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Sword Steel

 

Sword steel. Types of steel used for sword making. Carbon steel, spring steel, tool steel, damascus steel and stainless steel. What is the best sword steel?

While buying a  sword, the sword steel is an important part of decision of course with other aspects like sword heat treatment and sword construction.

Here is list of various steel types you can find in internet stores.

Types of Sword steels

Carbon Steel

If you are interested in functional swords, the carbon steel is the most common material to pick.
Steels with carbon content are carbon steels.
As the carbon percentage content rises, steel has the ability to become harder and stronger through heat treating, however it becomes less ductile. Regardless of the heat treatment, a higher carbon content reduces weldability. In carbon steels, the higher carbon content lowers the melting point.
Low carbon steel: 0.05–0.3% carbon
Mild Carbon Steel: 0.3–0.6% carbon
High Carbon Steel: 0.30–1.70% carbon

The best carbon steel for sword making is of course high carbon steel.

The most often used carbon steels are: 1045, 1060 and 1095 steels.

The number means % of carbon content...AISI 1060 means the steel has 0.60% carbon content.

1045 Carbon Steel

Swords made of 1045 carbon steel are easy to make and very affordable. If properly heated these swords can offer a good quality at a very reasonable price.
Musashi swords are often made of 1045 steel and i can recommend them. They are really cheap but better than numerous more expensive swords from competitors.

1060 Carbon Steel

1060 Carbon Steel swords can be described as a very durable swords. These swords are harder than swords made of 1045 steel but forging and polishing is more difficult so price is higher than price of 1045 swords.
Cold Steel swords are often made of 1060 steel. Their katanas are very durable, sharp and giving an excellent cutting results.

1095 Carbon Steel

1095 steel is very hard which can cause these swords are less durable than 1060 swords. These swords keep a very keen edge.

Spring Steels

Spring steels are low alloy, medium or carbon steels manufactured to very high yield strengths. Their main feature is the ability to resist deformation, and return to shape. There are two main methods of production, the most common involving the heat treatment process known as hardening and tempering, where medium and high carbon steels are heated and quenched.
Spring steel is used for sword making due its resistance to snapping or shattering.
The most often used spring steels are 5160 and 9260 steels.
The second number 60 means again the carbon content so both steels have same carbon content like the 1060 carbon steel.
For example Toumoku Katana by Imperial Forge is made of spring steel.

5160 Spring Steel

5160 Spring Steel contents 0.60% of carbon, 7% of chromium and 0.2% of silicon. This alloy combination giing the steel a great strenght and awesome durability.
Some Hanwei swords are made of this steel (Tinker medieval swords and also Raptor series katanas).

9260 Spring Steel

This steel is famous due its ability to laterally bent nearly to 90 degrees.
9260 steel contains 0.60% of carbon, 2% of silicon and manganese.
Swords made of this steel are very though and are made by Cheness Cutlery.

Tool Steel

Tool Steel is a generic description of steel which has been developed specifically for tooling applications. Generally speaking, Tool Steels are known for their distinctive toughness, resistance to abrasion, their ability to hold a cutting edge, and/or their resistance to deformation at elevated temperatures (red-hardness).
Tool steel swords are incredibly tough, razor sharp, and hold an edge.
It is not easy to manufacture these swords so price can easily cross 1000 dollars.

L6 Bainite steel

L6 Bainite is one of the thoughest steel available. Slight disadvantage of the steel is it needs a regular maintenance.
Hanwei Hunter katana is made of L6 bainite steel.

T10 Steel

T10 means a water hardening high carbon tool steel with about 1% carbon content.
These swords are very hard (HRC60). This steel is resistent to scratches.
Swords made of T10 steel are thougher than other swords from steel with the same carbon content.
Thaitsuki swords using T10 steel.

Damascus Steel

Damascus steel was a type of steel used in Eastern, South Asian and Middle Eastern swordmaking. Damascus steel was created from wootz steel, a steel developed in India around 300BC.

Damascus steel is characterized by exceptional hardness and by a watered, streaked appearance caused by the varying carbon levels of the original material. Sometimes a single bar is welded up from various kinds of steel. The bar is doubled over, welded, redoubled, and rewelded until the various layers of steel become intertwined, and it is then worked out to form the blade. The patterns that result after quenching and finishing are distinctive and complex. Damascus blades are judged largely by their watering, which serves as a guide to the quality of the steel.

The iron ore was not quality in feudal Japan so damascus steel was a reasonable solution to improve the quality of swords.

Folded swords were much more quality then.

Modern affordable damascus steel swords are definitely not perfect and you can get them for about 300 dollars.

Stainless Steel

Stainless Steel swords are made for display not for combat or cutting!
Stainless steel contains over 10.5% of Chromium. Stainless steel swords never corrode so these weapons need no maintenance.
Many fantasy, movie and TV replica swords are made of stainless steel. You can put them on wall and forget. These swords will still look perfect.
Marto swords are probably the most beautiful swords made of Stainless steel. Many marto swords have blades decorated by silver or gold. If you are looking for a bautidul display sword, Marto is the best option.

Never forget that no sword is indestructible no matter from what steel is made of. You have to handle the sword carfully and patiently.