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metals-msg - 5/3/08


Comments on Medieval and modern metals and alloys.


NOTE: See also the files: metalworking-msg, metalworking-FAQ, metal-sources-msg, metal-etching-msg, blacksmithing-msg, bladesmithing-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



Re: feast gear

Date: 7 Feb 92

From: mjl at rutabaga.Rational.COM (Matthew Larsen)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca


jeff at math.bu.EDU (Jeff Suzuki) writes:

>Warning about

>pewter: it contains lead, and acidic drinks will leach the lead out.

>Those decorative mugs are just that: decorative.  


It is true that pewter contained lead in period, but modern pewter does not.

It's mostly tin with some antimony and something else (if anyone is really

interested in the formula, I can dig it out).  This alloy also goes by the

name "Britania Metal" and has been used instead of pewter for a long time

(at least a century, again, if anyone is interested I can find details).

What this all means is that anything you buy nowadays is almost certainly

lead-free and can be used safely unless it is really an historical piece,

in which case it should probably be sitting on a shelf for art history

people to oh and ah over.





From: scj427 at aol.com (SCJ427)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Stupid question regarding blacksmithing

Date: 10 Jul 1995 01:46:33 -0400


dickeney at access4.digex.net (Dick Eney) writes:

>Titanium messes up your blood clotting mechanisms


Milord, are you sure you don't have titanium confused with beryllium

alloys?  I have never heard of any cytologic problems with straight

titanium but any beryllium compound has many warnings of such listed in

the MSDS.  I checked my materials reference and found major mention of

Class Delta fire hazard if welded without inert gas blanketing but none of

cytologic hazard.


OYOH, beryllium bronze is wonderful stuff.  Properly heat treated it is

harder than most steels and will stand up to salt water as stainless steel

will not.  The trouble is the hazards of welding or machining as it can

cause chemical emphysema and cuts will not heal if there is any remains of

beryllium in the cut.  

   Do you remember, as a child, being warned not to touch a  broken

flourescent light bulb?  Until around 1972 they used a beryllium based

phosphor that could be quite toxic.


   A mystery for consideration.  The only methods that modern technology

has to refine beryllium is by high voltage electrolysis. Purportedly,

there were artifacts of beryllium bronze found in Egyptian tombs.

   (twilight zone theme - fade in to von Daniken)

   I say purportedly as the documentation was shown to me in 1978 by a

professor at college.  I found it interesting at the time but do not

remember his sources.  A physicist married to an anthropologist that wrote

science fiction under a pseudonym to privately fund research made for some

interesting discussions, let me assure you.


I'm digressing.  After spending an evening with a jazz muscian uncle for

music and chianti my mind is still running variations in the fifth.


Back to the point.  Milord Vuong Manh, if you have information on hazards

pertaining to titanium being a cytologic poison, I would like references I

can use in my mundane persona in industrial hygiene.  I'm around titanium

and other alloys regularly.


Stefan MacMorrow ap Rhovannon



From: jhrisoulas at aol.com (JHrisoulas)

Newsgroups: soc.history.medieval,rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Finndruina  what is it? (metallurgy)

Date: 23 Mar 1996 08:43:29 -0500

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


that's exactly what it is, white bronze. it is still in use today..




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

Newsgroups: soc.history.medieval,rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Finndruina  what is it? (metallurgy)

Date: 26 Mar 1996 12:40:50 -0500

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


>Then there is brass, made of copper and nickel, good for making tacks.

>      - Warren of the Just Plain


I zinc you will find that nickel is not the way to get a medieval brass.


In modern times it is used with copper to get very corrosion resistant

alloys; but in period times it was more considered a dirty trick thus

you get "Kupfernickel"  "Old Nick's Copper" (Nick ref to satan), an ore

that looks like a copper but can't be refined into any thing useful.

