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Albion ArchDuke

Discussion in 'Sword Discussion' started by Moreau, Sep 18, 2018.

  1. Moreau

    Moreau

    145
    Mar 20, 2012
    So I just ordered an Albion ArchDuke, so the waiting begins. Anyone have any info on this blade? Any hands on would be nice to hear about. It doesn’t seem to have much info other than the on the website.
     
  2. Triton

    Triton Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 8, 2000
    It's a fairly new sword so I doubt many have handled it. I haven't seen one yet. However it seems to be a slightly bigger version of the duke and I used to own one of those. It was a large sword but handled well for its size. Fit and finish were excellent. I expect this one is the same.
     
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  3. Moreau

    Moreau

    145
    Mar 20, 2012
    Thanks for the info, this is my first real sword and I’m truly excited about getting it. Just gotta wait 9-11 months to play with it. Did you do any cutting with your duke?
     
  4. Richard338

    Richard338 Gold Member Gold Member

    579
    May 3, 2005
    I was reading some pages on their website.
    https://www.albion-swords.com/swords-components.htm

    Seems a few steps above what is sold at truck stops!
    55" OAL! This thing will be a monster.
    I just wish they would give more details about the steel type and heat treat process...
     
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  5. Moreau

    Moreau

    145
    Mar 20, 2012
    I believe they are using 6150, I think they use molten salt for heat treat and hot oil for the tempering. From what I’ve read they do a good job but I guess I’ll find out eventually.
     
  6. Richard338

    Richard338 Gold Member Gold Member

    579
    May 3, 2005
    6150 is about 0.5% carbon. That more or less fits what they say about matching the carbon content of the period.
     
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  7. horseclover

    horseclover Basic Member Basic Member

    Nov 21, 2000
    marquenched 6150
     
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  8. Moreau

    Moreau

    145
    Mar 20, 2012
    From what I’ve read when properly hardened and tempered 6150 is rather tough and has great springing characteristics ( truck leaf springs). I’m guessing since Albien uses it it should work fairly good in a sword. But we shall see
     
  9. Moreau

    Moreau

    145
    Mar 20, 2012
    Didn’t know that’s what its called, thanks for the info. Gave me more to read up on.
     
  10. horseclover

    horseclover Basic Member Basic Member

    Nov 21, 2000
    Del Tin and Arms&Armor are using 6150 as well. I don't know if they are marquenching.

    There used to be an Albion video that shows a brief spot of the interrupted quench routine. Angus Trim's 5160 blades similarly go though a marquenching but he uses a third party high quality controlled facility. AFAIK, Albion is still heat treating one blade at a time. Part of the waiting time has been staff turnover and the lapses as newcomers are trained. IIRC, it had been about a year ago they went through a training phase so hopefully the year long waits may be reduced some.

    When Albion went to 6150, it was because they bought an entire batch from a steel maker and were able to tout "their own propriety steel". That was around 2005 and I believe they are still working with that same pile of steel for most of their swords but some have thicker blades than others.

    Albion is another working with third parties to cnc the blades and cast fittings.

    As to medieval steel qualities, here is an old article and followup by Craig Johnson of A&A
    http://oakeshott.org/some-aspects-of-the-metallurgy-and-production-of-european-armor/
    re weapons
    Notes on Weapons
    There has been very little research into weapons of the same period and hopefully the next several years will see more efforts in this area. At this time some specific examples can be commented on but it would be difficult to extrapolate this to the whole as the sample is so small.

    There has been one pole weapon examined, a 15th C. bill in the form usually described as Italian. The item was of no particular historical significance so the decision was made to bisect the piece in 8 places to learn as much as possible from the item. The construction method was a series of folding to create the form, but there does not seem to be any particular attempt to maximize any hardness of cutting areas or spikes. The carbon content was high enough to harden the item if so desired by the maker, but there is no evidence it was heat treated in any way to increase hardness and it was obviously not a goal of the smith. The cutting edges and top spike of the item are completely unhardened, registering below 8 on the Rockwell C scale.5

    In the case of medieval and renaissance swords a little more is known. At the present time there have been about 20 such pieces tested and published, with the vast majority being constructed in a piled fashion and the edges being carburized and heat treated.9,12 The earlier Nordic pattern welded blades have actually been studied and tested far more extensively than their medieval counterparts. What has become clear is that the blade construction did not go from pattern welded blades to single homogeneous piece construction, but from pattern welded to piled construction using varying grades of carbon content pieces to achieve a hardenable sword edge.9 In fact there seems to have been an intermediate period, 9th to 11th C., where the pattern welding was a desirable decorative technique as sheets of the design were laminated to the surfaces of iron or piled blades.10 Many of the early swords, in fact some swords well into the 15th century, would probably not have had less flex than is normally thought. Instead, their soft noncarburized or low carbon cores would have been more prone to bending than flexing.

