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Lancelot Chan
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PostPosted: Mon 22 May, 2006 8:42 am    Post subject: Albion's steel switching progress...         Reply with quote

I remember reading from Peter Johnsson on SFI that Albion is now using a deeper hardening steel that provides finer grain and better edge retention ability, which will also be suitable for Maestro line of sparring sword. I'm wondering if all their next gen. and mueseum line swords have been switched to the new steel or not. Haven't heard anything about this aspect lately... and in fact, Albion seems to have updated less on the maker forum about their progress. Though I won't be able to buy from them anymore, I'm very pleased with my spadona nowadays. After over a year of learning and compare my opinion changed. As a result, I'll still recommend my friends to get albion swords, thus would like to know more about their latest news.
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Mon 22 May, 2006 10:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Oh, I hadn't heard about this. Potentially good news for the bouting line... my bouting swords get banged around a lot more than any of my other ones. Happy I've got their Maestro line messer on order, really looking forward to that...
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George Hill




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PostPosted: Mon 22 May, 2006 12:18 pm    Post subject: Re: Albion's steel switching progress...         Reply with quote

Lancelot Chan wrote:
I'm very pleased with my spadona nowadays. After over a year of learning and compare my opinion changed. .



What are your latest thoughts on the matter?

To abandon your shield is the basest of crimes. - --Tacitus on Germania
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Mon 22 May, 2006 3:16 pm    Post subject: Re: Albion's steel switching progress...         Reply with quote

George Hill wrote:

What are your latest thoughts on the matter?


http://www.rsw.com.hk/brescia-review.htm

Happy

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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Mon 22 May, 2006 4:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The comment about switching steel was well over a year ago (used to be on the web site back when I bought my Crecey Grete as part of the 2004 close out.) I have not seen or read anything as of the last 4 months that gives me reason to believe that edge durability performance has miraculously changed.

Lancelot Chan has also posted some videos that show how surprisingly light a Zwerchau stroke can cause very visible tip damage.

At least one other more recent Albion example (edge damage against hard targets) illustrates that even fairly robust blade profiles are still not "super swords" ...immune to hard targets. http://www.myArmoury.com/review_alb_sol.html This was a review of a sword recieved just last fall (late 2005.)

I have experienced similar results (against much lighter targets than in the Solingen review) with an Albion Knight that was shipped to me at the end of January 2006.

This may be historically accurate performance, and acceptable to many. Having just opened my Albion Sempach delivery box about 2 hours ago.. it obviously is not deterring me from buying their swords. If I want to cut down trees or demolish a steel drum, I will get a saw/ axe,/hammer for that type of job. If I ever reach the point of doing cutting demonstrations though..I will go a different route unless something does miraculously change.

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Mon 22 May, 2006 4:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jared Smith wrote:
At least one other more recent Albion example (edge damage against hard targets) illustrates that even fairly robust blade profiles are still not "super swords" ...immune to hard targets. http://www.myArmoury.com/review_alb_sol.html This was a review of a sword recieved just last fall (late 2005.)


The Solingen review was written circa March 2005, not late 2005. The sword was received prior to that. I did the photoshoot and some of the damage even occured in my back yard.

Publication date has little to do with authoring date. Happy

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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Mon 22 May, 2006 5:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Not a challenge here Chad, but are we sure we have the year right?
The present file date is September 2005. There is a blessing of a lot of information at this site, so a big delay is not something I would criticise. I had thought I remembered David Kite mentioned something about waiting for a sword (specific model I did not note at the time) when I met him at an ARMA session in July 2005. It could well have been more like "waiting until able to afford xxx sword.."

A fair portion of this thread, and I think an actual division among buyers, focuses on "super performance" versus historical accuracy. Regardless of how many actual historical swords I owned, I would hate to destructively test a single one.

I was wondering if anyone could present a list of "historical tests / criteria" since we probably won't condone destruction of actual originals.

Some interesting variety of different opinions (on blades and bladesmith qualifications...ranging from the mythological to the more credible) accounting of how actual blades should hold up.
http://www.knifeart.com/whatbydavelm.html
http://www.samuraisword.com/intro.htm
http://www.americanbladesmith.com/ABS_JSTest.htm
http://viking.hgo.se/index.php?page=/db_searc...ort%3DName

http://www.thearma.org/essays/damagededge.htm

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Mon 22 May, 2006 5:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jared Smith wrote:
Not a challenge here Chad, but are we sure we have the year right?


Yes, I am. Quite sure. The pictures were taken 3/19/2005.

We have a small, but productive staff and good outside writers. Some articles take a while to get published.

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Angus Trim




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PostPosted: Mon 22 May, 2006 6:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jared Smith wrote:


A fair portion of this thread, and I think an actual division among buyers, focuses on "super performance" versus historical accuracy.


