How was the steel quality of historic bladed weapons?

How was the steel quality of historic bladed weapons?

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  1. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    >Drunk uneducated man hammers unrefined rocks he heated up into sword shaped object

    You tell me

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      >Drunk uneducated man hammers unrefined rocks he heated up into sword shaped object

      Yes this is me on an average Friday afternoon here in Texas

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        It weel keel!

        https://i.imgur.com/Z0ll6Nq.jpeg

        >Arent vikings were kinda shit at swordmaking so they usualy bought high quality swords from franks?

        Posting your image on PrepHole is not a good idea, you should avoid posting PII (Personally Identifiable Information) on the Internet in general. Hope this helps you in the future!

        • 2 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          I have always wondered, is keel just a silly way of saying kill or is it a real world in regards to swords?

          • 2 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            It's a made up acronym to avoid saying KILL, keep everony alive or somethong like that

          • 2 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            It's just his accent that he probably exagerrates for effect since it became his schtick.

            Bullshit, ancient Roman peasants had enough literacy to write sex jokes, gossip and literal shitposting on the walls of Pompeii. People always tried to learn reading and writing if they had access to it, its incredibly useful for business and every day tasks and allowed everyone to send messages, we know even poor families sent letters in etched wood and pieces of cloth, and even farmers kept ledgers and accounting books. They just werent literate enough to read whole ass books and use complex vocabulary and concepts.

            Urbanites weren't peasants and also urbanites even in urbanized civilizations like Rome weren't the majority of the population yet.

          • 2 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            https://i.imgur.com/iBHFxRl.jpeg

            It's just his accent that he probably exagerrates for effect since it became his schtick.
            [...]
            Urbanites weren't peasants and also urbanites even in urbanized civilizations like Rome weren't the majority of the population yet.

            It's fake. he has a normal american accent and just puts it on to sound like le mysterious eastern ninja master

            Bullshit, ancient Roman peasants had enough literacy to write sex jokes, gossip and literal shitposting on the walls of Pompeii. People always tried to learn reading and writing if they had access to it, its incredibly useful for business and every day tasks and allowed everyone to send messages, we know even poor families sent letters in etched wood and pieces of cloth, and even farmers kept ledgers and accounting books. They just werent literate enough to read whole ass books and use complex vocabulary and concepts.

            >ancient Roman peasants
            >Pompeii.
            POmpeiiw as a resot town you dumb ape. it was for the upper middle class and inhabitated by the bourgeosie to cater to their needs, of course they were literate.
            the actual peasants were working in the fileds well outside the city.

            • 2 weeks ago
              Anonymous

              Ancient/ premodern societies were not a monolith. Rome wasn't the entire world, it wasn't even the entirety of Europe. Post-Roman Europe& Scandanavia was full of illiterate peasants and disbanded ethnic groups that often lacked standardized written languages. Literacy in the pre-modern world was very much localized to urban centers, and urban centers weren't even close to being the majority of the population

              I gave you other examples, theres plenty of evidence for ancient and medieval farmers and workers writing and reading shit that was pertinent to their labor, mainly keeping track of crop planting and yields. There are tablets from ancient egypt with construction workers sending letters to excuse themselves from work because of dead relatives, illnesses or accidents. Even early medieval scandinavia had the aforementioned etched tablets and carvings as calendars that average peasants could read.

              Writing has always, always been a business thing first, scholarly thing second.

              • 2 weeks ago
                Anonymous

                >plenty of evidence for ancient and medieval farmers and workers writing and reading shit that was pertinent to their labor, mainly keeping track of crop planting and yields
                no, there isn't. there is plenty of evidence to put medieval and later rural literacy rates at a consistent 10-12% until well into the 1900s. English farmers that could notate and make records were landed gentry, they were not peasants and were expected to be educated but even then reading was for gays and women, and being taught to read was almost a gaurantee that you were going to the clergy or a monastery. The literate merchant classes didn't begin to emerge until the Renaissance and the advent of international banking led to a severe shortage of israelites in the major trading areas

              • 2 weeks ago
                Anonymous

                >no, there isn't. there is plenty of evidence to put medieval and later rural literacy rates at a consistent 10-12% until well into the 1900s.
                Literacy by modern standards. Most peasants did not know the language or the vocabulary used by the church. They knew the words they used, and how they were written, because it was useful to do so, but they were not formally educated and would not be considered "literate"

                >English farmers that could notate and make records were landed gentry, they were not peasants and were expected to be educated but even then reading was for gays and women, and being taught to read was almost a gaurantee that you were going to the clergy or a monastery.

