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.
Gerrit Kendel wrote:Sort of off topic, but just wanted to add in something. This "Blade Breaker" is actually sort of a joke. Technically, it has broken 2 other blades. The first was a hack saw blade that broke while it was being cut down to specs, and broke because the saw-er was getting tired and twisted the saw a bit too much and it snapped. The other was a very badly made sword that was first time in combat. It broke at the tang right where the handle stopped. And trust me, when we looked at it, we all saw it was poorly put together.
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