Hi Jared

I really have no business in this thread, but I kind of object to the term "Super Performance". I don't know of any makers or smiths of western style swords that suggest that they make swords that cut or handle superior to the better antiques. Nor do I know any that would style themselves better than the best period smiths.........

My own aim, mentioned years ago, is to reach the performance that the best period swords would have, whether we're talking handling, cutting, or durability......... I for one do not consider anything I make better than the better period swords. I do consider the handling and cutting performance "historically accurate", and the durability maybe at the upper end of "historically accurate"....... I still believe I can improve in all categories, and stay "historically accurate".....

You'll find most reputable smiths and makers of western style swords would tell you the same. "Super Performance" belongs to some of the Japanese swords, and the maybe the fantasy swords made by Angel Sword.......

No disrespect meant to anyone, and I do not intend to hijack the thread.... just shed some reality on this.......

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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Mon 22 May, 2006 6:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jared Smith wrote:
There is a blessing of a lot of information at this site, so a big delay is not something I would criticise.

I don't know of any organization that keeps a consistent publishing schedule that doesn't have a buffer between submission, production, and publishing. This isn't a delay, but an intentionally designed timeframe called "lead time". Without lead time, we'd be running by the seat of our pants in a frantic way as if we were living "paycheck to paycheck." One needs to be thankful of us being responsible and having a lead time, as it's the only thing that ensures that we put out an update every two weeks without failure. Wink Our lead time is about six months. I could get it down to two or even three if I had some money to throw at this project but given the state of things, this is where it stands.

Probably best to get back to the topic at hand.

I'm curious and so I'll ask a question pertaining to this:

How many members here care about the type of steel used in the swords that you buy?

Personally, I have no concern about the type of steel. My own concern is that it functions to spec as defined by the makers. I pick my makers based on my own needs and how compatible they are with the maker's goals. For me and my own needs, this is not related to the type of steel in any way at all.

Each maker has a different thing they're trying to accomplish. Some create tough-as-nails blunts that are meant to bosh and bash but are not meant to really replicate historical swords. Some create efficient cutting swords that are not sturdy for other duties. Some create "performance" swords that are more resilient than their historical counterparts. Others create swords that try to mimic to the best of the maker's ability the full gamut of what defines a historical sword. Others mix all these things in other ratios.

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PostPosted: Mon 22 May, 2006 6:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Angus Trim wrote:

I really have no business in this thread, but I kind of object to the term "Super Performance". I don't know of any makers or smiths of western style swords that suggest that they make swords that cut or handle superior to the better antiques. Nor do I know any that would style themselves better than the best period smiths.........

My own aim, mentioned years ago, is to reach the performance that the best period swords would have, whether we're talking handling, cutting, or durability......... I for one do not consider anything I make better than the better period swords. I do consider the handling and cutting performance "historically accurate", and the durability maybe at the upper end of "historically accurate"....... I still believe I can improve in all categories, and stay "historically accurate".....

You'll find most reputable smiths and makers of western style swords would tell you the same. "Super Performance" belongs to some of the Japanese swords, and the maybe the fantasy swords made by Angel Sword.......

No disrespect meant to anyone, and I do not intend to hijack the thread.... just shed some reality on this.......


You certainly did think this way at one time. I, for one, am glad you've changed your philosophy. Well done! I'm very, very pleased to read this, Gus. Thank you.

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PostPosted: Mon 22 May, 2006 7:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan Robinson wrote:
I'm curious and so I'll ask a question pertaining to this:
How many members here care about the type of steel used in the swords that you buy?


Hi Nathan,

Since you asked, I'll mention some recent thoughts I've had on the issue: it depends. And I'm not trying to be flippant! Wink

If I wanted a particular piece be, say, a reproduction of a migration era thing, I might choose a pattern welded blade made out of a couple of close matches to original steels. I might even go so far as to get it made out of one of those Florida blooms... Laughing Out Loud For the record, I haven't done that. I don't know if I will or not, but it isn't all that far-fetched. If I was going to cut with it a lot, I might get the blade made by one of the blade makers noted for durability. Perhaps out of 5160, so it has a little chrome in it. That seems to me to change the color of the blade a bit, though. If I was looking for looks and comparable mid to high end historic damage taking ability WTF?! I might go with more of a simple steel like 1070. If it was a fantasy wall-hanger, not much can beat the maintenance ease of good-old stainless!

I'm not sure that answers your question, but yes. I think the steel can matter. Particularly in a high-end period reproduction or a maintenance-free wall-hanger.

