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bladesmithing-msg - 7/25/04


Steel sources, making knives and swords. Pattern-welding. Wortz.


NOTE: See also the files: blacksmithing-msg, blksm-forges-msg, blksm-anvils-msg,  bellows-msg, swords-msg, swordsmiths-msg, swordcare-msg, knife-throwing-msg.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I  have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I  have done  a limited amount  of  editing. Messages having to do  with separate topics  were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the  message IDs  were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make  no claims  as  to the accuracy  of  the information  given by the individual authors.


Please  respect the time  and  efforts of  those who have written  these messages. The  copyright status  of these messages  is  unclear at this time. If  information  is  published  from  these  messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org



From: powers at cis.ohio-state.edu (william thomas powers)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Another blacksmithing question

Date: 10 Jul 1995 17:00:51 -0400

Organization: The Ohio State University, Department of Computer and Information Science


>I recently took a beginning knife-making class and now I'm all

>pumped to make some sharp cutty things for my scribe's box.  The

>instructor of the class advocated using old files to begin with.  

>My question to any knowledgable person out there is: If I walked

>into my local metal shop to get suitable metal to make a small knife

>(for eating, carving quills, gen.utility, etc.), what kind of bar

>stock would I request?  


>Many thanks for the assitance, Tatiana Dieugarde


Pray pardon me milady Tatiana; I fear I could not help but overhear you

asking about knife steels as I loitered on this bridge. May I converse

with you about this?


I am afraid I did not catch what tools you have access to so I will

provide various options.


The old file, (and I mean "old" file, some modern files are playing

fast and loose with case-hardening and powder metallurgy!) is oft used

due to its carbon content, often being close to 1%!, ease of procurement

and the advantage of it being already tempered to a hard and brittle state.

This  is an advantage to people who have not access to a forge, kiln, torch

or other commonly used method of heat treating a blade. The file, already

being tempered too hard, is drawn to a tougher temper using a kitchen oven,

(depending on the file and how you plan to use/mis-use the knife and how you

like the blade, you would bake it at 400-550 F), then worked into the blade

being carefull to keep the temperature of the blade cooler than the drawing

temperature. The disadvantage is that the metal is still harder than

annealed stock and so it is more difficult to work.


If you were to step into a machine shop; you could ask for any of a number

of steels, based on what you wanted from your blade and what tools you

have access to.

Among them:


O-1, commonly available, fairly cheap, known and used by knifemakers for years.

This steel will rust and is heat treated by heating to its curie temperature

and quenching in oil.  In annealed state you can file/grind/abrade it to shape.


5160, commonly available as leaf spring stock--ask a springshop to buy scraps,

the pieces along the road oft contain hidden cracks and stresses! It should

be cheap. This material also will rust, and has a lower carbon content than O-1

so you will draw it to a different temperature after quenching it, (I prefer

an oil quench for 5160 as well)


440C, probably the most used steel by custom knifemakers. This is a stainless

steel that is very resistant to rust, takes a mirror polish and holds an edge.

(I can't talk about heat treat since I don't use this one much, a good

knifemaking book like _The Complete Bladesmith_ by Jim Hrisoulas should

cover it, (I never can remember Jim's sca name), or Machinery's handbook,

or ask at the machine shop). Probably more expensive than the others.


Steels not in ones best interest to try working by hand as a beginners project

include such things as D2, Stellite, VascoWear,... most being hard to work

and needing precise heat treating to get your money's worth from these alloys.


When I teach bladesmithing I usually try to use a simple straight carbon steel

like 1080, 1075, 1095; often salvaged from old farm equipment, spark tested,

and drawn to personal preference. Its only on their third knife that we start

talking about pattern welding!  (Morcant you lucked out!)


wilelm the smith who does a billet every pennsic as a personal momento...



From: scj427 at aol.com (SCJ427)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Another blacksmithing question

Date: 11 Jul 1995 00:50:28 -0400

Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)


For knifemaking and other cutting questions may I make two



A.  Get an Atlanta Cutlery catalog.  Some good basic supplies and blank

blades.  Call 1-800-883-0300 and ask for a catalog.


B.  Check out the gun shows in your area.  I have rarely been to a gun

show where there was not someone selling brass fittings and bar stock for

hilts.  I got some decent exotic wood scales at a show this past weekend.


    Stock removal method is the easiest to master for a beginner.  You can

clamp a belt sander in a vice to approximate a table sander and get some

passable results.  To use tool steel, (such as old files) you either have

to spend a lot on abrasives or anneal the stuff to soften it first.

    A Glover pocket reference is good info.  It contains a lot on

engineering formulae and other neat info.  One thing is the relationship

to heated steel color and temperature for the type of steel.  A good quick

reference if you don't do forging regularly.


  Try junkyards for stock. One of the best shortswords I turned out (when

I had access to a forge many moons ago) started life as a leaf spring from

an old Packard.


Hope it helps,

Stefan MacMorrow ap Rhovannon



From: txspeed at aol.com (TX Speed)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Another blacksmithing question

Date: 11 Jul 1995 13:58:36 -0400

Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)


I recently took a beginning knife-making class and now I'm all

pumped to make some sharp cutty things for my scribe's box.  The

instructor of the class advocated using old files to begin with.  

My question to any knowledgable person out there is:  If I walked

into my local metal shop to get suitable metal to make a small knife

(for eating, carving quills, gen.utility, etc.), what kind of bar

stock would I request?  


Many thanks for the assitance,

Tatiana Dieugarde

(please respond to the net as my private email account is undergoing



I like ATS-34. Not quite as rust-resistant as 440c, but it seems to work

better for me. Easy to grind and hardens nicely. Will hold an edge better

than 440c, though it's not quite as strong. It won't darken and look

rustic (rusty?) with age, but for a general SCA knife you probably want

something stainless. Most knifemaker's supplys will have as much ATS as

any industrialized nation could ever want, but you probably have to buy a

foot of it at least.

Ld. Gundy



From: mfaul at netscape.com (Mike Faul)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Another blacksmithing question

Date: 14 Jul 1995 23:22:30 GMT

Organization: Netscape Communications Corp.


In article <3u4v6t$ej9 at news-s01.ny.us.ibm.net>, raclapp at ibm.net says...


>In <3trsmp$u8b at news.missouri.edu>, Shannon Ward

<sward02 at mail.coin.missouri.edu> writes:

>>I recently took a beginning knife-making class and now I'm all

>>pumped to make some sharp cutty things for my scribe's box.  The

>>instructor of the class advocated using old files to begin with.  

