Originally Posted by ashkenaz
I've been seeing claims around some forums that Luzon and Visayan Blades are so weak, that they are made of incredibly soft iron, that they break after a few uses and that even Aztec wooden weapons are more effective, how accurate is this claim?
id rather an iron blade than any wooden thing.
ut ok here goes.
modern stuff you get in asia is beyond bad most of the time..
much of it is useless.
some of it is ok
some of it is good
and some is excellent
if you go to a very isolated part of the Philippines youll still see people living in a very basic subsistence life. nobody owns a chainsaw.
the bolo knives theyll make will be good and solid as poeple dont have much money and if the makers makes a poor knife they will return ruining his reputation.
the natives in mindoro still make good cheap high quality working knives.
the ifugao sill make good stuff as well
most populated areas the knives are cheaper and less quality just turned out for 150 or 200 pesos as thats all people will pay. no sheath basic grinding no sharpening ect. its like mass production.
the vasayas are like that in some areas. but in a pile of cheap junk you can usually get a few good blades for working.
most knife makers in south east asia dont know of tempering and the spring its still a novelty. there was very little transfer of metal working from europeans oddly.
so their blades will have no hardness except for about 1cm along the edge.
this is why a blade can be bent but its still had enough to cut a nail in two.
there is however tempered blades i have seen and i have even seen oil quenching but its either information that was kept secret and not spread by locals or it was not spread due to cultural aspect.s
for exampe even today the fugao do not know what a metal plane is so they in history hammered their blades smooth and then smoothened them on a stone. but in the lowland migrans tagalogs visayans ect took with themform what is now indonesia when they mograted the metal plane.. so they will plane their blades smooth with a special tool when they are soft .
like you plane wood.
but you see even such a usefull tool due to cultural differences didnt spread.
so i have no doubts that tempering didnt spread due to again ethnospecific knife makers and lack of cultural exchange.
if an edge quench is poorly done i.e the blade is not hot enough it will just be iron and will be useless and if its to great an area they blad eiwll just chip or snap like a carrot.
so thats where the bad reputation comes from
to prove that the edge quench is done correctly more ifugo knife makers leave one side of the edge bevel with the quenching scale so the buyer can see its a clear quench line that is the right width.
the worst knives in the phillipines come form dagupan as there its mass production and lowest price counts but ill be honest. ive never broken one in the blade. mostly its the handles that are loose or something
generally the worst blades in the phillipines are much better than anything you could buy in thailand or kambodia ect and actually better than much of the indonesian stuff.
they are cheap and they work..
the vasayian stuff is mostly single beveled though. much like japanese kitchen knives.. so you must state if you require left or right handed knives.
what sort of blade were you looking to buy?