sword-articles.htm

On a number of varying discussion boards, I have seen the repeated myth that forging is inherently supior to stock-removal as a way of making swords. This has, in some cases, gone to the extent of posters stating that no blade made by stock-removal is any good. I categorically need to disagree with that statement. Both methods are equally valid, and correct. I am a smith, I forge, but I also have to grind my blades in some way to finish them.

I have heard both sides, and convictions are high on all accounts. One thing to keep in mind is that all steel is forged at the mill, so there really is no way to get around it. Patrick Kelly, with some input from Craig Johnson of Arms and Armor wrote an excellent article for this site. It puts a great deal in prespective.

myArmoury Article on forging vs. stock removal:
http://www.myArmoury.com/feature_groundpound.html

This post could go on forever talking about machine gun barrels, 30 lbs. swords, and concrete pillars, but it would be easier to respond to shots fired directly at any of us in the industry. Drop us a line, or post.

Hey Nathan, new contest, "Most absurd sword myth and it's reality". I'll throw in one of the silk-screened Albion T-shirt's out of my own pocket for that bit of humor. Laughing Out Loud

Jason Dingledine
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Joel Whitmore




Location: Simmesport, LA
Joined: 25 Aug 2003

Posts: 342

PostPosted: Fri 03 Dec, 2004 6:05 am    Post subject: Interesting thread         Reply with quote

I have been follwong this thread with some interest. Information in the "information age", though easier to obtain, seems to become more and more suspect. So the crux of some of the problems presented here seems to be who to trust. As a beginner in this sword collecting hobby I was lucky enough to be able to read information from some of the most knowledgable people in this business. People like Dr. jim, Howard Clark, Kevin Cashen and Randal Graham were all eager to answer our simplistic questions. Ruel remembers those days as he was a regular poster on the old forums. I in no way consider myself even close to an expert, but having gained knowledge from people I think I have a pretty good ability to distinguish those who are and those who are not. As Alexi stated, this requires some base knowledge on my part before any critical thinking can begin. Of course one can think critically with WRONG base knowledge. So who do you trust?

That is where sites like this come into play. I would have made many mistakes in my collecting career had I know obtained information from sites like this one. A newcomer may ask , "How did you figure out how Howard Clark knew what he was talking about?" Well he was a swordmaker, with a solid reputation among other people, and he was saying similar things about steels and swordmaking that other reputable swordmakers were saying. From this I gleaned that this guy knew what he was talking about. From there my interest in the subject prodded me to read more in academic and scientific journals about metals and steels. While doing this I noticed that the information those people had shared on the websites was consistent with what I was reading. If I had started this journey today, it would be greatly shortened because of sites like this one. Knowledgable people have a place to share answers and the not so knowdgable have a place to ask questions. As far as pointing out sources and explaining "why" I still think that assumes faith in the person telling you "why". As a teacher, one of the things that bothers me is teaching is still a verb but learning seems to have become a noun. There will always be a responsibility on the part of the learner to find out or decide how accurate any information is. This points to another problem in humas in that not all are interested in learning facts but only in obtaining information that either reinforces their belief or they fell comfortable with. I am lucky enough to teach an emperical subject, mathematics, where facts are facts for 99% of the subject matter.; 5-2= 3 or not. However, subjects that are more open to intepretation demand more of the learner.

"Blades that are hand forged are superior to those that are ground" is a statement that may be true sometimes and sometimes not. Are Kevin Cashen's hand forged blades superior to the blades Windlass grinds from stock? Probably so because Kevin is more skilled at his craft than most of the people working at Windlass. Even that statement is subject to debate: "How do you know Kevin has superior skill?" Without strict objective guidelines it is not really possible to make a state like that. A lazy learner coudl take that statement as fact based on the words of others or look more deeply into the matter. The point here is that this lack of desire to learn more fully is just intrinsic in some humans and will always be there. Thus, in any industry, there will always be claims made that are not based on fact. I think we have been lucky in that the sword-making community and collecting community is relatively small and most are curious people who like to dig for knowledge. I think this has led to the rise of people making better products, like Albion and Gus and others. Why do BudK catalogs and stainless steel swords still find a market? Because there is the inherent groups of people out there who are not really interested in anything else but what the sword looks like. If you actively seek out and engage these people, you may change their heart and cause some of them to investigate historical and scientific accuracy in swords, materials and methods. However there will always be some who just don't care. It's just human.


