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Need some advice on selecting steel


Buck Hedges
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I am in the process of starting a new project (because I don't have enough unfinished things lying around).

 

I'm sort of a Trekkie, but not your typical "Kirk is my hero [swoon]" type. In fact, I think the Federation rather blows, and the Enterprise has the annoying habit of breaking down EXACTLY at the moment they need it (side note, for a master engineer, Scotty seems to suck at preventative maintenance). No, I'm a Klingon fan. After all, why talk out your problems when destroying someone is much more efficient, and prevents the enemy from annoying you in the future? (It's a true fact: Annihilation= 0% recidivism)

 

Long ago I watched a Deep Space Nine episode featuring the "Sword of Khaless," which was an unusual shaped bat'leth (that curvy Klingon thing for those of you who live in the real world :)). I designed my own based off that.

 

First I made a prototype out of foamcore to make sure I had the dimensions right (I ended up making it a foot wider than I'd planned), and then I cut one out of plywood to see how it felt with some weight. I liked it so much I finished it and use it as a practice tool, like a bokken.

 

Rather than attempt to cut this out myself, I decided to "cheat," and have it cut at a local steel shop where they have a computer-driven plasma cutter. I'd prefer water jet cutting for a smoother finish, but there isn't a water jet in my hometown. I took the design to the steel shop and got some estimates. Here's the email they sent back:

 

This is the the file I created in autocad [KLINGON ARTIFACT.pdf], look over the dimensions to make sure this will work for you. I have made some quotes based on this size.

For 3/16: A36 Steel (yield strength of 36,000psi) will be $66.10. With A572 Grade 50 (yield strength of 50,000 psi) will be $71.26. With AR400 (yield strength of 155,000 psi) $88.84 The weight between all the different types are the same.

 

I'm not familiar with either type of steel. I should actually know which would work better, but most of the things I make are from recycled steel (files, leaf springs, and so forth).

 

As for edges, the inner edges of the outer blades and the edges of the axe-like projections in the center will be sharpened. The center spike will be blunt. The grip will most likely be hardwood scales wrapped in braided rawhide (my brother is a rawhide braider, so I'm going to engage in a little nepotism at that point).

 

What would people who've made larger swords recommend?

 

KLINGON ARTIFACT.pdf is the file the steel company sent back. I'm really pleased with their rendition, since all I gave them was an Illustrator file and a jpeg like this:

KJEV2 Batleth.jpg

Edited by Buck Hedges

B)

 

Truth simply is. Whether you like that truth or not is totally irrelevant.

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None of those are good blade steels, but if this is just a wall hanger or a piece to carry as a Cosplay item, who cares? If you want to make a "real" blade, then you'd have to start thinking about things like 1080 or 5160.

 

What are the tip-to-tip and center spike to handle dimensions. Aldo sells big pieces of carbon steels (14-16 inches wide and 48 inches long) and he might be able to source a larger piece. The good thing is, all of the cut off can be forged into things as well.

 

You might look at making it in two pieces and applying the 4 connectors, would give you a steampunk Klingon vibe.

 

Geoff

"The worst day smithing is better than the best day working for someone else."

 

I said that.

 

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.

- - -G. K. Chesterton

 

So, just for the record: the fact that it does work still should not be taken as definitive proof that you are not crazy.

 

Grant Sarver

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If your piece is a wall hanger then mild steel is ok. Now if you're planning on using it I would suggest a steel with 50 or more points of carbon. That will allow it to be hardened to a point that it will hold a better edge. My choice of steel would be 1075. Get a quote for the steel from New Jersey Steel Baron. Then find out how much it would cost to cut that.

”Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity, and honor!”

 

George Brackett

American Bladesmith's Society,

Apprentice Member

Hialeah, Florida

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Buck, I've been debating on trying somethin like this myself (I also like the daggers the Klingons use). What I thought about was using a piece of flat bar bent around for the handle part and another for the blade part and then either rivet or weld connecting pieces to hold it all together. I haven't tried it yet since I'm far from capable at this time but look forward to seeing it either way you go about it.

Michael Cochran

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None of those are good blade steels, but if this is just a wall hanger or a piece to carry as a Cosplay item, who cares? If you want to make a "real" blade, then you'd have to start thinking about things like 1080 or 5160.

 

What are the tip-to-tip and center spike to handle dimensions. Aldo sells big pieces of carbon steels (14-16 inches wide and 48 inches long) and he might be able to source a larger piece. The good thing is, all of the cut off can be forged into things as well.

 

You might look at making it in two pieces and applying the 4 connectors, would give you a steampunk Klingon vibe.

 

Geoff

 

Thanks for the recommendations on the steel types. As for wall hangers, there aren't any in my house. Things around here are either wooden bokken or the real deal. I hadn't thought about using any scraps for other projects though. I got tunnel vision on just having it cut out.

 

As for dimensions, tip-to-tip is 48 inches. Total width is 13 inches. It sounds like Aldo might have the right stuff, with no special size needed. I'll look into them. Thanks!

B)

 

Truth simply is. Whether you like that truth or not is totally irrelevant.

https://www.facebook.com/StormsForge">https://www.facebook.com/StormsForge

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None of those are good blade steels

 

For those that stumble upon this and are unfamiliar with the metals listed:

A36: This is mild steel that you find at hardware stores, and rebar/I-Beams, etc. The only specification is that the material have a yield strength of at least 36,000 psi (36 ksi). Nothing that is made with this specification call-out is suitable for a functional blade. Though technically good blade materials will also meet this spec, they'll just surpass it so much that it is best to refer to the better specs that they meet.

A572 Grade 50: This is ASTM A 572, grade 50. Think of this as a slightly better version of A36. The improvement is a little better chemistry control and requires at least 50 ksi yield. Like A36, this is generally a non-martensitic steel due to the lack of carbon content (typically less than 0.30%).

AR400: Abrasion Resistant grade 400. Sometimes made to ASTM A514. This is a "high yield strength, low alloy" steel. The 400 stands for it's nominal hardness: 400 BHN (Brinell), which is about 43 HRC (Rockwell). Generally these tend to be made out of a 4320 steel or something more or less similar to that. They are quenched and tempered. The alloy is not suitable for holding an edge, but given a different heat treatment could potentially perform better as a blade than the supplied heat treat. Better is relative here though, it still is not a blade material.

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So I just calculated (http://www.calculatoredge.com/matweight/material%20wt.htm) the starting weight of this beast. Un-cut the plate (at .250 thickness) is 44.2 lbs! Even considering that you're going to cut away 60% (?) of it, that is still 17.68 lbs. I don't know how a Klingon, let alone a human, could swing this thing.

 

Let's see, it you made it out of carbon fiber with steel inserts for the cutting edges, Ti and ceramic?

 

Good luck, I want to see what you come up with.

 

Geoff

"The worst day smithing is better than the best day working for someone else."

 

I said that.

 

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.

- - -G. K. Chesterton

 

So, just for the record: the fact that it does work still should not be taken as definitive proof that you are not crazy.

 

Grant Sarver

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