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It looks good to me, but I'm not that much of an expert- someone like Niko or Ric would be better.

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The weight is suspiciously heavy. There are unscrupulous individuals who sell old ball mill balls as wootz ingots. These are cast hypereutectic steel that does etch dendritic like that, but can't be forged so far as I know (which isn't far!). Ask where it came from and how it was made.

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I would never buy a raw cake, only one that had been forged to first bar stage and proven useful to our purposes, with instructions on temperature bands by the maker that worked to get it to that state.

 

Just like the currency bars of the Vikings. Shown to be good to the buyer.

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Ruggero,

 

If you are considering trying to forge wootz steel ..why not do it yourself ...(I have no thoughts on the particular ingot you have shown here). If one has $370. to risk on a purchase, why not make it a crucible purchase and some fireclay and grog for the furnace.

 

Your recent request for tamahagane and now this question, makes me think you want to play with making your own steel.....I would bet on myself before betting on an ebay vendor.

 

Jan

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Yeah, I'd be way carefull, that dendritic pattern can appear on a lot of materials besides wootz, and I agree with Chris 100%, I'd not buy any wootz that was not initially processed to bar.

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I wrote that last night after a very long day of stress. Let me take a moment to clarify my thinking in a way that doesn't sound so snippy.

 

I've made exactly one cake, on my own, and couldn't get it to work under the hammer. I've stood next to Jeff Pringle (who is one of the people who can consistently make good ingots pretty much on-demand) for about 20 of them, maybe more. I've seen his failure rate, usually caused by the fuel running low at the last minute, or the chemistry being a little off, too much porosity - and I've seen the work it requires to salvage the material, or even judge whether it's salvageable in the first place. If an expert, one of maybe a dozen people in the country today who can do it with such regular success has trouble, then the person completely new to the task is almost guaranteed failure right out the gate, even if the ingot is good. The difference in forgeability between ingot and bar is substantial. There are still issues, narrower working ranges of heat available to the smith than with regular steel, but it's do-able if you have some guidance from the person who processed it from ingot to bar.

 

However, all that said, I would expect to pay far more for processed wootz bar than I would a raw ingot, for these very reasons. I'm paying for the time, expertise, and failures that led to the education of the smith, to get a trustworthy and proven material. Anyone can throw some stuff in a crucible and get a lump that has a nicely etched top. That is only the first of several steps in working with Wootz in a way that will make you happy with your final results in the end. There was a time where I was flirting with the idea of cranking out ingots and selling them, because I needed the money and that was the least work I could do to produce something I thought people would value, until someone asked how they forged out - and I had no answer. I couldn't vouch for my product. So I gave up that dream, and tried to ground myself in the reality I've just attempted to describe.

 

We go to great lengths to discourage new makers from turning junk into knives, because as the esteemed Mr. Cashen's website spells out, mystery metal is exactly that - a complete unknown. Modern steel is so cheap and easily available, that the false economy of making stuff out of material whose characteristics you can't describe will never reward you in the end like steel which you can heat-treat properly. We start flirting with this again in the home-made steel department, whether it's bloomery iron/steel, wootz, hearth steel, etc... because we're chasing an end product that was not homogeneous, which echos the efforts of the past. But to do that well, one needs to really drink deeply of the process, and if one wants to have mastery of it, one must spend the time and money to take samples and get them tested so one can speak with authority about what they're making. It is hard work. It's not cheap. But it is the only way to work with these "exotics" with any confidence at all, everything else is just playing at it. And that's fine - play all you want. God knows a bunch of us have. All I'm suggesting is that if you're going to spend money, invest it in your own knowledge, your own expertise, and not down some path that you think might get you a quick turn-around profit without the accompanying discipline and knowledge these materials really demand of their masters.

 

Good luck and good forging, sir.

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The ingot size is very suspect. Over 6 kg? That's about a 15 lb ingot there. 600 grams sounds like more the usual to me.

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Hi Guys,

thanky you for your honestly anwers. Now i understand, that not the optic of the etched cake confirm wootz.

 

Christopher :

i understand what you want to say me. You have right. Thank you :)

 

Ruggero

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