Can you Really Make a Sword out of Tungsten? Solved

tungsten sword

Most of us have probably heard great stuff about tungsten and its amazing properties. For once, I’m sure that, just like me, at one point in your life, you have assumed that the quality of being hard is equivalent to being resistant to daily wear and tear. Whilst this may be true for some elements, it is not so with tungsten. And for this reason, tungsten is not really an ideal material for making a sword.

Tungsten can be teoretically used as a material to make a sword. But because of its properties, a sword made out only of tungsten will be too heavy and too brittle.

When we speak of swords, hardness is just one of the characteristics that determines the overall quality. Equally important is durability and flexibility. The latter doesn’t mean that your sword should bend like what we colloquially understand as “bend”. What it means is that it should be flexible enough to withstand the impact and has the longevity to last for as long as you need the sword with you.

Is Tungsten Any Good for Swords? 

You can make a sword out of tungsten, but it would be too heavy and too brittle. Tungsten’s inherent lack of flexibility renders it impractical to be used as the main component for a sword.

Even if you were able to forge a sword out of tungsten, there’s no way you could sharpen it! Tungsten doesn’t react to any type of steel at all. It has to be sharpened by using a special technique or diamond powder.

However, there is a way around this. The forgeability of tungsten is just as good as it is brittle, which is bad. To get around this, a simple solution is to alloy the tungsten with a combination of the following metals: nickel and copper or nickel and iron.

Tungsten is a very hard and brittle material. It would seem to me that this would be an ideal material for a sword if it can be made to have the proper degree of hardness and ductility: by alloying the tungsten with just the right amount of the combination of the metals mentioned above, the brittleness is taken care of, while the structure is left unchanged. 

Furthermore, the alloying metal does not need to be so pure. What I mean is that, if we were to make a sword out of tungsten and alloy it with nickel and iron, then the metals being alloyed into it would be the ones doing most of the work. They would be the one keeping the shape of the sword and giving it flexibility. The tungsten would simply be the metal that makes up the bulk of the weight of the sword. Due to this arrangement, we end up with something that has more flexibility than pure tungsten but less flexibility than pure nickel and iron.

The end result is a sword that has a reasonably stiff and heavy blade but enough flexibility that it can function as an effective thrusting weapon.

Overall Pros and Cons of a Tungsten Sword

Hardness (is it a pro?)Very Brittle
Bad Edge Retention
Not Flexible
Not Suitable for Cutting Hard Materials

Is a Tungsten Sword Better Than a Steel Sword?

This is going to be a tough pound-for-pound comparison. Is it better to have a tungsten sword over a steel sword because tungsten is harder? 

No, because the hardness of a material contributes only a very small part to a sword’s ability to cut. Is a steel sword better because it is lighter than tungsten? Not necessarily because a lighter sword might be faster, making it better suited for a different style of fighting.

The best sword is the one that is best suited for your style of fighting. Choose a sword that feels right in your hands and look over the table comparing the different specifications. Remember the most important thing is that you like the way it feels, looks and that it is comfortable to hold.

Tungsten is a metal, like steel. If you ask an expert in metallurgy, they will tell you that there’s no such thing as a pure tungsten sword. Why? Because no sane blacksmith would forge a sword out of pure tungsten! It would be far too brittle. That’s why they always mix tungsten with other metals to make tungsten alloys. It’s tough enough to fight with, but it will give you enough tensile strength to last for a few sword engagements. 

As to the other metals in the sword, they are there to add strength. I know that when you are forging steel, you have to add carbon to the mix so that the resulting metal doesn’t break apart in the heat of the forge.

But for a sword, is a sword going to break apart in the heat of battle? Or is it more important to increase the strength of the metal?

I think that the strength of the metal is more important. So if I had to sacrifice some of the hardness of the metal to increase the tensile strength of the metal, I’d do it. But of course, that’s just me. I mean, look, what’s the use of having a very hard sword when it would just break easily during battle? That’s pretty much a waste of money, right? I mean, I wouldn’t be able to use it much. So, I think it’s better for me to have a sword that’s well-made. 

Now for the sake of this discussion, let’s assume for a moment that there exists a sword made out of tungsten alloy. My thought is that this sword would be extremely brittle and would snap like a twig. It would be no more durable than a piece of glass. It would also be quite heavy and would probably be very difficult to wield properly. Keep in mind that the alloying elements that are mixed in tungsten in order to make it forgeable are just about 3-10%.

Further, most of these “so-called” tungsten swords are made of steel with a little bit of tungsten mixed in. The tungsten gives the steel better characteristics, but it’s still a steel sword.

Steel swords, on the other hand, are made of either carbon or stainless steel, or a mixture of both. Steel swords are more durable and flexible than tungsten swords, and can be made to be stronger as well.

The drawback to steel is that it can oftentimes be more prone to rust and corrosion than tungsten, and can chip and bend more easily than its counterpart. 

You should keep in mind that the best steel is stainless steel, which won’t rust as easily as regular steel and can be made to be stronger than its counterpart as well.

Final Takeaway

It is possible to forge a tungsten sword, but it would be pretty much a useless piece of metal.

Jordan Rosolenne

Hi, I’m Jordan Rosolenne, the founder of I’ve been a sword enthusiast all my life and I consider it a serious hobby of mine. I love everything about Swords, Katanas, Medieval Weapons, Anime, and much much more!

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