Joel
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Jeremy Scott Steimel




Location: Champaign, IL
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PostPosted: Fri 03 Dec, 2004 8:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for bringing this up, Jason. (And how have you been?)

It's funny to think that, despite the fact that swords have been a hobby for me for almost a decade now, I'm still by far at my most comfortable when I fess up and say "I don't know." There's so much to learn, and if you take in a minute fact and take it as a precedent going forward, chances are you're just harming your future learning potential. And, as Joel suggested, then you have the lack of integrity often found in digital age information.

Anywho, one thing that would indeed be nice to have is some kind of collection of resources. I mean, in the end I realize that's partly what this forum is, but information can get buried between comments, posts scroll away, etc. This would be an additional tool where you can basically select a media (internet FAQs, printed books, video), and then a subject (metallurgy, sword designs of a specific period, etc) and be presented with links, ISBNs, titles, etc for information on trusted resources in that field. Of course, there would be the question of who would be qualified to submit entries for the resource, but that could be handled pretty easily I'm sure.

Heck, might be a good way for the myArmoury team to recoup some expenses (through, say, an amazon partnership for the books and videos).

Dum spiro, spero
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Fri 03 Dec, 2004 10:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Heck, might be a good way for the myArmoury team to recoup some expenses (through, say, an amazon partnership for the books and videos).


People love to make suggestions like this. Usually they're good ones. However, the myArmoury "team" is already pretty busy with things as they now stand. What we really need more than suggestions are new team members to help with some of these worderful ideas.

Any volunteers?

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Alexi Goranov
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PostPosted: Fri 03 Dec, 2004 10:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick Kelly wrote:
Quote:
Heck, might be a good way for the myArmoury team to recoup some expenses (through, say, an amazon partnership for the books and videos).


People love to make suggestions like this. Usually they're good ones. However, the myArmoury "team" is already pretty busy with things as they now stand. What we really need more than suggestions are new team members to help with some of these worderful ideas.

Any volunteers?


Any requirements to be met to become a myArmoury team member?

Alexi
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Fri 03 Dec, 2004 10:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Alexi Goranov wrote:
Patrick Kelly wrote:
Quote:
Heck, might be a good way for the myArmoury team to recoup some expenses (through, say, an amazon partnership for the books and videos).


People love to make suggestions like this. Usually they're good ones. However, the myArmoury "team" is already pretty busy with things as they now stand. What we really need more than suggestions are new team members to help with some of these wonderful ideas.

Any volunteers?


Any requirements to be met to become a myArmoury team member?

Alexi


As for being a forum moderator those positions are filled. Moderating around here is pretty easy so four Mods are usually more than enough.

In order to be considered as a contributor you need to be willing to write and submit articles on a regular basis, ie. contribute. Anyone is allowed to submit content for inclusion. Everyone is encouraged to submit content for review. However, a person is not to be considered for contributorship unless they're capable of generating content on a regular basis.

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Fri 03 Dec, 2004 11:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Alexi Goranov wrote:
Any requirements to be met to become a myArmoury team member?

I'd encouarge you and anybody else who would like to contribute to the site to contact me.

This link is on our home and about pages:
Visit our contributor center to find out how you can add to myArmoury.com or join our team.

While it has some info and suggestions on how to get started, it's really there just to pique the interest of people who wonder about sharing with the community and who might want to add to our project.