    One sword tested had three distinct bands in carbon content ranging from .1% to .8% with the steely parts having achieved hardnesses in the 250-330 VPH (20-32 Rc) range.10 In eight swords sampled from the 11th to the 15th C., five were case carburized iron bars, two were iron/steel composite structures, and one was several pieces of steel welded together. The heat treating method included five blades slack quenched & tempered, two timed quenched, and one left untreated (an "Ulfbert" sword with an exceptionally high carbon content, which seems to have been made from crucible steel perhaps originating in the Middle East14).9

    In the16th C. a different method of production is seen in some swords, using the technique of forging together layers or folding material to create a more homogeneous steel product. Of four 16th C. swords tested, two were constructed in this new manner; one was constructed by wrapping an iron core with a steel skin and heat treating; and the last was constructed in a piled configuration. The four swords were tested for hardness and fell in the range of 325-480 VPH (about 32-47 Rc). The sword with the 480 VPH was the steel wrapped iron core and the core hardness was 147 VPH (below 0 on the Rc scale, abt 78 on the Rb scale).12

    The indications from these few examples is that the production of sword blades was a varied activity with several different methods being practiced and quite a range of results achieved. There also would seem to be a correlation in the development of better steels for armor and swords occurring at approximately the same times. Hopefully new research into the development of steel fabrication in the period under discussion will lead to a more detailed perspective on both weapons and armor fabrication and allow us to appreciate these items fully.

    All hardness measurements are given in Vickers hardness scale (VPH) with their approximate Rockwell C (Rc) equivalents as listed in Hardening, Tempering, & Heat Treatment by Tubal Cain, Argus Books, England.
     
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  11. horseclover

    horseclover Basic Member Basic Member

    Nov 21, 2000
    Craig's followup
    Hello All

    Good discussion. I have been working with some of Dr. William's latest work and going over some of the metallurgical studies that have come out since I wrote the article mentioned above.

    IMHO This is one of the most interesting aspects of old vs new sword production and usage. The consistency of the steel and methodology used in making modern steels and heat treatment are what allow us today to say our products fall in such and such a quality range. If it is Rc Hardness most modern makers have grouped in the 48 to 52 range. Why, well its pretty much sales. Demand by the customers for what is "right". This is not necessarily bad but it is definitely a much tighter envelope than what was considered acceptable in period.

    The ranges for hardness that are listed in Dr. Williams articles goes up to the low 500's VPH (Vickers Hardness) This would be in the 49-51 range for Rc. These two scales measure slightly different things and the VPH is a bit better at indicating "toughness" as well as hardness while the Rc scale is pretty straight forward surface resistance to penetration. I am not sure where the 60 Rc (720 VPH) pieces would be Matt as I have not seen those kinds of numbers appear in any of Allan's writing or raw testing I have seen. They maybe there but I would be wary of there being any significant number of them.

    IMHO the average range for hardness in Medieval swords would be in the 44 Rc range with the extremes dropping off the RC scale on the soft side (probably low 200's on the VPH) and the upper range in the low 50's. This is of course very rough as the sample of swords we have is very small and each blade will often range over 10 Rc points in hardness at different points of the blade. Things like 50Rc edges and 20Rc in the core of the blade.

    The period steels and techniques could deliver an excellent blade by today?s "industry" standard but I do not think they felt that such was needed for a good sword. The ability to produce many different types was clearly available to them. It could be a heavy thrusting sword or a light cutter. It could have fullers or ridges. It could be a crisp hollow ground diamond or a paper-thin convex cross section. You would want different attributes in each of these blades and they were capable of doing what they needed to accomplish the goal. I do not think they were over engineering as they did not look at these items as eternal they were weapons that where to be used and that meant they would have a finite life, but would be maximized for there intended purpose.

    The most difficult thing I have encountered in the study of swords is not discerning what the originals have to tell us but passing this information on to others who have preconceptions that disagree with the evidence. 10 years ago Many customers would tell me my swords where to light. 5 years ago I heard a lot that my swords are to heavy now it?s about 1/3 to heavy, 1/3 to light and 1/3 think they are pretty good. The swords have not changed that much but the perception of what a sword should be has in the modern customer.

