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Thread: Wootz or mechanical damascus

  1. #1
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    Wootz or mechanical damascus

    Both varieties have existed in oriental arms.

    Which one is your favorite? Why? Advantages disadvantages?

    Regards,

    Manoucher

  2. #2
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    Re: Wootz or mechanical damascus

    Both are bueatiful.

    Since modern tool mono steels are pretty much equivalent to mechanical damascus, and maybe even wootz (no heresy intended), there isn't much to compare there.. forge welded or crucible formed are far more bueatiful.

    However, I think that Wootz may have had superior properties to mechanical damascus, due to the nature of it's creation.

    This article was recently posted to the general forum by John McKelvy, I think:

    JOM: The role of impurities in ancient damacus steel blades.

    Perhaps this can help explain the differences, and why one might be superior to the other.. It's fairly technical, though.. I'd summarize, but I'm still trying to get my head to wrap around it.

    josh

    Originally posted by Manoucher M.
    Both varieties have existed in oriental arms.

    Which one is your favorite? Why? Advantages disadvantages?

    Regards,

    Manoucher
    The smith also sitteth by the anvil,
    And fighteth with the heat of the furnace,
    And the noise of the hammer and the anvil is ever in his ears,
    And his eyes look still upon the pattern of the thing that he maketh.
    He setteth his mind to finish his work,
    And waiteth to polish it perfectly.

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    Wootz Vs. Mechanical steel

    Gentlemen
    I think this is a very important and intriguing issue. I will therefore stick it for a while to the top of the forum threads.
    I encourage forumists to express opinions regarding Wootz vs. Pattern Welded steel with regard to:

    Functionality: Better combination of hardness and flexibility
    Aesthetic: Emphasizing the steel pattern for aesthetic purposes
    Rarity: Why pattern welded is still being forged today and Wootz technology is lost?

    Or any other related matter.

    Just as a reminder:
    Pattern Welded Steel (also known as ‘mechanical steel’ and ‘laminated steel’), is constructed from two or more different steel ingots forge welded and mechanically treated by twisting, punching and/or other mechanical processes.

    Wootz Steel (Also known as ‘watered steel’ or ‘true Damascus’) starts from ONE homogenous crucible steel ingot where by through a certain forge process, separation of areas of high carbon from low carbon steel is achieved.

    With your permission I will express my opinion at the end.

    Looking forward to hear you.

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    "Wootz Steel (Also known as ‘watered steel’ or ‘true Damascus’) starts from ONE homogenous crucible steel ingot where by through a certain forge process, separation of areas of high carbon from low carbon steel is achieved."

    I am not sure I agree with this definition completely. I was under the impression that the crucible steel ingot was created using a low heat process that upon hardening caused the different areas of pearlite and cementite to form and that the forging process was also performed at low heat in order not to disrupt this. Thus the "watering" effect would be visible in the ingot as well? during forging was when the pattern manipulation was performed, but not when the seperation occured?

    Maybe someone with more knowledge than me can clarify this? And thanks for making this one a "sticky", it is a fascinating subject.

    Joel

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    Re: Wootz Vs. Mechanical steel

    Originally posted by Artzi Yarom
    Just as a reminder:
    Pattern Welded Steel (also known as ‘mechanical steel’ and ‘laminated steel’), is constructed from two or more different steel ingots forge welded and mechanically treated by twisting, punching and/or other mechanical processes.

    Wootz Steel (Also known as ‘watered steel’ or ‘true Damascus’) starts from ONE homogenous crucible steel ingot where by through a certain forge process, separation of areas of high carbon from low carbon steel is achieved.

    With your permission I will express my opinion at the end.

    Looking forward to hear you.
    Artzi and everyone,

    The only thing that comes to mind is that with pattern welding you actually get to control the pattern. An example of this is the chevron pattern found on some historical shamshir.

    Now as good as Wootz is, Ric Furrer pointed out that there are some material limitations, though I don't remember what they are. I'll see if I can get him to post his thoughts on this forum.

    With pattern welded steels, you can achieve a slightly similar effect if you weld and alternate high and low carbon steels throught the blade body. But that all depends on what steels they used or chose historically. In Viking cultures, high carbon steel was precious and the pattern welding and twisting process was necessary to not have the swords split apart. In a sense, the pattern is a byproduct of a functionality objective. Bu when you see chevron-pattern shamshir, you got to think that they had it down as an art form because a chevron pattern is very difficult to do, especially get it so perfect for a sword-length blade.
    Adrian
    Maestro of the Bolognese School (Spaghetti sauce, not fencing!)

