Carbon and stainless?

by Josh

QUESTION: You have said that stainless steel, once longer than a foot, becomes very brittle. I was wondering if it would be possible to make a some what structurally sound blade from a combination of stainless steel and carbon steel. Or, would it be possible to make a blade with stainless steel, with a 1 inch piece of carbon steel every 12 inches?

I was just wondering, in your opinion, what is the toughest beater, your favorite western sword, your favorite eastern sword, and which sword would you trust your life to most in a fight with an opponent that you didn't know what to expect from?

Lastly, I just wanted to thank you for the great job you did on this site. It's what got me interested in fully functional swords. It covers almost every topic I might want to find out about. You do a great job of replying to these questions. Everyone seems happy with your customer service. There are a few some what n00b questions, with very bad grammar and such, and you always reply very politely. Thanks again!

ANSWER: Hi Josh,

Interesting question! But I don't think it would work, mostly because if the blade was made in the manner you describe, each border area where the different types of steels meet sounds like it might be a structural weakness...

The generalization that stainless steel swords over 12" long are brittle is true enough 95% of the time. However, it CAN be heat treated in such a way that it is as good as carbon steel - it just takes a lot longer to do and is more difficult to get it right, so there have only been a handful of smiths who have bothered.

As to my favourite sword - well, it changes all the time..! Partly because the market changes, and partly because there are so many types of swords out there that it is impossible to get bored..! Some of my favorite recent swords are the Global Gear Chikara and the Darksword Gothic. But real classics include the Kaze, Tenchi, Cold Steel Gim and the Hanwei Practical Kung fu Sword.

I've got some more with me that I'll be reviewing soon, and one or two of them look to go right up there near the top, so I really can't say right now...! There's just too many to choose from..! ^_^


- Paul

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