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Thread: Calling all daito collectors

  1. #61
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    Damascus is in Spain??????? Wait till the Syrians find out! Don't you mean Toledo [not Ohio........]being the centre in spain for damascus type blades?
    Lurking in dark alleys may be hazardous to other peoples health........

  2. #62
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    Originally posted by Joel H.
    Damascus is a village in spain where sword smiths were credited for having some of the best forge folding techniques in Europe.


    I was going to overlook all the poor grammar and puctuation in your post, and just take it for what it was worth, but then I saw that.

    It rather blows the whole post. Damascus is not in Spain (note the capital S), it's in Syria, where Wootz steel is thought to have been brought to perfection.

    The swordsmiths of Spain, particularly in Toledo, copied the look of Wootz, by layering methods, giving what is called a Damascene, Damask, or Damascus pattern blade, named in honor of the famed Damascus Scimitars that were both feared and admired by the Europeans.

    However, your post was a noble attempt at putting the information presented by GarethB, Dan Harden, me, and others into one place, and was mostly correct. It also gave a good, step-by-step, summation of the process. So thank you.
    Last edited by Brian Owens; 11th October 2004 at 13:42.
    Yours in Budo,
    ---Brian---

  3. #63
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    Thats what a cold and heavy meds will do to you, not to mention a bottle or 2 of smirnoff twisted orange
    Joel Habbershaw

  4. #64
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    Originally posted by Joel H.
    Thats what a cold and heavy meds will do to you, not to mention a bottle or 2 of smirnoff twisted orange
    I pity you the first, and envy you the second (I can't drink anymore,and while I've found some good dealcoholized wines I haven't found anything to substitute for real liquor. )
    Yours in Budo,
    ---Brian---

  5. #65
    Cliff Schooling Guest

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    quote:
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Originally posted by Joel H.
    Thats what a cold and heavy meds will do to you, not to mention a bottle or 2 of smirnoff twisted orange
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Try a hot toddy
    two thumbs cheap whisky(not too cheap)
    2 tea spoons Muscavado Sugar (honey will do)
    fill with hot water
    Chuck in a Beachams powders or whatever.
    Bingo, feel much better, a bit wobbly, but at least the snot has stopped blinding you.
    Or pour out a large Glendronach or even a Aberlour Glenlivet, a wee splash of water if prefered (no Ice) and away you go, well on the way to a cure.

    Sorry you can't drink any more, terrible thing.
    Take care

  6. #66
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    [QUOTE]Originally posted by Cliff Schooling
    Sorry you can't drink any more, terrible thing.
    Take care
    Not so bad, for me anyway. Even when I could and did drink I never got drunk, I just enjoyed the taste and feel of a good glass or two of wine or a nice liquer from time to time.

    I can live without it, but it was a pleasant way to add to a meal or lubricate a conversation in the library.

    Speaking of conversation, lest I drift this thread too far, whatever happened to Ken's "Damascus Daito" that "Maeda Sensei" said was "definitely made in Japan" and that an "expert" said was a Showa-tou?
    Yours in Budo,
    ---Brian---

  7. #67
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    I have had the privilege of speaking with a well-known and highly acclaimed Japanese sword smith who, in repsonse to a question I asked him, told me straight out that a Japanese sword forged out of a single billet, with the distribution of carbon carefully controlled to achieve the requisite hard edge and ductile body, was far superior to a sword made by forge welding differing grades of steel together. He had particular contempt for the practice of inserting a softer core into a jacket of harder steel, since the core steel was usually very poorly forged, thus rendering the sword very weak. His opinion may well have been different if the core steel was of better quality, but he said that this method was adopted in order to make a lot of swords quickly in response to high demand.

    I have heard that the Vikings made their swords using a method similar to the cable forging mentioned above. And their swords had a very high reputation indeed.

    I have to agree on the unseemly garishness of the "Damascus" knives shown above. The pimp-mobiles of the knife world. However, to each his own.
    Earl Hartman

  8. #68
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    Originally posted by Earl Hartman
    I have had the privilege of speaking with a well-known and highly acclaimed Japanese sword smith who...told me straight out that a Japanese sword forged out of a single billet...was far superior to a sword made by forge welding differing grades of steel together. He had particular contempt for the practice of inserting a softer core into a jacket of harder steel...he said that this method was adopted in order to make a lot of swords quickly in response to high demand.
    I mentioned this myself once, in a thread some time back, and quoted Yasuhiro's opinion that matched the one given above.