    Click HERE for the SFI comic strip "Bloodgroove"!

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    Re: Re: Wootz Vs. Mechanical steel

    It is possible to create deliberate patterns in wootz blades:

    http://www.tms.org/pubs/journals/JOM....fig.6a.lg.gif
    But swords need no demonstrations.
    -Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash

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    I wonder how much wootz would distort if used it in a mechanical damascus... Might not even mater. A conjunction of the two forms could be exquisite.

    josh
    The smith also sitteth by the anvil,
    And fighteth with the heat of the furnace,
    And the noise of the hammer and the anvil is ever in his ears,
    And his eyes look still upon the pattern of the thing that he maketh.
    He setteth his mind to finish his work,
    And waiteth to polish it perfectly.

  8. #8
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    Wootz Vs. Mechanical Steel

    Joel,
    I am also not sure if the separation of the different areas of pearlite and cementite are created in the original ingot or during the forging process. I hope Adrian can bring Ric Furrer to post here, I am sure he will clarify this point.

    Adam,
    I understand that control of the pattern in wootz is quite limited but Ric can clarify this as well.

    Josh.
    To the best of my knowledge, if you expose wootz to temperatures required for forge welding the wootz pattern will disappear.

  9. #9
    Why was wootz technology lost. I wanted to present two possibilities. One could be that mass produced steel drove wootz "out of business" so to speak. I am sure it would have become quite expensive in those days to buy a wootz blade with all the hand forged work and extreme details to produce. Mass produced blades would have been simpler to make and would have met more demand. Therefore perhaps apprenticeship declined sharply with the advent of more mass produced steel and with that decline in apprenticeship, fewer and fewer people learned about the secrets of forging wootz.

    I also read somewhere and I apologize for not having the reference that the best wootz that combined both functionality with aesthetics probably originated from wootz cakes that were exported from India. I recall in that particular article that perhaps there was a load that was mined for many centuries, made into wootz cakes and shipped around to be finished into swords and knives. It was theorized that this mine contained certain mineral qualities not found in other iron ores and this helped produce the higher carbon content needed for high quality wootz. Certainly, the forging process was important to bring out the finest patterns. Perhaps these iron mines were emptied and this particular ore was no longer available. Other iron ores were used and perhaps forged in the same manner, but just did not yield the fine patterns that are typically found on the 17th century and earlier blades.

    For me, the lore of wootz steel and its ability to cut, its resiliency and throw on its pure artistic beauty, make it somewhat mystical and that is what is really intriguing. I think some pattern welded steels can reveal very nice patterns, especially twist core pattern welds, but they just don't carry that same legend.

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    Re: Wootz Vs. Mechanical Steel

    Do you have a guess at what temperature this would happen?

    I wonder, because the difference between heat treating temperature and forge welding temperature is about 800 degree's F..

    josh

    Originally posted by Artzi Yarom
    Josh.
    To the best of my knowledge, if you expose wootz to temperatures required for forge welding the wootz pattern will disappear.
    The smith also sitteth by the anvil,
    And fighteth with the heat of the furnace,
    And the noise of the hammer and the anvil is ever in his ears,
    And his eyes look still upon the pattern of the thing that he maketh.
    He setteth his mind to finish his work,
    And waiteth to polish it perfectly.

  11. #11
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    wootz

    Wootz is an ancient steel most likely developed in India around 200 A.D.; some say it goes back further, but there is limited research in this area. The material is a combination of iron, carbon and glass placed in a clay crucible and fired till it goes molten (thought there are a few other manufacturing methods in history). The iron will gather carbon from the charcoal and become steel and the glass will melt and act as a flux which will chemically bond with the impurities in the iron and remove them.

    The molten steel is allowed to cool and the resulting solidified ingot is then removed from the crucible ( the crucible is broken). The ingot, ranging from 1/2 to four pounds, is then forged into a tool -- usually a blade. The ingot is difficult to forge and is often broken in the process which further adds to the mystery of the steel.