                This is "medieval people didnt bathe and lived in shit" levels of meme stereotype.

              • 2 weeks ago
                Anonymous

                >Literacy by modern standards.
                there is only one standard of literacy, and it involves being able to read and write with basic fluency. After the fall of Rome, that rate was about 10% for nearly 1000 years, which is one reason they called the start of it The Dark Ages

                >stereotype
                if you don't understand English and European medieval/feudal social systems such as the peasantry, gentry, and nobility, fiefs, lands, serfdom and vassalage, just say so, and we can reccomend a few good books on the topic to get you up to speed

  2. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    literally impossible to tell you could have a family of experienced smiths doing this generation by generation and perfecting the art and you can have just some guy with a hammers and an anvil doing a shitty job by he is the only smith in the village so its not like you have a choice

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Furnaces and forges were cheap and easy to experiment with and had to be rebuilt often so a curious smith or several might have tried a large variety. Consider how many inventions are likely lost to history because the inventor was far away from urban centers.

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        >Consider how many inventions are likely lost to history because the inventor was far away from urban centers
        Or more likely just illiterate& unable to record& pass-on the information beyond his immediate social& professional circle of fellow illiterates. Near-universal literacy in the West is a relatively recent thing. Hell, the rest of the world is still trying to figure it out

        • 2 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          Bullshit, ancient Roman peasants had enough literacy to write sex jokes, gossip and literal shitposting on the walls of Pompeii. People always tried to learn reading and writing if they had access to it, its incredibly useful for business and every day tasks and allowed everyone to send messages, we know even poor families sent letters in etched wood and pieces of cloth, and even farmers kept ledgers and accounting books. They just werent literate enough to read whole ass books and use complex vocabulary and concepts.

          • 2 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            Okay

          • 2 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            Ancient/ premodern societies were not a monolith. Rome wasn't the entire world, it wasn't even the entirety of Europe. Post-Roman Europe& Scandanavia was full of illiterate peasants and disbanded ethnic groups that often lacked standardized written languages. Literacy in the pre-modern world was very much localized to urban centers, and urban centers weren't even close to being the majority of the population

        • 2 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          I think its debatable as the crusades in Germany destroyed nearly every "text" and reshaped the cultural landscape extremly. There were sticks discovered in old outhouses with germanic runic scripts telling one liner jokes.

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      This.
      Even OP's example had it's fair share of shitty copies.

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Counterfeit of Ulfbert swords from this period are in fact more common than the originals.

        These swords are also shrouded in mystery in general.
        Most experts agree that the steel used was likely smelted somewhere in the middle east and imported as ingots through the Eastern Roman empire. But no one is 100% who made these swords or where. They could have been forged by the Scandinavians, they could also have been forged somewhere in Germany or France for export to Scandinavia. There would not have been any documents about this since selling weapons to the pagans was super illegal and banned by the Church. It's also possible these swords were forged in a Norse settlement somewhere in northern Europe. No one really knows.

  3. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Arent vikings were kinda shit at swordmaking so they usualy bought high quality swords from franks?

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      >Arent vikings were kinda shit at swordmaking so they usualy bought high quality swords from franks?

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Im not idian. An what it even has to do with viking swords?

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      I've seen that argument presented but i'm pretty sure we just dont know.

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      I recall evidence they got the steel from trading, but they forged it themselves. Low quality Ulfbehrt swords have been found, suggesting Ulfbehrt swords were a marketing thing.

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Yes Ulfberths were either from Franks or Alemanni and were sought after all over europe, Charlemagne even had to ban their exports to slavs and vikings

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Stop making shit up, you fricking idiot. Pretty much all of them were found in Scandinavia, most notably in Norway, and in other countries where the vikings traveled to or conquered.

