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Tai chi sword

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. Does anyone 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. Pilsner

    Pilsner Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Oct 28, 2017
    hexenjager likes this.
  3. Ourorboros

    Ourorboros

    151
    Jan 23, 2017
    Tatami mat.
    Generally spring steel is a good place to start.
     
  4. KenHash

    KenHash Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 11, 2014
    Just FYI, The "Tai Chi Sword" is called a Jian in Chinese where it originates. It is called a "Tsurugi" in Japanese where it existed prior to the development of the single edged curved "Katana".
    Test cutting with a Jian was called "Shizan" in China where straw/bamboo figures were cut. "Tatami" is a Japanese flooring mat and never existed in China, therefore never used for test cutting.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2018
    hexenjager, Mecha, James Y and 4 others like this.
  5. Michael McKay

    Michael McKay

    10
    Nov 21, 2018
    Thanks for the information .i was just making a forged in fire reference. They use the tatami mats for testing the blades from time to time .
     
  6. Henry Beige

    Henry Beige Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 1, 2015
    Whenever I have seen the Tai Chi sword forms, we always used wooden practice swords. Never even seen a metal blade.
     
  7. Michael McKay

    Michael McKay

    10
    Nov 21, 2018
    The dojo has the wooden swords, but people have their own metal swords.
     
  8. horseclover

    horseclover Basic Member Basic Member

    Nov 21, 2000
    5160 and 6150 are popular amongst the US makers but they are doing mostly stock removal. 5160 has some appeal for forging but there are a lot of possibilities for forging. A sword is probably not the place to begin forging but general metalworking and developing skills with tools not something learned overnight.

    Angus Trim uses stock removal and 5160, then outsourced marquenching heat treating. Michael "Tinker" Pearce has been getting his 5160 treated first, then grinding and doing a differential temper with a torch. Steve Voorhis forges 5160 but doing knife lengths.

    Gus uses a cnc mill and is a tai chi practitioner. He did a tac jian at one point and may yet towards the end of his career. He has hinted doing some of his tactical stuff again. He had done a lot of his single hand swords with his tai chi preferences in mind but others of his stuff heavier thumpers.

    Here is one of his tac jian blades still waiting to get cut out of the web after run through his mill.
    tacjian.jpg

    Then here the finished product

    1.jpg 3.jpg

    There is a Hanwei practical tai chi sword, which would be my suggestion to have something aside from a wood bokken, while developing the smithing techniques. I have a nice picture of a five burner propane forge, which would be a dream machine for long blades but forges can be a lot less technical. Still a long fire makes long blades a lot easier and raised up to chest height, a lot easier on the back.

    Space is a big hurdle, or find shared space. Currently, my condo life doesn't make for a cozy shop space. Making even small projects aside from filing difficult. I have somewhat gone back to my interests in horology and monkey wrenching watches. I still get some old sword work done but containing the mess difficult.

    Cheers
    GC
     
  9. horseclover

    horseclover Basic Member Basic Member

    Nov 21, 2000
    Draw filing in sections of a longer blade needs a table stable enough to clamp a piece of steel down, while leaving enough surface of the steel to work. I've used a file to somewhat re-profile a blade's cross section and doing so evenly makes for a lot of counting and consistency.

    Harbor Freight sells some inexpensive belt grinders and they have found favor for many just for sharpening swords. The cheap grinders though start to go through bushings and bearings pretty quickly, so if going into a lot of grinding you might want to put real money into a machine, or make one.

    Learn draw filing with some scrap metal. Something like an old bed frame or shelving, just to get used to filing. Gloves and a handle for the file and a file card (brush). Plan on replacing files as they wear. You are looking for a mill bastard for draw filing.

    Cheers
    GC
     
  10. Michael McKay

    Michael McKay

    10
    Nov 21, 2018
    That's a nice and clean looking sword. Not too fancy, but a good look to it .
     
  11. Michael McKay

    Michael McKay

    10
    Nov 21, 2018
    I have my own garage to work in. Not sure I'd need to put a forhe in it. There's a lot of start up costs for a hobby i wouldn't have a lot of time for.

    Probably use an angle grinder to take off the bulk and then file it down the details.
     
    Mecha likes this.
  12. Mecha

    Mecha Madscienceforge.com Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 27, 2013
    After it's shaped, you can send it out for a pro HT, it isn't expensive.
     
  13. Michael McKay

    Michael McKay

    10
    Nov 21, 2018
    What i might do is get a longer piece of steel, chop it down and make some sort of a knife just to get the hang of working with the metal.
     
    Mecha likes this.
  14. Michael McKay

    Michael McKay

    10
    Nov 21, 2018
    Maybe try a heat treatment with my oxi acetaline torch
     

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