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Thread: modern wootz and best, antique wootz ever

  1. #1

    modern wootz and best, antique wootz ever

    I just finished up this little wootz knife and I thought folks in this forum might be interested in taking a look at it. The material is my own version of crucible steel, which has about 1.5% carbon, a little bit of vanadium, and a couple other odds and ends for fun. The pattern on this blade came closer than usual to the old Persian blades, and I am hoping that this is a trend that will continue in the future.

    I have also added a close-up of an antique blade that I saw at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. That museum has the best collection of weaponry that I have ever seen, but I haven't had a chance to get around to some of the other famous collections. Anyway, this is the most spectacular wootz that I have ever seen, either in person or in pictures, and it just goes to show how far we modern bladesmiths still have to go. It is always good to have a goal, though.
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  2. #2
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    Exellent work Peter. Thank you for sharing. Do you have more examples of your work to share? Iranian museums have marvelous examples of crucible steel swords, really nice.

    Regards
    Manouchehr

  3. #3
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    I agree Peter.

    Without disrespect to any of the modern smiths out there making their own wootz, I have yet to see modern wootz patterning which comes close to the old stuff.
    With the exception of a couple of Russian smiths making bulat steel .
    "If metal can be polished to a mirror-like finish,
    What polishing might the Mirror of the Heart require"

    Rumi

  4. #4
    As far as other crucible steel work that I have done, the easiest thing is to visit my old website http://www.dragonsbreathforge.com/wootz.htm . If you click on the pictures I have additional galleries on these knives. I have also done some very modern crucible steel work with chemistry similar to A2 tool steel. This was for a person who was entering a cooking competition of some kind and wanted exotic knives for the purpose. I have attached a couple pictures of those knives. The patterns on them were quite visible, but not quite what I was hoping for. The pictures are close-ups of a 10" chef's knife and two different versions of an Eastern style cleaver...the cleaver took me a number of tries to get the dimensions that the customer was looking for. I am currently working on a wootz saber for Nick White...he started a thread about it in the General Discussion forum.

    I do want to comment on the Russian smiths who are making bulat before I sign out. From what I have seen, the blades that they are making are very nice, but still not up to the standards of antiques in terms of pattern. I have yet to see anyone produce a wootz pattern that I might confuse with one of the old Persian blades. Some have come substantially closer than I have, but if you compare the antique blade from my earlier post with any of the modern blades, there is simply no mistaking one for the other. The first impression of some antiques is that they are laminated, and it is only closer inspection that reveals their crucible origins. Why modern smiths haven't been able to completely reproduce the best of the antique blades, I am not sure.

    One theory that I have on this is that the best antique blades were essentially accidental. During the centuries that wootz was being produced, ingots and blades were made in incredible numbers. I am beginning to suspect that it was a small percentage of these that became the high-end blades with the best patterns, while the rest were finished as somewhat lower-quality swords. If the ingot-makers and the smiths could control whether they were going to get a dendritic pattern, a fibrous pattern, or a laminar pattern, then why wouldn't a larger proportion of the blades around today have higher quality patterns? My guess is that there was a particular combination of variables, probably in the ingot-making, that produced the most sought after wootz. This combination occured periodically and blades like the one above could then be produced by a skilled smith. The other ingots produced various other grades of wootz, all of which functioned well, but just didn't look as nice. I should clarify that when I refer to "patterns" in this case, I am not referring to the material manipulation that produced ladders, etc. but instead the underlying fibrous or laminar appearance of the material.

    Anyone have thoughts on this?
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    Hello All,
    The best collection for viewing I know of in London is The Wallace Collection near the Bond Street Tube station.
    The V&A has a good collection on display and no doubt some nice pieces in the basement....as does the British Museum I would think.

