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The following knife is an experiment of sorts. It's the first blade I have forged from our Wootz-ish crucible steel (~1.7%C?) and meant to resemble a small seax. The ring-and-dot motif on bone is reminiscent of Viking-age bone decoration, although the motif is much older and common to many different cultures. The bolster is a simple copper plate that I drifted to the shape of the tang. The handle is scavenged ironwood from a flooring job.

 

Unfortunately, I messed up the heat treat on the knife. Tempering at 500F for an hour left the blade very brittle and not suited for anything but kitchen duty. I wonder what a proper tempering temperature for Wootz-ish knife might be. For the next one, I will try 800F and see how that goes. I would also like some suggestions on handle decoration. For my taste it is too unadorned, but the ironwood is very hard and brittle. I had a hard time chiseling out even the tang.

 

Blade Length: 7 1/4in

Blade Width: 1 5/8in

Handle Length: 6 7/8in

 

Wootzish-Seax-small.jpg

 

Let me know what you think,

 

Niels.

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I wonder what a proper tempering temperature for Wootz-ish knife might be

 

Looking at that wonderful book you show in a photo, Captain Massalski states (roughly) it is the autoignition temperature of wood roughly 575 Deg F..several heats.

 

Jan

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1.7% carbon is really high, that might be your problem. I would drop it to 1% then that 500 degree cycle at two hours would be right for a 58-60. Great looking knife, I like the simple knifes myself. also when I work with ironwood, I drill at 3/8 inch then burn on the handle. the 3/8 hole gets it started and the round side lets the gasses from the burning wood escape. Otherwise the gasses can crack the wood. saves a ton of time to!

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Cool stuff Niels. Nice subtle structure in the blade it seems...

 

Did you bone char your dot rings?

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The structure of the steel is pretty subtle and I have not successfully taken a good picture of it yet. The dot and rings are drilled into the bone and filled with a beeswax/charcoal mixture. I'll post a video that shows how I did it - hopefully that will show the blade better, too.

 

Niels.

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yeah I've been into dot rings lately myself. I've charred bone and then mixed with beeswax. But my 'drill' suffers on the harder ivories and fossilized bone.. so I'd love to see how somebody else does it.

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Looks good Niels, what kind of decoration did you have in mind? I have never worked ironwood, were you thinking of something less difficult like incised lines? I really like your bolster.

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I love the shape of her, both the blade and handle.

 

Something to consider.... I temper all my blades 3 times for 2 hours each cycle. I would be wary myself of a single tempering cycle of 1 hour for a blade.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here is a new video that shows all steps involved in making this knife. Producing the video took almost as much time as creating the knife :)

 

 

If you take the time to look at it, I would appreciate feedback on technique.

 

Thank you,

Niels.

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Niels,

Thank you , that is a beautiful knife and a great all around teaching video.

 

You mention the pattern being dendritic rather than wootz like....most wootz blades are dendritic in structure and appearance...often the dendrites are so distorted by heating and forging, they are hard to recognize.

 

I thought the pattern right out of the etch was very beautiful..I think I saw a little decarb or it may have been unincorporated metal ( cut the ingredients into smaller bits). The pattern on the final blade was not as evident as the just etched pattern. The red iron oxide ( or any abrasive will drop into the softer lower etched areas and remove the black color. This phenomenon is often seen in museums where a blade may have been pulled in and out of a scabbard many times ( in an abrasive world ).

 

The tempering temperature mentioned above ( auto ignition temp of wood ) was that used for swords... I would experiment with the wootz to see how soft the blade can be and still cut well,

you may be surprised.

 

Decarburization is a big problem with wootz..especially in a gas heated furnace..it is almost as if decarb begets more decarb..I often wonder why the old timers were so intent on removing the decarburized areas relatively early in the process. It may be that dark shadows are created deeper into the metal if the decarb areas are not kept under control.

 

Niels, was that oil preheated?

 

Jan

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Thank you for the feedback, Jan! Very much appreciated.

 

As for the oil, I always quench at room temperature and never had any problems with that.

 

Niels.

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Great stuff, and documentation as always Neils!!

 

Thanks for sharing all your hard work.

I love the whole package.


Mark


Edited by Mark Green
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