2
$\begingroup$

The myth of katanas being folded 10 thousand times making them so sharp they can cut through time and space is over(hopefully)

But are there any weapons that easily slash through meat and bone without stuck onto it? It's kind of a boring thing when you are in the heat of the battle and your axe or sword get's stuck inside the skull of your enemy.

and if there aren't any weapons like that what design would make it harder to have your weapon stuck in your foe?

$\endgroup$
9
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ "The myth of katanas being folded 10 thousand times making them so sharp they can cut through time and space is" at the best an extremely liberal interpretation into more modern parlance of the 'spirit' of the real myths or at the worst is just something you just made up ;) $\endgroup$
    – Pelinore
    Jan 18, 2023 at 18:27
  • $\begingroup$ ... But, more to the point, we're here to help you build an imaginary world (see help center). Is there an issue with your world having bladed weapons that a skilled user can use to cut cleanly through flesh and bone? $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Jan 18, 2023 at 18:32
  • $\begingroup$ @Pelinore it's an anime trope of katans being so sharp that when you are killed by one, you realize 5-10 seconds later as pieces of you start to fall off when you turn and walk... or katanas being used as magical stuff to cut through time, But I'm not sure if it originated in anime or hollywood since it's so overused in both types of media $\endgroup$
    – user100394
    Jan 18, 2023 at 18:49
  • $\begingroup$ To slash through meat and bone? No, because a slash is a broad cutting motion designed to leave a long, bloody wound so your opponent has to tap out. You don't slash through bones, you chop through bones, and to do it you want a chopping weapon, viz., one that is heavy and has a lot of momentum like an axe or cleaver. $\endgroup$
    – Cadence
    Jan 18, 2023 at 18:59
  • $\begingroup$ Minimize surface resistance and you can come closer to your goal. But ultimately I think there is no definitive answer that places the culpability solely in the weapon and not largely in the fault of the user. Thin, curved blades will have less surface resistance than a thick, straight blade. Imagine a split in a skull like pac-man's mouth. If there is more to grab onto, it will stick more when he chomps down. $\endgroup$
    – Kai Qing
    Jan 18, 2023 at 19:50

8 Answers 8

3
$\begingroup$

The issue here is realistically one of Edge Retention.

Imagine you have a perfectly sharp sword/Axe/whatever, the pointy end is very thin metal. Even with the best alloys available, it's still thin (and therefore weak).

The first few uses of the blade (namely, first few unfortunates that get cut down with it) are going to dull and blunt that edge - even if we assume that our sword technique is perfect and we are slicing between Armour, between bones - just cutting through Flesh.

And it's the dulled edge that binds and gets stuck in bone etc.

If we re-frame our perfect scenario with a little sprinkling of reality - no one has a perfectly sharp sword and sword fights (even against untrained and unarmored opponents) - you are still going to hit hard things and dull the edge. The more this happens, the duller it gets, the more likely it is to bind etc. etc.

To answer your question: No there isn't a weapon that has perfect edge retention, to the point where it would make it immune to this phenomenon.

In terms of how to solve this problem - The WH40K Chainsword actually provides a pretty good solution here - which is that you have multiple teeth (multiple edges) that are powered, which makes them less likely to bind as the torque from the engine will pull the teeth through.

People have made 'recreations' of this IRL, not very practical - but it's an idea.

The main way that people historically dealt with this issue was using the best Steel they could, a good honing stone and regular maintenance of the edge - so that when you needed to use it, your sword was as good as it could be and hopefully you'd get through the battle unscathed and you could then re-sharpen your sword again.

That and good technique: Such as blocking with the back or flat of the blade, parrying the force of the strike, Edge Alignment when striking, targetting soft and squidgy parts etc.

$\endgroup$
1
  • $\begingroup$ To add to this. I had to use wickedly sharp scalpels to prepare pig remains. These were the type of “oh shit I didn’t even notice I was cut” sharp. A single cut could lay open the pig’s skin and flesh underneath with ease. But cutting through the pig flesh you dulled them incredibly fast as well. Laying bare the knee joint completely (and properly) often took 3 to 5 scalpels. $\endgroup$
    – Demigan
    Feb 10, 2023 at 11:13
2
$\begingroup$

Ice Knife!

ice knife

https://interestingengineering.com/video/this-razor-sharp-knife-made-of-ice-can-easily-slice-a-cucumber

This is a cool video. The knife is not pure ice but ice around polyester fluff of the sort one would find in a teddy bear. Ice cubes of the polyster ice composite can get whacked with a hammer.

And ice knife will not stick because immersed in the hot hotness of your opponent it would promptly melt. Polyester does not change the melting point, only the hardness.

$\endgroup$
1
  • $\begingroup$ Downvoted because I am always getting my tongue meat stuck to knives like this. $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Feb 10, 2023 at 13:48
1
$\begingroup$

Santoku sword

enter image description here

Do you see those capsule-shaped recesses? That's to allow air to flow around the knife so vacuum-pressure does not hold the blade to the food as you slice.