    The steel itself usually has between 1 and 2% carbon, though there are a few examples of lower carbon contents in history. The main appeal is that the finished blade has a surface pattern. I call this pattern "salt and pepper" in appearance, but the Persian poets have likened it to wind rippling across a pond or tracks of ants. Basically the pattern results from the constituent elements nucleating out into two distinct formations -- carbides and pearlite. The carbides are white and the pearlite matrix is darker. Other structures can be formed, but historically these are the two main ones. The overall effect is that of "diamonds in pudding" (my quote) where the diamonds (carbides) do the cutting and the pudding (pearlite) acts as the matrix which supports the carbides. What makes this interesting is that the carbides form groupings which are visible with the naked eye -- much like pictures in the old newspapers. The photos in the newspaper are actually made up of tiny dots (like the individual carbides), but since they can be grouped together closely they appear to be continuous lines and shapes. This is why we can see the carbides in the wootz -- they are groupings of the tiny individual carbides into alternating "cluster sheets" of carbides and pearlite. These sheets can be further manipulated to form gross patterns like the famed "kirk narduban" or Muhammad's ladder.

    What this means in function is that the carbides wear very slowly and the matrix wears faster so there is a definite saw tooth action. The wootz will chew its way through material. It therefore is very good for cutting flesh (its intended target), but not so good in cutting other things. It would make a poor wood planer blade for instance because it would leave tiny grooves in the wood rather than take a clean shaving. Very few people understand what the best uses for this material is and therefore they think that all of the legends are true and wish to think of wootz as the best all around cutting tool.

    I will say that it seems to cut meat better than anything I have tried before and when you consider the historical use for the material I believe that the ancients found the same to be true. It is not a "perfect material", but it is still very mysterious. I apologies to those who wish to believe all the wonderful myths surrounding the material. I struggled for years with these myths and separating fact from fiction is one of my personal struggles with steel.

    I began my study of wootz over a decade ago. What began with a few simple questions has grown over the years into several hundred very specific questions and every new discovery leads to another layer of detail requiring further investigation. Its is a wonderful challenge and my respect for the ancient craftsmen has grown with every new ingot I make.

    Richard Furrer
    Sturgeon Bay, WI
    Richard Furrer
    Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
    http://doorcountyforgeworks.com/

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    Re: wootz

    Richard,

    Very very good explanation, thank you. I have one problem with wootz was meant to cut flesh, please note that Persians and Indian wore mail and above that they used steel shields and steel arm and leg protection which were either of wootz or mechanical damascus steel.

    My problem with the statements "Swords were meant to cut flesh and bone" is that warriors were not fighting naked but protected, and we should never forget that. I am sure that wootz could even cut through armor, and was a devastating steel, that is what all crusaders were afraid of.

    Regards,

    Manoucher

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    Re: Re: wootz

    My problem with the statements "Swords were meant to cut flesh and bone" is that warriors were not fighting naked but protected, and we should never forget that. I am sure that wootz could even cut through armor, and was a devastating steel, that is what all crusaders were afraid of.

    Regards,

    Manoucher [/B][/QUOTE]

    I have seen many armor piercing blades which have had non wootz tips welded on. It is my assumption (as well as a few others) that the wootz would not have performed well for this act and that the tips were made on the original blade or welded on as a repair. Wootz is not just one chemistry and the quality varied greatly from piece to piece -- this should be kept in mind as well.
    I think that most mail armor was iron and a thick steel blade used with intent should make a cut in or pierce through it.
    Richard Furrer
    Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
    http://doorcountyforgeworks.com/

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    How prevelant was chain mail and other armor? My impression was that only the core group, the leaders guards, the wealthy, and others wore such and the rest had to make do with quilted cloth and leather for protection. It seems wootz would do extremely well ripping through these materials. Even a coat of plates would leave some areas uncovered.

    Joel

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    I heard of this theory, however, note that if you want to make a good sword, you make sure that it cuts or damage armor, since if it can cut armor it can easily cut cloth, leather, bone or flesh. Swords are weapons, period and they are tougher, much tougher than we collectors assume.

    Regards,

    Manoucher

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    Originally posted by Manoucher M.
    I heard of this theory, however, note that if you want to make a good sword, you make sure that it cuts or damage armor, since if it can cut armor it can easily cut cloth, leather, bone or flesh. Swords are weapons, period and they are tougher, much tougher than we collectors assume.

    Regards,

    Manoucher
    The purpose of armor was to protect the one wearing it. If the armor of the day could easily be damaged by the weapons of the day then it would not have been doing its job.
    I have cut with the wootz blades before and though they do perform well, they still have limits. as all materials do.

