Best metal to make a sword out of.

Using any modern technique available and any metal available, what metal would a functional sword be made of. If I had to put it to a scenario I’m thinking if fighting came down to only melee fights and there was a push to make the absolute best sword to be used in actual combat what would said sword be made of and what process would be used. I get that different types might be best made out of different materials as well, like how a rapier isn’t so much concerned with strength as it is weight and just the opposite for something like a broadsword or claymore. The sword that I have in mind would be something similar to a saber. Single edge with around 2.5 ft length.

With all the modern tech available and ways of tempering and treating and shaping metals we have now has got me wondering how modern manufactures would reinvent the sword.

I’ve read the other threads regarding this type of subject none really addressed it in this way, at least that I found.

Steel. Probably a laminate of various types of steel. We have some metallurgists on the board that can explain why. Short version is that it is strong, flexible, will hold an edge and can be made in such a way that different parts are harder or softer depending on need. Also, won’t shatter if you do it right.

If we could invent a new material that has the exact properties we needed for a sword it would be a very close match for steel. Strength, hardness and flexibility it’s all there.

Another thread on the subject.

I read through the other thread and that ones main is concerned with just the metal, I’m thinking more of the entire process, not just what it’s made of. So far in everything I’m researching as well steel seems to be the best bet and combined with some sort of nanotube like reinforcement. Continuing to research though.

Find the recipe for Damascus steel.

The actual recipe for Damascus Steel has been lost, and it is comparatively equal to modern steels. I read one thing saying that Vitreloy or another amorphous metal would be the best option if all modern technology was available.

I initially read this as asking for the “best metal to make a sword by,” and I was going to suggest blasting Slayer while you work.

Are you going to use it to fight armored opponents? If not, steel seems unnecessarily heavy.

A modern aerospace steel like 154CM.

The only reason to use older formulations is cost and accessibility; the only reason to use things like modern Damascus is tradition and kewl factor. Modern-formulation steels designed for extraordinary stresses surpass anything else you could use.

Most swordmaking wisdom is mysticism, nonsense and renfair “rules.” You want a real sword that’s the best that can be made? Start with modern steels.

Steel seems to be the common answer here, but what about a titanium or aluminum alloy? There’s a reason that aircraft are largely aluminum - it is less dense! A sword that is largely Ti or Al would probably be lighter than an analogous steel sword, making it less tiring to swing and more nimble. Seems that one of these would be great for cases where you just need to get a stab or slice in. If you want to crush body armor with your massive broadsword, not so much.

Titanium and aluminum also won’t hold an edge as well, aluminum is less strong, and titanium is less flexible. There’s a reason you don’t see knives made out of those metals, even though most knives don’t need to crush armor, either.

The OP is talking about a saber, which isn’t supposed to flex. Besides, there’s no reason the edge can’t be made from something else.

Moderator Action

While there are factual aspects to this topic, it also seems to be inviting a lot of speculation and opinion, which makes it better suited for IMHO.

Moving thread from General Questions to In My Humble Opinion.

I get that steel is an extremely good choice, but everything I’m finding is pointing towards these metals being developed like metallic glass and crystalline steel. A lot of the same principles wanted in a good sword that was previously found with steel only better.

You don’t use swords to crush armor. If you need to get to the juicy center of some armor donning antagonist, a spear or a pole-arm or a hammer with a nice spike would be a better weapon.

But yeah, you do still need some heft to your sword, or you might lose the force required to do the damage it’s expected to do.

All blades flex. Metal either flexes, bends or brakes.

If you saw a saber being used by a light cavalryman during a charge in slow motion, you’d see the blade wiggling like there’s no tomorrow.

A Japenese Dai-to - let’s say a 18 century Katana, is probably one of the least flexible sword I’ve ever toyed with. Those things can end up being bent even when cutting through relatively easy targets improperly.

And has been rediscovered:

As previously posted in previous threads on this topic.

I wonder if you can make a graphene sword? With some kevlar and a sword that can cut anything and is almost weightless, get me into the time travelling machine now. I’d start my own empire!

Would you want a sword made of glass? Then why would you want one made of metal with the same properties. And what do you mean by crystalline steel? Isn’t steel already crystalline? As for nano-tube, we haven’t been able to produce enough to really know the properties of large objects made with them.