Shoot me a private message or email and we can start a discussion about it. It it takes off, we'll get on the phone and hammer out some ideas and go from there.

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Rick Barrett
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PostPosted: Fri 03 Dec, 2004 12:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Jason and all,
Excellent topic to bring up Jason, really covers a whole gamut of technical aspects in our trade. There are many reasons why I so very rarely post and the hype machine is part of it. I've been a smith for well over decade, closer to 17 years now and quite often I grimace at the thought of even speaking up, primarily because I know there will be someone out there who doesn't know me from jack that will try to start something based on misinformation they have heard from other sources. I'm a very non-confrontational person and have never been quick to the "comeback", quite honestly when stuff like that happens it gives me stresses I'd much rather not have, so I tend to lurk once in a while but more or less chain myself to the anvil and just keep quiet. It is a shame but I know of many other smiths that feel similar to how I do and because of that there is a ton of information that doesn't get shared and it isn't information gleaned from shody sources it is gained from experience and years of testing and shared knowledge amongst professionals.

As I see it there are currently 3 or 4 primary areas currently addressed by hype.
1. geometry, balance, size ratios etc.. (all factors of primary shaping)
2. steels used (ideals that there is one super steel that will outperform all others)
3. forging versus stock removal (as Jason already mentioned)
4. Special heat treatments (nuff said)

I'll share my opinions here about just a couple of these to start with.
Forging versus stock removal has been a much heated topic since I first picked up a hammer. The way I see it is this. Many of these steels were specifically designed with a standard of performance in mind and guidelines are followed so that with proper heat treatment that steel will perform to its optimum as purchased off the shelf. Many of those standards were developed with tasks in mind that would create much more stress than a human hand can generate. I have a bit of faith in our technology to that extent. Forging is primarily a method of simply reshaping a material, however if it is done wrong there is a much higher chance of screwing up the steel by over heating or improper thermal cycling and prep prior to heat treatment. Most of the pros I have heard for forging involve "edge packing" and "grain aligning" which have no scientific backing that I have seen yet. I prefer to forge primarily because it is what I enjoy.

As for steels used, off the top of my head there are about a dozen that when heat treated properly will make an exceptional performance blade and in most cases will out perform the user. In truth I think every person has things they want in their particular blade. Some want abrasion resistance and the ability for the blade to look pretty longer. Others want edge retention so they don't have to sharpen their blade more than once in a blue moon. Still others want to have a peace of mind that their blade if needed (I don't know what for) could bend an excessive amount without damage. Well this is an area that really needs a lot of educating, specifically along the lines of what was the sword designed to do in the real world and what are realistic expectations.
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Nathan Robinson
myArmoury Admin


myArmoury Admin

PostPosted: Fri 03 Dec, 2004 1:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm very excited to see your post, Rick. Really, I am! This hobby and the community surrounding it has been plagued with the fears instilled in the knowledgeable people that any attempt to share or disagree with others will create a futile situation, at beast, and cause great stress at worse. Many of the people who have the most to offer a community like this, such as yourself, have quietly gone away and done their own thing because of this sad reality.

I've been trying very hard to create an environment that allows for healthy disagreement and debate as well as the sharing of knowledge and opinions even when people disagree. Personally, I think this is the only way any of us can learn. It's a lot easier when this sort of thing happens in a bar amongst friends who share respect for one another. In those situations we all seem to give each other the room to have varying opinions even if they differ from our own. And this is exactly what I intend for, and expect from, myArmoury's forums. WIthout this sort of discourse, I truly believe the hobby and craft stagnates and finds itself unable to grow. In fact, I might go so far as to say that I think it suffers from this lack of exchange.

So I'd encourage you and others like you who have many things to offer, and many ways to benefit, to get involved and share again. Further, I encourage everybody to help me find a way to make an environment that allows for this to happen and prosper.

I'll step up to the plate right now and tell all of you that I'm committed to making this happen.

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