    Are you saying that a good sword would go right through a breastplate or cut a helmet in two? I think we need to speak of what a good cut into armor is before we can say if a sword could do such a cut. I think the reason for heavy "mass" weapons was to pick up where the sword has left off as far as damage done to armor. If a sword could do all that was needed then the katar and mace weapons would not have come into being.

    Also cloth is rather good at preventing a deep cut of a sword. I suggest you put several layers of cloth over a moving support and give it a go. Now put a coat of chain mail over that and try it again.
    The game of killing is not as easy as may be first thought; especially when the other person does not wish to be killed (is blocking and moving).

    The helmet cut has been demonstrated by old and new Japanese swords against old and new helmets and the cuts are far less damaging than most think. (Yoshindo Yoshihara's blade cutting an old Japanese helmet in the late 90's and Louie Mill's sword as swung by Larry Klahm cutting a WWII American Helmet and a 55 gallon oil drum. I also heard of such a demo done with a blade made by Paul Champlain)
    Richard Furrer
    Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
    http://doorcountyforgeworks.com/

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    I see your points Richard, and I agree that killing is not as easy as many people think, just look at non-arm combat, ultimate fighters can take a hell of punishment since they are trained.

    However, they are many many swords around and armor as well, just go to European museums and count the number of armors, hundres and hundres and thousands of them, just count the number of armor in museums in London and Paris, unbelievable, they used to wear more armor, definitely.

    The second factor is that people did not care if they swords were broken, if my life is in danger I do not even mind to edge parry or do whatever is necessary to protects my life, banging it against armor or whatsoever!!!!

    My statement is that swords are often underestimated and when I hear the statement "swords were only meant to cut flesh and bone" well I just go like . A manufacturer of sword even went so far recently by saying that swords were only meant to cut flesh and not bone!!!!!!!!! As if people used to shed their bones before entering fights!!!!

    Richard I see your points, techniques do not help only, in a full-contact fight sometime you have to damage your shin in a low kick strike to do damage to your opponent, I remember an encounter between a technician who did not have a clue about ful-contact and a Thai boxer, the latter just devastated him!! I mean in an encounter sometimes you just got to be tough and go for it . . . As you said killing is not as easy . . .

    Regards,

    Manoucher

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    Regarding swords, armour, wootz and mechanical damascus...

    ...In the first place, there's something almost mystical about wootz. I have one wootz piece in my collection, and I can't reproduce it- that alone makes it very special. Pattern-welded steel I can do.
    In rgds to swords and armour- swords historically were not very damaging against plate armour.Even the Japanese swords test-cut against Japanese helmets had such shallow cuts- this against stationary targets!- that although the helmet might be ruined or at least need serious repair, they would not have gone through to the skull beneath.
    There were some kinds of sword that were designed to perform against plate armour- most notably thrusting estocs and type XVIII swords. However, and this is important- these swords had edge geometries that would not make them very good cutters, especially against "soft" targets.
    It's quite apparent that fighters in the days of yore relied not on one weapon, but several. From horseback a lance, or against horsemen a pike or halberd. For close-in fighting against armoured opponents, a stiff thrusting sword, or war-hammer, or mace, or battleaxe. The conventional cutting sword against lightly armoured foes, where speed was very important. Because historically, on battlefields everywhere, you had both heavilly armoured and lightly armoured troops with their own speciallities. This applied as much in Moghul India (which had some incredible all-steel maces, btw) as in Medieval France.

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    Unusual Wootz Blade

    I posted this one on the Ethnographic Edges Weapons Forum and I thought this will also fit this thread:

    I recently examined this beautiful and unusual Khayber Sword:




    The blade is 25 inches long, slightly double curving with a pronounced T spine (Looking on this Yatagan shape blade, one can understand why the Khayber sword is also known as Salwar Yatagan). The grips are elephant ivory, which indicate a possible Indian origin.

    The interesting part of this sword is the blade construction. After cleaning and etching the blade I found to my great surprise that one face of the blade show a beautiful wootz pattern where the other face show no pattern at all. Below are close-ups of both faces of the blade:








    How was it made so?? Why?? I really have no clue

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    Re: Unusual Wootz Blade

    Some possibilities:
    The blade is two pieces -- one side wootz the other a single steel. This however is unlikely.

