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Tai chi sword steel?

Discussion in 'Sword Discussion' started by Michael McKay, Nov 21, 2018.

  1. Michael McKay

    Michael McKay

    10
    Nov 21, 2018
    I'm researching steel to make a Tai Chi sword. I recently did a black smith work shop and he suggested looking into nice spring steel or to see what they are made of .

    The sword will probably only be used for Tai Chi demonstrion. It likely won't be slicing tatomy mats, but the forged in fire fan in me kind of wants to do a heat treatment.

    I don't have a forge of my own so i would be shaping it with either a file or a grinder.

    The blade will probably be approximately 3 feet long plus a handle. Do you have any recommendations on sizes and steel types?



    I thake Tai Chi in Toronto, and there is a Tai Chi sword element in the next level when i grade. I'm sure i can go down to China Town or order something off Amazon, but I want to make my own sword

    I want to make something i can be proud of, not use something mass produced
     
  2. Joseph Gardner

    Joseph Gardner

    139
    Oct 12, 2018
    Is this forged or cut away?
     
  3. Joseph Gardner

    Joseph Gardner

    139
    Oct 12, 2018
    If its forged you want a simple san mai of w2 and wrought iron, a center peice of 1/4th and the side plates of .25 to 3/8ths is fine.

    8 inches of 1 inch wide san mai of those 3 parts is simple to weld the wrought iron pretty much will glue itself to any metal. Just make sure to flip it on every blow even with a power hammer. Hand hammering is easy, w2 and wrought iron is super easy to forge.

    If its a cut away Cru Forge V is remarkably stable at recommended rhc 60 heat treat with a baby blue temper.

    Edit note: 1018 and 1020 wont give you the astetic traditional feel or the nice patina plus they are never substitutes for real wrought iron, the wrought iron has fiber bits that reduce fatigue on shock absorption and flexing.
     
  4. Joseph Gardner

    Joseph Gardner

    139
    Oct 12, 2018
    Other question, what dynasty Jian/Dao you thinking?
     
  5. Michael McKay

    Michael McKay

    10
    Nov 21, 2018

    Tai chi chuan. Not sure of the dynasty. I haven't had to learn that. Maybe at grading.
    I'll talk with the Smith where i did my workshop to see how much it would be to do that . As cool as it sonds, i have to be reasonable with the cost.

    Thanks

    Mike
     
  6. Joseph Gardner

    Joseph Gardner

    139
    Oct 12, 2018
    You can buy a foot of .25"x1" w2 at Usaknifemaker for about 6$. A slab cut of wagon wheel wrought iron will run you about 30-50$ but you will only end up using half of it. After you make your tange leave an extra inch a grind a sharp tip onto it you can make a hole in the wrought iron and forge a peice down the hole so it slides down the tang and then you can cut out a gaurd. You can then forge that section into a rod and drill out a hole in more of the wrought iron for a pommel, using a propane torch you can do a peen nut.

    https://usaknifemaker.com/shop-categories/metals/wrought-iron.html
    https://usaknifemaker.com/w2-200-thickness-see-length-note.html (ok so they have .2 but itl still work)

    This is where I get wrought iron when I don't have time to make it (which is about all the time now with a newborn)

    37$ plus shipping, and whatever assistance and shop costs. Harbor freight sells cheap pig iron stones for about 3$ you can use an angle grinder with a think cutting wheel to do your final grinding and then stone finish that fucker out to a traditional sword. you will own a quality blade very few people have and then you can patina the iron part for something that looks very ancient.

    As i said this combination is extremely easy to forge weld just give it a decent soak time, gentlely press it all together soak it and then let it air cool, repeat and forge it out at a bubbly tangerine temp.

    W1 is a time honored tradition for manly men who swing hammers, W2 is the same thing with vanadium added. Its water hardening so you wont have any issues quenching it.

    Dao are single edged sabers to falchions, Jian are your double edged swords.

    The big noticible feature of chinese swords is that the blade tapers in both directions but the spine at the tip doesnt thin forming a thick punch unlike european blades which become super thin the chinese blades are a punch with blades sloping off it. This punch will actually break chain mail and damage armor considerably. the grind is just a single angle no changes.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2018
  7. Joseph Gardner

    Joseph Gardner

    139
    Oct 12, 2018
    Chinese blades emphasis one of two things raw might or finese.
     
  8. Joseph Gardner

    Joseph Gardner

    139
    Oct 12, 2018
    Oh forgot the prep work on the iron, its going to come pretty rough with small pittings ect. Just heat it up to dull orange, flux the hell out of it and then reheat, take it out and scrub it down with a brush and then gently flatten. you can cut your inch off the bar and then repeat to get your two sections, sand it smooth so it matches the W2, sand the W2 smooth as well.

    You wont need flux afterwards to weld because the wrought iron has flux in it but the clean surfaces will help alot.
     
  9. Michael McKay

    Michael McKay

    10
    Nov 21, 2018
    New borns tend to be very time consuming .it only gets busier. I have 3 boys, 2,4,and 7 and they keep me hopping. The fact my wife found a black smith work shop for the day is kind of amazing .I thought i would ask him if the sword is something i could work up to. He said it's a lot to work up to and suggested getting a spring steel and file it. That's what another client of his did then the heayed it up. There is always the option to heat treat it after. I made a fire poker and a coal rake .Next spring I'll do a 4 hour work shop, make some sort of a blade with a recurve handle, and start some sort of a blade with a tang to take home to finish a handle with a 24 hour appoxy .

