Beauty & characteristics
The sword
Digging for steel
Scientific data
Distinguishing and buying
Custom made swords
Picture gallery

Another Namphi sword. There are ancient Khmer incsriptions all over the blade.

Picture showing the 2 different types of the Namphi steel. The typical finishing is done by exposing the forged blade to heat; hence the "male metal".

Rusted Namphi steel that has been buried under silt for decades. Very little corrosion appears and the steel retains its original shape.

The Beauty and Characteristics

The Namphi steel has a beauty like no other. The elegant silvery-blue metal is both tough and hard. These qualities can be shown in a Namphi sword striking a typical steel sword cutting the sword without
leaving a scratch on the blade. Swordmakers today usually test the sword's quality by cutting iron nails.

Products made from the Namphi steel are mostly for religious and formal uses. Swords, Buddha beads (mala), monk ritual knives (used in ceremonies) and also small molded figurines of the Buddha. It is rarely forged into household tools since the metal is considered too valuable to make such petty objects.

The Namphi steel can be found in two flavors, as locals call the 'male metal' and the 'female metal'. Exposing the metal to heat, swordmakers achieve what they call the male metal that possesses a dark blue color. This is the typical finishing especially when making swords, a process that reveals a distinguishing characteristic like no other. Without the final heating process, the female metal retains its white silvery, natural color of steel, having the same qualities of the male metal.

Contrary to numerous beliefs that this steel never rusts, in fact, it does but only under very tough conditions. The steel itself has a high resistance to rust and corrosion by nature. Objects that have been buried under silt and earth for centuries reveal the rust any non-stainless steel would have, however it does not corrode and will retain its original shape.