    Another explanation may be that the outer surface of the ingot was not removed when the blade was finished. This is also unlikely as there would be some area where the pattern would show through. The decarborized layer is never very thick.

    Could you send a photo of the spine of the sword so I can see the seam that the top of the ingot usually leaves?
    Richard Furrer
    Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
    http://doorcountyforgeworks.com/

  21. #21

    Re: Unusual Wootz Blade

    Originally posted by Artzi Yarom
    I posted this one on the Ethnographic Edges Weapons Forum and I thought this will also fit this thread:

    I recently examined this beautiful and unusual Khayber Sword:




    The blade is 25 inches long, slightly double curving with a pronounced T spine (Looking on this Yatagan shape blade, one can understand why the Khayber sword is also known as Salwar Yatagan). The grips are elephant ivory, which indicate a possible Indian origin.

    The interesting part of this sword is the blade construction. After cleaning and etching the blade I found to my great surprise that one face of the blade show a beautiful wootz pattern where the other face show no pattern at all. Below are close-ups of both faces of the blade:








    How was it made so?? Why?? I really have no clue
    It might causeof polish. Try to polish the no-pattern side to very fine - # 4000-5000, then etch it. It should be ok. One of my beautiful damascus (not wootz) bought from Artzi (thanks Artzi, I like it very much), it is with nice pattern first time, after rough polish the pattern gone, but after a professional polish to mirror surface, the pattern comes out again and more beautiful. I do not know how to post the picture and make a link to our Islam Weapon Forum, sorry it is in Chinese but you can still see the pictures of the damascus pattern after polish. The same thing happened with one of our wootz blade before, but we also brought the pattern out with traditional polishing (30 hours)

    http://www.chinesearms.com/cgi-bin/f...rum=4&topic=21

    Regards

    Bonnie

    South China

  22. #22

    Re: Re: Unusual Wootz Blade

    Artzi,

    From the eyes of our polisher - Lisa's brother, he said he can "see" the hidden pattern on the blade from the picture. He said one of the reason is that the current cleaning or polish is too rough. When the polish make the scratch mark much fine then the metal combination line, the pattern will be brough out. We are not sure, just for you reference.

    Bonnie

  23. #23
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    Wootz pattern

    ...In Istanbul I picked up a nice Wootz Jambiya. The surface was badly stained in a few places. I was able to clean the area and rubbed to 600 grit, nothing spectacular, and a very bried rub with dilute ferric chloride brought out the pattern almost instantly. I'm not sure what the reason the kyber knife is not etching on one side, unless it is of a two-part construction, and as I understand it bringing the steel to a welding heat and working it is not possible with wootz, or at the least would destroy the particular crystalline pattern.

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    A post by Al Maasey

    The following message was sent to me by my dear friend Al Massey. With his permission I will post it here:

    Originally written by Al Massey

    "I think there are legends surrounding Wootz steel in the Western world. Being in contact with it so long, I think the Persians have a much more realistic view of that steel- they admire it's beauty, but I think they would admire the toughness of simpler carbon steel blades just as much. From your interviews, it seems utility is a prime concern of the swordsmith there as it is here.
    Now, quite a few of the legends are myths passed on by the Europeans who came into contact with it. Some wootz blades were traded in export, and some wootz cakes were sold to be made into blades.
    Now, here's where it gets interesting. First of all, Wootz blades were good cutters, but the sellers of these blades to Europeans would also very likely exaggerate stories of the cutting ability- here's where you get things like a hair falling on the sword would be cut, and things like steel helmets being sliced in to by a draw-cut. These are stories that your ancestors would have laughed at, being as I said familiar with the steel and its good and bad points. But my ancestors, the Norman/Frankish soldiers, would have believed every story they would have been told. They had never seen a steel of this particular beauty before, nor steel which could hold such a fine edge, and they would have, being storytellers themselves, as soldiers often are, not only passed on the stories about the wootz but considerably added to them.
    Cakes of wootz which were worked by the European smiths crumbled on the anvil. We now know that the reason for this was the very high carbon content. European smiths were used to working iron and steel with a carbon content much lower, and worked it quite hot- at an orange yellow or yellow heat. Wootz steel, which has a carbon content of as high as nearly 2 percent (spring steel has only .6 per cent, and most tool steel just 1) is almost molten at those temperatures. Any contact with the air blast at that heat, because of the very high carbon level, would cause it tostart burning and ruin the steel- I've done this accidentally in a coal forge with high carbon steel- and assuming it wasn't destroyed, trying to work it at that heat would cause it to crumble on the anvil. No smith likes to think he's incompetant, so they made up stories about strange magics being used, or practices such as quenching blades in live slaves, to explain why they could not work it. (Wootz cakes need to be forged at a much lower temperature.) Again, your ancestors would have laughed the stories to scorn- mine believed them in many cases.
    And these stories just got passed down, growing greater and greater in the telling, till there were indeed many fallacies believed about the wootz. (We also have many of the same myths about Japanese swords- in my opinion they are no superior and in some cases inferior to many blades produced in the Middle East)
    I've seen and handled beautiful wootz blades myself. The true magic of wootz lies in the smiths abilities to produce, without modern means of measuring and timing things, a crucible steel which was remarkably consistent in quality which because of the very fine structure held a superior edge without the blade needing to be hardened to the point of brittleness. And not only were they able to make this very difficult to work material, they were able to work it without spoiling it, forge it into fine blades, and do incredible things in the way of making multiple grooves and ribs in the blades, doing incredibly complex engraving work, and beautiful inlay work on this very difficult material. These people were giants, true masters of the craft! Myths and legends made up by superstitious and credulous people do not do them credit. The living blades made by these masters hundreds of years ago which most of todays smiths , despite our "knowledge", our powered equipment, our variety of materials available can only see and despair of recreating- that is the truest compliment these men, who have surely passed all need for any ego boosting, can be given."