    On my recent trip to India I can recommend a few that I had seen:

    Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur has a great collection on display as well in its holdings.
    http://www.maharajajodhpur.com/fort/mmt_obj.htm
    It is one of the few museums which is self sustaining as far as income....good management there.
    The Alwar Armory has some things I had not seen elsewhere, but sadly there are no photos allowed. I hope to return to that museum for a few days of viewing.
    The Delhi National Museum has some interesting things on display, but the real stuff is in the back room...good to look at, but not of the condition to display.
    The Central Museum Jaipur has some things I never imagined as far as design and execution, but again...no photos. I will return there for study at some point as the curator was a pleasant man with interest in the collection.

    As far as any modern maker....we are all but babes in the woods.

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

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    Hey Peter, that blade at the bottom of your Wootz page has a cool looking "antique" pattern . I quite like it /.

    I do admire modern makers of wootz , yourself and Ric being 2 of them .

    There is one Russian smith, whose work Manoucher posted a few pics of , Mr Kirpichev.

    Check out his patterns, what do you think ?

    http://www.wootz-online.com/
    "If metal can be polished to a mirror-like finish,
    What polishing might the Mirror of the Heart require"

    Rumi

  7. #7
    Mr. Kirpichev does excellent work (definitely closer to antique wootz than most of what I produce), but it still falls short of the patterns seen in many antique blades. Being a cynic by nature, I would also be curious to know whether Mr. Kirpichev arrives at the variety of patterns that are pictured through planning or through a combination of skill and luck. If a customer wants patternX, does he go to the forge and bang out patternX on the first try? My guess is no, but I may well be wrong about this. My own experience has been that the pattern produced from every ingot is different, no matter how closely I control the variables. I suspect that very small changes in alloy levels and cooling rates can have a substantial effect on the end pattern, and this level of control is extremely difficult outside a laboratory or manufacturing setting. I enjoy the variability, since it makes each new ingot a bit of a mystery. Once everything is reduced to a formula, then it is no fun anymore.

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    Hi Peter,

    Is modern wootz is as hard as old wootz?

    Sandeep
    Gold-Silver Koftgari damascened artist and bladesmith
    www.finedamascus.com , finedamascus@gmail.com
    Some examples of my art
    http://s597.photobucket.com/albums/t...oftgariartist/
    My company's website
    www.centuryarms.co.in

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sandeep Singh View Post
    Hi Peter,

    Is modern wootz is as hard as old wootz?

    Sandeep
    Sandeep,
    How hard is old wootz?

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

  10. #10
    Sandeep and Ric,

    My experience with old wootz is limited, but the blade that I have had the pleasure of playing with was actually quite soft. I had a wootz khanda for several years, and at one point I gave in to temptation and tried cutting a carboard tube with it. This same cardboard tube had already been lopped easily by several swords that my shopmates and I had made, so we thought that the wootz blade should be given a chance. Unfortunately, my blow was slightly out of line, and the blade took a wicked set to one side. I proceeded to straighten it easily with my bare hands...which gives an idea how soft it was. To all appearances this khanda had been intended for use and showed signs of substantial use and resharpening, so I was quite surprised at how easily it was deformed. It may be that this is not the norm for antique wootz blades, but it is my experience.

    Similarly, the wootz blade on my website with silver inlay was treated in the manner described for "hardening" wootz in ancient times, and this blade was soft enough that the customer who ordered it nearly refused to accept the final product. He loved everything else about the knife, but could not reconcile the soft material with the mythological standing of wootz as the "ultimate cutting material". I believe Ric has talked about this same issue, and the fact that there is little understanding among modern knife users and collectors what the actual properties of wootz are and were.

    Because of this, I am now always extremely careful to explain to customers exactly what they are getting. In many cases, I end up hardening at least the edges of my crucible steel knives so that they will match the performance standards of the modern world. The small blade that is pictured above was carefully heated and quenched so that the edge would harden without substantially dissolving the carbides.

    It may be that the historical accounts of hardening wootz blades by "heating to a dull red and quneching in a blast of cool air", are not entirely accurate, and that some of the blades were actually oil quenched and tempered. The same areas that used wootz weapons also had a great deal of laminated steel weaponry as well, and the antique laminated tulwars that I have in my collection are definitely hardened and tempered.

