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Showing content with the highest reputation on 05/05/2021 in all areas

  1. Hey guys, finished up this little hunter/general use knife for a buddy of mine at work. 1084 forged to shape with stainless pins and black walnut scales. Thanks for looking
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  2. I use a 6v/12v battery charger (like for the car and/or tractor) Works great.
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  3. I should note that my information is just my interpretation of the data in the ASM Heat Treater's Guide, not experience with this alloy. The book also says nothing about a need to soak at temp.
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  4. I'm right in there with Alex. I'd shoot for 0.020" (0.5mm) at final grind for something that was going to be a heavy use beast, and closer to half that for something that I want a fine but delicate edge on.
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  5. and you have a good example of what good, welded lines look like compared to un-welded.
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  6. I think I'll go for the second option.
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  7. If you want to finish it out as a practice blade, I say go for it. Throw it in the oven at 400 for a couple hours to help insure it doesn't completely break on you, and then go to town. Another good use would be to snap it and take a look at the grain. Itll tell you a lot about your heat treat process and whether or not you have it dialed in.
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  8. A lot would depend on what it's going be used for. Something intended for heavy chopping I would leave a bit thicker, maybe .015"-.020" or so. If you're looking for kitchen knife like sharpness, bring it right down to darn near zero. I've found myself falling into the same trap of leaving the edge too thick and not being happy with the results.
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  9. You should have tempered before any grinding. Always temper immediately after hardening. Not only does it make grinding easier, but more importantly there can be stresses in the blade that cause failure in the blade while it just sits there.
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  10. You have your volts and amps reversed. That is a 30V/5A supply. More amps means a faster etch. Since it can be done with a 9V battery or car battery, you definitely don't need high voltage, but depending on how aggressive you want your etching process to be you may want higher amps (like 50A as mentioned in the link below). BTW, I assume you have seen this thread, but in case you haven't, here it is:
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  11. Well said Jan. Wootz is one of those things that keeps on pulling you back. I have a 1.6% C wootz knife which I have had for years and heavily used for all kinds of things, it has held up better than any of my stainless blades which have been my EDC for years, an SOG folder and a Ken Onion Leek. My wootz blades will beat them hands down for edge holding ability and toughness.
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  12. I have no problem with modern steel out performing "wootz" in standard mechanical tests. The value for me is in the knowledge and experience gained during the attempts to duplicate what was done many years ago using very simple means. Most people do it for a while and it just becomes too tedious or fraught with too many obstacles. I very much empathize and share the frustration. So much has been learned by probing this material it just does not stop...or I just cannot stop. I will explain my inability to stop later in wootz posting thread. I have severely abused some wootz at 1.8 % C .
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  13. The secondary arms of the dendrites are dissolved during an extended roast of an ingot. This leaves the primary trunks, but they are also in a more dissolved state. This makes the steel matrix stronger than it was previously. The brittleness of the steel matrix is a factor of the size of the carbides and the density of the clusters. Not all blades have dense large clusters of carbides and in a properly forged blade, you have a laminar structure of steel sheets with no visible carbides and of steel sheets containing carbides in scattered loose clusters of spherodized carbides, not the blocks
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  14. Thanks Jerrod for explaining your comment, I had a basic idea of what you were saying, but wanted you to really spell it out for the record. I agree with you for the most part and you are correct with the majority of wootz today. In most Wootz today the cementite is made from large globular carbide clusters and the dendritic structure is still largely intact. This is not the best state to have a blade in, if you are wanting to achieve sharpness, toughness and flexibility. The dendrites themselves actually don't exist in the ingot, it is the outline of the former dendrites which exi
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  15. Large quantities of carbide, especially large carbides and large dendritic structures (you know, the thing that makes wootz - wootz). Carbide + tempered martensite (in wootz quatities and distributions) is far more brittle than homogeneous tempered martensite; let alone a differentially hardened or tempered blade. Carbide + pearlite (again wootz-style) isn't as tough or edge-retaining (or technically even able to get as sharp, but still can get plenty sharp) as homogeneous tempered martensite. Add in very fine carbide distributed in some modern steels and they just get better. If you can s
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  16. Aha! but there are so many structures of wootz what structure do you think is not ideal? It is important to have a specific quality or structure to identify with your thought.
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  17. That is along the lines of "properly worked heat treated 1045 makes a better knife than poorly worked and heat treated 5160". While that is true, an apples-to-apples comparison is "optimally processed wootz" vs. "optimally processed <good standard blade material>". I can't think of any standard blade alloy that we commonly discuss that would not turn out better than wootz in any mechanical test set (like the ABS journeyman test, for example). Metallurgically speaking (and I am a metallurgist), the structure of wootz just isn't ideal.
