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Thanks Jan and thanks for sharing all this. I hope to one-day also try this path and will surely be looking to this thread for help.

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Charles, I see ;you are in Romford...I just got back from a trip to Scotland with a few days added to Oxford and a few in London.....saw lots of beautiful steel. The Japanese galleries and the Persian Galleries were closed in the British Museum for renovation....I did see some good blades in the V and A and the Wallace Collection.

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I’m going to have to make time and go see all of them. You know how easy it is not to do something that’s right on your doorstep :rolleyes:

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Posted (edited)

We are beginning the forging process and so far so good,, I am forging two ingots at a time and have gone to about 8 cycles..still using hand hammers. The pictures below show the cementite not yet dissolved and converted to ( blank, as I am not sure ). Some of the areas now looking bright and white will eventually lose the cementite and turn into the pearlite matrix.Some of the bright cementite has not gone into solution yet. 

So we may actually be done sooner that I thought...Meanwhile I have prepared some crucibles specifically for making "wootz" using bloomery iron and an organic carbon source .  The demo will clarify the difference between wootz and crucible steel made by co-fussion. 

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Edited by Jan Ysselstein
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It's like having your favorite mystery writer sending you their latest novel.....one chapter at a time as they write it. Except this isn't a "whodunit" it's a "howdunit" .

 

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Not only the reader may not know who done it but the writer has no clue either . I am testing some ideas that may not be valid,  it is fun trying..if I have to adjust my thinking down stream, I will but not yet.

 

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Posted (edited)

I thought I would add a couple of pictures which ask the question..where is the carbon? This material should be 1.6-1.8% Carbon...and I would prefer to have it everywhere other than in primary cementite or heavy grain boundary cementite....I want the carbon to be diffuse and begin to form a pattern over the next 20 or so cycles....

The pictures show a standard ( Normal)  dendritic pattern...the cementite is almost completely dispersed ...it was in the now dark areas. I still have a ways to go and may not be able to dissolve 100% of the coarse cementite...at 2.% carbon this would be much more difficult to do.

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Edited by Jan Ysselstein
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Posted (edited)

Forgive me if i am way off base here but my scientific knowledge is a little short.

I recall reading somewhere in an historic reference, perhaps from this thread, that the "old" makers sometimes packed their ingots in clay and left them in the forge for days while they worked on others. Not knowing a blinking thing about it I wonder if, suppose the clay were of the right content, say iron in it, that the thermal cycling encouraged carbon migration from the steel to the clay in that sealed environment and distributed the, what seems to be excess to start, carbon more uniformly?

Just a question from completely outside the process looking in with curiosity.

Edited by Vern Wimmer

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Yes , I have read something like that as well...some clay covered and some bare...I have not read about the several days in the forge ( Al Pendray  demonstrated this process in a video posted here ). I have read 2-4 hrs at high heat sometimes 2 or more times. I assume they were moving the carbon to grain boundaries and calling that look "mottled". 

My challenge is to get a routine sequence established which gives a high probability of success. After that I can take any element of that sequence and play. Looking at the iron in Museums,  the blades are large and many have almost no defects , indication very good ingots and forging practice. The main theme is learning about iron and steel. When working with these materials over time , lots of little details come into view. These details  are shared with the makers of the past ( unavoidable).  

One of the two ingots forged yesterday seemed more willing to crack than the other..I will try to find out if the current structure is playing a role or is an indicator....did I not soak that ingot long enough....I soak without clay as my furnace produces very little scale at that temperature. 

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I also think I remember from the video that Pendray coated his ingots with iron oxide before heating and initial forging. I cant help but think that encouraged carbon migration through the ingot and into that coating. Perhaps, just in my ignorant way of thinking, the act of the migration during the forging somehow makes the high carbon ingot easier to forge without cracking? It would seem to me that if carbon was, literally jumping from the ingot to the coating that it is breaking it's boundaries on the surface of the ingot and affecting the pliabilty/malebility of the surface of the ingot.

I dunno, just random thoughts of a primate with opposable thumbs.

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The main thing I am absorbing from Pendray   and Verhoeven is ..the alloy composition and the D.E.T.    the rest for me is work details...we all have slightly different work details and seem  to be much more attached to them than we think. I will be getting back to the completion of this project next week and thought I would show a couple of picture of a bar I am working on. I find this bar interesting because it is about the size of the bars Verhoeven purchased from an Indian ( as in India ) armory on several occasions, 5/16" thick and about 6"long. The feature I like is the areas of light and dark are about equal..the negative is the dendritic patterns are rapidly becoming hard to find and may be gone by the time I finnish forging. I want dendritic evidence in my final pattern ( a matter of personal taste ).  

The field width is about 7mm..I expect the areas to roughly triple in size....the pics look fuzzy but the contrast is very good between light and dark.

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Edited by Jan Ysselstein
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Hmmmm…….Careful with that axe Eugene.

5/16 by 6. That should be enough for a decent blade, or are you going to try to weld this to another piece? Is that even an option?

Edited by Joshua States

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I hope to just forge it out and follow it with the microscope. I think I am out of the residual fragments of large carbides..that is a big deal for me as I like a high carbon content. I have taken all the old "wootz" or crucible steel experiments and broken them into bits for steel showing a strong hamon ....I hope. So the whole process from picking ingredients to etching needs constant adjusting for a better result. I should make a little progress this Winter.

 

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