    The fact is that simple carbon steels, which includes wootz, do not air harden to any appreciable degree. Higher alloy levels are necessary to make this possible, and a number of tests done on antique wootz are quite clear that such alloys were not present. I have made crucible steel that was air hardening, but this was only by using a substantial quantity of D-7 tool steel as one of my ingredients. The patterns in the blades were quite pleasing, and the cutting power of the finished blades was impressive, but this material was not wootz in the historical sense.

    I do not know how widespread hardening and tempering is among modern wootz-makers, but I suspect that it is pretty common. I have seen claims that Mr. Kirpichev's blades can cut through nails, other blades, etc., and this would not be possible with a historically "hardened" wootz blade. Such a blade would roll over at the edge if hammered against a nail. Remember, the sheets of carbides are held in a pearlite matrix, and pearlite is not known for its hardenss or cutting ability. This is essentially the equivalent of taking a carbon steel blade which has been very quickly annealed and expecting to use it as a cold chisel. It simply won't happen.

  11. #11
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    Interesting what you say regarding antique wootz, Peter.

    I have handled a small number of antique wootz shamshir.

    They did not feel like what I expected.

    Very thin blades, and I could have easily make them them to take a set with my hands.

    I think many antiques were in fact easily bent, but on the other hand I am sure other's were hardened and tempered in the normal manner.

    I handled one wootz khanda at a dealers in Liverpool. I am pretty that was hardened and tempered, from the way it behaved when I bent it . Much different to the shamshir
    "If metal can be polished to a mirror-like finish,
    What polishing might the Mirror of the Heart require"

    Rumi

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    hi
    i think there were many available heat treats done to wootz.. depending on smith, tradition, location, and time.. etc

    some of the shamshir i've handle were very thin and fast... but others were definitely heavy with a 5 to 6 mm spine.... theres lots of variety out there..



    Greg

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    Hello All,
    As to hardness, from the small sample body of maybe 40 pieces, I can say that the old wootz was harder than the bloomery blades.
    250 vickers for bloomery as opposed to 350 vickers or so for the wootz.

    Now there were blades that were 500 vickers in both cases, but few indeed.

    I would still like to read or hear from somebody who has tested old wootz and shown that the edge was martensitic.

    As to shapes, well...they come in all sizes, but there are general trends to length, width and thickness.

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

  14. #14
    Unless I am reading this wrong, that works out to low 20's Rc for the bloomery blades and mid-30's Rc for the wootz. This certainly explains the softness that I saw in my khanda, and also explains why wootz went from superior to inferior as metallurgy in Europe improved.

    Here is a question: could some of the wootz blades been cold-hammered to make them harder and stiffer? This could explain differences in apparent hardness and performance, right? I should be clear by saying that I am asking whether this would be a workable solution to the soft blades rather than proposing that it was used.

  15. #15
    ...the historical accounts of hardening wootz blades by "heating to a dull red and quneching in a blast of cool air"


    Which historical accounts are you referring to, that call for an air quench?
    From al Biruni (~1000 AD) and al Tarsusi (~1200 AD) who describe various methods of water-based quenching to Barker and Massalski’s accounts in the 1800s that describe different oil hardening techniques, it would seem that the usual historical method is a liquid quench followed by a relatively high-temperature tempering operation…though for a material in use for a thousand years across thousands of miles one would expect a number of different strategies to have been developed and used.
    vikingswordsmith.com

  16. #16
    I guess I am going on the information in Figiel's book...which I am aware is not the best source for info. On the other hand, I am not sure how far I trust most historical accounts, partly because the vary so widely from one source to the next.

