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Overall Information of Sword Construction

Overall Information of Sword Construction

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Published by RockWagon
information Japanese Swords
information Japanese Swords

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Published by: RockWagon on Jul 18, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Overall Information of Sword Construction
By Handmadesword.com PR Dept.www.handmadesword.comHandmadesword.com, the wholesale Japanese sword House All rights reserved
, historically, has been the work of specialized smithsor metalworkers called blade smiths or sword smiths. Modern armorersand sword smiths still ply their trade although to a more limitedclientele. Their products are oriented toward collectors, those whopursue various traditional martial arts, redactors, and as props forfilm and theatre. Some modern amateur smiths also make swords andsmaller blades for the technical challenge they present.Sword fabrication breaks down into roughly three processes: forming,heat treating and finishing. Depending on many factors such as basematerials, location and era these processes might merge, overlap or bedispensed with entirely.
Swords can be shaped by a variety of metalworking techniques. In sometimes and places one technique has been used exclusively, in otherscombinations have been applied. The primary techniques are forging andstock removal.Stock removal shapes the sword from prepared stock that is larger inall dimensions than the finished sword by filing, grinding andcutting. While the technique has been available for centuries it wasnot widely used for making swords until the 19th or 20th century as itis wasteful of the raw material. Where iron and steel are plentiful
this method is frequently used as it requires less skill and time. Inplaces and times where iron and steel have been rare and valuable,stock removal has not been used except as part of the finishingprocess.Forging uses heat to bring the material to a malleable state. Thematerial is then hammered to shape, typically using hammer and anviltogether with specialized set and fuller tools depending on theparticular technique.There are a variety of forging techniques for sword making and manyvariations upon those. The techniques employed in different places andtimes tend to affect the style of the resulting blades. Much of thedevelopment and selection of techniques has been driven by the typeand availability of raw materials.Broadly speaking, if metal supply is limited blades have tended to besmaller. Similarly when the supply of steel has been limited,techniques for building up the basic billet from which a sword wouldbe forged by welding together iron and steel or different types andgrades of steel were developed.In most techniques the basic materials, generally iron and/or steel,are shaped into a bar or billet first. At this stage if several metalsare to be used they will be combined by welding to form the billet. Insome techniques, notably the traditional folded steel blades of Japan,the billet might be drawn, folded and welded back on itself creatinglayers of steel of different types. In others longer bars or rods ofsteel and iron might be welded together, edge to edge, to create thebasic billet placing the softer iron inside with the steel at the coreand edges.Once the billet is created it is drawn out farther, generally taperingto the edge(s) and point. The technique of fullering might be used tocreate a ridge or ridges down the length of the blade. Whether singleor multiple, the ridge's primary purpose is to give the blade greaterstructural strength relative to its mass.The final step of forming, and one that affects both the finishing andthe heat treatment is 'normalizing'. The blade would be carefully andevenly heated and then cooled slowly. The point of normalizing is toremove the stresses which may have built up within the body of theblade while it was being forged. During the forging process the blademight be heated and cooled differentially creating stress, some parts
might be hammered more than others, some areas hammered enough to"work harden". If these stresses are left in the blade they couldaffect the finishing and when it came time to heat treat the blade,the hardening and tempering might not be as even. Potentially enoughstress could be added that the blade would be weak in spots, weakenough that it could fail under enough strain.
Heat Treating
Heat treating, encompasses several processes including annealing,normalizing, hardening and tempering. Often the process is called"tempering" but actually that process refers to just one of theseveral processes.The purpose of heat treating plain-carbon steel is to change themechanical properties of steel, usually ductility, hardness, yieldstrength, and impact resistance. As with most strengthening techniquesfor steel, the modulus of elasticity is never affected. Steel has ahigher solid solubility for carbon in the austenite phase, thereforeall heat treatments, except spheroidizing and process annealing, startby heating to an austenitic phase. The rate at which the steel iscooled through the eutectoid reaction affects the rate at which carbondiffuses out of austenite. Generally speaking, cooling quickly willgive a finer pearlite (until the martensite critical temperature isreached) and cooling slowly will give a coarser pearlite. Coolinghypoeutectoid (less than 0.8 wt% C) steel results in a pearliticstructure with α-ferrite at the grain boundaries. If it ishypereutectoid (more than 0.8 wt% C) steel then the structure is fullpearlite with small grains of cementite scattered throughout. Therelative amounts of constituents are found using the lever rule.Following are several kinds of annealing associated with heattreatment:
Full annealing
: Plain-carbon steel is heated to approximately40 °C above Ac
or Ac
for 1 hour; this assures all the ferritetransforms into austenite (although cementite still might exist ifthe carbon content is greater than the eutectoid). The steel mustthen be cooled slowly, in the realm of 38 °C (100 °F) per hour.Usually it is just furnace cooled, where the furnace is turned offwith the steel still inside. This results in a coarse pearlitic°structure, which means the "bands" of pearlite are thick. Fullyannealed steel is soft and ductile, with no internal stresses,which is often necessary for cost-effective forming. Onlyspheroidized steel is softer and more ductile.

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