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"Steel, Stones, and Snakes" (Japanese polish applied to several medieval European blades)


Aiden CC

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Not sure if this has been posted here before, sorry if it already has. I had heard mention a few times of a sax that was given a Japanese polish. I found a publication (albeit not in English) that has a detailed analysis of the blade along with a few others. Hopefully this link works:

 

https://www.academia.edu/42133593/Stähle_Steine_und_Schlangen_Steel_Stones_and_Snakes_published_version_

 

I still have a lot more of it to read, since the process takes a while due to needing translation, however there is a lot of interesting stuff there. From what I can tell, the authors suggest that the sax blade they studied was made from a steel jacket of > 0.50% C welded around a lower carbon (~0.35% or less) core, and that it was hardened differentially by coating with clay. Second point seems difficult to prove, but the presence of hardening on the edge and spine side only at the tip is one piece of evidence they call out for this. They estimate that the material was consolidated by ~10 folds before the pieces were welded together.

 

They use a lot of Japanese sword appreciation terms, so translating the article may be a two step process depending on your knowledge there (I certainly had to look up some of their characterization of the hada in the blade). They also have a long introductory section and analyses of two more blades I haven't read yet, definitely quite a bit there.  

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