Hello everyone, today we will be discussing modern steels that are good for use in forging swords! First off are high carbon steels between the 1060 and 1095 range! The 10 in those numbers denotes that the steel is not alloyed, but is pure carbon steel. The numbers 60-95 denote the amount of carbon in the steel. 1060 Carbon Steel means that this steel is a non-alloyed steel of about 0.60% carbon in composition. 1095 then means that the carbon amount is about 0.95% carbon. Any 10 steel between 1060 and 1095 is good for a sword, but between 1060 anf 1075 is best because much more than 0.75% carbon is almost too much carbon, which causes the blade to be too hard and brittle unless tempered correctly. These 60-95 parts are known as points.
Along with what was previously stated, all numbered and lettered steels have those numbers and letters to denote what the composition of the steel is. I do not yet have these classifications memorized, but there is a good section on this in Jim Hrisoulas’ book The Complete Bladesmith in his chapter on steels to use. I highly recommend this book, by the way! It is a very informative and engrossing read! Either way, the first two numbers of a four number steel classification denote which metals are alloyed into the steel. In all of these steels, the last two numbers denote the carbon content. I do not know enough yet to say what the lettered steels such as O1, A2, and D2 are.
Always research the steels you plan on using. A steel with a four number code with a carbon content of 60 to 95 points is enough carbon for a good blade, but you must research the alloying numbers in order to find out whether the alloys lend themselves well to blades or not.
Some good steels I have researched and found can be used for swords are as follows:
There are many more steels which can be used, but these are just a list of a few. Also, I have read that O1 and D2 are great for knives but may not be great for swords due to brittleness.
On Ebay, these steels can be found at amazing prices for the piece you get! I would suggest finding old leaf springs in a junk or scrap yard as they are cheap and are generally good 5160 steel which is great for swords! I will try to start with some of those if I get time to go out and find them, but if I do not get the time to go out, I may just pay the price to have the steels delivered to me. I have also considered buying a piece of this steel, cutting it into pieces, stacking it together after hardening and tempering the top plate, then binding it all together with mild strap steel for an anvil. I could even make one plate longer before stacking and forge the overhang into an anvil horn!
This picture is just an example of how I may stack the steel before strapping.
For an update: I will be beginning to build my forge today and with take lots of pictures if I’m able! I will share those in one of my next posts! Also, burmabykravmaga at http://urbantacticskravmaga.wordpress.com/ gave me a wonderful idea to watch the documentary Secrets of the Viking Sword and do an assessment of its claims and possible theories based on some research I will conduct! Both of those posts are on the radar for the relatively near future and I will keep everyone updated!