>>My question to any knowledgable person out there is:  If I walked

>>into my local metal shop to get suitable metal to make a small knife

>>(for eating, carving quills, gen.utility, etc.), what kind of bar

>>stock would I request?  


Used files found at flea markets/yard sales will do what you need. Old

sayz or hacksaw blades work too. Chainsaw bars too.

If ou want good quality metal ask for 1095 or other 10xx number

metal.thats plain carbon steel. use 1045 - 1095

440 stainless is okay too as is D2 tool steel.





From: raclapp at ibm.net

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Another blacksmithing question

Date: 14 Jul 1995 05:26:53 GMT


In <3trsmp$u8b at news.missouri.edu>, Shannon Ward <sward02 at mail.coin.missouri.edu> writes:

>I recently took a beginning knife-making class and now I'm all

>pumped to make some sharp cutty things for my scribe's box.  The

>instructor of the class advocated using old files to begin with.  

>My question to any knowledgable person out there is: If I walked

>into my local metal shop to get suitable metal to make a small knife

>(for eating, carving quills, gen.utility, etc.), what kind of bar

>stock would I request?  


Try old Circular saw blades, until you get a good handle on the tricks.

They make good blades that hold up well, to everyday use.


Richard. Clapp

Columbus, OH



From: breneth at realm.tdkcs.waterloo.on.ca (David Robertson)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Another blacksmithing question

Date: 10 Jul 95 21:33:38 EST

Organization: The Realm Of Twilight BBS * (519)748-9026



        There are several types of steel that will make excellent knives and

other cutting edge tools.  First you have to decide how you want to harden the

material oil, water , brine, or other exotic solutions. Water is the easiest

to get which would mean using a tool steel called W1 or W2.  If you decide to

use oil watch out for the flash back but O1 is an excellent knife steel.  Old

files and springs can be used but often there are stress cracks already in the

material when you get it used, many a blade has been lost to un seen cracks

that usually show up when you harden it.  New material is the best and that

way you know what you are getting.  Some suppliers will be able to give you a

copy of the hardening and tempering sequence for the particular tool steels

that they carry.  A word of caution these sheets are based on labratory

testing and as a blade smith your temperatures will be more by eye than


        Best of Luck

If you have any questions:

        breneth at realm.tdkcs.waterloo.ca



From: jhrisoulas at aol.com (JHrisoulas)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Bladesmith Book Info

Date: 27 Jul 1995 17:16:12 -0400


After numerous requests, I have decided it would be easier just to post

this information:






All are in print and available from Paladin Press, P.O. Box 1307, Boulder

Colorado, 80306, USA...


Also my mailing address is:


Dr. J.P. Hrisoulas

Salamander Armoury

330 South Decatur, ste 109

Las Vegas, NV 89017 USA.


Maybe this will help slow the deluge of mail I have been getting on this



Thank you!!!

Atar Bakhtar



From: Rick&Joy <rickaj at delphi.com>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Another blacksmithing question

Date: Fri, 28 Jul 95 23:35:03 -0500

Organization: Delphi (info at delphi.com email, 800-695-4005 voice)


<raclapp at ibm.net> writes:

>>My question to any knowledgable person out there is:  If I walked

>>into my local metal shop to get suitable metal to make a small knife

>>(for eating, carving quills, gen.utility, etc.), what kind of bar

>>stock would I request?  


>Try old Circular saw blades, until you get a good handle on the tricks.

>They make good blades that hold up well, to everyday use.

Watch out for circular saw blades.  While the old ones were made with a good L6

steel mostly, many of the newer ones are made with high speed steels.  this

means that while you CAN make a knife out of them it is hard to forge and hard

to grind (not to ment

ion it is a pain in the rump to forge or cut a small pattern out of a circular

sheet of steel.)

      I would recommend going to your local wrecking yard and picking up a fairly

thin leaf spring.  If you have access to a table saw (NOT a skilsaw) put a

metal cutting blade (fiberberglass and emery thing) and cutting knife length

and width pieces out of it.

  If you have no saw then you will spend most of your time forging the profile

down.  I have had huge amounts of luck with this technique.  Besides you can

sometimes get the leaf springs gratis if they are broken. Good luck.

Rick "the blacksmith at heart doomed to live in an apartment" Johnson



From: powers at cis.ohio-state.edu (william thomas powers)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Another blacksmithing question

Date: 31 Jul 1995 12:13:00 -0400

Organization: The Ohio State University, Department of Computer and Information Science


>  If you have no saw then you will spend most of your time forging the profile

>down.  I have had huge amounts of luck with this technique.  Besides you can

>sometimes get the leaf springs gratis if they are broken.  Good luck.

>Rick "the blacksmith at heart doomed to live in an apartment" Johnson




I do not advocate the use of previously broken leaf springs for knife stock.

Failure mode for the spring seems to be the creation of multiple cracks

in the steel one of which propagates catastrophically, leaving the others

hidden in the metal to be discovered *after* you have already put a lot

of work into the blade.  Instead; go to a local spring maker and get their

"left-overs"  pieces left after they cut a length of stock for a spring.

If you talk nicely; they may give you 10 pounds or so of pieces free.

Otherwise I have always been able to buy at the going scrap rate.


After being "burned" a couple of times I have stopped using roadkill springs

and am much happier with the "good stuff"


wilelm the smith



From: Rick&Joy <rickaj at delphi.com>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Another blacksmithing question

Date: Mon, 31 Jul 95 18:47:17 -0500

Organization: Delphi (info at delphi.com email, 800-695-4005 voice)


william thomas powers <powers at cis.ohio-state.edu> writes:

>>  Itf you have no saw then you will spend most of your time forging the profile

>>down.  I have had huge amounts of luck with this technique.  Besides you can

>>sometimes get the leaf springs gratis if they are broken.  Good luck.

>>Rick "the blacksmith at heart doomed to live in an apartment" Johnson




>I do not advocate the use of previously broken leaf springs for knife stock.

>Failure mode for the spring seems to be the creation of multiple cracks

>in the steel one of which propagates catastrophically, leaving the others

Since this is a response to my own response I shall respond.  VERY GOOD POINT.

I have never made a large blade from a leaf spring because you never know

exactly what is in them but I have made many small ones and this may explain

the mysterious failure of a couple.  I shall now shop at the local spring maker like you.  Thanks





From: jhrisoulas at aol.com (JHrisoulas)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: "mistrust anything made in India"

Date: 3 Jul 1996 17:03:24 -0400

Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)


As far as Indian quality on edged weapons go..this varies, widely!  I have

run spectro's on all sorts of various and sundry items, both new and "old"

(200+ years) and the quality is subjective.