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  18. Well, it is and it isn't. It depends entirely on the smith who made it and forged it out. The devil is in the details, and if you don't forge and heat treat it just right, you don't get that really flexible structure which makes it such a great material. It can be a very tough and sharp and durable material which outperforms some other modern steels.... if it is done right. Modern makers don't always know how to, or choose to, make their steel perform to the best that it can, and seeing the process isn't automated in a massive factory and the qualities come from subtle forging and heat tre
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  19. The modern carbon steel blades usually sit around the 0.8% to 1% carbon mark. Wootz is a high carbon steel and is similar to some tool steels sitting between 1% and 1.8% usually, there are exceptions but most were in this range. It makes very good tools, punches and dies and even chisels. The best of the wootz steels compare with a good high carbon tool steel such as perhaps W1 / W2 (0.7% - 1.5%C) or similar. They can take and hold a good edge, are tough when heat treated properly. The higher carbon range blades can also be close to that kind of steel if you heat treat it properly and you
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  20. Absolutely modern steels are mechanically superior to wootz, though not as pretty (if you're into that sort of thing, not everyone is). One can make an argument that they are good enough for some applications though. This is why I personally have no real interest in wootz: it is not a very good (mechanically) material. I would much rather have good materials pattern welded together for the pretty factor. That being said, pattern welding (especially something like san mai, or just as spine steel) should be doable with wootz for some pretty effects. The quenching becomes a problem there, so
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  21. Hi Vern, I thought I mentioned that briefly. The methods of quenching and tempering were various, and even without microstructural analysis it is possible to determine if a quench and temper method was a success or not. The changes were visible in the darkness of the pattern background and in the mechanical characteristics of the test piece much in the same way as today. Some smiths used an air quench, like Anossoff who used hot air from the furnace opening, or compressed air. This gives a fine pearlite structure. Others used a light oil quench from critical, which would create a comb
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  22. In the descriptions we have seen of the old methods I note something appears to be missing by comparison to the modern methods. I see no discussion of pre-quench heat treating other than forging temperstures but glaringly absent is any discussion of tempering, post hardening. Is this perhaps something where "we" have an advantage in the manipulation og the product. From what I see I get the impression that "they" ended the use of heat with the various quench methods intended to produce thr desired results. It would seem to me to be quite a challenge, without metalurgical analysis, to com
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  23. Thanks for pinning this Alan, I remember the old thread, it was good but we have learned quite a bit more since then and this is a little more complete I think. Coupled with the "Wootz Makers and Methods" thread, we have some good coverage on the subject. Although the makers and methods post could well be updated as it is almost exactly 3 years old a lot happens in three years...
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  24. Ok, you are reading a little more into my comment than was intended. Steel itself is an alloy of iron and carbon, and a high carbon steel is from 1% to 2% carbon. That being said, the majority of the crucible steel examples out there fall between the 1.4% to 1.8% carbon range. Changing the carbon content makes harder blades, and it makes more carbon available for carbide patterning, so the higher carbon blades tend to have better patterning, no surprise there. Most steel contains trace elements as a result of it's production and ore source, but these trace elements are kept to a minimu
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  25. That is a good starter thread Alan, with some fine discussion by some notable Smiths, but it is short and somewhat dated. I'm fairly sure this subject should be revisited every so often (3-5 years?). If for no other reason, just to see what has changed in our collective knowledge base.
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  26. Pinned it is! Not the first time it's come up, either. Down in the pinned Bloomers and Buttons, you will find this:
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  27. I wouldn't say that we have run into any major surprises. We have known for over a century about the effects of Sulphur and Phosphorous weakening the ingots, and about carbide forming elements such as manganese, vanadium etc. creating patterning in the ingots. We have known about the structures that carbon contributes to in the steel. This is all old stuff, however what has been poorly understood, and is still poorly understood, is the action of banding, what precisely causes the carbides to line up in the watered patterns. Verhoeven and Pendray were convinced that it was the presence of
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  28. Since I cannot claim to have read everything written about the ancients and no where near what has been written by those of today I have a stupid question of "truly epic proportion". Since it appears that modern experimentors have run into a couple of surprises here and there because of elemental interactions and reactions and so forth, has anyone, A. Taken an amount of modern iron, closely tested for chemical content, and, 1) run it through the bloom process of their chosen method and then sent it out for analysis to get a measure of what is added or subtracted b
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  29. The problem with quoting Faraday etc is that they were accurate witnesses of the specific pieces of steel that they had in front of them, and in that perspective they were first hand witnesses... however, they were not reliable witnesses concerning their opinions of what the Indians were doing and how they were doing it. The first hand accounts of naturalists and travellers going through the regions and giving accounts of what was done at a specific location at a specific time is of utmost value. We do have to be able to see past the filter of the writer though and understand that sometimes
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  30. I couldn't agree more, we have to test out what others are saying, just following the instructions doesn't give you the same result, there is technique involved. This is the hard part and it is what we are trying to work out ourselves through comparing our experiments with historical blades. Sometimes history is largely wrong, we just have to use skill in seeing through the parts which are fact and what is perception. It takes a certain type of person to be able to interpret the information and come up with that obscure truth from many different and seemingly unrelated bits of information.
