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Are Swords Made from Tungsten Good or Bad?

Written By: David Mickov
Published On: October 3, 2022
Edited by: Juliana Cummings

All swords made of tungsten material are called tungsten swords, regardless of the type of sword, whether real, like some medieval swords, samurai swords, long swords, or even fictional ones like the lightsaber.

In this article, we will be discussing what tungsten material is and the characteristics of a tungsten sword. Then, we’ll look at the usage of a tungsten sword and how it is made. Finally, we will compare it with a steel sword and whether it is advisable to own a tungsten sword.

Characteristics of a Tungsten Sword

A tungsten sword looks the same as a normal sword. The only slight difference that can be seen is the darker color of the tungsten material.

Weight

The tungsten sword is very heavy. Tungsten material on its own is weighty, so when combined with steel, it becomes a very heavy sword.

While a regular Japanese samurai katana sword can weigh around 2.8 pounds / 1.3 kg, a tungsten sword can easily weigh about 4.4 to 5.5 pounds / 2 to 2.5 kg. 

Length and Size

A tungsten sword can be made just the same as any other sword. However, the process of making the length for it is much harder. So, for example, if a broadsword is around 3.2 feet / 100 cm long and you want to make it from tungsten, it can be the same length and size as the original.

What is Tungsten?

Tungsten is a metal, like steel. If you ask a metallurgy expert, they will tell you there is no such thing as a pure tungsten sword. This is because the typical blacksmith would not make a sword out of tungsten by itself. 

It would be too brittle. For this reason, tungsten alloys are always made by mixing tungsten with other metals. It’s strong enough to fight with, but only for a few sword fights.

Usages of the Tungsten Sword

A tungsten sword certainly has its place. If you do get your hands on a tungsten sword, there are some usages that you can find for it.

Melee Fights

You can wield it as a normal sword, but it would be much heavier. So prepare yourself for the training of your life, especially for your right or left arm. If you want to make a couple of normal strikes with the tungsten sword, it may result in straining or overtiring your hand instantly.

You can, of course, use it in a melee LARP fight and even go against another type of steel sword. But after one or two fights, it will most likely break.

Short-Lived Decorative Piece

Tungsten is also a metal that is prone to corrosion. If you like a sword as a decorative piece to show other people, you will want it to last longer. That won’t be the case with the tungsten sword.

So it is possible to demonstrate that you can make a tungsten sword, but it won’t last for a long time.

Toxic

The tungsten material can be very toxic if it gets inside the human body. It will cause much more bacteria, resulting in a higher infection rate. 

Of course, we do not recommend stabbing anyone, but if it was used in history, this would be its only positive quality over steel.

Construction of a Tungsten Sword

The hard process of making Tungsten Carbide – Credits: Chandler Dickinson

Blacksmiths with tungsten experience would say this is just a thought experiment or an unrealistic task because it wouldn’t be possible to make a sword out of tungsten. Tungsten is a metal with one of the highest melting points.

With a hammer and anvil, it’s almost impossible to shape a tungsten sword. Its brittleness makes it very hard to craft. When it’s cool, it’s hard, but it breaks easier than steel. One might consider putting a second tungsten edge on a steel sword, but there’s no reason. Tungsten is too heavy and, of course, expensive.

Tungsten Carbide

How the Tungsten material looks like when held in hand – Credits: Thoisoi2 – Chemical Experiments!

Sometimes the tungsten sword is made of tungsten carbide material.

Tungsten carbide is a substance made up of tungsten and carbon. It is known in blacksmith circles for having a high melting point, being strong, and lasting a long time. Tungsten carbide is often used in cutters, punches, abrasives, and dies that need to be resistant to impact or wear.

Even these best alloys are almost twice as fragile as any steel used to make swords today. This is not suitable for a sword.

Would Tungsten Make for a Good Blade?

Not at all.

The tungsten would not make a good blade because it is not very flexible or reliable. Tungsten could be used to create a sword’s blade, but it would be too heavy and break too easily. Tungsten is also very hard to work and build with, making it even more difficult.

Tungsten will make the sword too heavy and fragile to be useful. In addition, it is not flexible enough to be used as the main part of a sword.

Even if you could make a sword out of tungsten, you could never sharpen its blade as you have to use a special method or diamond powder to sharpen it.

Tungsten Sword Vs. Steel Sword

The steel sword wins the race.

Steel simply works when making and using a sword. It is light, can bend perfectly, and offers very powerful abilities that you cannot do with a tungsten sword. Stainless steel is the best type of steel for your sword.

As for the tungsten sword, it would be very fragile and break easily. It wouldn’t last much longer than a piece of glass. It would also be very heavy and probably very hard to use correctly, which may result in an injury.

Should you Get a Tungsten Sword?

If you want to get a tungsten sword just to have and own, go ahead.

But if you want a sword that will be effective for use and maintained for a very long time, we wouldn’t recommend acquiring one.

Not only do they come at a high price, but they will be practically useless. You won’t be able to wield it because of its weight. You wouldn’t be able to place it as a decorative piece on the wall because of the fast corrosion. If you use it a handful of times, it will break, and so on. Overall, owning a tungsten sword is not advisable for a sword enthusiast.

Conclusion

Tungsten could be used to make a sword, but it wouldn’t be very useful, so you can consider it impractical. If you want to obtain a high-quality sword, invest in a stainless steel sword.

Sources Cited
  1. Lassner, E., & Schubert, W. D. (2012). Tungsten. In Properties, Chemistry, Technology of the Element, Alloys, and Chemical Compounds.
  2. Maron, M., & Morris, G. (2012). The Sword.
  3. Laible, T. (2015). The Sword. In Myth and Reality: Technology, History, Fighting, Forging, Movie Swords.
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