Rockwell requirements, and current swords

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Lark
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Rockwell requirements, and current swords

Postby Lark » Thu Jul 03, 2008 1:52 pm

I know there was some discussion about this at Banner War, but it really needs to be settled and fixed.

Currently the IMoC states that steel swords must have a Rockwell of 35-45. After much talking, and investigating we’ve come to the conclusion that Damn Myn (probably) has the only sword in the Empire that meets this requirement.

I’m suggesting (on the advice of Myn, and Marcillius who is a machinist) that the Rockwell be changed to 45-53.

For those that may not know, Rockwell tells how hard a metal is. The higher the rockwell, the stronger, but more brittle the metal becomes. The range that I am suggesting will keep the swords from becoming to brittle (which can cause problems when it breaks), will allow the populace to keep their current swords, and will still allow purchase from commercial vendors who (on average) have a rockwell between 50-60.

What does the rest of the Empire think?
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lassidor
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Re: Rockwell requirements, and current swords

Postby lassidor » Thu Jul 03, 2008 5:38 pm

Now dont take this wrong:

Why don't we just get rid of the rockwell requirement all together? The reason I ask this is two fold. First, very few people outside the metal fabrication/ metalurgy crafts even truly know what the Rockwell standards are. Second, we have no practical method to guage the hardness of the swords we use. The test for hardness is a destructive test applied to batch samples. Also, since metal hardens over time or when being worked how could we guage the hardness of experienced weapons? (As far as the metal is concerened our combat is just like process of blows used to shape the swords)

Just a thought
Duke Sir Lassidor Vandolini, KC, BOD treasurer, Imperial Exchequer, Defiance member, BoC of the Kingdom of Vega

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Lark
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Re: Rockwell requirements, and current swords

Postby Lark » Thu Jul 03, 2008 9:43 pm

The purpose (as I see it) for the standards is two fold.

1) Keep very brittle swords off the field. When a higher rockwell breaks, it doesn't just break, it shatters. That means there are smaller shards of metal instead of one clean break that (usually) leave the fighter holding the swords, while the blade flies off a few feet and then hits the ground. Since smaller pieces of metal will weigh less, they will fly farther. this could easily lead to the viewing populace getting hit, or having a smaller piece make it past the help perforations.

2) With no standard, you will have very hard swords damaging the living daylights out of softer swords. This is actually how this whole discussion got started in Solaris. Marcillius made Dame Myn her new sword, to IMoC specifications. After fighting with it at practice it had several digs in it, while the other swords had nothing. Since we knew her sword was the max rockwell, that meant the others were harder then hers.

I know to do a thorough testing will damage a sword, there are ways to do a "field" test. It's not 100% accurate, but it's better then nothing. It is also nothing to ask the arms maker what their rockwell is. In fact, I contacted (and heard back from) Starfire, Firebllod, Darksword, and I have limited info from Badger. All of their rockwell will fit into the range that I'm proposing.
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Mynwyn
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Re: Rockwell requirements, and current swords

Postby Mynwyn » Fri Jul 04, 2008 10:00 am

Actually, most swords are not made by hammering them anymore. There are easier ways to do that. Besides, the blows we take are not at all like the one used to strengthen blades by hammering. When you hammer, you are actually folding the metal over on it self, aligning and overlapping the steel molecules to strengthen the whole assembly. Hammering is done on the flat surface of the blade, while almost all the blows our swords take are on the edge and actually end up taking out some of the blade, making a weak spot, not a stronger spot. Unlike concrete, which continues to harden throughout its entire life, metal doesn't do that. It stays at the same Rockwell that it's initially manufactured at. If we just ask the Rockwell when we buy a sword and make sure that it fits in, which according to Lark's research all of the places we normally buys swords will automatically, a field test shouldn't have to be made unless through use it appears that the sword might be harder than the requirements.

Myn

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Lark
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Re: Rockwell requirements, and current swords

Postby Lark » Wed Jul 09, 2008 6:07 pm

Anyone else have an opinion?
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nicoleorleocadia
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Re: Rockwell requirements, and current swords

Postby nicoleorleocadia » Thu Jul 17, 2008 5:26 pm

Hi All,

First off thank you to Lady Lark for bringing this posting to my attention. As for the Rockwell requirement, I believe that getting rid of the requirement and making it a guideline. Most people have no more idea what a Rockwell measurement is than what 1040 steel is, or for those of us who don't say sew, would know what a lock stitch is or a denier is. Also it is very difficult to measure with any level of accuracy with any equipment easily available to the populace. There are field tests, but they are inaccurate at best. Also as a point this is something that our marshals should be on watch for, a weapon that is damaging other weapons is not safe on the field and should be pulled by our marshals. As was said above a weapon that is to stiff will shatter, but how likely is it that any fighter who is at the steel level will bring a weapon of that type onto the field? Weapons do become more brittle over time, and exposure to the elements, for me in Oregon this is water and humidity that is constant here, in Nevada, or Arizona it is probably extremes of temperature, IE someones sword is left in their trunk. That weapon could be exposed to temperatures ranging over 100 degrees in a 24 hour period. There are a lot of variables. Also how many thousandths deep does a sword have to be within our Rockwell rating? How deep of a Rockwell test was done on the sword mentioned above? A good sword should have only a thin skin of metal as hard as we require with the center being softer so as to avoid shattering. Now I haven't been involved in metal working in about 5 years, but it seems to me that widening our requirements to match what is common for the manufacturers, or just making it a guideline makes sense. Frankly we have no ability to accurately test our weapons for this particular requirement, making it match the manufacturers standards is about the only way for us to have any control on it. I was looking at the site for the manufacturer not the distributor of my current steel weapon and I cannot find any information on the Rockwell rating there.