    It would be nice to make a fully forged sword, but if I'm paying for shop time i have to be realistic of the sword cost and have to watch the budget.
     
  10. Mecha

    Mecha Madscienceforge.com Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 27, 2013
    I wouldn't laminate wrought iron in the core of that sword if I were you. :rolleyes::D
     
  11. Joseph Gardner

    Joseph Gardner

    139
    Oct 12, 2018
    Its my first :)

    Oh wow. I spent two years with my teacher and the requirement was i had to buy my own steel and charcoal, spent my first couple months forging inch stock 01 and w2 into basic sword bars and then once i could forge a blade to shape it was bloom steel and making tools.

    If you lived in Utah i would just teach you for free. I suppose all of that really depends on your blacksmiths skill, alot of abana smiths never touch anything bigger then a knife or 1018 which isnt steel.

    Those two steels should only take 8 hours to forge into a blade. The rest is stock removal and heat treat.
     
  12. gadunz

    gadunz

    Dec 4, 2012
    What's "abana"?
     
  13. Joseph Gardner

    Joseph Gardner

    139
    Oct 12, 2018
    w2 was the core the wrought iron is the sides, not sure how you came to that.

    Artists Blacksmith Association North America. The work they do is mostly about forging structural steel into artwork for railings and fences ect, they like to make hooks and graveyard spikes ect out of metal so soft if you heated the center of a bar you could pick it up and bend it with your hands. They consider a basic intro to knife making to be a master level coarse. They have alot of really neat tricks and techniques for tool making though but they usually only hit soft and simple steels, and doing inlays and decorative things.
     
  14. Mecha

    Mecha Madscienceforge.com Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 27, 2013
    I suppose it's just easy to get confused when reading your particular word salad sperg. You have any examples of your wrought iron and W2 san mai swords to show us?
     
  15. Joseph Gardner

    Joseph Gardner

    139
    Oct 12, 2018
    Nope. Did not document my work for four years except for a work journal and hand drawn notes. i lived out of an rv as part of a travelling hippy group living off my deployment cash. I didnt even own a phone for a while. Iv given away most of what iv made.
     
  16. Mecha

    Mecha Madscienceforge.com Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 27, 2013
    Huh. So you learned to forge from an ABANA blacksmith, then became a traveling RV hippie laminated steel billet forger, and gave away the billets? And now you sell laminated billets to sword smiths for many hundreds of dollars?

    Sorry man, but you've been blasting the sword forum with so much quasi-solicited advice and opinion, it begs the question of who you is and what's your experience with swords and sword-making.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2018
    hexenjager, LEGION 12 and Danke42 like this.
  17. Joseph Gardner

    Joseph Gardner

    139
    Oct 12, 2018
    Lol mecha.
     
  18. Mecha

    Mecha Madscienceforge.com Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 27, 2013
    Lol what? Most of what you've been saying is a gobbledegook of random forge-welding factoids, mixed with confusingly-written and even outright wrong information.

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Joseph Gardner

    Joseph Gardner

    139
    Oct 12, 2018
    Youv taken fragments from different parts of conversations and somehow strung them up together as quotes. Even im confused now.

    No my smith teacher was not abana though i am a local member, i got to meet bear from bear forge two months ago. my teacher was tyler adkins who was on forged in fire.

    As for laminations the saying goes "iv done it a hundred times", so as a practice when i would stop at a convention i would forge out kobuse and san mai laminations, draw them out into a balanced taper and start over, sometimes doing a tip and a light bevel for a stock removal guy. The reason i would sell them for hundreds if i didnt give them away was because i folded the wrought iron in the core 15 times myself.

    I have a guy who does my woodwork a guy who does my fittings a guy who does.my finishing polishing after iv sharpened it, they all the sign the blade i do not, i start over.

    I place every ounce of my hatred and memories of killing into swinging that hammer, and then i throw the blank away to someone who wants it and start over. I do not keep them i dont want an identity, merely to share what iv learned and im failing at that.

    It is not something i expect you to understand. Now can we be done with flaming posts this is about the fourth one wev argued on off topic, and im owning my part in that, now can we be civil and stop killing other peoples posts, its about them not us.

    This doesnt belong here.
     
    The Zieg likes this.
  20. althesmith

    althesmith Basic Member Basic Member

    50
    Jan 9, 2015
    You can make a perfectly serviceable sword with either straight 5160 (spring stock) or any medium carbon to high carbon steel. I wouldn't bother with wrought or laminations. I don't particularly like wrought myself, and when I make pattern-welded stock I don't bother including anything which wouldn't make a decent blade in itself, my usual combo is 1084 and L6 or 15N20 steel. But that lamination is mostly for appearance sake. A perfectly functional blade can be made from a decent steel through stock removal, grinding or filing or whatever, if you make sure that in heat-treating the blade isn't overheated before the quench, and an adequate temper is drawn after quenching- I like to go 450 or so for sword blades. Also, radiusing the tang/ricasso junction so there are no sharp corners is also a good practice. Most plain carbon steels should be quenched around 1500 F, 1550 is what I use for 5160, and most steel you're going to get now you should be oil quenching- water will tend to make cracks in the blade.
     

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