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ChrisWolf

Cast iron for Wootz

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Hello everyone.

 

I am about to make a first attempt at Wootz/pulad/bulat...ect, and I am curious as to what type of cast iron I should be looking for. Mainly the tech specs for the silicon in it. I know that C should be between 3-5 wt% but the Si content is something I have no Idea about. The lowest I have found (looking around so some to buy online still) so far is between 1.8-2.25 wt%, which seems very high to me. Any suggestions on where to buy it from or what type specifically (like gray 40) would be great. issue i am having is the small order that i would need. Think their could be a foundry somewhere near me that I could call as well.

 

Anyway thanks in advance

 

Chris

 

 

 

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I was reading up on things last night I believe it said something about Mn removing the Si but it needed to be 1.7 X the amount of Si + .3% or something like that...... it would be removed with the slag. I really would not like to have any Si in my mix if at all possible but i suppose based on the Ancient Wootz Analysis that a micro amount of it would not hurt. I read Greg's Wootz making tutorial and i suppose that I could use a similar formula to figure out how much Si % would be in the total mix. But like is said if anyone has a good recommendation on a source of cast iron it would be much appreciated

 

 

Thanks

 

Chris

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Over-steely bloom? That is, after all, much of what went into the historical cruicibles if my memory hasn't run off yet...

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Hopefully one of the more experienced crucible steel gurus will chime in, but if you're going for original, you don't want much of anything but iron and carbon.

 

Zeb

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I seem to recall someone mentioning that if you're gonna use cast to make sure it's white cast iron, not gray. Oh, and Ric prefers Heineken bottles as the glass cap because he likes the green glass better than brown. And that is about the end of my knowledge of making wootz in this manner.

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I seem to recall someone mentioning that if you're gonna use cast to make sure it's white cast iron, not gray. Oh, and Ric prefers Heineken bottles as the glass cap because he likes the green glass better than brown. And that is about the end of my knowledge of making wootz in this manner.

I remember reading something about using green glass think it was Greg that mentioned he uses wine bottles.

 

As for the Cast Iron, i am not sure if i can source some white cast, I used to have a wash tub made of it, but we busted it up and replaced it with a plastic one. Might get lucky and find a few small chunks left. Hopefully one of the woots guru's will chime in, but I do remember Greg saying he used Sorel Cast iron, but I cant seem to locate any of that in my area of Maryland. Ancient Wootz would be great to do, but I i dont think i can make that on my first go since Im going for a small Ingot ..... Maybe 1kg at most. I could prolly get close though.

 

Chris.. Do you mean to use over-Steely bloom or was that a question about something i made lol

 

P.S. Alan love your Interests

Edited by ChrisWolf

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Yes - historically, my recollection is that wootz smiths were using largely bloom material or scrap iron of the day (worn horse shoes and all that) for the iron content. So if you're smelting ore, and get some cast from excess C uptake, use that in balance with plain iron. The special stuff was all in the ore they used to start wtih, and ever since it's been an exploration in finding modern materials that will give some of the same "spice" to basic iron/carbon, but it most certainly doesn't take much at all.

 

Grey cast iron has an abundance of graphite in it. When I watch Jeff Pringle do this, and I've watched dozens of his melts now, it's understood that quite a bit of C can be gotten from the crucible itself if you're using the cheap graphite/clay ones from Legend. And yes, I'm aware of the fact that there are arguments for and against the liberation of C from graphite, but I've seen the results with my own eyes and will stand by the assumption for now.

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Maybe he prefers Heineken to Blatz. :)

What size pieces of Cast do you put in the mix? I got a couple pounds of a mild steel filings, about .40 C and 1.0% Mn. The Mn would boil out but it would have to be very hot and I would probably lose the Wootz pattern. If I use 3 lbs of cast iron and 1 pound of steel I should end up with about 1% C and .25 Mn. or am I completely off?

Edited by J_Martin

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Yes - historically, my recollection is that wootz smiths were using largely bloom material or scrap iron of the day (worn horse shoes and all that) for the iron content. So if you're smelting ore, and get some cast from excess C uptake, use that in balance with plain iron. The special stuff was all in the ore they used to start wtih, and ever since it's been an exploration in finding modern materials that will give some of the same "spice" to basic iron/carbon, but it most certainly doesn't take much at all.