        • 2 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          Because Franks stopped being buried with their swords after they became christians

  4. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Not as good as Mora knives

  5. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    >steel quality
    Very variable because they couldn't control the composition of the steel, each mine/source (not all iron comes from mines) produced a unique steel depending on trace elements like manganese, vanadium, chromium and low content of phosphorous and sulfur.

    In Scandinavia during Viking times the most common steel was made from bog iron, they hadn't yet discovered iron mines in those places. Bog iron is too brittle for good swords because its high content of phosphorous and sulfur. They imported iron from Germany and the silk route.

    Forging can fix with some problems like non-homogeneous carbon content, slag and insufficient good quality steel but they didn't really understand heat treatment so most swords weren't properly quenched or tempered (2 steps heat treatment). Folding, combining different grades of steel, welding a harder sheet around the core and better quench were the main inventions during the middle ages pre-blast furnace.
    After the invention and widespread use of of blast furnaces -that produces highly carburized iron- forge refineries were far more important than small scale bloomery but iron mines still defined the trace elements in the final composition.

    Complete control of the steel composition was only achieved at the end of 1800s (1870-1890s iirc). Since then steel quality isn't influenced by the ore.

  6. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    They used telluric iron from Greenland

  7. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Broadly? Not very good. Most steel was produced through bloomeries, and while plenty of serviceable steel was made, lack of quality controls and understanding of the steelmaking process meant that most of the steel produced had varying levels of carbon. Modern low-carbon steels are probably a good bit better than the average steel of the medieval period.

    There really was just a bunch of utter crap laying around, but it existed because at the end of the day it was good enough for people back then. This is true of almost everything. Swords, knives, leatherwork, carvings, it was quick and slapdash and just barely serviceable.

    Tod does a good video on it.

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Tod has a good point if you think about modern homemade firearms.
      Guys that aren't working for Holland and Holland, but are making AR15s in their garage from forgings, or making pipe guns or 3D printed builds.
      There is a lot of 'good enough' attitude in that world because the work is complex to get right and eventually you start settling for, "it will work and that is all I can ask for at this point".

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        >making AR15s in their garage from forgings, or making pipe guns or 3D printed builds.
        there's a big god damn gaop between skiled craftsmanship and "need to assassinate a Jap PM"
        firearms of excellent quality even by modern standards were turned out like coclkwork in the Colonial Americas with nothing but hand tools, workshops and decent steel stock imported from overseas. Guns you could cheerfully fire today without fear and that you'd need to stop and think about how they made it look so good ewithout computers. Guns that, for all extents and purposes exceeded what anyone thought was possible, one reason why the Kentucky long rifle acquired its katana-like mystique was that dudes were hitting MOA at 200+ years when 100 yards was considered a walking-around safe distance from a musket.
        Some bongh built a rifle that was sub-MOA at almost 2000 years during the civil war era, it was simply too expensive to mass producem but he did it with steam powered machines and a drafting table

        • 2 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          And there were smiths why made swords for the King or Emperor who were willing and able to put that effort in, and spend weeks getting that blade perfect for his client.
          Just like Holland and Holland or a similar manufacturer today.
          But the majority of guys that are making guns at home, even ones trying to do it right, will find themselves in that, "good enough", position.

  8. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Low quality modern steel would be considered high quality steel in the old times.

  9. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    oh shit I actually have an entire book on this subject saved from a /k/ommando who shared it years ago

    enjoy anons

    https://files.catbox.moe/k6oxi8.pdf

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Thank you!