    I was soundly bashed by several members, but I stand by my opinion and am glad that there is more than one person who shares this belief.

    Originally posted by Earl Hartman
    ...The pimp-mobiles of the knife world.
    Gilded lillies; gold-plated, leopard-skinned cadillacs; and gaudy knives of the world unite!

    Originally posted by Earl Hartman
    However, to each his own.
    Okay, but...yeesh! Have they never heard of shibumi?
    Yours in Budo,
    ---Brian---

  9. #69
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    Yasuhiro?

    This particular smith let me know that I shouldn't bandy his name about in relation to this topic since it goes against the received wisdom, so while it might seem lame, I have to respect his wishes.

    Actually, I put the question to him, since my (admittedly meager) researches into the subject led me to believe that 1) if the relative ductility/hardness of the blade can be controlled by, as I understand it, the crystalline structure of the steel and not just the carbon content, 2)the crystalline structure of the steel can be controlled by differential cooling, and 3) since this differential cooling is a function not only of the mass of metal in the blade (faster cooling at the edge vs. slower cooling in the body of the sword) but is also carefully controlled by the clay coating, then 4) it should be possible to create a sword with a ductile body and a hard edge primarily through differential cooling alone.
    Earl Hartman

  10. #70
    Cliff Schooling Guest

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    I agree with regard to the core argument with regard to a poor quality steel, but I think if a good quality of slightly lower carbon steel is used, it might produce the a blade with the flexibility and strength claimed. A blade is always a compomise between toughness and hardness, OK there is a fare range within a crade of steel to work in, but using good quality materials is paramount, crap core or jacket steel, crap blade. The Japanese smith had cruddy material to start off with as did the smiths of Europe, the Middle East etc, hence the need to grade your raw materials and producing a range of laminated steel of varying carbon content, keep the higher carbon and more difficult to produce, for the edge etc. The attached pic is of a copy of the sword found in the Ship burial of a local King called Raedvald in Sutton Hoo, Essex circa 625 AD. All over the world people were producing swords of incredible complexity at the same time!!!!!

    A few points on the forge work that I know and don't know and am keen to learn. One tecnique in the final stages of the forging and is very effective and I'm not sure if the Japanese sword smiths use it, is Austenitic forging, where the blade is hammered with carefully overlapping blows at the final stages of forging at a much lower temperature (about very, very dull red) compacting the edge grain. This improves the cutting edge considerably, but you need to be very careful. The other thing that intigues me is why the Japanese smith keeps his anvil and tools wet? I suspect that the small explosion you get when doing this, aids the compaction of the steel.
    A fundamental difference between the Japanese and European smiths is a groove in the sword. The Japanese smith cuts his whe the blade is finished, the European forges his in using a tool called a fuller which is two curved dies that strike onto the steel, compacting the steel and making the groove/s. I think it is a superior method of producing a groove as it's more economical on materials and produces a better blade.
    The temperature of the steel at queching is obviously critical, I know that to produce Utsuri you need to have a temperature gradient through the body of the blade(Yoshindo Yoshihara's book covers this quite nicely), but and I think it's a big but, I think the quenching medium temperature is critical. I always make sure the water is at blood heat for consitency. I would love the time to muck around with different steels and different quench medium temperatures, ah but time is a more precious commodity than gold at the mo'.
    The last thing is, how the hell do they keep their white gear so clean? A day at the forge and I'm black, with white streaks from the sweat. Mind you I've no assistants and no power hammer.
    Sorry to waffle on but I think that the exchange of ideas is great. Keep the info comming.

  11. #71
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    The soft core absorbs shock and prevents bending.

    Gorô Nyűdô Masamune who is considered one of the greatest swordsmiths in Japan. He used the shoshu kitae method or seven layer lamination which did include a soft core. So its not a way of conserving money and resorces, its taking up more resources and time.