    The words above are the statements by a gentleman such as Al.


    Regards,

    Manoucher

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    Re: A post by Al Maasey

    Hello All,
    I will pass no judgement either way, but this information was posted a year ago. I have read the Al-Kindi and Al-Biruni texts in English translations and have found other such contemporory stories. The end result is that steel is steel and some have interesting properties BUT, since all of these blades would vary from one to the next in both material and heat treatment I fear that general terms such as "better" or "best" are not useful.

    Richard Furrer
    Sturgeon Bay, WI



    Subject: European blades etc

    Date: Wed, 7 Feb 2001 23:55:54 +0000
    From: "G. S. Murray Threipland"

    ...
    Some of the best knowledge we have of the Vikings comes down to us from the
    writings of Arab scholars, the best known of whom is Ibn Fadlan, (fl. AD
    920)who journeyed with a group of Vikings (he referred to them as 'Rus", as
    did other Arab scholars) who described the armaments thus:-

    "Every Northman carries an axe, a dagger, and a sword, and without these
    weapons they are never seen. Their swords are broad, with wavy lines,
    and of Frankish make."

    The wavy lines refer to the pattern welding, and echoes references to swords
    in Beowulf, such as "serpent patterned blade". Also in Beowulf swords are
    referred to as "Battle Ray", and "Helmet Splitter".

    Al-Biruni (973-1051 AD) goes into great depth about sword manufacture, both
    European and Middle Eastern. He praises the "wonderful blades of the Indian
    smiths, with their rich patterns...." and then goes on to note that "the Rus
    have found another way of producing patterns, since they find that Oriental
    steel cannot withstand the cold of their winters...." He goes on to state
    that the patterns on these swords are deliberately made.

    Al-Kindi (c 9th Century AD) and the anonymous author of the 11th century
    Persian geography 'Hudad al-Alem' , both describe pattern welding in great
    detail, in quite poetic terms which I won't go into here.

    Comments on the quality:-

    Ibn Miskawaih (died c 1043 AD) records that after the waning of Scandinavian
    power in one district :-

    "....the Moslems disturbed their graves and brought out a number of swords,
    which are in great demand to this day for their sharpness and excellence".

    Finally Nasireddin al-Tusi (can't remember dates offhand) describes the
    smuggling of Frankish swords to the East, the import of which was illegal at
    the time. He said the going rate was 1000 Egyptian dinars. He describes
    the swords as made of soft iron, but so sharp that iron cannot resist their
    stroke, and so pliable that they can be bent like paper.

    It is quite clear that the European swords of the time were of good quality,
    although the various Nordic sagas also describe swords that fall short of
    expectations. This happened in Japan also. There were swords made that
    were good bad and indifferent.

    Gavin.

    G. S. Murray Threipland.
    Treasurer, British Kendo Association
    Richard Furrer
    Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
    http://doorcountyforgeworks.com/

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