    In the context of what has survived to this day the books and the swords are what we have and it is difficult to make any kind of general statement as our knowledge and understanding of both are in early stages.

    There is much that can be looked at in detail here so if you have any questions I would be happy to answer them to the best of my ability.


    Best
    Craig

    Here are some good sources:

    Anteins, A.K., Structure and Manufacture Techniques of Pattern-Welded objects found in the Baltic States, Journal of Iron & Steel Institute,(1968), 563.

    de Reuck, Anthony, Greenwich Revisited or Gunpowder and the Obsolescence of Armour, JAAS, Vol. XV, No. 7, p426.

    Jones, Lee A., "The Serpent in the Sword: Pattern-welding in Early Medieval Swords," Park Lane Arms Fair Catalogue 14, 1997, p. 7 - 11.

    Lang, Janet and Ager, Barry, "Swords of the Anglo-Saxon and Viking Periods in the British Museum: a Radiographic Study," in Hawkes, Sonia Chadwick, ed., Weapons and Warfare in Anglo-Saxon England, Oxford University Committee for Archaeology, 1989, p. 85 - 122

    Pfaffenbiehler, Mathias, Medieval Craftsmen, Armourers, 1992, Toronto.

    Tylecote, R.F. and Gilmour, B.J.J, The Metallography of Early Ferrous Edge Tools and Edged Weapons, Oxford: B.A.R., 1986.

    Williams, Dr. Alan R., Slag Inclusions in Armour Plate (1400-1640), Bloomery Ironmaking During 2000 Years. Seminar in Budalen, Norway, 1991.

    Williams, Dr. Alan R., Four Helms of the 14th Century, JAAS, 198, Vol. 10, No 3, p 80-102.

    Williams, Dr. Alan R., Fifteenth Century Armour from Churburg- a metallurgical study, Armi Antiche, Torino, 1986 13,3.

    Williams, Dr. Alan R., Augsburg Craftsmen and the Metallurgy of Innsbruck Armour, JAAS, Vol. XIV, No 3.

    Williams, Dr. Alan R. & J. G. O'hara, The Technology of a 16th Century Staff Weapon, JAAS Vol. IX, No 5.

    Williams, Dr. Alan R., & Anthony de Reuck, The Royal Armoury at Greenwich 1515-1649, A history of its Technology, Royal Armouries, Monograph 4, 1995, London.

    Williams, Dr. Alan R., Methods of Manufacture of Swords in Medieval Europe: Illustrated by the Metallography of some Examples, Gladius, 1977.

    Williams, Dr. Alan R. & J. Lang, The Hardening of Iron Swords, Journal of Archaeological Science, 2., 1975, 199.

    Williams, Dr. Alan R., Seven Swords of the Renaissance from an Analytical Point of View, Gladius, 1978, p97.

    Williams, Dr. Alan R. & K. R. Maxwell-Hyslop, Ancient Steel from Egypt, Journal of Archeological Science, 1976, London.


    The entire old thread at Sword Forum International
    http://www.swordforum.com/forums/showthread.php?46189-Steel-Hardness-Reproduction-vs-Historical

    Cheers
    GC
     
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  12. Richard338

    Richard338 Gold Member Gold Member

    579
    May 3, 2005
    Interesting stuff. I also saw the NOVA special about Ulfberht (secrets of the viking sword).
     
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  13. Moreau

    Moreau

    145
    Mar 20, 2012
    That was an awesome episode, you can watch it on YouTube. I’ve watched it a couple times myself. I thought it kinda crazy that they can get the results they do with the methods used.
     
  14. Moreau

    Moreau

    145
    Mar 20, 2012
    Thank you for the info it gives me much more to research.
     
  15. Triton

    Triton Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 8, 2000
    I did. Only on soft targets though i.e. pool noodles and some cardboard. It handled well on both. I think Albion has their heat treatment pretty well in hand at this point. As I recall there were some problems early on but they got those under control years ago.
     
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  16. Moreau

    Moreau

    145
    Mar 20, 2012
    That sounds great, gonna see how it cuts once I get it. I was thinking about getting some of those cutting matts and adding 1” by 1” pieces of pine. Can’t wait to get it, it’ll be my first real sword.
     
  17. Triton

    Triton Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 8, 2000
    If I can suggest start with the pool noodles and cardboard to get your technique right. Mats are expensive. I wouldn't use the pine either. You would be better off with green bamboo. It's a better simulation. Unless you are practicing for that impending war against the ents I suppose....:)

    My first real quality sword was an arms and armor German bastard sword. I feel where you are coming from. I still have that sword!
     
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