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Old 26th August 2021, 06:27 AM   #31
Tim Mitchell
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Join Date: Aug 2021
Posts: 4
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Ausjulius, I have to agree with you. We do need to be up front about how to work out if a blade is a modern fake. There will be few really good fakes out there, but the method of handle attachment and materials, and koftgari methods can give a hint as to the age of the blade.

As far as wootz, analysis of the steel will often tell you if the blade is modern as modern steel is relatively high in Manganese but low in Sulphur and Phosphorus. Many of the old blades also had copper in significant levels and so these are a few things which will give a clue from the analysis. A tang with the handle removed can be analysed using atomic absorbtion spectroscopy without damage to the blade.

Another thing is that in old swords made from wootz you will almost always have a seam along the spine where the top of the ingot was. It makes an ugly seam and sometimes a groove and this is the first thing I would check to see if it was genuine or not. Modern smiths do not use this part of the ingot and grind it out, the old smiths didn't do this.

Most modern wootz is forged at low temperatures and so the pattern is frequently not like the old watering it is very dentritic in nature. Also because the old swords were forged in charcoal forges the temperature during forging was different and as a result many of the old blades will show changes in pattern type over the length of the blade.

Modern smiths are more inclined to forge the blade partly to shape and then grind it the rest of the way and so the watering will often be different towards the edge and will be more stripy as you get towards the edge. There are old blades like this but it is common in modern wootz blades.

Those are a few points for now, there are no doubt more which could be worked out but that is a good place to start and the more familiar with the original stuff the easier you will pick something which may be suspect.
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