(I remember reading about the spanish throwing out platinum as "false

silver" when the panned the placer deposits---it wasn't workable with

their tech and so "worthless")


wilelm, blacksmith, bladesmith, pattern welder, founder



From: afn03234 at freenet3.freenet.ufl.edu (Ronald L. Charlotte)

Newsgroups: soc.history.medieval,rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Finndruina  what is it? (metallurgy)

Date: 27 Mar 1996 03:08:51 GMT


In <4j7kr9$bgt at texas.nwlink.com>, masters at nwlink.com (Tom Gibson) wrote:

> Glenn S. Lyford (glyford at us1.channel1.com) wrote:

> : In article <4j0v61$m0m at newsbf02.news.aol.com>, jhrisoulas at aol.com says...

> : >

> : >that's exactly what it is, white bronze. it is still in use today..

> : >jph


> : Isn't bronze an alloy?  What are the proportions that change to give

> : it the lighter color, and are there differences in ingredients, as well?


> Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin, or copper and arsenic (the more

> common one in the americas).  I have no idea of the proportions, or

> whether arsenic bronze is this "white" bronze.


> Then there is brass, made of copper and nickle, good for making tacks.


The book of alloying formulae that I'm currently using has the following




     Copper   55.78 parts

     Zinc     23.198  "

     Nickel   13.406  "

     Tin       4.035  "

     Lead      3.544  "


It's more of a brass than a bronze, but the alloy is described as

silver-white, ductile suited for artistic purposes. Judging from the

metallurgy analysis of the finds from the HMSO books, and a couple of

other recent works that broke down the compositions of the metals, the

lines between brasses and bronzes was a little hazy at times.  This

alloy, however, is well within the ability of the metallurgy of most of

the medieval period.


I wonder how much control most craftsmen of the eras we cover had over

the composition of their alloys?


     al Thaalibi ---- An Crosaire, Trimaris

     Ron Charlotte -- Gainesville, FL

     afn03234 at afn.org



From: just Kate <ez010263 at peseta.ucdavis.edu>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Brass, Bronze, Laten & Potmetal

Date: 27 Mar 1996 08:22:33 GMT

Organization: University of California, Davis


This is about the great confusion as to which metals make

which alloys, in response to the current "bronze alloy" posts.

I wish I could find the thread on my current news reader,

so I could have had a proper "Re: ..." for a subject."

Regardless, the discussion on what make an alloy an alloy

caught my eye and I thought I would rant for a minute or two.

Besides, Sappy's here on vacation and I figured I'd indulge

him with an attack of raving and running on.


This is our problem: the names of alloys have been very fluid up

until the 19th century.  The designations we use today are modern

_and_ specific.  In period, the definitions were much fuzzier.

The already mentioned article on brass and bronze in the HMSO

printed _Dress Accessories_ (part of the Museum of London series)

is truly excellent; and it makes of a good intro to the problem

of what to name the non-ferrous alloys.  The word bronze is post-

period, incidentally.  The arsenical coppers are NOT bronze.

What we call bronze has mostly copper and zinc in it and what we

call brass has mostly copper and tin.


A period craftworker would have known the difference between the

two, in almost every case.  Here's how to distinguish between them:

by method of manufacture (100% reliable) and by usage (less

reliable).  Brass was made by cementing copper and calamine (the

modern mineral smithsonite, ZnCO3) in a furnace.  Bronze was made

by combining reduced copper and reduced tin (from cassiterite),

though this was not the only method.


By usage, it goes like this: bronze is hard and it casts nicely.

Brass is softer and it is much more difficult to cast. Bronze

is strong enough to make a small hoop-cannon out of it; brass

would never survive the first shot.

ttfn, Twcs



From: masters at nwlink.com (Tom Gibson)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Brass, Bronze, Laten & Potmetal

Date: 2 Apr 1996 05:28:43 GMT

Organization: Northwest Link


just Kate (ez010263 at peseta.ucdavis.edu) wrote:


:    The arsenical coppers are NOT bronze.