As it stands, professionally speaking, myself I wouldn't buy anything from

Museum replicas IF I was looking for a serious "social problem" solver,

(but then again, I am in the position of being able to make much better

items myself...Others are not as fortunate.).BUT  for the most part, as

far as what re-enactors and SCA types look for..Hey have at it. But

beware, as quality is variable from MRL... I have seen some decent stuff

come from them as well as a boat anchor or two..


MRL does however fill a niche, the one between the $40.00 cheapie sword

and the $750.00 and up custom....You do get what you pay for from a

reputable company, and this does apply to MRL.


If you are looking for something that looks decent and will not fall apart

in you hands, look at MRL...If you want a sword that is as good as you can

find...Well, you will have to go to a REPUTABLE blade maker and you should

be prepared to pay more, considerably more than the few hundred dollars

that MRL blades run.


I have seen some decent blades (especially those from the New Delhi Gun

House) that are wonderful, made from top quality materials and others,

still from India that were made from some "mystery metal" ...Unable to

harden, with very low (less than 30 points) carbon content...


All I can suggest is to look at the item, ask for a warranty and use you

best judgement....


Dr JP Hrisoulas

Author, Bladesmith, Lecturer, Metallographer


Atar Bakhtar, OL



From: JHrisoulas at aol.com

To: markh at risc.sps.mot.com

Date: Sat, 13 Jul 1996 20:13:44 -0400

Subject: blades


In a message dated 96-07-06 16:22:07 EDT, you write:

In article <4rlrc9$plb at newsbf02.news.aol.com>, jhrisoulas at aol.com

(JHrisoulas) wrote:

> There are much better blades available , but you will be paying much more

> for them...Case in point: my own...(But I am not trying to sell anyone

> anything)


> But for the money, (if my memory serves correctly they are in the $300.00

> range, it has been a while since I have seen a MRL catalog) they are

> servicable, although in my opinion they are very, very soft.


> As far as MRL vs the originals, well the originals were not all that

> bad...From what I and several other metallographers and historians have

> been able to piece together from blade fragments doing gas, spectros and

> other tests (no one with a complete sword would let us have a piece to run

> tests on..drats)  most of the blades would compare favourably under

> today's standards. I would say that MRL is right in there with the mid

> range of the originals, not bad, but not as good as they could be..


> Now I am not saying that originals were all wonderful, there was still a

> lot of  "junk" being made back then, just like today, but the pieces that

> we have tested, 80% were made from decent materials...How they were heat

> treated, we cannot really tell, other than that they were hardened and

> tempered. Blades from the 14th Cent on were pretty good...generally...

In reply to your inquiry about blades..


After the first Crusade, the pattern welded blade pretty much disappeared due

to the time required to properly make them.. There was simply too much of a

demand for arms and the smiths tended to go towards the carburized iron...

While these made a servicable blade, the quality wasn't all that good...


As techniques and knowledge inproved, the quality did also.  I have tested

pieces from most finds, dating from the 4th Cent up to the 15th and most

blades, (sword) were not all thta bad...Which goes to form as a sword has

always been a "nobles" weapon and not very common for the "average

soldier"....Hence the better materials...


Knives are a different matter entirely.....


As far as pattern welding goes, this allows for a better blade to be made

with less steel, hence making the ammount of higher quality materials "go



Hope I answered your question..


Dr JP Hrisoulas


From: jhrisoulas at aol.com (JHrisoulas)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Forge Question: Damascus vs Pattern Welding

Date: 9 Sep 1996 09:25:46 -0400


david.razler at postoffice.worldnet.att.net (David M. Razler) writes:


>The books, of course, also contain information on every facet of forging steel

>with the major emphasis on custom knifework. The only petty fault I've found

>with either is Jim's use of the word "Damascus" to describe pattern-welded

>blades, something I think he addresses in his third book entitled, if memory

>serves me right, "The Patern-Welded Blade."


Speaking in my own defense here:


It seems that whenever I used the term "pattern welded" I got this blank

stare, and when I explained the processes involved, the "little light" came

on in the other individual's head and they said; "Oh you mean "Damascus"



Hence I had to use that term in the first two books to try to "wean" the

general public off the more popular, allbeit incorrect term, and onto the

more correct name for this material....


JP Hrisoulas


Atar Bakhtar



From: powers at colon.cis.ohio-state.edu (william thomas powers)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: New Oakeshott book: viking swords?

Date: 16 Dec 1996 20:06:18 -0500

Organization: The Ohio State University, Department of Computer and Information Science


>| I have been asked to put out this feeler: R. Ewart Oakeshott, respected

>| author of "The Archaeology of Weapons" and "The Sword in the Age of

>| Chivalry", is reportedly working on a new book called "The Sword in the

>| Viking Age." (Don't dive for your handy desk-side copy of Forthcoming

>| Books; he's a British author!) Has anybody else heard about this new book?


>The best source of information would probably be through Museum Replicas,

>which has Ewart under contract as technical advisor.


>He did write the *appendix* for The Sword in Anglo-Saxon England by HR Ellis

>Davidson, recently re-issued by Barnes and Noble. The appendix is his

>how-I-did-it on the forging of a "Viking" pattern-welded blade.

>                       dmr/A,T

>David M. Razler


Close;  I have a copy of the Boydell Press version right here.  The

appendix on forging of a "Viking" pattern-welded blade is, of course

by John Anstee, Oakeshott wrote the following appendix "The Shifford Sword".


For those of you into such fun things; I would commend to your attention

"A Modern Replication Based on the Pattern-Welded Sword of Sutton Hoo"

a monograph by Robert Engstrom, Scott Lankton and Audrey Lesher-Engstrom

Medieval Institute Publications, Western Michigan University,

isbn 0-918720-29-x.


There has also been some discussion about the use of round rod in forging

pattern welded blades.  This was originally posited; but as more hands-on

research is being done it seems less likely since the patterns found can be

duplicated easier through the use of rectangular stock combined with twisting.

Much simpler than making rod stock!


wilelm the smith



From: jhrisoulas at aol.com

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Anvils and smiths .Small forge welds

Date: 11 Jan 1997 16:31:25 GMT


Woody <webersol at epix.net> writes:


>Also for tempering your products, a molten lead bath was a period way.

>lead melts and boils at just the right temperature for tempering steel.

>(another be carefull) boiling lead is DANGEROUS do this outdoors and

>don't let the EPA know.


Pardon me, but I must interject here. This is one of the most

irresponsible statements as far as the health and well being of others

that I have read in a very long time.  There are enough hazards involved

in doing this that you should NEVER use boiling lead as you can not only

poison yourself but anyone else in the area.