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  31. There is room at the table for both academic research and applied experience. In many ways they are interdependent. With all due respect to Ann Feuerbach, she never worked in Law Enforcement. It teaches you that eye witnesses and very often participants do not always give accurate descriptions of events. As you point out about British observers. To take a page from science and paraphrase a principle, "It don't mean a thing if you can't repeat it". That of course requires the attempted application of the scholar's theories just as the person who would replicate needs a starting poi
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  32. This is so true, all we can do is keep learning and try to share the few pieces of the puzzle that we have. Often our knowledge is based on what other scholars have written and not on first hand accounts. As Ann Feuerbach says, you have to go back to first hand accounts if you want to be right about things. Reading what Faraday and the other English researchers from the early days said and taking it as gospel is a mistake which many people fall into. They misunderstood the processes and what they were actually looking at in many cases. The first hand accounts of the processes in India are
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  33. If I understand you correctly Jan, what you are talking about is basically what is talked about on here as the Georgian Process, which is where the iron gets carburised by the charcoal and then falls down below the flux. It is a good way of controlling the percentage of carbon in the ingot in a very imprecise manner. However, once again we need to avoid saying "This is how they did it" because there is no "They" and there is no single process. We can't generalise about the old methods because there were quite a few. In that method they used the furnace temperature and the process to co
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  34. Some of the steel in the tatara, especially by the tuyure probably goes molten simply due to edging near cast iron. It doesnt have to be so liquid that it forms pearls of molten steel, but molten enough to be considered liquidous. My orishigane goes full molten but you couldnt tell the difference between it and bloomery or tamahagane even. Nice to see you here Tim. I have been posting my crucible steel progress on another forum, i forgot to run it here too. I will make a seperate thread and add to Jan's collosal amount of work. Mark and I havent posted out smelts
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  35. First hand accounts may be difficult to obtain ;-) Back to process, how does one determine quantities of materials and even a list of materials to combine? Do we think the different historical compositions were intentional or circumstantial? Oh yeah, can we get this pinned?
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  36. The Ulfberts are a cool mystery. The name is Franskish. The letters are roman not viking, and the cross is Christian. Yet most blades are found in pagan Scandinavia. most people seem to think the name refers to a Bishop. Bishops of these early christian germanic types were more like warlords. They did not do this "turn the other cheek" thing. Jesus was still a little bit like Tor. If they were made from Asian/Indian crucible steel, the Vikings could have traded for it in Persia (or maybe Constantinople/Miklagård?) via the Volga river trade routes that leads to the Black sea or the Caspian
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  37. That was a terrific program on NOVA. It does bring up the question about different sword/weapon styles across different cultures and there is some hazy kind of "chicken or egg" question about steel leading weapons development or vice versa . It really comes to mind when one sees the interest in the making Tamahagane and other Japanese varieties and that, of course, brings up the question of similarities and differences between Japanese crucible and Wootz.
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  38. Excuse my general ignorance, but the Scandinavian blades mentioned include +ULFBERT+ swords right? And was my spelling correct? I seem to recall an H somewhere. You guys are doing a great job putting this thread together. Ought to write a book.
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  39. The Europeans didn't import Wootz as far as I am aware. Huntsman's process took care of their needs for crucible steel and was very good in quality. There is evidence of crucible steel being worked in Scandinavia for a period of 200 years, this steel most likely came through the Vulga River trade route from Merv in Turkmenistan, a site which was active during that period. Most of the stories about the crusaders and Salhadin were fiction, I have yet to see one that was actual history. If anyone has accurate first hand accounts then please let me know.
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  40. I was thinking in terms of, say, Crusaders v Saladin's troops (since that has become a popular entertainment field). That, of course, opens the door for the area of "European" importation and application/use of Wootz and the differences between it and the European metals and their making and working.
