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George Hill

Location: Atlanta Ga
Joined: 16 May 2005

Posts: 614

PostPosted: Fri 07 Jul, 2006 2:48 am    Post subject: Is this a function of polish or metalurgy?         Reply with quote

There is a question that has been buzzing in my mind for some time.

I've seen a number of swords described as patten welded, and some simple look like Damascus blades. Others, like this, have a very shiny edge, and very dark fuller.

On this peice by Vince Evans, (Which is is all ways magnificent) the edges are around the same level of shine as the fuller.

Now, I'm not asking which is better, since both are gorgous, rather I'm trying to learn more about which is closer to the 'look of the blade on an original in period.'

What can the forum tell me?

Also, as long as I'm asking about metals and swords, are pearlite and Martensite present in historical european swords? There is an arguement on another list where someone is maintaining that those particular crystaline latices are only in Asian swords. To me hard steel is hard steel, and soft is soft, but it would be nice to have an answer for him.

To abandon your shield is the basest of crimes. - --Tacitus on Germania
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Kjell Magnusson

Location: Sweden
Joined: 10 Jun 2004

Posts: 123

PostPosted: Fri 07 Jul, 2006 5:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

From what I can see, this would be metallurgy. The center of the blades have been pattern welded one way, the edges in another (make different billets and then weld them together). This is something seen in some historical blades as well. This seems to be the case with both the blades you posted, but the Templ blade has been made so that there is a much greater difference in looks between the regions (notice how the grain changes direction between fuller and edges on the Evans piece). Of course, selectively etching the fuller could enhance this effect (more or less create it entirely in some cases), and I don't know nearly enough to rule that out completely with the Templ blade, but my gut feeling is that this si not the case.

As for perlite and martensite in historical blades, that's what I seem to recall people getting when checking old European blades. I have a hard time seeing what else there would be anyway. Bainite with medieval steels and methods? Austenite stabilized at room temperature in carbon steel? Sounds rather (ok, very) implausible IMO, so my guess is that the guy, or his sources, don't really know what they're talking about, to use a somewhat diplomatic language.
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Shane Allee
Industry Professional

Location: South Bend, IN
Joined: 29 Aug 2003

Posts: 506

PostPosted: Fri 07 Jul, 2006 6:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The edges on the Patrick Barta sword look to be a folded single steel that has been wrapped around the core. On Vince's sword you can make out the contrast between two steels just like the core. So I would guess that Vince has used the same steels in the core of the blade as he did in the edges, he has just folded it differently.

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Jeff Pringle
Industry Professional

Location: Oakland, CA
Joined: 19 Nov 2005

Posts: 145

PostPosted: Fri 07 Jul, 2006 7:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The two blades pictured were treated differently in the finishing, Barta's edges were polished after the etch, Evan's was entirely etched, w/o much post-etch polishing. I suspect Barta's sword would be more like the swords back then looked, since the edges are the area that would get reworked in use. Any etched finish outside the fuller would tend to get polished out on a working blade to one degree or another.
Martensite and pearlite are ubiquitous steel structures, definitely present in european blades.
Martensite = hardened steel structure, quenched.
Pearlite = softer steel steel structure, cooled more slowly, but depending on heat treatment & steel type, you get different mixtures of the two - perhaps your arguer meant to argue the westerners didn't manipulate their M. & P. in the same way as the easterners?
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