Doug Gardner
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Mon 22 May, 2006 7:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

All things being equal if a historically looking sword was made of unobtanium and could cut diamonds in half and be run over by an Abrams tank without even a scratch, I wouldn't say no to it. Wink Laughing Out Loud

On the other hand if I wanted a bronze age sword I might want the best possible bronze with sharp work hardened edges rather than one made of steel ! On the other hand a bronze coloured unobtanium ???

Well, I might want both if it was possible and I was really rich. Eek! Laughing Out Loud

I could have different wants for different objectives for different project at different times: A case by case thing.

If I wanted to test historical performance then it would have to be materials as close to the originals as possible.

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Joe Fults




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PostPosted: Mon 22 May, 2006 7:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan Robinson wrote:
How many members here care about the type of steel used in the swords that you buy?


Type of steel pretty much means beans to me. I'm buying a product made of steel, not steel itself. If I was making swords, I'd care very much. Since I'm just consuming swords I rely on the expertise of the producer and expect them to be accountable for the quality of their swords when I chose to buy them.

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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Mon 22 May, 2006 8:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It is probably already obvious, but I actually do care about the type of steel and the manufacturer's competency of processing it. I have bought a small number of swords at this point. Most of them were bought to be premium "wall hangers" with only a few test cuts so as not to ruin the beauty of their fit and finish. Eventually I will want that workhorse test cutter though.

http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=6764&highlight=

A random manufactuer might use one type of steel, but mass produce large numbers of blades with seriously different geometry, heat treat needs and mechanical properties. In fact, if they are using a variety of craftsmen and batch producing different models togather...the likelyhood of this increases in my opinion. This could go so far as to lead to injury during test cutting, or simply just be a financial waste. It is difficult to gage relative value of the purchase where durability / performance is preferred when no mechanical tests are available to back up the results.

At certain price points, one may not reasonably expect elaborate mechanical properties data on tempered steel. On the other hand, at costs of $1000 each, many aerospace parts (anything from plain pipe to custom machined parts) require extensive post heat treat "Batch certification" with proof tests on coupons of similar thickness. Without this, even small nuts and bolts parts "won't fly." Some tests could be done at very low costs...selective location/ depth Brinnell indentation hardness test for example (I recently requested this on a sword purchase with a generous price limit increase, but the manufacturer declined and did not really seem to know of any local method or facility capabilities.) I do agree that the very best craftsmen I have known depended mainly on; experience, color, feel, etc....qualitative things. But, they were eager to have the results of their work subjected to testing.

I see it as a major puzzle to attempt to define what really was the "upper end" of historical sword performance. Options as I see it are to either destructively test historical specimens (not likely to happen) or to define a test method (historical based or modern) that allows fair comparison. Believe it or not, performance based testing is actually done with all kinds of common place, lower priced things...such as softball bats (ASTM F2219.) I admit that this would be extremely difficult to develop, and would probably have to be tailored to typologies of swords based on geometry type. However, based on the hands, feel, and post "test cut" inspection of many customers... ATrim has produced "super swords" in comparison to many modern competitors. How they compare to antiques? I wish I knew.

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Geoff Wood




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PostPosted: Mon 22 May, 2006 11:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan Robinson wrote:
How many members here care about the type of steel used in the swords that you buy?


Broadly, I don't care about steel type. This may be because I don't expose the products to much stress (only relatively light cutting) or just because I'm too ignorant of the differences. I have got the impression that different manufacturers' steels may be more or less inclined towards surface marking/oxidation, but I've adjusted my behaviour as regards care to cope with this, don't regard one or other as 'better' and it wouldn't influence future purchases. As for bronze v. unobtanium of an equivalent colour, I'd definitely go for bronze, as I wan't to understand bronze (weight, flex, hardness, edge holding etc..).
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PostPosted: Tue 23 May, 2006 8:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

When Albion first published their article on steel, it took a slightly different form than the one they have now. They decided to change it, and I don't care to incure anyone's wrath by sharing things that have been removed. I will say, however, that, for about a week or so, that article went into more detail on the steels used by Albion for their various sword models. My understanding from that brief article was that Albion was not changing steels so much as adding steels based on dimensions of available stock. They needed thicker or wider stock for some of their pieces, and could not accomplish that, maintain a reasonable price, and stick with one uniform metal for all of their swords.

My understanding was that older pieces, which had been designed with the smaller stock in mind would continue to be made of that material (as a result of price concerns, I believe), and newer pieces which required the outsized material would be made from other stock as needed. I don't believe that there was any difference anticipated in hardness, edge retention, etc. and I haven't noticed any comments that make me believe the difference in material has resulted in any difference in performance.

So, there you have my thoughts based on some information and some guesswork. Hope it sheds some light on the subject.