And doing this outdoors is as bad, if not worse than even using the

boiling lead.  I am sorry about this folks but there are far too many

reasons (not to mention common sense) NOT to do this.


Heavy metals poisoning is nothing to laugh about or take lightly.  Boiling

lead is a good way to get yourself dead, or severe nerve damage, and

contaminate the surrounding area as well.


As far as letting the EPA know. I hope they do find out personally.  As

much as I cannot understand the "whys" of most of the EPA regs, I have to

abide by them.  As a professional metalworker I have the EPA, OSHA and

several other govermental agencies pay me a vist several times a year.

They are there for a reason and if anyone decides to do something as

dangerous and as negligent as boiling lead, well you deserve everything

that you will get.


Using boiling heavy metals for anything, is hazardous and totally

irresponsible on a "hobbiest" level...


Besides there is NO USE for boiling lead to be used as a tempering medium

as lead boils at 2900 Degrees F anyway and that is at the melting point of

most steels. so using boiling lead is useless.  Even using molten lead

isn't that good an idea as far as blades go as it's liquidus is 620

degrees F and that temperture is more or less useless as most blades are

tempered  below 475 degrees F...Now using a lead/tin alloy will lower

liquidus temp but still this is foolhardy in the extreme...


I am not sorry about coming down this hard and fast on this, as the health

of people  is at issue.  Like I said before, this is hazardous enough

without doing something as stupid as this, just because it's

"period"...What's next? Not using eye protection because safety glasses

"aren't period"???


There is NO REASON to place yourself or anyone else in danger just because

"something's in period"....


Atar, Baron Bakhtar, OL


Dr JP Hrisoulas

Metallographer, Bladesmith, Author



From: kegan at austin.ibm.com

To: bryn-gwlad at eden.com

Date: Tue, 13 May 1997 13:08:05 -0500

Subject: Re: Question about battle-ready swords


Felix wrote:

> Does anyone know of a supplier of good battle-ready swords?  Also,

> someone told me that CK55 Krupp, AISI 10xx, AISI 5160 steels are good

> for battle ready swords.  Is this true?

> Someone also recommeded battle-ready swords by Museum Replicas Ltd.


    Can't recommend anything with CK55 since they refuse to give

specifications on it.


    For swords, only AISI 10XX grades, only those from 104X-109X will

have any kind of durability, with the 104X series barely making it.


    5160 is a good sword steel, as well as L6.


    In frith,

    Mjodalf'R Volundson

    Wittich Forge

    Ljossalfar Smidja



Date: Mon, 21 Jul 1997 20:04:31 -0600

From: "Barbara & Donal" <ceolron at enetis.net>

To: <sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu>

Subject: Re: blades


Haakon Torna writes-


> I'm making a fighting dagger, and I need few words of advice.


> I'll be doing the some decorative carvings in the blade, and I'm not

> sure should the carvings be done before the hardening or after the blade

> is othervise complete?


Most assuredly you will want to do the carvings before the blade is

hardened, especially if they are very complex. If the blade will make a

good knife it will be very difficult to carve after and will wear out many

carving tools - not to mention your patience. You will want to make your

lines a bit deeper than you wish them to be in the finished piece to allow

for the material loss inevitable in finishing.


>Will the heating and cooling of the blade affect

> the carvings/will the carvings effect the blade when hardening?

> (ie. warp the blade?)


The heating and cooling should not affect the carvings, but the carvings

could affect the blade by causing warpage if they are too deep and

concentrated in one area. My rule of thumb is to go no more than about

10-15% of the thickness of the blade if the carving is localized. The other

thing to be careful of is that the blade is evenly heated before quenching,

if working in a coal forge it is best to go very slowly and watch your

colors extremely carefully.


I hope this is of use to you.


In Service to the Dream, the Midrealm and the Northshield,

Lord Domhnull na Carraige



Date: Tue, 22 Jul 1997 00:41:12 -0800

From: fspfw at aurora.alaska.edu (Patrick and April Woolery)

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: blades (Long)


>I'm making a fighting dagger, and I need few words of advice.


>I'll be doing the some decorative carvings in the blade, and I'm not

>sure should the carvings be done before the hardening or after the blade

>is othervise complete? Will the heating and cooling of the blade affect

>the carvings/will the carvings effect the blade when hardening?

>(ie. warp the blade?)


>Then I'll be doing metal handguard for the dagger, which I have bar of

>brass waiting. Can brass (88% copper, 12% tin) be forged like steel, or

>should it be worked rather with method of removing excess metal?


>Then the final one. Is there a way to define carbon % of the iron/steel

>WO any special lab equipment?


>Haakon Torna

>Sonecarver and jeweller



Greetings to Haakon Torna from Lady Nataliia Tomasovna:


My husband wished to reply to this one, as it is definitely in his field.

I will say only that when he advises that a "fighting" dagger should be

strong, he means that aesthetically, form should follow function.  It

should be designed as if it were going to be used.  We both assume, of

course, that this dagger is to be worn, and not actually used for

fighting....I don't mean to sound preachy, but safety first!


I am mundanely a knifemaker and have been for five years or so.  I will try

to offer some advice as to what you can do to make a good dagger.


My first piece of advice is to make a simple blade first.  This gives you a

chance to see all of the areas that are most likely to get messed up as you

work.  It will also give you a decent knife (if you are successful) that

you can use at feast or for rough camping chores.


As far as the potential for warping of the blade, it depends on how it is

heat-treated.  Are you using a commercial heat-treater?  If so, find out

what methods he or she will use to harden your particular grade of steel.

For stainless steels, heat-treaters generally use an air quench, so the

warping is kept low.  For carbon steels, they often use either oil or

molten salts.  I won't get into the various claims of superiority for one

method over another, except to say that the oil quench will leave a layer

of scale and polymerized oil on the surface of your blade, while the salt

shouldn't.  There will probably be some discoloration from the oxides on

the surface, but those will buff off easily.


If you plan to heat-treat it yourself, PLEASE practice on a

less-complicated blade first.  I would hate to think of hours of work

getting ruined when a few practice runs could have prevented certain

mistakes.  For carbon steel heat-treating, please feel free to e-mail me

for my methods.


Unless you are using diamond or carbide cutting tools for your carving, I

suggest hardening the blade after the carving is done.  With proper

hardening, the blade will be too hard to drill with a high-speed drill bit,

so it will probably be too hard to carve.


