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Old 4th February 2010, 05:30 PM   #1
shangrila's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 31
Default How to heat treat wootz?

Hi guys.

Recently I bought a piece of ancient wootz steel. Yeah, It's a real and authentic one identified by an authorized organization and a senior researcher.

My friend and I would like to make two blades from it. I think the knifemaker will use grinding removing method to shape the blades.

As I knew, you guys are always willing to give people some nice advices.

Any suggestions on treatments of quenching, annealing, tempering and finish are appreciated.

Thanks a lot.
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Old 4th February 2010, 07:26 PM   #2
Join Date: Jan 2005
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I would ask this in or It's tricky stuff and if you don't do it right you loose the pattern. If you can find reference material from Al Pendry that would be helpful. There are some folks at that work in modern wootz.
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Old 5th February 2010, 08:08 PM   #3
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: ca, usa
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There was also an article in the Journal of Asian Martial Arts that you might find usefull as well:

Volume 17 Number 1
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Old 5th February 2010, 11:54 PM   #4
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Location: Ann Arbor, MI
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I am not a bladesmith, and know next to nothing about metallurgy. Perhaps, you are. However, having read some stuff on wootz blade making, I am awed by the complexity of the process, the degree of our current ignorance and the multitude of technicalities that can go wrong: from heating, to quenching, to just hammering, to...

Are you sure you are willing to risk this valuable material? Perhaps, just buying 2 old persian or indian blades might be cheaper in the long run.
Just an opinion...
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Old 7th February 2010, 02:26 PM   #5
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Location: Stockholm
Posts: 182

From what I can recall, wootz needs a heat cycling treatment for the pattern to fully develop. Forging could put it through this as a side effect, but for stock removal I would then guess your friend might have to do a dedicated heat cycling process. I'm not sure quite what temperature you'd aim for, but since the idea is to get carbides to shrink/grow without changing the overall structure, it would seem to me that the target temperature for each cycle would be just below A1.

For austenisation, given the high carbon content we most likely have here, I would guess that it's important not to go any higher above A1 than absolutely necessary, to keep the carbon content of the austenite in the "reasonable" region, and to preserve the pattern.
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