    Looking at the numbers that Ric mentioned, I don't see how one could possibly achieve 35 Rc through hardening and a "high temerping temperature". After all, even 1075 is still around 52 Rc at 600F, and beyond that the temper colors become essentially useless and guesswork would set in. To get 35 Rc, what would that translate as in tempering temperature on a simple carbon steel? I'm guessing we are talking 900-1000F...at which point the material has essentially been annealled. If an ancient smith had achieved a harder blade which would hold an edge better, spring back to shape better, and generally outperform everything else around, why on earth would he want to temper it back into such a soft state? I realize that softer blades were the norm, but I believe the smiths at the time would have known a great thing when they found it. The only reason that occurs to me for re-softening the blades would be to assist in ornamentation, but this should only apply to dress blades and not to wootz blades as a whole. I must be missing something here, and I am hoping that someone can fill in the gap.

  17. #17
    In the ‘Technical Aspects’ chapter, Figiel is referencing an article by Wadsworth, and is talking about quenching steel in general, not specifically wootz or swords (high carbon steels can be quenched in oil, high alloy steels in air) – you may be thinking of another reference.
    Which historical accounts are you not trusting because they vary so widely?
    All the primary sources I’ve seen are in agreement that wootz gets quenched, and some go so far as to say a bad hardening and tempering will give you a bad sword; for instance al Kindi says the Bagdadi smiths need to do a heat treatment to improve the Sri Lankan imported swords because they arrive in a ‘raw’ state.
    I’m sure most of the wootz blades in circulation now were produced at the end of the wootz age, as it was being wiped out by cheap, boring British imported steel; they might not be a representative sample of wootz in its heyday - that could partially account for the lack of legendary-ness seen. But the main problem is small sample size, with the good stuff off-limits - skewing the data.
    Where did you get your Vickers #s, Ric?
    Here is a recent article that cites 4.7 weight % martensite in a re-analysis of oft-analyzed blade # 10 (Zschokke, Verhoeven):
    A. A. Levin et al.: Microstructure of a genuine Damascus saber (2005)
    http://www.crystalresearch.com/crt/ab40/905_a.pdf
    vikingswordsmith.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by jeff Pringle View Post
    [COLOR=black][FONT=Trebuchet MS]Where did you get your Vickers #s, Ric?
    Jeff,
    I'll read through that PDF.

    I got those vickers numbers from my trip last year to India to attend a conference on Indian Museum studies and arms/armor. One of the members brought a Vickers micro hardness tester and we were allowed to sample some of the blades.
    The results are not perfect and should not be taken as anything more than a small sampling, but there is enough info to draw some basic conclusions.

    A report will be written by Dr. Alan Williams and I (well, mostly him) at some point this or next year on this and related "stuff".

    In the first photo you see seated Dr.Alan Williams ("Knight and the Blast Furnace" author), David Edge (curator the Wallace Collection) and standing, Robert Elgood (author)...the hairy guy in blue is me. Opposite side of the table is Dr. Sue Strong from the V&A in London. the others I am sorry as I do not recall their names.....many are curators in India and others are collectors and royalty.

    Ric
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    Richard Furrer
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    there are tempered martensite/sorbite blades.... and i did reference a study on the other forum, when this was asked.. .. whether you choose to read it or not is up to you... !

    i've also have practical experience restoring these things.. and have come across quenched blades.. .. most were Persian

    why would historical accounts describe quenching if it wasn't true... not everything is fiction !



    G

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg T. Obach View Post
    there are tempered martensite/sorbite blades.... and i did reference a study on the other forum, when this was asked.. .. whether you choose to read it or not is up to you... !

    i've also have practical experience restoring these things.. and have come across quenched blades.. .. most were Persian

    why would historical accounts describe quenching if it wasn't true... not everything is fiction !



    G
    Greg,
    Hardness:
    I have cut up several old blades as well as seen hardness tests on old blades...quite a few from various time periods and I have mixed feelings on the results.
    On average I can say that wootz blades were harder than bloomery blades, but I have seen some which are softer than the other as well. None are what we call "hard" today, however I am open to information.

    What I would like to see...and will do in a short time, is testing on several old blades to show what structures they have and then try to replicate those structures to illustrate how they may have come about.