It is possible to tell what the carbon content is for simple carbon steels,

within a certain range.  I can't tell the difference between 1095 (.95%

carbon) and 1084 (.84% carbon), but I can tell the difference between 1095

and 1060.  The way to do it is to grind a test piece and look at the

sparks.  Mild steel has pretty much straight sparks with almost no bursts.

The higher the carbon content, the more bursts in the sparks.  Try grinding

a corner of an old file (very high in carbon) and look at the sparks, then

get a scrap of mild steel from your favorite armorer (I tend to have lots

of little scraps around my shop).  Compare the two for an idea of the range

covered by steels you are likely to see.  If you can get a chunk of old

leaf spring, it should be about 5160, which will spark just like 1060, in

other words, a medium carbon steel for further comparison.  *This does not

work with stainless steels!*  I can't tell one from another without having

the name written on the bar.


The source of your steel should also tell you a huge amount about it.  If

you bought new barstock, you should be able to get a description of what is

in your steel just by asking.  If it is salvaged steel, ask yourself what

the original use was.  If it has to be hard, such as a file, you will have

a fairly high carbon content.  For springs and such, the medium carbon

content will make a very good, springy dagger, which will take a lot of



Just a note about design.  Avoid designs which will make for a narrow waist

on the blade or remove a great deal of the steel near the guard.  You

described it as a fighting dagger, so you want strength to it.  Also, sharp

corners in the design or at the tang are stress points.  They allow

breakage the same way a glass cutter can make for a very clean break simply

by scoring the surface of the glass.  Look at some books that depict period

daggers.  Many of these are show pieces, but have sound blade design.  The

designs will guide you a bit as to what works and what doesn't.


For the guard, I have only ever cold-forged my brass and bronze, so I don't

know how the hot-forging will work.  I generally grind and file the guards

to shape for my knives.


-Lord Patrick MacMorn



Subject: Re: Meteors and Swords/Fwd

Date: Mon, 20 Apr 1998 15:05:01 EDT

From: JHrisoulas <JHrisoulas at aol.com>

To: atlantia at atlantia.sca.org


I was forwarded the below posting via an associate and I hope no one minds if

I respond,  as I have a small ammount of learning in the field of metallurgy

and metallography...and the fact that I have probably made more meteoric iron

blades than anyone alive today....


Poster: Jeanette Gugler <jgugler at mindspring.com>


At 15:42 04/15/98 -0400, Gene Bonar <gbonar at auspex.com> wrote:

>At 02:12 PM 4/15/98 -0400, Terry wrote:


>>I don't think speculation is out of line as long as the speculation and the

>>facts are kept in orderly piles.



>>Actually, few are pure iron although they're closer to pure iron than would

>>be found on earth naturally. Most are a combination of iron and nickel with

>>some carbon common. Does anyone know how well iron-nickel does in a



I assume that one is speaking of the more common Fe/Ni meteorite, not the

Moldavite, or Olivine meteorites?? If so, I can answer this question. (I

detest entering in the middle of a discussion, and if I am in error, could

some on bring me up to speed??).


There are various differences between the meteoric iron and the iron produced

here on this planet.. these are chemical and crystalline differences.. The

double Octahedrite pattern of the material plays hell on trying to forge this

material..A considerable ammount of "refinement" is needed and you must emply

a good quality of  terrestrial iron in order to hold the Fe/Ni material

together. The Fe/Ni meteoric material does tend to fracture along the

crystalline structure when sufficient pressure or impact is applied....This is

commonly known as "red short" by blacksmiths...


By employing the iron with the meteorite, you can "hold together" the material

being worked and then refine it by the same basicv method of drawing and

welding as employed with traditional bloom in the process of manufacturing of

wrought iron...

>Well this is what I get for pontificating outside of my specialty. <wry

>grin>  Rather than pure iron I should have said elemental iron, I guess.

>The point being that meteors don't fall into the atmosphere an amorphous

>blob of diverse elements, heat up and land a chuck of steel.  I think

>Stephan's question was if a chuck of steel form and landed on earth or more

>to the point Southern England it could ....>>


I would speculate that the "historical" "Excalibur" was probably made from

iron produced in Sweden..Iron ores from that region have a small ammount of W

that occurs within them naturally....The W would enhance the material,

especially if  a form of "blister steel"...was obtained. The resulting

marteral would be "superior" to the "nativer" material produced...especially

if it was made by someone who undertood the process and could obtain

repeatable results...


>>Being a geologist, I have no idea how much iron it takes to make a sword.

>>But one of my astronomy professors had a meteorite he was using as a door

>>stop that was a good 45#. Would that be enough?


>45# would be enough to make several swords.  I've seen and touched

>meteorites, several large ones (none 45# though) that would be of

>sufficient size to make a sword. >>


45# of material, when "refined" by "traditional" techniques employed in

England at that time, would yield between 20 and 35 lbs of usable, "refined"

iron...The repeated forging/cut/weld techniques does make for a considerable

material loss, and the ammount of loss involved would depend upon the ammount

of working the '"raw" material undergoes prior to it's incorporation into a

blade... Now also, one must realize that there were numerous ways that sword

blades were made during this time in history and the use of classic pattern

welding techniques would "extend" the number of swords that could be made from

a given ammount of material.


None of them happened to be steel.  For

>the postulate to hold it would have to be steel, not an iron/nickel/carbon

>blob.  Those happen to be the elements (amongst others) that go into making

>steel, but I'm asking can the alloy be formed in the manner put forth, and

>if so is there ANY empirical data showing that such a chuck fell in

>Southern England or anywhere else.>>


You must alsa realize that as a raw material, the Fe/Ni metoerite would be

more or less a better "quality" than the rough bloom iron produced by charcoal

smelting.  The English did not have the means to render Fe to full

liquidus...They were in fact "lucky" to get a bloom...If you have ever tried

to smelt Fe using a charcoal fired heat source you would realize how labour

intensive it is to produce even a small ammout of usable material...


< Meteors are a combination of iron and nickel and carbon (or so says one who

has studied such).  How are the proportions different from more mundane

iron ores easily mined in the Middle Ages?  From neither the ground nor the

meteors would elemental iron be found. Making steel is a process of

removing unwanted 'impurities' (or some of them) and adding needed ones.

The various impurities and their proportions have a lot to do with the

final properties of the steel -- brittleness, flexibility, how well it

holds an edge, etc.  >>


The rendering of Fe from ore is a very long and hot process..One has to get

not only enough heat but also induce enough CO to reduce the ore into

iron....even then, given the state of the art in England at that time, the

resulting mass would still be a sponge iron, full of slags and other

impurities...These would be in essence "hammered" out during the following

forging refinements, resulting in what is commonly known as wrought

iron....This wrought iron, if worked further, and properly, using techniques

in "common" usage could be further refined into a blister steel...


