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  #1  
Old 03-08-2006, 08:47 AM
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Arrow Interesting Bit of Japanese sword making.

To produce their superlative blades, Japanese artisans had to overcome a problem that had baffled all armorers throughout the world since the earliest time of recorded history.

One way the Japanese sword makers solved the problem was to hammer together layers of steel of varying hardness welding them into a metal sandwich.

This sandwich of metal layers was then reheated, folded back on itself and hammered out thin again.
After this had been repeated about a dozen times, the steel consisted of thousands of paper-thin laminations of hard and soft metal. When it was ground to a sharp edge the hard metal stood out and resisted dulling, while the soft steel kept the sword from breaking.


But to produce their best blades, the swords that are sought after by collectors today, the Japanese sword makers used a much more intricate process. For the core, or interior, of the blade, they used a comparatively soft, laminated metal that would resist breaking. The blade's exterior and edge, however, were made of different grades of hard steel welded together in a sandwich that was folded and hammered out as many as 20 times or more, giving it more than a million laminations!

source-http://victorian.fortunecity.com/duc...10/katana.html
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Old 03-08-2006, 10:19 AM
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Default Re: Interesting Bit of Japanese sword making.

Its amazing the patience and skill with which the sword-makers crafted their swords. The sense of pride a great sword-crafter must have had when they produced one of the blades after so much sweat and tears must have been so gratifying.

I don't think even today there is any amount of mass-production that could craft such fine blades. I believe there are still a very few sword-makers in Japan today that use this art still, bit commercialization has rendered their art lost except to a few "hard-core" collectors. Its a shame really...
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Old 03-08-2006, 12:30 PM
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Default Re: Interesting Bit of Japanese sword making.

Commercialization hasn't rendered the art lost. Hundreds(and thousands) of years ago, swords were a way of life. Technology turned a once necessary skill into an art. Swordmaking was not considered an art until it was outdated by machinery and firearms. Laws, politics, and the necessity to keep up technologically made swords, and thus their creation, less popular.
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Old 03-08-2006, 01:18 PM
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Default Re: Interesting Bit of Japanese sword making.

Agreed. What I meant was that with commercializtion (and the rendering of swords less viable in modern warfare) the art of swordmaking is no longer considered. In pre-gunpowder eras it wasn't necessarily a matter of not having acess to finely crafted swords, but more what you could afford. Today we have machines and factories that have the potential to produce mass quantities of good availble to the general public, but there are still those that choose to embrace the "old ways" and practice the arts passed down through the generations.

Maybe I'm just a romantic and born in the wrong centruy
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Old 03-08-2006, 02:46 PM
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Default Re: Interesting Bit of Japanese sword making.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kasuga
Maybe I'm just a romantic and born in the wrong centruy
ive often thought that about my self XD But ya, Japanese sword makers are incredible. One day when I go to Japan (i will, i know it ) i would love to watch one, even learn if possible (that would be so awesome).
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Old 03-08-2006, 03:33 PM
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Default Re: Interesting Bit of Japanese sword making.

I would just be happy to be able to hold one of those swords and know hundreds of years of tradition led to the creation of such a fine blade.

I'm planning on going to Japan for my 10th wedding anniversary, of not before then. Its on my "to do before I die" list
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Old 03-08-2006, 04:03 PM
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Default Re: Interesting Bit of Japanese sword making.

Whooop! I think im going next year to visit friends lol
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Old 03-08-2006, 05:11 PM
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Post Re: Interesting Bit of Japanese sword making.

I met craftsmen in Spain that actually hand make all kinds of blades including katanas and shorter versions of katanas, I even bought two while i was there. However I believe they are not the quality of true samurai swords from what I see.
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Old 03-08-2006, 07:47 PM
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Default Re: Interesting Bit of Japanese sword making.

Spanish blades are I believe second only to original japanese smithed blades in quality.

The difference is how long they keep folding the metal over.

Now days not many people have the patience to do it as many times as they did back in the day, and when its probably not going to be used in a life or death situation why bother.

I have seen genuine Japanese folded blades in my local museum (gift to my country from Japan) and I have to say the blade looks soooo different from the cheap knock offs you see everywhere. You can tell its heavy and strong.

I also had a old Japanese flatmate who said his Uncle in Japan had a real Katana handed down generations etc, He said it was heavy, very heavy
which is a complete contrast to the light flimsy things you see in every knife or martial arts shop.
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Old 03-08-2006, 09:34 PM
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Post Re: Interesting Bit of Japanese sword making.

Very true. Yes the spanish sword craftsmen were pretty damn good but i want to see an authentic quality japanese sword. I am half japanese and I i am very interested in my peoples history.
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