Talwar sword

This board is dedicated to small and big blades related to daggers, swords, and similar items.

Moderators: Milu, The Motley Crew

Forum rules
There are a few things you should know before posting in these forums. If you are a new user, please click here and read carefully. Thanks a lot!
Post Reply
kwackster
Posts: 257
Joined: Mon May 15, 2017 8:07 pm

Talwar sword

Post by kwackster »

Recently i bought this old Indian Talwar sword, but it's not exactly my field of expertise.
If possible i would like to know the timeframe & region that the sword was made, and if the blade could possibly be wootz steel.
Thx in advance for any info you're willing to share, :-)

ImageImage

ImageImage

ImageImage

ImageImage

ImageImage

ImageImage

ImageImage

Image

Specs:

Overall length: 35.04 inch (89,0 cm)
Blade length up to pointy handle end: 27.95 inch (71,0 cm)
Blade thickness measured just before pointy handle end: 5.63 mm
Blade thickness measured just before front double edge section: 5.15 mm
Blade thickness at mid double edge section: 3.0 mm
Measured edge angle: +/- 30 degrees inclusive, convex
Handle looks to be plain carbon steel.
Weight: 1135 grams
User avatar
Billyfish
Posts: 116
Joined: Thu May 16, 2019 8:39 pm
Location: Amity, MA

Re: Talwar sword

Post by Billyfish »

Looks like an 18th century North Indian Kilij style of blade with a typical Talwar handle that has been with this blade for a long time.
To find out if it's wootz you will need to polish a small window somewhere on the blade and then etch the area.
Nital, ferric chloride, instant coffee paste, vinegar can be used; googling etching wootz will lead you to lots of information on the subject of etchants and procedures.
Judging from the rust and pitting pattern it may well be wootz.
Are there any marks or stampings at the base of the blade?
Nice sword; an old experienced warrior. 8)
kwackster
Posts: 257
Joined: Mon May 15, 2017 8:07 pm

Re: Talwar sword

Post by kwackster »

No markings on either the blade or the handle, and i will experiment with some of the things you mention for etching later on.
Currently busy with resharpening the main edge with my worn-in 120 grit diamond file.
It feels like i'm grinding high carbide steel, and i definitely need to use some pressure to make the file cut & remove material, otherwise it just skids over the surface.
The remnants of the old main edge measured a slightly convex ~30 degrees inclusive, and the new main edge will be about the same.
The blade also used to have it's swedge sharpened in the past, so i will probably redo that as well later on.

ImageImage
User avatar
Billyfish
Posts: 116
Joined: Thu May 16, 2019 8:39 pm
Location: Amity, MA

Re: Talwar sword

Post by Billyfish »

Usually the yelman is not sharpened on these swords. If the file is skittering on the edge it must be nicely hardened. You might be able to apply a bit of hot vinegar to the fresh edge; it may show you a hint of pattern. It looks like it will be a good cutter once you get used to the hilt.
kwackster
Posts: 257
Joined: Mon May 15, 2017 8:07 pm

Re: Talwar sword

Post by kwackster »

With the sword clamped to the table i use the diamond file with two hands.
Already ordered a 300 grit diamond file from the Bay to refine the bevels a bit later on.
If the new edge comes out good enough i will also clean up the blade surfaces and maybe try to obtain a new and somewhat bigger handle.

ImageImage

ImageImage
kwackster
Posts: 257
Joined: Mon May 15, 2017 8:07 pm

Re: Talwar sword

Post by kwackster »

Partial etching attempt with a bit of lemon juice, just to see if something would appear.
It seems it did, but so far it doesn't look like any of the wootz patterns i see online.
Click 2 x on the picture, then enlarge further.

Image
Last edited by kwackster on Sun Apr 26, 2020 9:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Billyfish
Posts: 116
Joined: Thu May 16, 2019 8:39 pm
Location: Amity, MA

Re: Talwar sword

Post by Billyfish »

Interesting; it doesn't look like piled construction or monosteel. I guess you'd find out for sure if you polish the entire blade.
I see talwar/tulwar handles listed on ebay; the problem is that Western hands tend to be a bit larger and the disc is there to force the wielder to use a draw cut; these are slashing swords, not stabbers or choppers.

Please post a picture if you decide to do an entire polish . :)
kwackster
Posts: 257
Joined: Mon May 15, 2017 8:07 pm

Re: Talwar sword

Post by kwackster »

Someone on another forum thought that it might be dendritic wootz; no specific patterns, but possibly comparable mechanical properties.

The handle on this talwar is indeed a bit too cramped for my medium sized hand and it's also a tiny bit loose, probably because the pitch/treesap mix has dried out or disintegrated.
Regarding the use of the talwar (and other Indian weapons) i have found this website to be very interesting:​ http://indianfight.com/​​
User avatar
Billyfish
Posts: 116
Joined: Thu May 16, 2019 8:39 pm
Location: Amity, MA

Re: Talwar sword

Post by Billyfish »

Indian swords are a fascinating subject; Elgood's Hindu Arms and Ritual is a great book on the subject.
I believe the only time you will find wootz in a specific pattern is when it has been mechanically manipulated, such as a rose or ladder pattern.
Here is a quite unusual Indian sword I collected some 10 years ago.
A Kirach:
Attachments
kirach.jpg
kirach.jpg (204.88 KiB) Viewed 2394 times
usher
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon May 20, 2019 7:49 am

Re: Talwar sword

Post by usher »

whichever time does it belong to, its simply beautiful! with so much history hidden inside it!
User avatar
Billyfish
Posts: 116
Joined: Thu May 16, 2019 8:39 pm
Location: Amity, MA

Re: Talwar sword

Post by Billyfish »

I'd guess the blade is from the approximate era as the one kwackster started this thread with. The hilt may be somewhat older and once was entirely covered in silver which probably means that it once belonged to a high caste individual. The downward curved blade was popular with Sikhs I've been told. The point is of a thickened diamond cross section to penetrate mail or heavy quilted armor. This is quite a good thrusting sword from my experience cutting with it. The back edge is quite sharp right up to where the fuller stops. I've yet to figure out how to do an effective draw cut or slash.
kwackster
Posts: 257
Joined: Mon May 15, 2017 8:07 pm

Re: Talwar sword

Post by kwackster »

The project has been on the backburner for a while, but now it's time for a few refining steps of the new convex edge.
First with the blue side of a DMT Diafold, later followed by the red side.

ImageImage

ImageImage
kwackster
Posts: 257
Joined: Mon May 15, 2017 8:07 pm

Re: Talwar sword

Post by kwackster »

Currently busy refining the convex surfaces of the now centered edge with a DMT blue Diafold (coarse / 325 mesh / 45 micron)
The ancient "edge" had most likely been done freehand on a stone wheel, and was neither convex nor even close to being centered (it waved irregularly from left to right)

Image

ImageImage

ImageImage

ImageImage

ImageImage

Image
User avatar
whippersnapper
Posts: 7534
Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2004 12:39 pm
Location: Michigan

Re: Talwar sword

Post by whippersnapper »

8)
Post Reply