Decorative swords, battle ready and functional swords
A sword is a weapon that was primarily used for cutting or stabbing during wars in primeval times especially before firearms were invented. Real swords have a rich history that until today different types of swords remain to be prominent icons in films, computer games, fantasy books or novels, comics, among others. Learn more about the brief history of swords from different civilizations and eras.
Perhaps because of the seemingly mystical effect and story of swords that is why some people develop a hobby of sword collecting – from real antique swords to the modern pieces. There are sword enthusiasts who collect swords to practice sword fighting techniques, to create a beautiful exhibit of swords hung on walls or shelves, or to use the swords in staged battles (e.g. historical theater acts).
Since it would be difficult to collect authentic ancient swords, real medieval swords, and even the exact movie swords, collectors buy a replica sword instead.
There are two types of replica swords available on the market:
• Ornamental Swords
Ornamental swords or decorative swords are sword replicas that are for display purposes only. They are usually made of aluminum alloy or stainless steel. They can look like exact replica swords, but they are not supposed to be used in cutting. Decorative sword blades do not have the quality that can withstand tension and impact from hard objects like metal. An obvious manifestation that a sword is ornamental is when it looks extraordinarily shiny. Functional swords may be well polished but they do not often reflect like as decorative swords do.
Ornamental swords do not make good weapons for self-defense as well. Even in plays or theater acts that include mock sword fighting, it is not advised to use an ornamental sword; else, the sword will be damaged.
Fancy decorative swords can be hung on walls or placed inside glass boxes or shelves. Replica swords that are purely for decoration could include models of Viking swords, Celtic swords, Roman sword replicas, and Samurai swords.
Very famous swords for display are movie replica swords – imitations from the films Kill Bill, The Last Samurai, 300, and others. Fantasy swords like Lord of the Rings sword, Final Fantasy swords, and fantasy pirate swords like a Jack sparrow sword are many collectors’ favorites.
The problem with movie replica swords is they are frequently highly commercialized. They can have very expensive price tags though the swords are cheaply and poorly made. Sometimes they can even be pricier than some functional swords. More often than not, if you buy a movie replica sword, you are paying for its name and popularity.
• Functional Swords
Contrary to the decorative sword, functional swords are full tang, battle ready swords which can be used in modern sword fighting techniques and sword martial arts. Consequently, since they are of better quality, they are also generally the more expensive swords. There are a few movie replica swords that are functional like Braveheart swords and Kingdom of Heaven swords.
High-end battle-ready swords are made from carbon steel – a strong type of steel that is hard but has an extent of flexibility at the same time. Because of such quality, it can withstand contact with another hard object and springs back to its shape when hit.
Functional swords used for staged combat or reenactment fighting are usually made of spring steel. This type of steel has similar qualities with high carbon steel but spring steel is less expensive. Theater swords have blunt edges to ensure safety.
Though battle ready swords are durable, it doesn’t mean it is immune to damage like breakage and rust. Proper use and sword care and maintenance have to be observed so to protect the sword from speedy deterioration.
It is not advised to strike a sword on bricks, hard wood, or rocks because it can cause thin (often microscopic) fractures that weaken the blade faster. Historically, it was for this reason that swords were disposable because frequent use of it on hard objects damaged or broke the blade. For test cutting, practitioners or collectors may settle on cutting bamboo or cutting mats (like those used in testing a Samurai sword).