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Adventures in Engineering
The wanderings of a modern ronin.

Ben Cantrick
  Date: 2006-08-11 01:18
  Subject:   Alright we'll try the sword thing again...
Public

So I just got the order confirmation for my order of a Cheness "Kaze" 9260 diff-temper. I also bought a blackened steel "higo" style tsuba, because they were cheap and I like the design.

There's a good (if unsophisticated) review of the Kaze here. I chose the Kaze over the tougher Shura because I wanted a cosmetically prettier blade with a hamon (temper line) as well as the benefit of a harder edge. I'm absolutely giving up some durability here. The Shura will withstand a truly unbelievable amount of abuse. But, apparently, it doesn't cut quite as well as the Kaze on softer stuff, due to the Kaze's differential temper. I'm going to have to spend some serious time working on my technique, or I'll break this thing. And I'm fine with that.

There have been rare QC problems with a few Cheness swords. More often, it's little stuff like loose ito (handle wrap) and such. But that seems typical of swords in the $300 range. So I'll definitely take the tsuka (hilt) off when I get it and inspect the blade. I'll have to do that anyway, in order to put the new tsuba on. This is no Bugei or Howard Clark blade, but that's not what I'm after. I'm just looking for something I can practice cut with and it won't matter if I damage it. And for that, the Cheness looks pretty darn good.

Also, I'd eventually like to look into making the wood pieces of the hilt out of hard polyurethane. It'd be very interesting to see how the shock-absorbing and elastometric properties of polyur would stack up vs. a traditional honoki wood hilt.

I'm very interested to know where Cheness gets their blades. Cheness's CEO Paul Chen (not the same as "Paul Chen"/Chen Chao Po, the guy who runs Hanwei) has said that they come from China. I wonder if these are actually made at Hanwei's forge in Dalian, but with Cheness's choice of steel (9260 silicon-doped spring steel) and cross-sectional design.
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MikeRo
  User: mrothermel
  Date: 2006-08-11 02:29 (UTC)
  Subject:   sword
I'm still wondering why you even want a sword.

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Ben Cantrick
  User: mackys
  Date: 2006-08-11 02:36 (UTC)
  Subject:   Re: sword
Some might say I need a hobby.

Others might suggest something about Freud.

I've been collecting swords since I was 16. I have a strong and established love of the ideals of Musashi. It's not a new thing, it's just something that few people know me well enough to know about.
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Ben Cantrick
  User: mackys
  Date: 2006-08-11 02:41 (UTC)
  Subject:   Ultimately...
There are two reasons to do anything in life.

1) Because you have to

2) Because you can

We all have jobs because of #1. I buy swords because of #2. #2 is really the best reason to do anything.
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Pacchi
  User: pacchi
  Date: 2006-08-11 03:56 (UTC)
  Subject:   Cheness seems to have great service
After reading the forum log link regarding the structural failure of a Cheness blade due to worker cutting corners (and how Paul Chen from Cheness handles the situation) it appears safe to say that their after-sales service is superb. With any production process, QC problems are unavoidable; it's how proactive the manufacturers are at fixing identified issues and taking responsibilities for defects that slip through that differentiate the good from the bad (imho).

Instead of replacing the whole hilt with Polyur. why not apply thin strips between the wood and the tang almost like what they do with shock absorbing gaskets in heavy pipe-lines?

Anyhow, review it and let us know how it performs!

Enjoy you sashimi

- P
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Ben Cantrick
  User: mackys
  Date: 2006-08-11 04:03 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
Instead of replacing the whole hilt with Polyur. why not apply thin strips between the wood and the tang almost like what they do with shock absorbing gaskets in heavy pipe-lines?

It would be an extra manufacturing step as compared to making the whole hilt out of poly, and a fully poly handle will never dry rot or crack at the pegs. Also you can probably mold the rayskin bumps right into the poly and they'll be as hard and rough as the rayskin was, but again never wear out.
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  User: (Anonymous)
  Date: 2006-08-11 22:12 (UTC)
  Subject:   Chinese blades and my dream swords...mmmm....
Well as far as chinese blades are concerned, I do know Huanuo is a huge steel company that has a department dedicated to sword making. They make the blades for Cold Steel and Dynasty Forge. They too have various lines of quality, so QC is relative when talking about the $300 range of blades. Obviously the more $ the better the QC. Ithink your sword will do you just fine.

I myself, being more of a chinese practitioner, have found my dream swords at www.zhengwutang.com They are also a chinese forge, but much smaller with a team that is dedicated to higher QC. You must check out their Han Jian and ShiTan Jian. Very awe inspiring. I think you would also like their japanese line of Katana and Tachi. oh, so nice. You may also want to look at www.mandarinmansion.com they too have a nice selection of swords and both sites do offer some mono-steel blade choices, so the prices are relatively affordable.

- WD aka Liam
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Ben Cantrick
  User: mackys
  Date: 2006-08-12 02:05 (UTC)
  Subject:   Re: Chinese blades and my dream swords...mmmm....
the Zheng Wu Tang site has quite an impressive selection of jian! The katana seem nice too, but I'm a little eyebrow raised about the lack of specification of what kind of steel they use, as well as the wide range of HRC numbers between spine and edge.
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Triggur
  User: triggur
  Date: 2006-08-12 03:50 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
Is it one of these?

:)
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Ben Cantrick
  User: mackys
  Date: 2006-08-12 04:39 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
I am very much hoping not! ;D

Generally those cheap swords you can buy in the mall and on QVC are made of "440" stainless steel. One of my junkblades I keep around for cutting weeds has "440 stainless - Taiwan" stamped right on the blade. 440C Stainless Steel contains 14-16% Chromium, which is what makes it stainless - and extremely shiny. It also makes them *extremely* brittle, as that hilarious video shows.

Medium- to High-Carbon steels (AISI 1040, 1050, 1060 series) are generally what sword makers work with. These steels are both hard and extremely resilient to shock. Though they can still break, they won't snap under a small impact like a 440 Stainless junkblade will. The trade off? Mid and high carbon steels rust *extremely* easily. Humid air will form small spots of rust on unprotected high carbon steel in a couple of weeks.

The sword I ordered from Cheness is a bit of an experiment. It uses a 9260 (silicon/manganese-doped, mid-high carbon) steel. This steel has some interesting properties vis a vis heat treating. It's hardenable to 58 HRC (which is very hard) while still retaining a very large yeild and failure strength. 1500 MPa, if some metallugurical papers are to be believed.

I'm digressing. But no, definitely not a piece of crap that will snap when hit on a relatively soft wooden table. Check out the "tremendous amounts of abuse" link to see what you can put this kind through and it still won't break.
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Triggur
  User: triggur
  Date: 2006-08-12 04:44 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
Heee.... I've got a Prussian war era sword I inherited from my grandfather. The (metal) scabbard has a small dent in it, I'm guessing from where a horse stepped on it or something.

It's sort of in storage mode, stored in some kinda very thick bullet grease or something, not sure what.

My brother, he's the one that scored. I was given the sword, he was given the 400 year old arabian hand-made flintlock rifle. >.<
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Ben Cantrick
  User: mackys
  Date: 2006-08-12 04:55 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
Neat. Fun stuff to hang up on the wall.

Wouldn't recommend actually taking a swing at anything with it, though. ;]
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Triggur
  User: triggur
  Date: 2006-08-12 12:38 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
No, that's.. not high on my list.
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