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are ninja swords harder than carbide?

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  • are ninja swords harder than carbide?


    notice, the chip in the blade occurs after it has been struck, from the play in the sword's holder

  • #2
    Nope, unless they are CBN or diamond. Tougher they may be, but not harder.

    And why does it look like in that animation that the sword is resting on a solid surface all along its back length? That kind of gives it quite much strength against bending when hit with an another object.
    Amount of experience is in direct proportion to the value of broken equipment.

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    • #3
      Nope. Traditionally Ninja swords are laminated steel, quite similar to Damascus blades.

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      • #4
        they are not harder, because they would brake. they are sharper, though.

        which one is the carbide sword in the picture anyway?

        idea: braze/weld carbide teeth onto a damascus blade.

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        • #5
          misleading video. any old fully supported length of metal would have produced the same results.

          wonder how the ninja swordsman hands felt after that?

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          • #6
            About the only thing that proved was he was hitting one sword with another sword of inferior metal that resulted in a bigger chip out of the inferior sword then the other sword suffered.
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            • #7
              they are amazing bits of human fabrication, not quite as effective as a colt 45 though, i know wich i'd take to the gunfight
              I heared that the ol Vikings did a bit of lamination in swords too?
              mark

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              • #8
                The quality of the steel resulting from the original Japanese fabrication techniques is pretty poor compared to modern steels, never mind such materials like tungsten carbide. There is a lot of myth and not much reality surrounding the stories of the Katana and other edged weapons. The resulting mix of slag and steel was better than anything else at the time but that was then.

                The method of manufacture was developed as a way to eliminate as much slag from the material as possible by repeatedly folding and hammering the steel.

                The number of myths surrounding the Katana is hard to believe. Nearly all of it is complete BS.
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Evan
                  The quality of the steel resulting from the original Japanese fabrication techniques is pretty poor compared to modern steels,

                  The resulting mix of slag and steel was better than anything else at the time but that was then.

                  The method of manufacture was developed as a way to eliminate as much slag from the material as possible by repeatedly folding and hammering the steel.

                  The number of myths surrounding the Katana is hard to believe. Nearly all of it is complete BS.

                  Very true on all accounts.

                  Japan doesn't have a domestic source of iron ore, so almost all nihonto (Japanese edged weapons) were made from smelting river sand. Tamahagane is smelted by layering magnetite (river sand) in a clay smelter called a tatara with charcoal. The resulting bloom steel looks like a meteorite -- it's amorphous, saturated with silicon, and the carbon distribution is highly non-uniform.

                  Chunks of the tamahagne are/were graded by quality, and sold to the swordsmiths in order of rank. The smith sorts the chunks according to carbon content, stacks the chunks together, and then forge welds into monolithic billets of high- and low-carbon steel. Like Evan says, the folding is done to drive out the silicon and phosphorous, not laminate the steel.

                  Part of the lamination confusion stems from the practice of layering high- and low-carbon steel in the construction of the sword. In the most common method, a high-carbon steel core is forge welded inside a medium carbon steel jacket for toughness. The Japanese smiths call this "Kobuse" -- Western smiths know this as a "Hot dog in a bun" forge weld.

                  Even today, Japanese swords are forged almost exclusively from tamahagane, with an annual smelt done exactly as it's been practiced for 1,000 years.

                  Modern steels are radically purer, tougher, and harder than tamahagane. One of my instructors, Howard Clark, is an ABS Mastersmith who makes traditional Japanese swords with L6 and W2 tool steel, and they're highly sought-after for the traditional tameshigiri (cutting competitions). Japan doesn't allow the importation of Western Nihonto for specifically this reason -- it's a cultural icon for them, and they don't want to muddy the waters with high tech tool steels.

                  For awhile after WW2 sword forging was banned by the Americans, and the national tatara wasn't started up 'till years later. There's a period of about 10 years where Japanese smiths were using high-end Hitachi tool steel for katanas, but the NBSK (Japanese Sword Rating Society) eschews those swords

                  Damascus steel is a whole different animal. It's a crucible steel with extremely high carbon content (around 1.5%) that was originally made in India. The raw ore contains vanadium, and when it's repeatedly forged at low temperature, forms dendridtic vanadium carbides. There are several Western smiths who make traditional wootz damascus, but it's a very laborious process, and it's supposedly a bitch to forge.

                  I've posted a couple of katana and wakizashi that I've forged. Like many westerners, I prefer tool steel, but I'm pretty excited to be taking a tamahagane smelting class this Summer.
                  Last edited by lazlo; 04-26-2012, 08:15 PM.
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                  • #10
                    No they are not.

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                    • #11
                      I don't know much about Ninja swords, but I'll never buy those Ginsu kitchen knives again !

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