 

Grey cast iron has an abundance of graphite in it. When I watch Jeff Pringle do this, and I've watched dozens of his melts now, it's understood that quite a bit of C can be gotten from the crucible itself if you're using the cheap graphite/clay ones from Legend. And yes, I'm aware of the fact that there are arguments for and against the liberation of C from graphite, but I've seen the results with my own eyes and will stand by the assumption for now.

Im shooting for the simpler method at first, though i really want to smelt my own steel and add in all ingredients (micro alloying agents) powdered to the charge. The method I was referring to was where you take a piece of known steel and add in the cast to balance out your charge to the right carbon level. I do believe that I may have heard Jeff talk about that before. I have read all 26 pages worth of topics and posts here in the bloomers section.

 

BTW I sent an e-mail to the only supplier of SorelMetal here in the States to ask about small orders and such. It really is very very clean with something along the lines of .05% Si as well as the other alloys at similar levels and 3-4% carbon

 

Maybe he prefers Heineken to Blatz. :)

What size pieces of Cast do you put in the mix? I got a couple pounds of a mild steel filings, about .40 C and 1.0% Mn. The Mn would boil out but it would have to be very hot and I would probably lose the Wootz pattern. If I use 3 lbs of cast iron and 1 pound of steel I should end up with about 1% C and .25 Mn. or am I completely off?

 

For the Cast it would be a relatively small piece compared to your base example is if you used 1060/70 steel and added in 30-40% the weight of the 1060/70 steel worth of cast with a 3% carbon content....... this is a very basic example so dont try that example unless you do the math. Greg posted a tutorial on wootz making on primalfires (hey went by the name dimenickel back then) He list a formula he uses to figure out how much cast to add to his bulk/base to get the %C he wants for a given blade. I will post a link for you if you like or just the formula or you can send me a PM whatever works for you. Also when you look at cast It usually comes with a range for the % of carbon; a high and a low %, just average them out when you use Greg"s formula

 

http://primalfires.yuku.com/topic/1950/Tutorial-on-making-wootz-crucible-steel#.VCS-bvnpP6k

Edited by ChrisWolf

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Chris,

 

You want cast iron very low in Silicon, Sorel Metal would be ideal...40/60 with some 1010 and your powders, set to go. I make my own cast iron which is usually lower in carbon so I can go about 50/50. All that final carbon content prediction is guess work at best. Use a Graphite crucible not Silicon Carbide. If you have a cast iron source which is very clean, but high in Silicon, no problem, silicon oxidizes very quickly just add a little iron oxide to the molten cast ( cautiously ), then add your lower carbon iron ( make sure all items added to the molten material are dry and preheated to a temperature where water cannot exist ! ) . The Silicon will turn to SiO2 and become a glassy slag.

Wootz was made historically, using cast iron as an ingredient........ another method used was, by adding carbon, cast iron was made in the crucible...so you might say both methods used cast iron as an ingredient.

Good Luck ..I look forward to seeing your results....should you get frustrated Ric Furrer teaches a Wootz class you might want to take.

 

Jan

 

Edited by Jan Ysselstein

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Green glass rather than brown glass because green glass is colored with iron oxide while brown glass is not. I'm not sure what the pigment in brown glass is, but Wikipedia seems to indicate iron/sulfur compounds. Anything that you put in the slag could end up in the melt, so it is worth being selective.

 

I have purchased Sorel Metal from Henry Perkins Company near Boston, MA. They do custom iron castings and this is one of their base ingredients. As a general heads up, Sorel Metal is VERY HARD and a bit of a bear to break up.

 

I used Gray Cast Iron from MSC for many years, and it is very convenient because you can cut it with a bandsaw. You can also get Ductile Iron from McMaster-Carr. Ductile is generally of higher purity than Gray.

 

I have not done enough melts with the Sorel Metal to be able to say how much of a difference it makes versus the Ductile Iron in a wootz ingot.

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