    Historical accounts:
    Not all can be false to be sure, but there was one blade of a Price in Rajisthan who had cut a warrior and his horse in two..we tested that blade and it was about 360 vickers...SO what have we learned from this? I held that blade and was handed it by his descendant who told the story with most in agreement that this is what had happened (common knowledge of local history). Several possibilities exist...none of which tell us anything about the sword or its steel other than we know that the hardness was about 360 vickers.
    NOW, I am sure that I could make that blade harder than 260V, but it was not so.

    I can not address anything without knowing the situation of the "thing".
    Generalities are just that...specifics are hard to come by.

    As to the other discussion:
    Please post the link. Without reading it again I seem to remember that the definition of Sorbite had changed since the author wrote the paper and that my suggestion was not that it was incorrect, only that the definition used by the author may not mean now what it meant then.
    I do not recall if there were any micrographs or hardness tests from that article....either of which would tell the story without the author having to use any words at all.

    I have been chasing this steel for a little while and am open to everything, but I will not accept anything without viewing it critically and if possible look at the thing myself.
    I have been wrong in the past and will be in the future..nothing new there.

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

  21. #21
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    Journal of the history of Arabic science vol 1, 1978 pg 3-30
    " Metallographic examination of Two Damascene steel blades
    by Jerzy Piaskowski

    two swords had strips of carbides in a sorbitic matrix ( sorbite being highly tempered martensite.. )

    further... he states " points to the fact that the blades were subjected to quenching and tempering, according to the descriptions of Barker and Massalski... "

    and it was clear in the massalski account that the sabers were quenched in boiling hemp oil... !

    and theres two more

    one study by H. Maryon on a dagger... and another by C. Panseri on 2 swords.
    -- both conclude cementite strips in a sorbite matrix


    1978 wasn't that long ago.......i'm sure these guys knew what they were doing by then... .. most of these structure were well known long long before that.... otherwise i'll just have to throw out my book by E Bain on alloys..


    after seeing and redo-ing some old stuff... i realized that several pieces did not react like pearlite... they etched differently in both color and speed of etch ... some of the steel responded similar to my quenched crucible steel... this is when i realized there was much more to the story..

    i get abit surly over this... sorry about that... there is quite a few people that believe all wootz is air quenched, and all wootz comes from India... .. and it does raise my eyebrows...


    Greg

  22. #22
    Jeff,

    Looked back at Figiel and see what you mean...I must be remembering from a different source. I am forming a suspicion that it was M. Sasche's book, which I can't look back at because someone made off with my copy at a bladesmithing class I was teaching. Serves me right for educating the public...

    Anyway, I guess my distrust of historical accounts comes from a general distrust of all historical accounts, particularly ones that have been translated/transcribed at least once by other than the original author. In most cases the original author is an observer of the process and will likely get some specifics wrong simply through misunderstanding. Which aspects are the most important can also be misunderstood by an observer who is not intimately familiar with the process. These issues are then compounded when the account is transcribed or translated, since additional mistakes of what is important and the specifics come into play. This is particularly true in the translation of scientific texts, since the terminology may not translate directly to begin with. How many times has the account been transcribed/translated during the 1000 years since al Biruni first witnessed the process? I am not sure, but I assume that a lot has been lost or changed in between. This is assuming that everyone is acting in good faith, which may or may not be the case. The smith may not want the specifics of his process revealed to competitors, while scribes and translators have been known to "juice up" texts for a variety of reasons, most commonly to fit with the commonly held ideas of the day or to inflate the importance of a person, country, etc.

    I guess another reason I find historical accounts of wootz manufacture suspect is that it has been phenomenally hard to reproduce the results. If the recipes that exist are truly accurate, why has everyone who has tried to reproduce the stuff met with middling results at best? I think at least one key piece of information is missing, and whether it was purposefully left out or accidentally removed is anybody's guess.