Now by employing a Fe/Ni meteorite, one could, in theory, circumvent the slag

and other impurities problems and start out with a material, while red short,

that was more or less free of the usual problems...And again, in theory, one

could produce a higher quality material....(You do not get steel by simply

smelting Fe from ore...It is a drawn out process, and a very trying one using

techniques thta were available at the time...And the results were quite often

less than what was desired...)


Now wrought iron can also be somewhat red short, so this charcteristic would

not be "unusual" to the smiths of the time...But the crystalkline differences

and the problems that lie therein could of raised a bit of a problem, unless

the smith was either experienced or lucky and decided to "sheath" the meteroic

material in a iron matrix while the said Fe/Ni was being "refined"...


<<So using the processes common in Roman England (we were in the iron age by

then) or, more to our interests, in 12th century England, how would two

swords made one from meteoric iron and one from common iron compare?>>


I can find too many variables to even start a fair evaluation between the the

two materials... Are the blades made from all of one material?? Are they

homogenous forged or pattern welded?? Blade geometry also comes into play, as

does proper thermal treatment... To as such a question you will have to narrow

down the parameters of the blades and give them more or less an even "playing

field" as it were.


In closing I hope no one minds my intrusion...But I have spent the last 30

years studying this and well....I think I may be on the way to finally

figuring it out.


Dr JP Hrisoulas

Las Vegas, NV

Bladesmith, Metallographer, Author:

"The Complete Bladesmith"

"The Master Bladesmith"

"The Pattern Welded Blade"


JHrisoulas at AOL.com

Atar at Atar.Com


Atar, Baron Bakhtar, OL



From: powers at cis.ohio-state.edu (william thomas powers)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: bladesmithing

Date: 6 Nov 1998 16:39:23 GMT

Organization: The Ohio State University, Department of Computer and Information Science


>        I was just wondering if anyone out there knew how to fire harden

>metal. would like to know about colors to watch for, how long to leave

>it, quenching, etc.  also is there a way to temper blades in a household

>oven...I would appreciate any responses...

>Elandil Stridarius


First: have some idea of the alloy you are using:  some alloys cannot

be hardened, some can but require fairly elaborate methods to get the

most from them. Some can be quenched in water, some will shatter when

quenched in water, Some must drop the first 1000 or so degrees F in under

a second, some you can take your time with.


For simple alloys containing enough carbon you heat it until it

reaches the curie temp, (becomes non-magnetic), through out the blade;

unless your oven goes above 1200 degF you won't use it for this part!


Then with great speed you transfer the blade to the quench medium. For

higher carbon simple alloy steels use an oil, (its been done with everything

from used motor oil--yeech---to wesson, you will need quite a bit of it

(depending on the mass of metal you are cooling)  Remember hot steel + oil

= FLAMES so take precautions! Lower carbon steels do better in brine or

urine.  I don't use water.


Now your blade is about as hard as it will ever be---TEMPER IT AT ONCE!


One of my students left his overnight quenched but not tempered, by the

miracle of multiplication he had *several* smaller and more oddly shaped

blades in the morning...


Here is where you oven comes into play---drawing temper on a hardened blade.


Clean the surface of the blade so that you can see the colours that occur

as you heat the blade and set the oven to the drawing temp you want--remember

that ovens are not uniform in heating and THERE IS NO ONE TRUE COLOUR TO

DRAW TO.  It depends on the alloy and a knife from a file (1095) might

be way too brittle at straw and be nice and tough at blue while a blade

made from 1070 might be just right at straw and too soft at blue.


It is possible to take a blade that is too brittle and draw it farther;

however if you overshoot you have to start with bringing it up to glowing

and re-quenching.


May I commend to your attention "The Complete Bladesmith" by our own Atar

MKA Jim Hrisoulas.


wilelm the smith



From: The Moorcat <moorcat at olywa.net>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: bladesmithing

Date: Sat, 07 Nov 1998 19:56:08 -0800


Martin Catt wrote:

> Matthew Saroff (Remove .123456 to reply) wrote:

> > res2626 at aol.com (Res2626) wrote:

> > >        I was just wondering if anyone out there knew how to fire harden

> > >metal. would like to know about colors to watch for, how long to leave

> > >it, quenching, etc.  also is there a way to temper blades in a household

> > >oven...I would appreciate any responses...

> >

> >         For steels, you can't harden or temper them in a normal

> > oven (500 degrees F).  You have to heat them to (roughly) at

> > least 1/2 their melting point in absolute temperature (basically

> > the degrees above absolute zero) which is more than 1000 degrees

> > F.

> >         The hardening and temperature temps and times to hold at

> > temp vary with the alloy.  You could use a torch, possibly even a

> > propane one, and you could use a pottery kiln.

> >

> > --Sfi Mordehai ben Yosef Yitzhak, Aka Matthew G. Saroff


> Assuming you have a hardenable steel, a quick consult back to my class

> notes from watchmaking school yields the following:


> Heat the material up to a medium red color and hold it there until the

> temperature is soaked evenly through. Anything hotter than bright red

> will "burn" the steel and destroy it's hardening capability. Quench

> immediately in room temperature water, stirrling slightly to prevennt

> uneven cooling from air bubbles clinging to the metal.


> Once quenched, polish off any scale or discoloration to be able to see

> the bright metal. Note: scale can be avoided in the first place by

> heating the metal up to about 300 degrees and dipping the part in

> powdered boric acid, before raising the temperature to red.


> Temper to the desired hardness by reheating the hardened part to the

> correct color. Rather than a glow, you judge the temperature by the

> color the surface of the part acquires during the heating process.


> Tempering colors:

> pale yellow:    380-400 deg. F

> straw yellow:   420-440

> yellow brown:   460-480

> bluish purple:  500-540

> Violet:         540-560

> blue            600-640


> In my experience, somewhere in the straw to bluish purple range works

> best for edged cutting tools. I can quote colors suitable for various

> watch parts, such as balance staffs, winding stems, and cannon pinions,

> but I don't think they apply here.


> Lodovico


    I would be very careful quoting specific colors and temperatures. There are

a LARGE number of blade steels out there (I myself use 1085, D-2, O-2, 440C,

440V, plus the occational special request for something else) and most have

vastly different heat treating characteristics. I would determine what type of

steel is being discussed. While most of the comments in this thread are, in

general, good, you could very quickly ruin a potentially expensive piece of

steel by using the wrong technique - for example - attempting to water quench

O-2 steel. O-2 requires an oil quench and to actually take the most advantage

of it's high tensile strength, an oil quench at 100 degrees f. If the type of

steel is known, I would be happy to supply the proper temperatures, colors and

tempering temperatures for the piece.


