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Titanium Sword ?

Discussion in 'Sword Discussion' started by Edwood7, Oct 4, 2011.

  1. Edwood7


    Mar 31, 2010
    I’m not very familiar with titanium as knife steel, but I was thinking. Is titanium sword actually possible? And if so, that’s it have any advantages over traditional steels?
  2. me2


    Oct 11, 2003
    It would be...odd. The lightness and flexibility would make it very strange imo. You could just make it thicker, heavier, and stiffer, but all that expense, just use steel.
  3. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    I think it would suck for a cutting sword...but for a thruster it might do a good job. An all titanium smallsword or estoc would be appropriate enough, but I doubt a Ti broadsword would work out so well.
  4. Planterz

    Planterz Basic Member Basic Member

    Mar 26, 2004
    Don't believe what the movies have told you. Titanium is a very poor metal for cutting instruments. Even the best titanium alloys (which are NOT the common ones like 6Al-4V) are mediocre compared to even the crummiest of common knife steels like 420J, and that's when talking about pocket knives. Swords are another matter entirely, and even less appropriate for titanium. There are common public misconceptions about titanium. Better than steel, stronger than steel, lighter than steel, etc. Some are true, some are not, some are only half-true. Titanium can be stronger than steel, but that doesn't necessarily mean what you think it means. The word "stronger" is also subjective, and can mean different things. Tensile strength, spring strength, hardness, etc. For some things titanium is the best choice. For some things steel is. When it comes down to it, titanium and steel are 2 different metals have benefits when used for specific things. The same goes for any other metals like aluminum, scandium, and magnesium.

    The simple fact is that if titanium made a superior blade metal, be it for a pocket knife or a sword, we would already have those in mass quantities. If titanium made a better pocket knife metal, top-end knives like the Sebenza would have titanium blades. If it made superior sword materials, we would see it commonly used for those as well.

    If a sword were made from titanium, you would likely have issues with edge chipping and dinging and bent blades. Can you make a sword from titanium? Of course you can. Would I want to be struck with one? Hell no. Would I expect it to be as effective or durable as a properly made steel sword? Absolutely not.
  5. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    I generally agree with all of the above. However, I stand by may comment that a big sword-shaped titanium skewer would work just fine. After all, it works in crowbars. All it has to be is stiff.
  6. DAGuertin


    Sep 21, 2011
    Agree with everything above... It's been done with some diving knives, and even those are horrible. Titanium is light, and that's about it. If you properly heat-age it, which is ridiculously expensive, it would make a great poker. I would *LOVE* to see a titanium-bladed smallsword mounted up by Kevin Cashen!!! :-D
  7. wnease


    Apr 22, 2004
    yes it would be odd, and with the low elastic modulus it would not be stiff if given the same dimensions as steel sword...

    but it would be lighter and very cool and very tough, and the harder alloys are as hard and strong as some spring-temper steel swords (RC low 40s)

    in design stages with a customer now for a Titanium sword
  8. Brian Ayres

    Brian Ayres

    Feb 4, 2011
    So..... I have a titanium "katana" blade that was given to me. It's not finished yet. Still working on other things yet.
    It's 3/16"x1-1/4"x36" with a 30" blade and a convex grind.
    Trying to decide how I want to refine the grind as right now it's way to thick to do much more than chop weeds.
    I'll add a couple pics in a minute.
  9. horohaidan


    Sep 21, 2009
    There is an Ti alloy, nitanol60 or nitinol60, which seems to have all the good qualities of both steel and Ti. Unfortunately it cost an arm and a leg...probably more.
  10. crimsonfalcon07


    Dec 27, 2010
    Would it be good for a sword that's supposed to be flexible? Like a tai chi sword?
  11. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    Practice, or wushu, jian are the flexible ones. Combat jian are stiff.
  12. crimsonfalcon07


    Dec 27, 2010
    Got a Hanwei one that's flexible, but still plenty good for combat. My sifu has a Chris Zhou combat one that's flexible. Pretty sure Adam Hsu's are flexible too. Not all jian are the same... The style that I learned has some moves that actually rely on the sword being bendy. Where do you get your information that ALL combat jian are supposed to be stiff? That's not been my experience, and I've been training in wushu for nearly 21 years now?
  13. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    Perhaps I misunderstood to what degree of flexibility you meant. ;) And yes, I made a generalization, but I most certainly didn't go so far as to implicitly state that ALL jian were stiff.

    Wouldn't cutting ability be severely compromised though? To my understanding the jian is a cut-and-thrust is it not?
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2011
  14. Brian Ayres

    Brian Ayres

    Feb 4, 2011
    I-Phone 281.jpg Here it is.... Titanium Goodness! :eek::D
  15. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    I'd stick a bell-guard saber hilt on that puppy--British 1908/Patton style. :D
  16. crimsonfalcon07


    Dec 27, 2010
    Honestly, the more flexible ones are almost entirely thrusting weapons. Even the combat ones aren't necessarily sharp on much of the edges. The stiffer jians are cutting weapons also, but they're also generally more heavy duty. I'm a big fan of Chris Zhou's rendition which won one of the Masters of Fire competitions.

    I just don't know HOW flexible the titanium is. If it's not too bad, that might be a good application.
  17. Ryan M

    Ryan M

    Aug 18, 2001
    I think the only practical use of titanium would be to laminate onto a thin steel edge to bulk it up and add a bit of stiffness, and aluminum (or magnesium) alloy would be much better, for obvious reasons. Something like a steel T-beam, maybe, as most of the stiffness would need to come from the steel.

    Not actually all that practical, though, probably. A normal size sword would be too light, and a buster sword sized one would make everyone laugh at you and make comments behind your back.


    Jul 22, 2011
    Planterz, is correct. Ti and almost all known alloys are not good for knives or swords.

    The edges are not likely to chip, at least I have not yet seen Ti chip out and I have cut LOTS of it. The material is to "soft" about halfway between aluminum and steel (sort of).

    Bendiness is similar to some spring steels, A friend made a set of coil springs for a racing sled, worked well. Given the same dimensions as a steel blade it should be plenty stiff, Shoot an old truck leaf spring makes a decent blade, doesn't it?

    Why on earth would anybody back a blade of any kind with Magnesium? It is flammable and may be lit by cutting and once burning you are not likely to have the proper extinguisher to put it out.

    But I am just a machinist and not a sword guy so may not know at all how it would be for a sword. Don't get me wrong it does have a certain cool factor, but so does my Titanium shot glass.

  19. fod

    fod a la sombra Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 6, 2006
    How to sharpen Titanium. a thread in Dan Fairly's forum. Also discussed is carbidization, or embedding Tungsten Carbide on the edge to give a sharp edge. It may be pertinent here.
  20. Ryan M

    Ryan M

    Aug 18, 2001
    Think mag-wheels, not pure magnesium. At least, I assume that crap is much harder to light if they make wheels out of it, which might scrape all over the pavement if the tire blows.

    But in any case, swords can only throw some pretty pathetic little sparks at best (and your edge is pretty well damaged if you see any). Think 1 or 2 little orange ones, maybe 3 if you work out a lot. Even vaseline-soaked cotton balls are almost impossible to light with a flint and steel, that throws way better sparks. One time, out of frustration with not being able to light very "easy" tinder, I decided to try lighting up some match heads with the flint and steel. Took 5 minutes! Maybe I'm just terrible at using a flint and steel, though I was getting about 10 times as many sparks, 10 times as bright, compared to anything I've seen with destructive sword testing. But the main point is, you would need to be Thor, the god of thunder, to light up a magnesium sword with a spark, and it'd be a lightning "spark," not one from whacking things together. :p

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