A Conversation for Swords

Folding Swords

Post 1


It wasn't done 2,000 times that I've ever heard of... but you could. The difference between paper and steel is that when heated and folded and flattened, steel deforms; it doesn't run into the problems paper does.
I can't swear to it, since I'm just beginning to learn the metallurgical part of swords and their construction, but I suspect that the reason you'd want to fold the steel of the sword so many times is to help make the steel of the blade more uniform. I know that in the west, there was often a problem with steel being too soft in some spots and too hard in others, up until relatively late.

Folding Swords

Post 2


Well, I should correct this, having found out the reason, and actually remembering it this time.
A folded katana is done thousands of times, and this is for the same reason that pattern-weld or "Damascus" steel, as it's known, does it. Steel bends, and welds to itself. You take a layer of hard metal and a layer of soft metal, put them together, heat them, and fold them. This has the effect of giving you a blade that will hold an excellent edge, but not break easily.

Folding Swords

Post 3

Researcher 186886

It is also believed that the best katanas used alternating layers of annealed and quenched steel, The two types work in tandem to give a better result than just using tempered steel...

Folding Swords

Post 4

The Dali Llama

My understanding had been that Watered or "Damascus" steel was actually a different thing than pattern-welded. In pattern welding , you use two types of metal , but watered/Damascus/katana steel is folded many times( not 2,000 times. 2,000 is the number of layers, there are fewer folds than that. Also, only relly good swordsmiths got 2,000 layers.

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