View Full Version : European and Asian swords

05-29-2013, 09:57 PM
I'm working on a fantasy wip with a special sword. During a magic ritual, the soul of a warrior is put into a sword. I'd like the sword to be distinct, such as being blue or blueish, but I'd also like to know more about sword making. My story takes place in roughly 14th century alternate Europe, but the soul swords are older and the ability to make them was lost according to my current worldbuilding.

So, is it possible to get interesting/distinct colors or hues in perfectly servicable swords? Is it possible to get interesting colors/hues in non-servicable swords that would break with heavy use? (So that a soul sword can be 'faked')

Any good references on swords out there? I remember something about folding the metal for stronger steel so I'm off to google that...

05-29-2013, 10:26 PM
http://pooleysword.com/ may be able to give you some information.
Some excellent information on evolution of swords here:
http://pooleysword.com/en/Evolution_of_Swords .

King Neptune
05-29-2013, 10:33 PM
You might consider Damascus steel instead. It has patterns or swirls or specks of pale and dark material. The oxidation colors that appear when one is heating for tempering include blue, but the color is purely a surface matter.


05-29-2013, 10:46 PM
The definitive work is The Book of the Sword by famed explorer Sir Richard Burton. Dover has published a facsimile reprint. It's full of fabulous, detailed information, and hundreds of excellent illustrations.

Bear in mind also that swords come in two rather distinct forms, straight ones designed more for stabbing, and curved ones, like the sabre or samurai swords, intended as slashing weapons.


Mr. Mask
05-29-2013, 10:53 PM
There actually is a process similar to what you are describing: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bluing_%28steel%29
See if that works for you.

Folding steel is part of the process of making the (de)famed katana. There are many ways to go about it, however. Viking swords had a very intricate, fascinating process: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXbLyVpWsVM

Caw: Most swords good for thrusting still work well for slashing. May curved swords can also thrust reasonably.

05-29-2013, 11:29 PM
Thanks everyone! I am learning tons already :)

I forgot to ask part two- for a quality sword, is it possible to hide or alter the color? Would charcoal or a fat stick to it enough to cover the color? Is there something that can hide the color even if it gets wet from blood? (I'd like my MC to hide the tell tale color/pattern on her sword after someone tries to steal it, though keeping in it's sheeth is generally effective, she can't exactly wave it around in a threatening manner when she runs into anyone who is considering harming her).

05-30-2013, 12:37 AM
Fenika, you may want to check out pattern welding (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pattern_welding) - swords made with that technique are interesting and beautiful objects, but as with a folded katana's hamon line, a skin-deep faking is perfectly possible.

I'm not sure what blueing the steel would do to a pattern-welded blade, but I'd suspect the result would be absolutely gorgeous.

As for disguising it, your character could use charcoal. Charcoal and fat would stick for longer. Paint would work too, or ink mixed with glue and painted on. Hiding the metal is the easy bit - getting the stuff off afterwards might be trickier if she did it in a hurry/without thinking about removal.

05-30-2013, 03:35 AM
Sure, she can use a magic spell to mask the color of the 'soul blade'.

Barring that, she can paint it. Armor was sometimes painted in 14th C Europe. Paint will stick to steel, but it will peel off - so need repainting. Painting it a dirty 'rust' color - would make it look like she did not take care of it.

05-30-2013, 03:39 AM
My MC doesn't have a magic bone in her body :D

I will have to have her struggle to find some appropriate paint. I think a blue patterned sword would be pretty awesome :)

05-30-2013, 03:55 AM
I forgot to ask part two- for a quality sword, is it possible to hide or alter the color?

That's what magic is for, isn't it?

05-30-2013, 05:03 AM
I just saw this post and it reminded me of an article I read a couple of weeks ago. It might have some interesting information for you, or point you in a direction you might want to search. http://www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/my-afternoon-with-the-ace-of-swords/

05-30-2013, 07:07 AM
That's what magic is for, isn't it?

See above :) It's fairly low magic, inspired by The Witcher books, so there's no basis for magic concealment at this point in the game, so I'm stuck with reality or mildly altered reality.

Niki- Cheers for that.

05-30-2013, 09:25 PM
Find Michael Z Williamson on this board and ask him. He's an expert on knives and swords and makes and sells both.