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L. Sowa




Location: silesia
Joined: 25 Jan 2012

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PostPosted: Wed 15 Apr, 2015 1:23 pm    Post subject: metallography of sword blade         Reply with quote

hi,
recently i have found this document: http://www.academia.edu/858988/Metallographic...ier_blades

it's very interesting analysis of 17-18th century blades.
my question is: do you know other similar works about 17th century broadswords and sabres blades?
especially i'm looking for cross sections of hungarian sabres and any western Europe broadswords.

from the attached study emerge that the main part of the blade is almost solid hard steel(two layers of the same steel), not layered. soft steel layers are only near the tang. is it the same for the sabres blades and broadswords?
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Thu 16 Apr, 2015 8:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just bumping up the Topic as it would be interesting to get more information if others have some to give.

Having a softer tang makes sense as it's usually dimensionally narrower and would be a weak point if too hard/brittle and prone to breaking.

Historical tangs often look somewhat fragile, but I guess they knew what they were doing in making a tang at least strong enough: A narrow tang might be a little thicker than the blade at the shoulders, or at least as thick.

A good design would also have rounded corners to avoid stress risers, although in period this might be done from experience and not from modem scientific knowledge of metal properties.

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L. Sowa




Location: silesia
Joined: 25 Jan 2012

Posts: 10

PostPosted: Thu 16 Apr, 2015 12:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

yes. tang was always made of soft steel. i have checked it on some of blades from my collection. much interesting is the construction of working part of the blade. on one of my blades (andrea ferrara) blade is connected of about 20 layers of medium hard and hard steel with the soft steel tang and first 10cm of blade. two another blades looks solid steel with soft steel tang and first 2-3cm similar to blades of rapiers from the document i have attached.

i think modern tangs need to resist more stress then old ones. modern blade take thousands of shocks. old blades was used only few times in the battle until blade was destructed - broken or grinded to minimum to clear nicks on the edge.
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Peter Johnsson
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Location: Storvreta, Sweden
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PostPosted: Thu 16 Apr, 2015 11:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for posting this article! I was unaware of it. Very interesting read.

A tang of soft iron is tough and would hold up to any reasonable use you will have for your sword.
When you weld your material, consolidating the billet from different qualities of steels that are eminently weldable (more easily forge welded than modern types of steel) it is not an obvious risk to weld on a softer, but tougher material in the tang.

From a modern point of view this method of construction might seem inferior.

I agree that a modern training blade is stressed to and beyond what the material can take, but this argument might lead to flawed conclusions about the quality and rationality of construction of the blades of old.

The craftsmen who forged these blades back in the day had intimate experience of their materials. Working methods may have been based on traditions trashier than scientific knowledge, but there was a great knowledge base gathered from empirical observation.
Today blade smiths work without the benefit of masters who have been raised within a living tradition. We are standing in the ruins of a culture and try our best to reconstruct some parts of it.
We tend to think our modern minds are superior and that our understanding is better. To some extent we do know more about materials and their science, but we are far less knowledgeable about the craft of sword making and the art of swordsmanship.
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Pieter B.





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PostPosted: Fri 17 Apr, 2015 5:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The author and many more raise the point that iron is cheaper than steel too but by what margin? Has anyone conducted research in the area of steel billets and their cost compared to wrought iron?
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L. Sowa




Location: silesia
Joined: 25 Jan 2012

Posts: 10

PostPosted: Fri 17 Apr, 2015 12:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

today i made small investigation. i want to show you its effect. these are two blades. first is any 17-18th century blade, other one is andrea ferrara blade from the mortuary broadsword.

1. blade looks solid steel(or two layers the same hard steel) with the soft steel tang connected in the line "/" it is construction similar to rapiers from attached document but connection with the soft steel is simpler.
2. blade is layered construction of medium and hard steel(it has about 15 layers) and its interlocked with layers of soft steel near the tang. soft layers form one side are going to the end of the fullers, from other side are finished in the middle of them.



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