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Sturgeon's House

Swords And Their Historical Context


Sturgeon
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As interesting as their shop is, I really have a hard time with all the modern shit they use to make those blades. Seriously, using a fucking belt sander on a repro Ulfberht? You couldn't have broken out the emory cloth and done it by hand, even if just for the final polish?

I shouldn't be ornery about it, but it ruins something about the presentation and the product, to me.

Oh well, at least it's not "hurr durr cut it out of stock!" like the original series.

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Just got around to watching the above.  I noticed a few things:

 

-The Khukri's shape allows two blade blanks to be cut out of the same piece of steel plate (leaf springs from a vehicle, I'm guessing) head to toe.

-Fullers look like they would have been a stone cold bitch to make on historical swords made without the benefit of electric grinders.

-GAAAAHHH the lack of safety equipment and fixtures when making the handle made my hair stand up.

-The material makes some fascinating sounds when the tang is inserted into the handle.

-The blade edge is quenched using the POWER OF TEAPOTS?  I see that the Nepalese were sly, and learned from their imperial masters.

-The cho is added rather unceremoniously using a grinder.

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15 minutes ago, Collimatrix said:

Just got around to watching the above.  I noticed a few things:

 

-The Khukri's shape allows two blade blanks to be cut out of the same piece of steel plate (leaf springs from a vehicle, I'm guessing) head to toe.

-Fullers look like they would have been a stone cold bitch to make on historical swords made without the benefit of electric grinders.

-GAAAAHHH the lack of safety equipment and fixtures when making the handle made my hair stand up.

-The material makes some fascinating sounds when the tang is inserted into the handle.

-The blade edge is quenched using the POWER OF TEAPOTS?  I see that the Nepalese were sly, and learned from their imperial masters.

-The cho is added rather unceremoniously using a grinder.

Fullers can be hammered in, but otherwise I agree.

 

From what I know about forging these things shouldn't be properly hardened, let alone tempered. The colour on the blade before quenching is way too low according to what I know. Which is probably all for the best, given how they go about quenching.

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1 hour ago, Collimatrix said:

 

And another reason why polearms were usually the bulk of weapons, and why most Japanese arms didn't get the full "folded a thousand times" treatment.

Agreed. On a side note: the 'folded a thousand times' thing confuses me more and more given what I know about the history of iron working.

 

Most celtic swords were 'folded' and by the late Roman/early medieval era you've pretty much hit the peak of what can be accomplished with bloomery steel. So the japanese process for producing workable steel was basically the same as for any late iron-age smithing process using bloomery steel (although using incredibly poor ore ito of yield), but done in a period where bloomery steel was at least 500 years out of date. That's insane - it's like me going around wanking off to the superiority of Aztec weapons because of the cutting power of obsidian. And yet we all just sit there and clap along because 'craftsmanship and tradition' or something.

 

I know I've gone on about this before, but It's just a really odd cultural tic and it keeps being fascinating to see just how resilient it is. Orientalism has some sort of potent memetic power that just straight-up inverts most of our cultural biases, and I'd love to know why.

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6 hours ago, Toxn said:

Agreed. On a side note: the 'folded a thousand times' thing confuses me more and more given what I know about the history of iron working.

 

Most celtic swords were 'folded' and by the late Roman/early medieval era you've pretty much hit the peak of what can be accomplished with bloomery steel. So the japanese process for producing workable steel was basically the same as for any late iron-age smithing process using bloomery steel (although using incredibly poor ore ito of yield), but done in a period where bloomery steel was at least 500 years out of date. That's insane - it's like me going around wanking off to the superiority of Aztec weapons because of the cutting power of obsidian. And yet we all just sit there and clap along because 'craftsmanship and tradition' or something.

 

I know I've gone on about this before, but It's just a really odd cultural tic and it keeps being fascinating to see just how resilient it is. Orientalism has some sort of potent memetic power that just straight-up inverts most of our cultural biases, and I'd love to know why.

 

It is in fact so bizarre a thing to tout that professional idiots like Lindybeige have made their careers on refuting it.

 

From what I understand, worship of the Oriental martial arts in general comes from the fact that they were the only ones to bother preserving their pre-gunpowder fighting methods, while the Europeans (who had their own - and often superior - martial arts) moved on to making war the proper way, with guns. The reason the Oriental techniques got so venerated wasn't because the Euros were shit at fighting, it was because they were shit at archaeology (at the time). They just didn't know very much about their own obsolete fighting arts from centuries prior, and this allowed the undoubtedly unique and beautiful and nigh-on useless Eastern ways to capture their fascination.

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