Another consideration is that most of us cannot afford to have and replace custom blades. If we are going to disqualify most of the swords on the field how are we going to field any steel fighters. The current weapons on our field have not caused any problems.

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Lark
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Re: Rockwell requirements, and current swords

Postby Lark » Fri Jul 18, 2008 11:54 am

Most of the wesites that our fighters buy from I had to e-mail and ask about rockwell. Starfire has a rockwell of 50-52, will make one of a lower rockwell, and will charge more for it. Fireblood has a rockwell of 50-60, and I never heard back about makeing a lower rockwell. Darksword has a rockwell of 53, will make a lower rockwwell, and will not charge more. I e-mailed Badger as well and never got a response.

That's where Myn, Marcillius and I (in many discussions) decided on the ranger I'm proposing. The major makers blades are in that range, (which means that people swords are most likely in that range) so no one has to replace their blade.
Also as a point this is something that our marshals should be on watch for, a weapon that is damaging other weapons is not safe on the field and should be pulled by our marshals. As was said above a weapon that is to stiff will shatter, but how likely is it that any fighter who is at the steel level will bring a weapon of that type onto the field?

Well if member A has a high rockwell, while member B has a low rockwell B's sword will get more damage, and that doesn't necessarily mean that A's sword is unsafe. How likely that a member would bring a very high rockwell sword onto the field, is IMO kinda high since most members don't know what their rockwell is (if they even know what rockwell is to begin with). Files start at a rockwell of 55, and if you drop one it will shatter into several pieces.

Also how many thousandths deep does a sword have to be within our Rockwell rating?

I'm confused by this. If a piece of steel is a 40 rockwell it's 40 through and through. The size/depth doesn't matter.

Another consideration is that most of us cannot afford to have and replace custom blades. If we are going to disqualify most of the swords on the field how are we going to field any steel fighters. The current weapons on our field have not caused any problems.

That's why I'm suggesting we raise the requirements. As it stands now, with the info I have gathered, and the damage I have seen done to Myn's new blade (which I know is 45 rockwell, the current max) I can say, with near certainty that no one in the Empire, but Myn has a 100% legal blade, as per the IMoC.

I know many of the swords have not been a problem, but I know one member her who has a blade that is refereed to as Bladebraker, and is responsible for...3 (if I'm remembering correctly) broken swords. That says to me it's a high rockwell, and if it breaks it will break bad. Just because it hasn't happened doesn't mean it never will.
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Lark
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Re: Rockwell requirements, and current swords

Postby Lark » Fri Jul 18, 2008 12:02 pm

One other thing to consider, we are in violation of our rules. If something happens before we either A) bring the swords into compliance, or B) change the rules, our insurance will not cover any injuries, or damage caused.
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lassidor
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Re: Rockwell requirements, and current swords

Postby lassidor » Fri Jul 18, 2008 7:15 pm

Lark wrote:I'm confused by this. If a piece of steel is a 40 rockwell it's 40 through and through. The size/depth doesn't matter.


I've already tossed in my opinions. However, this statement isn't true. In tools that are case hardened the outer edges of metal have a much higher hardness than the core of the material. This is especially true with edged weapons: swords, knives, and axes. The purpose being to allow the edge to be made and to stay with use while not embrittling the entire tool. True Japanese weapons took this philosophy to the limit by wrapping a very hard, folded, high carbon piece of steel around a much softer core. "Damascus" weapons incorperate using varius layers of high and low carbon steel folded together. The high carbon layers are very hard and hold a good edge while the low carbon layers are not very hard and allow the weapon to take damage without shattering. I would guess that most of the weapons we use today are single alloy weapons with properties that simulate having two different carbon alloys. However, since you stated that the manufacturors could change the to hardness it means that they heat treat to achieve the desired hardness. Depending on the meathod they use it could be case hardening (less expensive). Btw, the history channel recently ran an interesting show comparing two katanas one made the traditional way and one made using a modern alloy with a grinder and no heat treating.

I know many of the swords have not been a problem, but I know one member her who has a blade that is refereed to as Bladebraker, and is responsible for...3 (if I'm remembering correctly) broken swords. That says to me it's a high rockwell, and if it breaks it will break bad. Just because it hasn't happened doesn't mean it never will.


Not having the sword tested I would interpret it in the opposite. I would say Bladebreaker has a lower hardness than the ones that broke. The broken swords were more brittle therefore probably harder probably also older (work hardened). A sight unseen estimation of Bladebreaker: a Heavy sword with a moderate case hardening. The case hardening would keep the edge from taking a lot of damage while having a softer core to prevent brittleness. I would probably prefer using a similar blade as it wouldn't need replacing.
Duke Sir Lassidor Vandolini, KC, BOD treasurer, Imperial Exchequer, Defiance member, BoC of the Kingdom of Vega

Mynwyn
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Re: Rockwell requirements, and current swords

Postby Mynwyn » Fri Jul 18, 2008 9:47 pm

Actually, with Bladebreaker, we know for a fact that the blade's been hardened. Which way, how much or how deep we have no idea, but it has been hardened. That's why it was taking large slivers out of my blade. That's what started this whole conversation in the first place.

On one thing I have to agree with Lark. We must do whatever is necessary so that there will be no problem with the insurance. We should probably talk to the insurance company itself to make sure of what that is. Failing that, we should at least ask a lawyer. It's vital that we make sure whatever we do, that if there is a problem with a sword, the insurance will still cover us.

Myn


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