    I am sure that there is some truth in each account, but which part is the truth? I tend to agree with Ric that the best information is in the blades themselves...which as has been mentioned, not enough of them have been thoroughly tested.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg T. Obach View Post
    Journal of the history of Arabic science vol 1, 1978 pg 3-30
    " Metallographic examination of Two Damascene steel blades
    by Jerzy Piaskowski

    two swords had strips of carbides in a sorbitic matrix ( sorbite being highly tempered martensite.. )

    further... he states " points to the fact that the blades were subjected to quenching and tempering, according to the descriptions of Barker and Massalski... "

    and it was clear in the massalski account that the sabers were quenched in boiling hemp oil... !

    and theres two more

    one study by H. Maryon on a dagger... and another by C. Panseri on 2 swords.
    -- both conclude cementite strips in a sorbite matrix


    1978 wasn't that long ago.......i'm sure these guys knew what they were doing by then... .. most of these structure were well known long long before that.... otherwise i'll just have to throw out my book by E Bain on alloys..


    after seeing and redo-ing some old stuff... i realized that several pieces did not react like pearlite... they etched differently in both color and speed of etch ... some of the steel responded similar to my quenched crucible steel... this is when i realized there was much more to the story..

    i get abit surly over this... sorry about that... there is quite a few people that believe all wootz is air quenched, and all wootz comes from India... .. and it does raise my eyebrows...


    Greg
    Greg,
    I will list the reason I doubt this paper, as I believe I did when you mentioned them before.

    "The American J.R. Vilella in the 1930s
    seems to be the first to establish a defini-
    tion of the true structure and point out the
    importance of a correct preparation, avoid-
    ing surfaces with distorted metal (6).
    He showed how a structure at that time,
    known as “sorbite” or “troostito - sorbite”
    is normal pearlite severely distorted during
    polishing (Figs.5 and 6).
    Based on the work by Vilella, the Austral-
    ian L.E. Samuels since the 1950s estab-
    lished the conclusive work on metallo-
    graphic preparation by mechanical meth-
    ods. He pointed out the importance of the
    preparation process to obtain a true struc-
    ture. Without this the best examinations
    and inspired interpretations of the structure
    will be of no avail (5).
    Definition of the True Structure. Based
    on Vilella and Samuels the true structure
    can be defined: (7)
    No deformation
    No scratches
    No pull-outs
    No false structures (artifacts)
    No introduction of foreign elements
    No smearing
    No relief or rounded edges
    No thermal damage
    The preparation process will always influ-
    ence the prepared surface. This influence
    is concentrated in certain parts of the sur-
    face, “danger zones”, where the risk of
    artifacts is higher (Figs. 8 and 9).
    With mechanical polishing an approximate
    true structure can be obtained when the
    correct procedures are followed, even with
    very heterogeneous materials, whereas
    electrolysis may create problems if more
    than one phase is present in the structure
    during electrolytic polishing."

    The Samuels here is this guy:
    L. E. Samuels, Metallograhic Polishing
    by Mechanical Methods, American
    Society for Metals, Metals Park, Ohio
    (1982)

    In this book he states that Sorbite is fine lamallar pearlite, but "unfortunatly the terms were also indiscriminantly used to refer to tempered martensite" (1980, 26)

    So,
    two experts at the same time period saying two different things and yet one definition fits all previous tests...a form of pearlite.

    For the author to say that HIS test blade is quenched and tempered by merely sighting two previous authors as proof that blades were quenched does not "proove" anything about that specific blade.....OR
    just beause one was does not mean the one in question was.
    Proof by association is not proof...its wishful thinking.
    Without a micrograph I yet have pause.

    As to seeing old work:
    I have seen maybe 200 wootz blades with what could be called a "hamon"...or more precisely a difference in color from the edge to the body of the blade...the edge being darker. And yes Greg most were Persian, not Indian.
    I have cut up old blades and there is more resistance at the edge than the spine,
    BUT
    since no microgrpahs have been taken of that area showing anything other than cementie and pearlite in some form (Sorbite..to use an old term)
    One can not assume anything...to theorize is fine and encouraged, but thinking it is something does not make it so. It is best to not get upset, but rather show proof and move on.
    I will have micrographs and sectional hardnesses done by the end of the year on the pieces I own....whatever the results at least they will be identified and posted for viewing, not conjecture.
    Should anyone wish to donate an old blade I will add that to the sample body as well.....Artzi Yarom has given me a blade for just that reason.