    It is also very important to consider the piece, itself. If you are

discussing a knife, you would want to temper it to a different Rockwell

hardness than you would say a sword. Since a blade's Heat treating is the

'heart' of a blade (blatent plagerization of a quote from Wayne Goddard), I

would research this step very carefully.


    If I can be of any service, please feel free to contact me through E-mail.


    Kenneth (Moorcat)

    moorcat at olywa.net




From: "John Husvar" <johan at lostgypsyforge.com>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: bladesmithing

Date: Sat, 7 Nov 1998 23:17:39 -0500


send an email to:


    majordomo at swcp.com


No "subject:"


In the body of the message write only:


    subscribe knife-list user at wherever.whatever


That'll get you on the knife-list, whence, milord, you will return with

more information from the best blademakers in the world (Knowne or

otherwise:) than you will probably believe at first.


There are folks on there who make everything from miniature folding

knives to pattern-welded swords and battleaxes and some who are

doctoral-level educated in metalography and metallurgy, including heat

treatment of just about any steel you can imagine using.


Our own Master Atar (Jim Hrisoulas) sometimes posts there as do Wayne

Goddard, Don Fogg, Howard Clark, and who knows how many other _BIG_

names in the custom knife trade.


I've learned more there for asking a couple of questions than I think

I'd ever have learned on my own in years.





Date: Thu, 07 Jun 2001 20:10:19 -0400

From: rmhowe <MMagnusM at bellsouth.net>

To: "- Stephan's Florilegium" <stefan at texas.net>,

   - Atlantia <atlantia at atlantia.sca.org>,

   - Medieval Leather List <medieval-leather at yahoogroups.com>

Subject: Real Wootz / Damascene / Damascus Steel


A few days ago I got a bit diverse in one of my discussions on

the Medieval-leatherworking list and mentioned that it was only

in the last twenty years that the Medieval Wootz of the type

that once travelled the India to Damascus route had been

rediscovered after about 150 years of European attempts at



Someone requested that I ramble on a bit. As I generally have

documentation for my opinions (but not time to find it usually)

I shall give you lucky other people some sources to research it

yourself. Assuming this means anything at all to you. If it

doesn't then I apologize for wasting your time.


I have about fifty large folders on diverse subjects besides

the library. Fortunately I had the time at one time to put a

number of articles into a couple of fat ones on knives and

swords. These are taken from various magazines and sources.

The ones from the last few years are not separated out and

filed so I shall not be messing with them. They're in stacks

of magazines mostly. I suppose it could give you an insight

into how well I follow my interests...


Easiest found will probably be:


"Damascus Steels" by Oleg D. Sherby and Jeffrey Wadsworth

in: _Scientific American Volume 252: pp.112-115, February 1983_.

This is a general history with illustrations of enlarged steel

microsection, a Persian Scymitar, and an illustrated method of

the production of wootz steel.

      In their citations they give:

      _A History of Metallography_ by Cyril S. Smith.

            U of Chicago Press, 1965

      "On the Bulat - Damascus Steels Revisited

            by Jeffery Wadsworth and Oleg. D. Sherby

            in: _Progress in Material Science, Vol. 25, pp.35-68.

            1980. A Bulat is the cake of wootz steel.

      "Damascus Steelmaking" by Jeffery Wadsworth and Oleg D. Sherby

            in: _Science, Vol. 218, No. 4570, pages 328-9,

            October 22, 1983.


Jeffrey Wadsworth (at least at that time) was professor of Materials

Science at Stanford, and Wadsworth later went to work at Lockheed

Aircraft's Research Laboratory. What started them on their quest in

1975 at Stanford was a search for superplastic steels, ones with

grain 200 times finer than commonly machined steel for use in

forming steel and then cooling it - thus making it stronger in use,

quicker to make, and cheaper to produce - gears and engine mountings

for example. They didn't realize what they had reproduced was

Damascus until a listener at one of their lectures informed them

and they subsequently researched it. They obtained a patent in

1976 for the material.


This is again written up in:

"Rediscovered - Supersteel of the Ancients" by James Trefil in:

Science Digest - February 1983, pp. 38-40 and p. 108. This discusses

their earlier findings of rolling out the steel at 2050 degrees

F, and working it at 1200 degrees F. There is also a bit of folklore

in this article, quenching in a live Nubian or urine are mentioned.


This later also showed up in an Associated Press Article by

Michelle Locke "Damascus Steel may have resurfaced" that I didn't

record the date of. This one mentions the above two researchers,

but adds another pair of similar questors - Florida knifesmith

Al Pendray and Iowa State University metallurgist John Verhoeven,

who used more traditional methods. This mentions a mixture or

Iron and possibly milkweed as ingredients in the crucible.


A somewhat better article that mentions the later pair appeared in

_Blade_ Magazine in August 1992, pp.52-5 & pp.96-7 & 100 entitled:

"Breakthrough - How the Ancients Made _Real_ Damascus" and

which _I_ take to be more authentic than laboratory conditions

and modern rolling mills. The article was by Al Pendray, a

famous master bladesmith, and W.E. Dauksch, and J.D. Verhoeven.

(It also mentions the publication of a book called _On Damascus

Steel_ by Dr. Leo Figiel, which was then available for $37.50

from Blade, POBox 22007, Chattanooga, TN 37422, USA.) This contrasts

the two techniques, the industrial one, and the small scale one,

involving crucibled steel, which has also been patented. It's

fairly well illustrated and includes further citations in

journals by Wadsworth and Sherby.


I know that I have seen further articles on Pendray and Verhoeven

since then refining their technique yet further. Pendray was

mentioned earlier in an article in Blade Magazine July-August

1987 called the Wizard of Wootz by Daryl Meir, and earlier yet

in Blade Magazine September/Oct '82 by Meir again in an article

Entitled Damascus Steel - Wootz Revisited. In this article

Robert C. Job of Hawthorne, NJ, USA is working with Al Pendray

and Stephen Swertzer of Williston, Florida. Mr. Job is the

principle subject of this article though and he has a further

method for producing crucibled wootz steel, also patented.


Pendray and Verhoeven are the people I associate with true

modern Damascus, but that is a personal opinion.


