Why we only say that we use "high carbon steel"
for our historical swords
Our choice of steel is proprietary and is influenced by several
- the steel must have a carbon content approximately equal to that
of surviving original period swords
- the steel must perform well both in milling, grinding and finishing
- the steel must respond properly to heat-treating, giving us the
temper/hardness, flexibility and edge retention that meets our high
Some Helpful Terms and Definitions
High-Alloy: Modern steels that contain a large amount
of trace elements other than iron and carbon (the basics of all
steels). These are often included into the chemistry of a steel
for the purpose of adding a specific characteristic to the steel.
These characteristics can include corrosion resistance, increased
hardening depth, or speed of hardening (i.e., water, oil, or air
hardening steels). These are often the tool steels that are either
oil or air hardening, but also include stainless steels. Some can
be used as sword steels, but others would be better suited for knives.
Low-Alloy: Some modern steels, and many ancient steels
fall into this category. Most fall into the range of shallow-hardening,
because they lack the heavy alloys that will cause them to harden
deeper. This in effect will leave a very hard edge, with a slightly
softer core to absorb shock and increase toughness. It is not as
drastic as what happens when a steel is intentionally heat-treated
to two differing hardnesses, but rather a more gradual change in
hardness through the blade.
Coupled with our changes in our assembly processes (see another
article here on our assembly
process), we have chosen steels that bring us much closer to our
goal of matching our historic counterparts in the past.