    Conjecture and hope can lead to some issues...look at the mill ball/wootz ingot problem we all have now because folk wanted to believe without evidence.
    Photo of balls in India on my last trip.
    (it tested to 12%chromium by the way)

    To sum up my thoughts:
    I am still looking for proof of martensitic wootz...it may indeed exist and it seems such a simple matter to test.
    I would think it does as it makes sense, BUT without a micrograph or maybe a good hardness test there is no proof (did that Piaskowski paper have them Greg? I do not know as I don't have that paper).

    Why do we need proof if it looks like it is true? I mean what else can it be?......to that I say...maybe....something else.

    As to raised eyebrows...I've been after wootz since 19 what 92?...it takes a bit for me to raise my eyebrows these days.

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

  24. #24
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    In this book he states that Sorbite is fine lamallar pearlite, but "unfortunatly the terms were also indiscriminantly used to refer to tempered martensite" (1980, 26)

    So,
    two experts at the same time period saying two different things and yet one definition fits all previous tests...a form of pearlite.


    I can post up just as many that say its Tempered Martensite...

    what i did say is that-- he confirms in the study that the quenching of these blade follows the directions of the massalski account... ( I'm not debating whether the observer account is true or not.. )
    -- and this is clearly heating to a red heat and quenching in oil..

    why refer to these accounts at all in his study... why not say the traditional copy and paste statement of : 1) the blade was air quenched in a crack in the wall...2) the blade was given to a rider on a horse etc
    -- those are the usual blah blah blah statements.. but instead he specifically referred to an oil quench technique !!

    I do know that Sorbite is an obsolete term...

    "Principles of Heat Treatment of Steel" by George Krauss

    a fine mixture of ferrite and cementite produced either by regulating the rate of cooling of steel or by tempering steel after hardening. The first type is very fine pearlite difficult to resolve under the microscope; The second type is tempered martensite.

    this comes from a manual i trust and have read this before ....... and i know it can mean pearlite but in this CASE ... it is pointing towards a highly tempered martensite...

    this is a peer reviewed study... and creditable

    most of the Indian blades i've handled did have this edge quenching at the cop.. and others air hardened....

    most of the shamshir i've handled are oil quenched.... not all of them but most.... some with a very clear HAZ at the ricasso area... .. one actually went right through the cartouche.. .. this has happened often enough to be obvious that there is more going on than just air quenching..

    good luck on having someone set up a nice shamshir for destruction.. .. i can't see that ever happening ... specially with the high costs of a decent blade..

    and becareful of your test pieces.. you better be sure its a good quality shamshir or tulwar from creditable source...
    -- theres lots of rehilting going on... and this can muddy your results..



    good luck

    G

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg T. Obach View Post
    In this book he states that Sorbite is fine lamallar pearlite, but "unfortunatly the terms were also indiscriminantly used to refer to tempered martensite" (1980, 26)

    So,
    two experts at the same time period saying two different things and yet one definition fits all previous tests...a form of pearlite.


    I can post up just as many that say its Tempered Martensite...

    what i did say is that-- he confirms in the study that the quenching of these blade follows the directions of the massalski account... ( I'm not debating whether the observer account is true or not.. )
    -- and this is clearly heating to a red heat and quenching in oil..

    why refer to these accounts at all in his study... why not say the traditional copy and paste statement of : 1) the blade was air quenched in a crack in the wall...2) the blade was given to a rider on a horse etc
    -- those are the usual blah blah blah statements.. but instead he specifically referred to an oil quench technique !!

    I do know that Sorbite is an obsolete term...

