Steel is strong, but flesh is stronger...
May 7, 2010 2:51 PM Subscribe
Could we make better swords today?
posted by fatbird to technology (21 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
The art of making Japanese swords is generally viewed as having its high point around the 16th century. There are current Japanese swordsmiths using the same techniques, but in discussions I've been told that they view themselves (perhaps with false humility) as vastly inferior compared to the great smiths of the past.
Likewise, the watered or Damascus steel
of the 11th to 17th centuries is considered one of the peaks of Western swordmaking, and that technique has been lost.
However, we know a lot more about metallurgy and working with metals in general today, so (cost being no object) could we make better swords today than were made in the past? What would make such a contemporary sword better? I presume that better alloys are available--imagine a titanium longsword, for example. I would think that we could make lighter, stronger, more flexible swords that hold an edge better. I'm talking about swords to be actually used in combat.
There's a thriving craft sword industry these days. How do the best artisan-produced swords of today compare?