Meir also wrote an article on entitled "Damascus Steel - A

Definition" in Blade Magazine, July-August 1982, in which

he tries to set forth an accurate description of what should

be considered true damascus steel, contrasting it's historical

methods of manufacture with the modern imitations. I don't

know how many readers of this actually read Knives Illustrated

or Blade Magazine but there are a couple of dozen ways to

make modern damascus involving state-of-the-art modern,  

very high technology methods. Most modern jewelers have very

little at all on some of the modern blade artisans, there

probably isn't a technique or material in jewellery or machining

they aren't exploring or haven't explored. I get Lapidary

Journal and some other gem and metalsmithing magazines and

I can tell you there is one hell of a high state of art done.


Smiths can literally spell their names or logos or other artworks

clear through the steel - multiple times using various methods.

Mixing nickel and steel, or using steel cable, or using steels of

mixed carbon content is not the same thing as using wootz steel,

nor is wootz made the same way, or forged the same way as it's

more modern imitations that use the name Damascus.


An earlier article on "The Manufacture of Mediaeval Damascened

Knives" by J. Piaskowski appeared in the Journal of the Iron

and Steel Institute, Vol. 202, July 1964, pp. 561-8. This

investigates the manufacture and pattern in medieval European

imitations of Damascus steel in Poland. An interesting thing

in this article is the cross sections, and a newly ground,

polished and etched side of one knife showing that the Polish

knives had damascene patterns on the upper fatter portion of

the knives (which in at least one instance was very pretty),

and a higher carbon edge of uniform steel welded on below it.


In _Science_, Volume 216, No.4543, 16 April 1982, pp 242-3

Cyril Smith of M.I.T. discusses the historical methods and literary

history of imported Damascus in the west - citing Giambattista

della Porta, in _Magiae Naturalis XX_, 1589, London english

translation, 1568, and Joseph Moxon's references to it in

Mechanick Excercises, London 1677, describing it's working

properties at a blood red heat, its highly prized properties

as punches, and how it would crumble at higher heats. He also

references his own work - History of Metallography- and others

specifically Breant (1820's)and Faraday.


In _Science_, Vol. 218, no. 4570, 22 Oct. 1982 Sherby and

Wadsworth dispute Smith's claim that properties of damascus

steel were well known in the 19th century.

Apparently the 1980's were a hot time in the steel re-discovery

field. Three patents at least.


An interesting history of Damascene steel may be had in an

earlier work "Damascene Steel" in _Journal of the Iron and

Steel Institute, Vol. 97 pp.417-37, 1918. The author traces

numerous oriental techniques and says the process extends

centuries back before Christ. Gives a nice long historical



I've entirely left out the imitation damascus steels and

their widely varied methods. They are indeed awesome, but

they are not wootz. (This in no way means any disrespect to

Dr. Hrisoulas, metallurgist PhD, master bladesmith. I own

two of his books, but not the one on Patternwelded Blades.

Jim Hrisoulas is known as Master Atar in the SCA and well

respected for his knowledge.) It is only considering the

rediscovery of wootz by various modern others.


Master Magnus Malleus, OL, GDH, Atlantia

R.M. Howe 2001.


***May be reposted to closed email discussion groups within

the re-enactor circle, but not to open newsgroups, such as

the Rialto - rec.org.sca, or to the SCA-Universitas list.

Those desirous of republication in a newsletter should contact

me.  Inclusion in the http://www.Florilegium.org/ is permitted.***



From: Powers <wpowers at lucent.com>

To: stefan at texas.net, atlantia at atlantia.sca.org,

   medieval-leather at yahoogroups.com, MMagnusM at bellsouth.net

Date: Fri, 8 Jun 2001 12:24:21 -0400 (EDT)

Subject: Re: Real Wootz / Damascene / Damascus Steel


One Quibble; I would not call pattern welded blades "imitation damascus" as they

were being done in Europe prior to the introduction of real wootz blades from

the crusades.  Pattern welded patterns in general do not resemble wootz patterns

and they did not "mutate" towards trying to look like wootz patterns during the

middle ages.  Pattern welded is pattern welded and wootz is wootz. I think the

idea that Northern Europe was trying to copy the Near East materials grew during

the victorian time period and suffers from people looking backwards and pushing

their biases back onto history.


Remember that European sword blades were considered to be high grade in the NE

according to written reports of the period as well.


wilelm the smith  Who wishes the term "damascus" had *never* been applied to

pattern welded as well as wootz!


(I'm working on a pattern welded spangen helm---I've been telling myself I

needed to do some armouring for years now.  I am also the "helper" for Al

Pendray at his demo at Quad-State this year.)



Date: Tue, 12 Jun 2001 20:57:21 -0400

From: rmhowe <MMagnusM at bellsouth.net>

To: - Atlantia <atlantia at atlantia.sca.org>,

   - Authenticity List <authenticity at yahoogroups.com>,

   - Baroness Christy / Cindy Renfro 1/01 <Christy at Renfro.net>,

   - Meridies_Metalsmiths <meridies_metalsmiths at yahoogroups.com>,

   - Norsefolk <Norsefolk at yahoogroups.com>,

   - Regia Anglorum - North America <list-regia-us at netword.com>,

   "- sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu" <sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu>,

   - StellarArts <StellarArts at yahoogroups.com>

Subject: Replication of Sutton Hoo Sword book.


One of the recent aquisitions to my library was:


"Modern Replication Based on the Pattern-Welded Sword of Sutton Hoo"

       Engstrom, Robert; $8.00 plus shipping. Paperback.




Borders.com  customerservice at borders.com

customerservice at borders.com or call us at 1-800-770-7811.


This concerns replicating the Sutton Hoo Sword blade only

which was a complicated piece of work. It ended up displayed

in tandem with the original in the British Museum.


The other article I have on this is in the Knives '90 annual.

It makes very interesting reading. The sword is pattern-welded

with differing patterns on either side of the blade.


Master Magnus Malleus, OL, GDH, Atlantia


**** Please do not repost my postings to Newsgroups, especially

the Rialto (rec.org.sca) or the SCA-Universitas list.****

In the event that I find who is doing this I will attempt to

limit their access to future posts of mine. People do tell me.



Date: Wed, 18 Feb 2004 15:40:22 -0800 (PST)

From: Huette von Ahren <ahrenshav at yahoo.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Damascus Question

To: irontree at visi.com, Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


Caid has several Laurels who are blade smiths and

who do Damascus knives, daggers and swords.  You

may contact them at these addresses:


This is the legendary bladesmith, Master Atar

Bakhtar (mka Jim Hrisoulas) who wrote all those

wonderful books on how to make blads:


Jim at Atar.com



Master Antonio el Oso (mka Tony Lemon) who was/is

Atar's finest student and now a Laurel in his own

right for blade smithing:


oso at osoforge.com





<the end>

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