    Yes there were intricate forging processes all over the world but theres more to Japanese swords than an intricate lamination process. I could post an even longer post than before on just nie and noi, but its better to chew, swallow and digest information before taking more.
    Joel Habbershaw

  12. #72
    Finny Guest

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    HAHAHAHA

    Yeah, guys like Dan Harden and Earl Hartman really DO need to take some time and digest the masses of info you've been serving us.

    Thank you, your holiness.

  13. #73
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    Brendan:

    Thanks for including me in the same breath with Dan, who actually forges swords. Me, I've read a few books and talked to a smith or two. Thanks for the compliment, but my knowledge is strictly armchair stuff.
    Earl Hartman

  14. #74
    Finny Guest

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    Yeah I know Mr Hartman,

    I was just havin a laugh.

  15. #75
    Dan Harden Guest

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    Joel

    I think more research needs to be done on your part. While I am quite earnest in being willing to learn-I prefer to do so using correct information. You have failed to provide anything new. I would follow your advice and prefer to chew, swallow, and digest from a master chef then someone who is just reading a cook book thank you very much.
    You mentioned Nie and Nioi. Tell me your experience in quenching at a high heat (as reported in many books) to produce it in the first place.

    Earl
    As you know I have been an outspoken critic of the kobuse method for years. Three memorable moments of being publicly ostracized (spanning 2 decades) are what I have to show for it. One in particular sticks with me; I addressed a local gathering of the Japanese sword society and discussed forging. I was explaining several cultures methods for smelting, manufacture and use, as well as folding and various mechanical properties of many indigenous weapons around the world. I ended with tying it in to the Japanese method. I discussed the weakness of the Kobuse method VS the method for using Kawagane throughout. At the end there was no end to the open hostility and derision. As is usual for me-instead of being insulted I started asking technical questions. When the room quieted down to the level of a pin dropping- I suggested to them that since no one in the room was able to offer an informed counter point, perhaps they should be willing to listen to someone who could. I also invited them to the shop for a test comparison.

    Kobuse is a standard for weakness
    Isn't it odd that even among mukansa rated smiths in Japan you cannot openly criticize this stupid method without raising the ire of many who prefer the status-quo. And here’s the ultimate in comedy of the Japanese sword cult. The smiths know the Kobuse folding process adds nothing and done the way it is usually done, actually weakens the integrity of the blade, but the collectors and the controlling in-crowd doesn't care. It is about looks, standards, and preserving the value of what they currently own.
    Perpetual stagnation.........



    Comparisons
    Last weekend I forged a broadsword with my son. When completed it will be a double edge, single fullered blade. I am going to test cut with it (on trees) against:
    a nihonto
    a D. Guertin katana
    a swordstore steel iaito
    a bugei bushido
    a last legend bear
    a ciccada forge katana
    three of my own katana
    and one of my naginata

    and last!!!!!! a sharpened lawnmower blade from the hardware store.
    I am going to forge one end into a tang but leave the original temper in the cutting end.



    It is admittedly an unfair test in that hand forged blades done by an American smith will undoubtedly be superior to the Japanese and Chinese hand forged factory methods. Also unfair in that the testing medium is more taxing then cutting grass. And last- as can be expected- the Nihonto will fail miserably. They always do. They simply had no interest in quality control for performance that I can see. I have gone through about a dozen-including two by known smiths. In general they just don't seem all that good as far as swords go. Perhaps they did not expect anyone to actually use them.
    I am trying to get a collector friend of mine to let me test one of his European swords. He has one from the battle of Agincourt that I would place up against a nihonto and bet on to win. Another was from one of Napoleons field marshals. It is mechanical Damascus with a spring tempered body.

    Anyway, I am doing this for my own interest in seeing how these mass produced blades stack up just for the heck of it. I have read all the nonsense and comparisons and they piqued my interest. In the last year or so I have purchased a collection of different manufacturers swords just for this reason. So far I am quite surprised at the quality of the forging of D. Guertin and Bugei blades as I have already cut with them dozens of times through 2" trees.

    I'll let you know how it turns out.

    Cheers
    Dan
    Last edited by Dan Harden; 18th October 2004 at 12:39.

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