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Early "Anglo-Saxon" period knife (bloomery steel)

Andrew W

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A copy of 6th century English archaeological finds, staring from ore.


The finished blade. Heterogeneous bloomery steel blade, horn handle (drilled + burned in hidden tang).


A closeup of the other side of the blade. This billet is only 18 layers--I wanted to maintain the messy metallurgy we see on so many of the originals.


I smelted the iron back in March. Unlike my first half-successful try, this smelt went well. I got a nice, steely 14lb bloom.

(This photo’s from the preheat, just before I switched from wood to charcoal.)


Obligatory photo of the slag tap, near the end of the smelt.


The 14lb bloom of new iron, birthed (via c-section) from the side of the furnace.


The bloom was steely already, but I decided to do a hearth melt with some of the scraps that fluffed off it while I was compacting the main part. I tossed those scraps into a charcoal hearth, and got a nice lump of much more consolidated steel from it.


The smaller bloom from the hearth melt, and the billet into which I forged 1/2 of it.


I forged that billet into a blade!


Polished and etched. I love the textures of bloomery steel.

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1 hour ago, Alan Longmire said:

Looks great!  Burning a tang in horn smells delightful, no? ;)

It’s one of those sensations that you never forget... :wacko:


Incidentally, I finished this up in a new forge with the Black Beauty burners you recommended to me. They weld bloom effortlessly. Thank you for putting them on my radar.

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I like the handle on it a lot.  Definitely a step above wood and the pattern from the refined bloomery steel is kind of neat too.

By the way, have you gotten the smell out of your work shop yet.  I ground some antler once and it took 3 -4 days to get the odor out of the house.


Edited by Doug Lester
I'm an illiterate idiot with dyslexia

HELP...I'm a twenty year old trapped in the body of an old man!!!

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I do it outside, preferably somewhere with a breeze!

But no, it never goes away. :mellow:

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