-Grey

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Joe Fults




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PostPosted: Tue 23 May, 2006 8:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Going to add that even when I go custom, I leave the steel choice up to the vendor. No way that I know more and I probably never will know more about steel and how to use it than the guys I'm purchasing swords from do.
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Lancelot Chan
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PostPosted: Tue 23 May, 2006 8:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here's the post concerning the topic by Peter Johnsson quoted from SFI:

Hey Gus and Tinker!
I appreciate your attempts to present unbiased information to interested customers. No one could expect of you to be up to date about the work at Albion or what standards Albion put for its products, however. I know you mean well, but your efforts could backfire in that they might create an image that builds on outdated facts rather than present situation.
As I am currently the only one directly associated with Albion that is at liberty to post on this forum, I will try to provide some answers.

When something bad happens you will hear about it forver. I guess it is a testimony about the expectations on Albion that premium performance does not generate reactions among enthusiasts. It is simply what people expect to see.
There have been a few situations when customers have had swords performing less than optimal. To me this is sad and even painful to hear about. It does not take more than a few incidents to make it seem like a trend. I would strongly suggest anyone having had such experiences contacting Albion directly. If there is some flaws in materials or worksmanship, Albion will make good for this.
Mike need to know this to be able to help, so please let him know.
A Sempach having its edge fold on a soda can is ridiculous. That is not acceptable. Period. The edge and point of this sword is sturdy. The sword described must have been overheated in grinding and slipped past QC. Very sad.
Many swords are delivered each month and very few get bad remarks. That is no comfort for those that have had bad luck in thier swords, however.
Again I ask you to contact Albion so they might make good what has been flawed.

To the nuts and bolts of all this...
On hardness:
Every time I have visited Albion (some ten times over the last 5 years), I have done tests on blades that are part of every day production. To my experience an edge hardness of about 55 HRc is standard.

On steel:
1070 was for a time used in the production of all Albion blades. 1070 can provide a blade that is very close to what a historical sword would be, but it will also be a little bit more demanding on the user.

Now a steel that provides deeper hardening, higher hardness and a very fine grain has been put into production. This is partly because customers expect such performance in a sword today, but also to have a steel that will work well in the Maestro line of training swords: these will have to stand for heavy daily work out in training and must therefore be according to modern standards.
I am not at liberty to share what steel is used, nor it愀 source. I hope you can understand and appreciate the need for discretion on a very competitive market.

Heat treat:
Heat treat at Albion: austenization and quenching is done in high and low temp salt furnaces. Temperatures are digitally monitored and controlled with high precision. This allowes for fine tuning and test with repeatability. Small variations can be made to tweak certain aspects of the performance.
The present combination of temperatures, soak times and tempering cycles are set to provide a higher hardess and a higher edge retention than before. The new steel allowes for greater resiliency at a higher hardness without brittleness.
The exact data for the heat treat must unfortuantely remain restricted information.

I hope that what I have provided will clear some of the misunderstandings and answer most questions on this thread.

With the demanding and outspoken customers of today the demand on a swordproducer is absolute: No slack is tolerated. I welcome this, as I know my valued colleagues does. This will in the long run be a good thing for thos who try their best to provide quality.
Albion will always strive to exceed expectations and make good for any possible mistakes. That is the nature of the market today. No empty words.
My task in all this is to do research on originals and deveop new designs that make available some of the exiting highlights in the histoy of the sword. The crew in the Albion workshop can testify that I am a hard-to-satisfy-nit-picking bastard, while they strive to surprice me with their efforts. It is all a happy mix

At Albion an article is presently being prepared demonstrating present manufacture procedues and test results.
Anyone interested in further deails are more than welcome to visit Albions web site. There is a wealth of information available in the articles section.
Any customer who still has concerns or questions is always welcome to contact Mike at Albion. He is well placed to provide information directly fom the source.

I really hope this has helped answer your questions.
Presently I am preparing for a big show in Solingen (soon to happen!), while working on Albion designs as well as looking after the our new little daughter.
I might not be able to monitor this thread very closely and ask your understanding.

Best Regards
Peter

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Steve Grisetti




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PostPosted: Wed 24 May, 2006 12:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
How many members here care about the type of steel used in the swords that you buy?

My primary interest in a reproduction piece is that it accurately represents, in appearance and feel, the historic piece that it is intended to emulate. However, I do care, to some extent, about the steel. I am not a martial arts practitioner; neither do I partake in cutting exercises. I don’t want a stainless steel wall hanger (though I must admit that the two LOTR pieces that I picked up from Bill Goodwin look really good up on the walls of my sons’ bedrooms). Beyond that, I don’t currently know much about different steels, but would like to learn more. When choosing between two swords, all other things being equal, if I felt certain that one piece had a more robust/corrosion resistant steel, that might influence my purchase. But this would be a secondary criterion.

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