Determining authentic full tang swords
In sword collecting for beginners, finding real swords could be a challenge if not a dilemma. Most novices would end up choosing the wrong swords because of lack of knowledge. Here are some factors that determine what authentic swords are.
Metallurgy of the Sword Blade
Battle ready swords are made from carbon steel. Common swords for sale in the market are decorative swords which are made of stainless steel.
Despite the many sellers’ marketing tactics that say they have the best quality of stainless steel blade, a sword made of stainless steel still does not pass as a real sword.
Stainless blades are brittle which means it breaks when it hits with other swords. Stainless blades in ornamental swords would also tend to look very shiny unlike carbon steel blades that rarely reflect light.
But carbon steel alone does not assure you that you have an authentic sword. The carbon steel blade must be heat treated to attain the balance of hardness (for the cutting edge) and flexibility (to resist shock when in contact with other hard objects). Heat treatment is a process of heating, hammering, and quenching the blade.
Some sword dealers boast of their carbon steel sword blades but do not always mention about heat treatment and forging. So, every time you would buy a carbon steel sword, always ask if it were heat treated and forged to know it is a real sword.
Construction and Durability – Full Tang Sword
Take a close look at your swords and see if they are well constructed from the hilt to the tip of the blade. A real sword must be an authentic full tang sword.
The tang is that part of the sword blade that is hidden within the handle. A sword is full tang when the tang is long enough to support the entire blade and such tang extends into the full length of the handle. This helps the sword from staying in place in every strike and hit the wielder makes. Blades of non-full tang swords could fly off in the air with one good swing – this is very dangerous. Also examine the handle, hand guards, and collars and see if they are tightly assembled together.
Balance and weight of the Sword
A real sword should not be too heavy. There had been a misconception that only robust men could wield a sword. It would often appear in movies or TV programs that an average man could hardly carry the bladed weapon. The truth is, swords should not weigh more than five pounds so that it would not be difficult for any man to use a sword in a battle.
The Sword Price
It is also a common belief that authentic swords must cost a thousand dollars. This can be true but it is not an absolute truth. First of all, it is very impractical for new collectors to spend too much with their first pieces for the collection especially considering they do not have much experience and knowledge at buying swords. Some knowledgeable enthusiasts suggest that there are quality functional swords priced at $300 and less in sword shop online. However, it takes a lot of patience, a long looking around (whether in sword shops online or in sword stores), and a good dose of information to find these great deals.
Beginner’s guide to buying swords
1) A newbie in sword collecting is not encouraged to do sword shopping online. He does not have enough experience and know-how about the ins and outs of transactions through the web. Unless he is supervised by a sword expert, he must buy his first piece in real sword stores and not online.
2) He must know the price ranges of swords in the market and he must know them well. This way, he would be aware whether he is paying too much for a low-class piece or a fake sword.
3) He must be actively participating in avenues wherein people discuss about swords: online sword forums, sword exhibits, sword auctions, etc. These are just few opportunities to gain more information about sword collecting and buying.