Your swords are made the same way. The two faces of the blade have recesses to break up the surface. Feel free to be artistic with the spacing of the recesses.

enter image description here

$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

Spare weapons

Though not answering the question directly, the best way to keep fighting is having spare weapons. Any slashing or cutting weapon can get stuck. It is just a matter of time before it happens. If it does happen, you have a spare ready to be used. It isn't the most practical, as you need to wear the spare. In armies they more often have smaller weapons as a backup (if they have a spare) to partially mitigate any drawbacks of carrying a spare.

That being said, you're on a battlefield. Plenty of spares are laying about, their owners dead or dying. Get your axe lodged into a head? Do not waste time wrenching it free! Take the certain path and just pick up a weapon nearby. The person you just killed probably had one, increasing the chances of rearming yourself even more.

$\endgroup$
0
$\begingroup$

Yes, this is something weapon-designers have been thinking about for 1000s of years, and there are various design features included for just this purpose.

An axe with a curved cutting edge won't get stuck as easily as one with a straight cutting edge, as the curve can be eased out of whatever it's stuck in. (This is vital to woodcutting axes.)

An axe with a long handle can be pulled out more easily, because you pull from the end of a long lever.

A weapon that's weighted on one side will tend to split whatever it hits apart, rather than go straight/direct in and get stuck.

It's not a particular problem to worry about in worldbuilding, IMO.

$\endgroup$
3
  • $\begingroup$ there's a tag for it, so it's a problemo about worldbuilding $\endgroup$
    – user100394
    Jan 18, 2023 at 21:08
  • $\begingroup$ Historical models might not be as good as what we can create today with hindsight, even though we don’t use such weapons much today, so it’s a valid Worldbuilding question. The fact that the answer is “history got it right” does not invalidate the question! :-) $\endgroup$
    – SRM
    Jan 19, 2023 at 3:50
  • $\begingroup$ Forgetting about violence for a second, cutting implements that don't get stuck a huge issue (the main issue?) in the noble&manly art of woodcutting. If you'd prefer something a little bit outside of the norm (that's the fun of worldbuilding after all), the leveraxe is designed to be a weird axe that doesn't get stuck. $\endgroup$
    – wokopa
    Jan 19, 2023 at 12:18
0
$\begingroup$

I am not sure if you are looking for something that currently exists, or requires some sci-fi elements.

As mentioned above, a motorized blade wouldn't get stuck. Your best most grounded solution is something that rotates at high speed. A circular saw on a stick would just about do it.

If you superheated the edge it could burn through. It would be difficult to hold the weapon (maybe a poleaxe type), but a few hundred degrees would fix a lot of problems. Most materials get fairly soft at those temperatures and those that can withstand them easily commonly don't conduct heat well (so they'd be hard to heat up). You could use some type of spun carbon, like fiberglass but more able to resist heat, but it wouldn't be all that strong or sharp.

If you want to include advanced technology you could hold a plasmated gas in a magnetic field sheath or have a blade with a mono-molecular edge.

The gas would either melt whatever it touched or dissipate, so no getting stuck.

Things are sharp because they are thin. These days you can get some surprisingly good results with certain polished ceramics. Usually though materials that can be made very thin are also very brittle. If you swing a ceramic sword and are only slightly off of a straight cut it will push against the target and bend. If that bend is enough, it will snap it in two. The thinner it is, the sharper and less able to get stuck, but also the more brittle it is and liable to snap. Sword steel is not particularly strong, but it is springy. It will take shallow bends and generally bounce back to shape.

Having a sci-fi material that is able to be sharpened to one molecule thick would be the sharpest you could possibly get. It would have very little trouble with organic material. If it was also flexible even when thin, it could make a good battle weapon.

If your material was strong enough to hold together in a single mono-molecular chain, you could have a whip that would go through nearly anything and be essentially invisible - although using it would require a lot of training. One mistake would be quite bad.

None of the above are new ideas, but there's only so many ways to cut.

$\endgroup$
0
$\begingroup$

Power boosted melee weapon

A mechanic that provides sudden acceleration to your weapon that can be triggered manually or on impact; for example, Red Queen.

You can use the weapon as if it is a normal weapon such as slashing, cutting, and etc. However, whenever you want to make the impact heavier (so that it penetrates all the enemy's flesh and bones) you would just trigger the mechanic.

With that, you can adjust the power level of the boost so that you can control the probability of penetration to your desire.

$\endgroup$
0
$\begingroup$

No weapon is guaranteed to never get stuck, as the ease with which a weapon cuts through flesh and bone is determined by several factors, including the design of the weapon, the skill of the wielder, and the type of material being cut.

However, some weapons are less likely to get stuck in bone than others. A weapon with a curved blade, such as a scimitar or a saber, is less likely to get stuck in bone because the blade can slide off the bone rather than becoming lodged in it. Additionally, weapons with thin, flexible blades, such as a rapier or a foil, are less likely to get stuck because they can bend around bone instead of getting caught in it.

It's also important to note that the way in which a weapon is used can also impact the likelihood of it becoming stuck. A skilled warrior can use the momentum of their weapon and the angle at which it strikes to reduce the likelihood of it becoming stuck.

In conclusion, there is no single weapon design that can guarantee that a weapon will never get stuck in an enemy, but weapons with curved blades and flexible blades are less likely to get stuck. Ultimately, the skill of the wielder and the technique they use to swing the weapon will have the greatest impact on reducing the chance of getting stuck.

$\endgroup$

You must log in to answer this question.