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MatsuShinshii
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 15 Aug 2016
Posts: 1423
Location: Kentucky
Styles: Machimura Suidi Rokudan, Ryukyu Kenpo, Kobudo, Judo

PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2017 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

singularity6 wrote:
I believe it's 1060 steel, so if one really wanted to have it sharpened, you'd have a live blade on your hands.


This could be true but it really depends on whether it was differentially heat treated.

Being a higher carbon steel doesn't necessarily mean anything. An Iaito can be softer than a Shinken because it is not intended to be used for actual cutting.

Does it have a (real) Hamon or temper line? If it does there is a decent chance that you are absolutely right and it could be polished and utilized as a live blade. Not sure how much I'd trust it cutting but that doesn't mean that it couldn't.

The problem is that Iaito are produced differently than Shinken in that the heat treatment is not done exactly the same. A live blade is differentially heat treated to produce a hard edge, spring middle and soft spine. This allows the blade to absorb the shock of impact, return to true and maintain a hard enough edge to cut and hold an edge without shattering due to the entire blade being hard (Martensite) or to bend due to being too soft as in being in an annealed state. This is typically performed by the use of clay as a medium to control the rates of cooling when the blade is quenched before it is tempered.

This is particularly true of modern steels like 1060. The method of utilizing high and low carbon steels and forge welding them together to create a high carbon outer skin with a low carbon center are only utilized by a few smiths. If the singular high carbon steel is not differentially heat treated the effect will be catastrophic for the user in that the sword will bend and be ruined or it will crack/break. Either way you loose your investment or worse, you loose a body part.

This is definitely not to say that Iaito do not undergo the heat treat process or are not differentially heat treated as many are today. However it also is dependent on the heat treat process, quenchant used (rate of cooling) and temper process to produce a specific brinell or rockwell hardness within the blade.

I'm sure the manufacturer can provide you with this information if you chose to polish the blade. This would definitely tell you whether it would be worth pursuing.

Oh and unless you are a skilled polisher do not attempt to do this yourself. You could ruin the blade.
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