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Sword Forging Part 8: Tempering

This is part 8 of my series of tutorials on how to make a sword. In this part I how you how to temper the sword.

Tempering is important because it softens up the sword and makes it less brittle. It gives the sword a little bit of bendability and flexibility. This way it doesn't shatter or crack when striking an object.

 

 

This picture shows the tempered sword. It definitely isn't a perfect tempering job but it is good enough and it shows you the concept and technique of tempering.

The color of the tempered blade

 

When Tempering the Sword

You do the tempering by heating and monitoring the color of the steel. There are two particular colors you are looking to achieve. First off you want a wheat color along the edges of the sword. This softens the edges just a little bit. But not so much that it won't hold a good sharp edge.

And you want the centerline of the sword to be a plum color. This is softer than the wheat and this gives the sword some soft flexibility so it will be durable and flex with use. So, heat it to plum along the centerline and wheat on the cutting edges.

Using a torch

You do this tempering by running a blowtorch along the spine of the sword. Pass it back and forth trying to keep the heat evenly distributed. Don't rush through this. It is very easy to overheat the sword in spots. You will see the color slowly start to change. It will turn wheat color which means it is heating up. Then the center line will start to turn plum color.

During this process be sure to flip the sword over to the other side often. You want the heat to go all the way through the sword evenly. You do this by heating both sides, so flip it over and keep heating it.

Once you got the colors right quickly dip it in the quench.

If you make a mistake!

Okay, so you couldn't get this right and the whole thing is just too blue. Well, you should put it back in the forge and reharden it! Then go through this process of re-tempering. I know that doesn't sound like a whole lot of fun but it is worth it. Just think of it as part of the learning process.

Clean with emory paper

Ok, once it is quenched you can go ahead and clean it up again with a coarse emory paper. I used 80 grit. Next we will be polishing the sword! Almost done. Won't be much longer now and the sword will be complete!!

 

NextOkay, The next part of this tutorial: (Polishing and Assembly) We finish the sword!

 

The Complete Bladesmith

The Complete Bladesmith: Forging Your Way To Perfection

Looking for instructions in bladesmithing that'll put you on the cutting edge of the custom blade market? Then this definitive guide to forging world-class blades is for you. Written by a master bladesmith, this book tells you how to set up your forge, select your materials, fashion grips and hilts, grind edges and much more!

 

 


 

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