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  41. There really isn't a difference in the quality of the steel from the different crucible steel processes, regardless of whether they carburised bloomery iron or decarburised cast iron, they all achieve a crucible steel between 1 and 2% carbon which is very pure and relatively free from inclusions. The Indian steel was better in most cases because of the lack of sulphur and ease of forging. What makes more of a difference in the quality of the steel is how it is forged. The strictly dendritic patterns have less diffusion of the carbide microstructure and can be a bit more brittle than a watere
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  42. Alan, Somewhere in the Pit Charcoal thread I have a wootz knife showing on pages 5 and 6 . This knife looks good and has been sitting in the kitchen unsharpened for about two years ( for show). I recently sharpened it and scraped the finish off my dining room table with it and then sharpened it and put it in use...due to arriving at a secondary bevel the etch is a little messed up....but does this thing cut ...I was surprised .So even if the wootz thread I am working on produces nothing beautiful ( it will) I will have some really good steel for blades..
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  43. Some say wootz, because of the banding, will cut better even when supposedly dull. But people say a lot of things. Since it is a crucible product the carbon distribution is even and there are no slag inclusions, unlike bloom steel (Evenstad process possible excepted). Therefore, in the right hands it is theoretically a "better" product. Remember, the west rediscovered crucible steel when Huntsman needed a more uniform spring steel for the chronometer in the 1760s. It was lower carbon and not processed to show the structure, though.
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  44. There is evidence that they were able to look at the pattern of an ingot which had a window ground in the side and which had been lightly acid etched. They could tell how good the final pattern would be and perhaps the spacing of the pattern in the final blade. They were used to using ingots from a specific source and so the ingots wouldn't have changed too much for a particular smith, but when they changed to a new supply of ingots they would have to be able to verify the correct temperature range to forge in for their new source of ingots. It is part of being a master craftsman. Now not a
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  45. So, if I understand correctly, there were processes that had to add carbon to the raw steel and others that removed carbon as well? It further seems apparent that there were several methods of "skinning the cat". It seems to me, and is probably more obvious than I realize , that we are looking at a method of ancient/old visual analysis indicating the characteristics of a given billet, bar, blade. If that is correct then, ironically, those folks almost had a system that was in some ways simpler, if not superior to ours today for understanding the characteristics of a piece of steel from a
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  46. Ok, back to the process... actually the processes as there are four distinct types of process that were used. Most of the processes used bloomery iron which was either produced onsite or was made at other locations and bought by the crucible steel makers. In India the caste system was very ingrained and there were people who only made different types of iron. Some processes added wrought iron and cast iron together, others added a larger amount of carburising organic matter to wrought iron, there was also a reducing process, however the two most common methods were the carburising process a
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  47. Wow. A lot of info there. Thanks Tim for the elaboration on patterning and forging applications. Let's go back to the beginning for a moment and talk about process if we may. A smith would collect the raw materials required for production. Knowing where the earlier versions of this process occurred, what materials were available in those areas? Did that even matter, because materials could be brought in from virtually anywhere, even in ancient times. (the trade routes were far more established than one might think) Has anyone been able to determine the sources for these materials?
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  48. Some blades did contain carbon nanotubes and it has been a much hyped element of discussion in the topic of Wootz recently. However we have no idea how many blades from ancient times contained carbon nanotubes and what the connection was, if any, to the legendary performance of this steel. It may have a bearing, and it may be more common, but that is no something that is known yet. Just having a good crucible steel with no nanotubes would have flexibility and toughness depending on the crystalline structure and carbide shape.
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  49. Hi Alan, you raise a good point about welding of wootz. It wasn't uncommon to forge weld crucible steel, we see repairs like you saw and we also see chevron style blades where alternating sections of pattern welded steel and Wootz were forge welded into one blade. Al Pendray actually did this. The truth is that because of the higher carbon content that is in most Wootz blades, you have a lower welding temperature than normal pattern welded steel. You can raise a 1.5% Carbon Wootz blade with a good watered pattern up to 1100°C without losing the pattern. I haven't personally welded Wootz, I
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  50. A good definition, Tim! A far more simplified one that I have used is "wootz is a crucible-made steel of high carbon content ( often 1%+) that has some kind of carbide forming element in the mix which, due to the process used, produces the distinctive alloy segregation bands we call "watering." After that it gets contentious. Exactly what went into those crucibles is hotly debated, as is which carbide forming element and why (often vanadium, but not always). Was it quenched? There are many many legends of what can and cannot be done to it heat-wise without losing the banding. All of
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