    "Principles of Heat Treatment of Steel" by George Krauss

    a fine mixture of ferrite and cementite produced either by regulating the rate of cooling of steel or by tempering steel after hardening. The first type is very fine pearlite difficult to resolve under the microscope; The second type is tempered martensite.

    this comes from a manual i trust and have read this before ....... and i know it can mean pearlite but in this CASE ... it is pointing towards a highly tempered martensite...

    this is a peer reviewed study... and creditable

    most of the Indian blades i've handled did have this edge quenching at the cop.. and others air hardened....

    most of the shamshir i've handled are oil quenched.... not all of them but most.... some with a very clear HAZ at the ricasso area... .. one actually went right through the cartouche.. .. this has happened often enough to be obvious that there is more going on than just air quenching..

    good luck on having someone set up a nice shamshir for destruction.. .. i can't see that ever happening ... specially with the high costs of a decent blade..

    and becareful of your test pieces.. you better be sure its a good quality shamshir or tulwar from creditable source...
    -- theres lots of rehilting going on... and this can muddy your results..



    good luck

    G
    Greg,
    The George Krause book I have is "Steel: Heat Treatment and Processing Principles" 1990 copyright. On page 465 he states the same as what you posted, but this is the entire quote:
    "Sorbite. (obsolete) A fine mixture of ferrite and cementite produced either by regulating the rate of cooling of steel or by tempering steel after hardening. The first type is very fine pearlite difficult to resolve under the microscope; the second type is tempered martensite."

    As to the article, well I am at a disadvantage as I do not have a copy and have not read it....do you have a copy you could send me Greg? Or possible post the images of the micrographs?

    I am a bit comfused about what you said here:
    " what i did say is that-- he confirms in the study that the quenching of these blade follows the directions of the massalski account... ( I'm not debating whether the observer account is true or not.. )
    -- and this is clearly heating to a red heat and quenching in oil.."
    My question is:
    How can one tell that a blade was quenched in oil verses water verses any other medium? One can not as far as I know....one can make a guess due to percentages of certain structures given a chemistry, but if this paper says it was quenched in one thing or another I would think the author was relying more on others accounts of what was considered "common practice" and not something that that blade had told them.

    Samples:
    I have a good jambiya from Artzi,
    a shamshir bit with no provinance, but it should yield some info
    the remains of the tulwar used in the Northwestern univ study
    An Assadallah blade that I own
    and am trying to get a few more samples from a museum and labs.

    Apparently the sword in that paper PDF that Jeff posted was an assadallah....I may be able to get a cut of that one as well.

    Question:
    What do you consider "credible" for a source?

    Also, since these are hand made and vary from place to place and time to time I do not see how one could do anything but gather as gather can.
    To my knowledge there is no single collection that has provinance blades which span a larger time period (like the Japanese tradition). And if there were there are obvious issues with obtaining samples.
    I believe it took Alan Williams 30 years to gather the small bits he used for his armor research....all with great provinance.

    Rehilting:
    Why would that matter? Are you thinking about the heat used to free a blade from the handle or that by changing the handle you nulify the steel in the blade?
    Or
    Is it that you would wish to show a difference in practice from Persian to India blades and rehilting would make this impossible?

    Quality:
    Quaity is one of the things I wish to discover by doing these tests. When In india I saw two blades..by the same workshop if not by the same hands if I had to guess...one was harder than the other...both Perisian...


    As to what is hard on the blade of a good sword:
    I agree that blades were not heat treated evenly down the entire length...harder at the cutting area than near the hilt and drift lower again near the tip. I can add to this and say that some daggers were harder than swords.
    In Alwar I saw an entire wall of Persian shamshir (maybe 35 or so)...all with that darker area along the edge. I asked the four archeo-metallurgists standing next to me what that was...they all said.."get me a sample and I'll tell you". Smart folk.

    Greg we all know something is different there and causing the steel to show as it does with the acid...my point is that, so far, we do not know what the something is.....but we soon will.
    I would guess it is martensite, or bainite or very fine pearlite...most likely a combination of all three (with cementite yet present), however rubbing a bit of stone or file or sandpaper over the surface does not tell you what it is. Neither does bending it to see how it resists or flexes. It does however illustrate that something is different...but what is the difference?..I mean really is, not what a few blacksmith think it is.

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

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