Info Favorites Register Log in
myArmoury.com Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search
Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > The value of highly prized custom makers' swords Reply to topic
This is a standard topic  
Author Message
Lancelot Chan
Industry Professional



Location: Hong Kong
Joined: 24 Oct 2003
Likes: 2 pages

Posts: 1,277

PostPosted: Tue 30 Sep, 2008 9:55 am    Post subject: The value of highly prized custom makers' swords         Reply with quote

In the recent months I've come across a project that involves having custom design made by one of the China-based sword factories. The first sample was on par with Windlass sword's hardness, which was lower than the legacy Atrim swords. So we asked for higher hardness. The next sample was made with T-10 steel, similar to 1095, and its hardness beat all the swords I've handled, including high-priced custom makers production. However, the story didn't end here.

http://hk.youtube.com/watch?v=pvAaVGDF3Qo

A few days ago I cut a very tough, large and thick cardboard tube with my Tinker custom sword. The blade was all scratched up and the edge needed touching up with steel rod. However, it fared the best among mine and my friend's collection. Tinker's choice of hardness vs toughness is really great. I've come to appreciate it a lot. The metal grain is super fine compare to other makers' swords. I've handled swords from various sources, including other custom maker's work, which spotted harder edge than his swords, but one of them (A Chinese-made custom Jian) cracked and lost some piece of metal when it accidentally hit a nail during a test cutting.



The jian's cutting video:
http://hk.youtube.com/watch?v=bIUU6jpKQkQ






On the other hands, similar accidents had happened to my Tinker sword and Zachary's John Lundemo's sword. They simply had a mal-aligned edge afterwards and were fixed within half an hour with a steel rod, without any removal of material. Not to mention that they both cut a huge chunk of the rusted nail off!

After learning that particular sword was hard but brittle, I moved on to test one of my master's custom order of a Chinese war sword that was produced by the same factory along with two friends. It was way harder than any swords I've come to handle. It could cut into a iron fence and fire-water hose without any damage to the thick bevel edge. However, when it hit slightly laterally in a diagonal cut, it broke out a huge piece flying.... Luckily I had taken cover when my friend did that. The crack extended on the sword blade in a semi-circular way and half of the cracked piece that had gone loose was shown along with the sword.




I think our highly prized custom makers are still the best. Big Grin Their stuff have been long tested by experts and proved themselves through the years. The emerging China-made swords are attractive in price, but they currently lack a user-base to help test their swords in historical-accurate usage aspects, thus often came with crappy, cost-saving internal structure.... like a circular handle slot that led to rotating handle and guard after strikes, a rat-tail tang... etc.




Ancient Combat Association http://www.acahk.org
Realistic Sparring Weapons http://www.rsw.com.hk
Nightstalkers http://www.nightstalkers.com.hk
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Allen W





Joined: 02 Mar 2004

Posts: 285

PostPosted: Tue 30 Sep, 2008 12:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That is some horrendous damage and there is certainly no excuse for an overbored grip or circular tang slot. However, without knowing the tang thickness I would hesitate to call that a rat-tail.
View user's profile Send private message
Ian Hutchison




Location: Louisiana / Nordrhein-Westholland
Joined: 27 Nov 2007

Posts: 543

PostPosted: Fri 03 Oct, 2008 7:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I agree with Lancelot. Until large production sword makers can find a balance between cost and quality, smaller production or custom makers will be the best. Best meaning price relative to quality delivered. For everyday cutting and playing around, Atrims are one of the best buys imo. Very reasonable price (not a lot more than many production swords) for the level of quality.
'We are told that the pen is mightier than the sword, but I know which of these weapons I would choose.' - Adrian Carton de Wiart
View user's profile Send private message
Leo Todeschini
Industry Professional



Location: Oxford, UK
Joined: 12 Nov 2006
Likes: 1 page

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,615

PostPosted: Wed 08 Oct, 2008 1:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would agree that the construction methods are dubious and I can't comment on the fit, finish or mettalurgy, but I can comment on what you are doing with your swords. I think you are subjecting your swords to tests they were never made to undergo and the fact that some have survived is certainly a testament to the makers, but may well surprise them as much as me.

A sword is a tool designed for a purpose and that purpose is to strike at a predominantly soft target or a soft target covered by a hard surface, but in either case a target that has a level of give in it. Imagine holding a block of wood a foot above an anvil and having a freind strike it with a sword verses holding the block flat on the surface of the anvil and striking it with a sword.

In the first scenario the sword is subject to a relatively slow deceleration and so relatively low forces, in the second a much higher deceleration and so higher forces. The fact that any sword breaks whilst chopping iron fences is not a great surprise to me.

A sword is not a tool to chop iron fences with, that is a cold chisel. A cold chisel has a different edge grind and mettalurgy and is used in a different way.

Personally I would try the swords out on tatami mats, carboard tubes, drinks cans, pop bottles etc and use that as a basis for judgement

www.todsworkshop.com
www.todcutler.com
www.instagram.com/todsworkshop
www.facebook.com/TodTodeschini
www.youtube.com/user/todsstuff1
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Lancelot Chan
Industry Professional



Location: Hong Kong
Joined: 24 Oct 2003
Likes: 2 pages

Posts: 1,277

PostPosted: Wed 08 Oct, 2008 1:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The sword that chipped was designed to be a Chinese war sword. During battle, it was going to meet polearms, incoming blades and metal armor pieces. The force of impact could have been way higher than what we did to the iron fence, for we didn't cut it with full force. If we only test the sword on soft targets like those you've mentioned, we'll never know if it will fail when it met the opponent's armor/weapons on the field.

While I don't destructively test my highly prized swords against hard targets like iron fence, various information such as accidental cut into the nail of the cutting stand, hitting the wooden part of the stand, and the simple fact that Tinker's wife uses his sword in her steel swords show troupe allows me to learn that these swords wouldn't fail me in earnest usage.

However, the sword from China factory doesn't have such background information behind them. Especially that this sword was not meant to be a hobbyist collection but will actually face earnest opposition. Thus I don't think the destructive test was out of place at all.

It's just like the historical armor-bullet-proof test. Happy

Leo Todeschini wrote:
I would agree that the construction methods are dubious and I can't comment on the fit, finish or mettalurgy, but I can comment on what you are doing with your swords. I think you are subjecting your swords to tests they were never made to undergo and the fact that some have survived is certainly a testament to the makers, but may well surprise them as much as me.

A sword is a tool designed for a purpose and that purpose is to strike at a predominantly soft target or a soft target covered by a hard surface, but in either case a target that has a level of give in it. Imagine holding a block of wood a foot above an anvil and having a freind strike it with a sword verses holding the block flat on the surface of the anvil and striking it with a sword.

In the first scenario the sword is subject to a relatively slow deceleration and so relatively low forces, in the second a much higher deceleration and so higher forces. The fact that any sword breaks whilst chopping iron fences is not a great surprise to me.

A sword is not a tool to chop iron fences with, that is a cold chisel. A cold chisel has a different edge grind and mettalurgy and is used in a different way.

Personally I would try the swords out on tatami mats, carboard tubes, drinks cans, pop bottles etc and use that as a basis for judgement

Ancient Combat Association http://www.acahk.org
Realistic Sparring Weapons http://www.rsw.com.hk
Nightstalkers http://www.nightstalkers.com.hk
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website


Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > The value of highly prized custom makers' swords
Page 1 of 1 Reply to topic
All times are GMT - 8 Hours

View previous topic :: View next topic
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum






All contents © Copyright 2003-2020 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum