About Our Blades
All Zen Warrior blades are hammer hot forged from high silicon steel billet, and then heat treated in an innert atmosphere at a computer controlled temperature and time. this is not the cheapest way to make blades, but it is the best way. Our objective is to make the granular structure of the steel as advantageous as possible for combat sword blades. Forged blades tend to contain fewer internal defects because it is difficult for mineral inclusions to become incorporated in forged material, and any porosity is squashed shut by the pressure of the forging process. Hence,we hammer forge our blades instead of simply grinding them from sheet metal. A sheet metal blade can be beautiful on the outside, but we want to be sure that our blade's beauty is more than skin deep.
We use a specific designation of high silicon steel because extensive fatigue testing has demonstrated its superior durability to carbon steel. It costs more, but allows us to produce a superior product. Our blades are tempered in a computer controlled bell oven. After replacing the air in the bell with innert gas, we temper the blades at a precise temperature for a specific time, and forced atmosphere circulation assures uniform temperature throughout the blades.
We go to this much trouble and expense because we intend to continue making the world's best blades for fighting. True, for dress swords or wall decoration one could find prettier pieces than our combat ready blades, but in a fight, wether in the salle, on the battlefield, or on stage, there is no blade in the world that matches our quality.
Fencing blades are designed to bend. They don't always spring back by themselves, but they can be safely straightened many, many times. You should check your bend after each action, and take proper efforts then.
Blade Bends cause more discussion than nearly any other blade topic. A straight blade will flex at a much higher pressure than one that has been trained to bend properly. The straight blade will also break at with much higher frequency. Teach your blades to bend properly, and they'll last much longer. Epee Rapier and Musketeer blades (i.e. all blades with a triangular cross section) should have an "open" flex. The V cross-section allows for only one proper curve: The point of the V must be on the inside of the curve. Train your blades by using your hands to put a slight gradual bend into the blade. A slight "C" curve is desirable.
"S" curves occur in sword blades during hard use. If not corrected, this condition will cause a blade to break almost immediately, due to the large stress applied to a small area of the blade. S curves are easily removed by manually bending the blade bask to a gentle "C" curve. Blades withstand this re-bending thousands of times before failure. It is imperative to check the bend of a blade after every action to maintain a proper bend.
Stress Risers are small (or large) nicks in the edge of the blade resulting from blade striking blade. Blades will always break at the point of a stress riser. To minimize breaks, minimize stress risers with a judicious application of fine sandpaper.
Please Note: Epee, Rapier, and Musketeer blades (i.e. all blades with a triangular cross section) are designed to bend away from the wide section of the blade-see illustration. Bendign the blade in the opposite direction will dramatically shorten its life.