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View Full Version : Reforging a Sword?



quixote100104
03-30-2009, 12:24 AM
Greetings :-),

Does anyone know if it's feasable for a finely made steel sword blade from, say, the middle ages to have been melted down and re-used to create a new blade?

What I'm looking for is to establish a direct connection between the primary "family blades" of an English family down through generations of military service, through changing types of service blade (medieval arming sword - 16th/17th century backsword - 18th/19th century cavalry saber).

Thanks :-),

Puma
03-30-2009, 01:53 AM
I'm pretty sure it could be re-forged (heated and hammered into a different shape) but I'm not sure about melting it down. You might want to look for info on blacksmiths in your time periods to see whether you can get some better information. Puma

quixote100104
03-30-2009, 02:16 AM
I'm pretty sure it could be re-forged (heated and hammered into a different shape) but I'm not sure about melting it down. You might want to look for info on blacksmiths in your time periods to see whether you can get some better information. Puma

I had planned on having the tradition stretch back to the 9th or 10th century (family originally Norse, then Norman and thus British aristocratic from the beginning). AFAIK, the best blades for most of that period were pattern welded, so I wasn't sure if reshaping would nessesarily work. I don't know the mechanics of it though, thus my question.

AngelRoseDarke
03-30-2009, 05:49 AM
I am a sword dealer, so they are a specialty of mine. The answer to your main question is yes. With enough heat any metal can be melted down. The drawback is that the new sword would not be as sturdy as the original though unless some fresh ore was added. The result of mixing the ores together would be a damascas blade.

I hope this helped.

Puma
03-30-2009, 05:58 AM
Interesting, AngelRose. I'm familiar with Damascus barrels on some guns, but I thought it referred to the etched (or whatever) treatment of the metal rather than to it's composition. Does what you're saying mean the barrels are actually re-done steel and the decorative finish has nothing to do with the tag as Damascus? Puma

AngelRoseDarke
03-30-2009, 06:10 AM
The decorative finish on Damascus metal is from the polishing of it. Some companies now do it just for looks, but in an original piece if you were to break the blade (or barrel) you would be able to see that the swirly pattern goes all the way through.

Damascus metal was very popular in the 1800's because it made gun production cheaper. The swirls are a by-product of the mixing of the ores, and were not intentional at all.

Puma
03-30-2009, 03:19 PM
Thank you, Angel Rose. I can recognize Damascus easily but had no idea the swirls were in the metal. Thank you for inmproving my knowledge. Puma

Adam
03-30-2009, 04:37 PM
If you want to go into the specifics of the metals used and the physical processes involved in reforging, I'd recommend a site like British Blades (http://www.britishblades.com/forums/). Ask nicely in the right sections and they'll go into mind numbing detail. Been a member there for a couple of years, they're mostly very helpful. ;)

Sarpedon
03-30-2009, 05:05 PM
It was far more common for medieval blades to be 'cut down' to smaller sizes to fit with the current fashion of swords. There were plenty of medieval longswords that got converted to, say, a rennaisance broadsword that way.

WriteKnight
03-30-2009, 06:28 PM
I'm confused by your intent. Is it your intent to follow the history of a particular BLADE through being reshaped and reforged over the ages? Or are you trying to establish that scrap steel was remelted and used again - sometimes the scrap included old swords?

hammerklavier
03-30-2009, 07:43 PM
Everytime you do work on a sword in this way, it removes some of the carbon that was alloyed with the iron during the forging process. This makes the sword less hard and more likely to bend under pressure. One trick you could use that started (for swords) in the early 1800's is to fire the sword in an airtight box containing carbon material to deposit a thin, yet effective layer of high carbon steel onto the surface of the blade. This was called crucible steel.

Here's a good article on sword making: http://www.anvilfire.com/21centbs/armor/atli/index.htm

AngelRoseDarke
03-30-2009, 08:07 PM
Thank you, Angel Rose. I can recognize Damascus easily but had no idea the swirls were in the metal. Thank you for inmproving my knowledge. Puma

You are very welcome.