This wonderful piece of steel was my first complete attempt to create a combat legal sword for steel fighting. This sword is built to SCA Cut and Thrust combat standards.
The sword itself is 1055ck sheet steel, cut, ground and tempered to 43 rockwell.
Most rapiers for SCA cut and thrust combat are typically 48-51 rockwell Hardness.
The crossguard is pinned in place by the protrusion (called a nagel) used to guard the hand. which , in turn reaches through the blade and is peened on the other side, securing it in place.
HARDENING AND TEMPER
Working with a professional heat treating company, we arrived at 43 RC for the hardness via the fun trial and error method.
At first we tried for 48 Rockwell Hardness, but quickly found to our dismay that the steel, while it would flex wonderfully, shattered before it bent. Often into multiple pieces.
I had never considered before that different steels would behave differently at the same hardness value! Following this revelation, I had to do some research on molecular binders in steel and comparative toughness.
This being an unsafe behaviour for steel about to be whacked repeatedly on other steel, we re-tempered the sword to 45 rockwell.
Happily, the steel in this case did bend, but not significantly enough for us to think the result was safe before it failed.
eventually, 43 rockwell we settled on. as the steel has a good bend range (45-50 degrees in a vice prior to failure in a 5mm thick blade) This should mean that the sword can take a hit without shattering, and have small bends worked out of it if someone steps on it or it otherwise takes a set.
It was also convenient as as one of the swords came back from the heat-treater in a helix and we had to straighten it.
43 Rockwell does pose a problem though; The sword is significantly softer than the 48-51 rockwell swords out there on the field, so it doesn’t take much punishment before it starts to dent and notch the edge. It works fine, but I suspect it’s lifespan for C&T combat will be a bit shorter than most commercial blades. 43 is just too soft, I think for long life in a sword.
Well, live and learn. I’ll use it until I get a better one, or it fails, or I retire it to a role as a dress sword.
So, pay heed all ye who would make swords for combat, lest ye learn my lessons the hard way.
1055 does not, easily, an appropriate fencing blade make.