  10. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    >How was the steel quality of historic bladed weapons?
    By the Georgian era it was excellent, blast furnaces had been developed and the ore was top class, a variety of advanced quenching techniques including in mercury as well as water grinding to achieve harmionic perfection were in place. Howevevr my experienec was that all of the blades from Placers like Northern England, the Rhine and Northern Italy were always excellent which I attribute to the artisans and the ore quality but by the Georgian era, advanced techniques, artisan workmanship and quality control came together. Even the export blades to North Africa and India were excellent though and had been for 100 years. The Ottomans also had some good items but m ore rarely as well as there being some good material from India and Indonesia based on 'magic' doping it with certain particulates from meteors etc which did actually work to make a nice steel. However I found the pinnacle to be the good quality output from the workshops of Birmingham during the Napoleonic era. That mix of technology,ore, craft, quality control and the immediacy of combat

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      same person by the way I hae seen that before and it ahs beome a thing but thjose swords do not say ulfbehrt. Thyey Cuthbert as that is how it was marked. He was a Holy man a Christian and it was thought to invoke his protection as well as mean the owner was a loyal man, I was told this when I was taking instruction in swordsmanship in Sweden from another like me but even then with many many years, so from the times just before his childhood..

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        >Cuthbert
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vita_Sancti_Cuthberti

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Cuthbert (Old English: Cuðberht),

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      >By the Georgian era it was excellent
      Europe did not have consistent high quality steel until late into the 1700s, after the Industrial Revolution had begun in earnest. Bloomeries produced the majority of iron and steel until in the early 1800s.
      pig iron and coke iron were being traded around the continent but ir was not the norm in the Georgian era.

      Wasn't it brought along trade routs all the way from Indian furnaces using the trade winds to power them. Then the vikings forged the swords themselves.

      the viking era produced 1 batch of superlative swords, made from Indo-Persian wootz traded up by the Phoenicians to the Vikings, and were of such a high quality relative to locally produced scandi iron as to appear magical.
      these were known as the Ulfbehrt swords, and subsequent copycat batches were made off and on for another couple hundred years simply due to the brand name standing in for quality.
      Vikings used most of the common forging practices of the time but it was all dogshit compared to wootz, which was actually proper steel as we think of it today. Wootz today isn't especially high quality compared to modern steels, but compared to what Europe was producing at the time might as well have been fairy magic

  11. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Wasn't it brought along trade routs all the way from Indian furnaces using the trade winds to power them. Then the vikings forged the swords themselves.

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      no

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Most "Viking" swords were Frankish iirc. The form itself was also Frankish.

  12. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    The Pajeets made that steel, they would have to trade for them. Those swords would cost as much as small castle.

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous
  13. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Not great.
    Most examples we have, have issues with consistent hardness up and down their lengths that aren't the product of deliberate design.
    The average would be in line with random Chinkshit you can get off of Amazon for $10.

  14. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    the riddle of steel

  15. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Just because something wasn't made again does not mean it was something super special. All it means is a guy found a system that made something good and then this wasn't passed on for some reason. For example, the Romans made concrete that kept shit standing that later concrete wouldn't have done. Then we found out the recipe they used and went 'oh yeah that makes sense, that's how it works' and just went on with our days. It wasn't some unobtanium type shit, it was just a case of the recipe that worked wasn't written down or copied and another recipe superceded it and became the default for various reasons (access, safety, cheapness or just flat out because nobody knew about the 'better' previous recipe). For those interested, it was simply because the Romans mixed lime clasts (and ash from volcano areas, but that wasn't really important) which produced an exothermic reaction in the act of mixing the concrete which gave it the super-durable 'self-healing' ability. In other words hot mixing was the key act (which was caused by the limestone).

    But if one does not have limestone or the time to do hot mixing, then you go with what you do know or can do. Thus stuff might seem 'technologically strange' but simply a case of luck and then either poor generational transition or other factors.

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      It wasn't just the volcanic ash, we could and did work that out and duplicate it early.
      The critical part is that they were using unslaked lime in the process. This is dangerous as frick, and the people trying to re-create Roman concrete went
      >Surely, no-one could possibly be that moronic, that can't be part of the recipe

      Rome:
      >We have slaves to mix it, and don't call us Shirley.

  16. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    The only reason Ulfberths were such a big deal is because of how awful your average medieval sword was. Pic related.

    As some other anons have already alluded to, the big problem with medieval swords is not just their steel but, more importantly, their heat treatment. Even blades that were made of decent (for the era) steel had shoddy heat treatment or no heat treatment at all.

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      that chart undersells 6150, which can reach the mid 50s for HRC with proper heat treatment
      I would trust a modern burgersword over an antique of equal size and weight any day

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