Sorry, but I'll accept what I get from Scientific American over what I

find here, and an article a few years ago called this a bronze.  


: What we call bronze has mostly copper and zinc in it and what we

: call brass has mostly copper and tin.


Again, tin goes in bronze, zinc in brass.  (Yeah, I said nickle before --

must have had money on the brain.)


: A period craftworker would have known the difference between the

: two, in almost every case.


I think the doctors who wrote the S.A. article would, too.


:     Bronze was made

: by combining reduced copper and reduced tin (from cassiterite),


This contradicts your statement above.    ^^^  See?


: By usage, it goes like this: bronze is hard and it casts nicely.

: Brass is softer and it is much more difficult to cast. Bronze

: is strong enough to make a small hoop-cannon out of it; brass

: would never survive the first shot.


So it kinda make you wonder why there are a lot of brass cannon around.  


        - Warren of the Just Plain



From: jhrisoulas at aol.com (JHrisoulas)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: "mistrust anything made in India"

Date: 5 Jul 1996 10:03:45 -0400

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


As far as CK55 steel goes, that is a minium alloy as the COPANT specs

specify from 50 to 55 point of carbon, a little light in the carbon



Besides MRL's suppliers (Del Tin) pull the hardness way back...down to 46

to 48 Rc, which while very "springy" is very, very soft...Not much edge

holding capability at this hardeness.


Myself, I would prefer the 51 series ASAE steels, such as 5160 or 51V70

(Vanadium added to the melt) with a slightly elevated C content hardened

and then drawn back to 53 to 55 RC which is about as hard as you can get

without sacrificing toughness.


With blades it is a trade off when you start to speak of toughness vs edge

holding, but you don't have to draw all the edge holding ability out of a

swrod just to make it "springy"  Most of this has to do with heat

treatment. Some steels are better suited for some applications, but still

the proper heat treating could allow for some high alloy steels to be

applied in this case.


I will not get into a long and tedious basic metallurugical conversation

here as I have already discussed this in detal in my first two books,,,,I

strongly suggest that if you are interested in finding out more to look

into find a copy of them...


In closing, while the CK55 steel is servicable, there are much better

steels that will hold up better, with a higher degree of hardeness than it

will in this given application.


Dr JP Hrisoulas

Bladesmith, Author, Lecturer, Metallographer


Atar Bakhtar, OL



From: Denise Brown <deniseb at erols.com>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Dr. Hrisoulas - metallurgy & swords

Date: Sat, 07 Sep 1996 21:39:11 -0700


aguaman wrote:

> I was wondering if you have some tips on what to look for in forging,

> metallurgy, and composition of swords and other melee weapons.


> I'm also creating a web page that may have some links to information

> about swords and weapons, as well as places to purchase them.


> Two specific questions I need answered, and I've looked in every book in

> the library, is how hot does it have to be to extract iron from iron ore,


About 1150 C although portions of blast furnace are hotter than 1800 C.  

What you get out is an iron carbon alloy of about 4 % carbon.  Cast irons

flow well at about 1400 C.


> and how hot does it have to be for carbon to absorb into iron in order to

> create steel?


To form decent steel the iron has to be heated back up to burn off the

extra carbon to about 1 % carbon.  Nowadays done by blowing oxygen into

molten iron at 1400 C.


> Any further information that would be helpful to potential collectors

> would be greatly appreciated!


Dover Publications has a reprint of De Re Metallica translated by Herbert

Hoover (yeah, President Hoover).  Not a modernly useful text but a good

source of info.


> Edward A. Waterman

> aguaman at ix.netcom.com





From: ez010263 at ucdavis.edu (Kate was here)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Buckles : What kind to use?

Date: Thu, 05 Sep 1996 05:38:36 GMT

Organization: UCD


I've been resisting jumping into this thread until I came

home from the university library with the right books.

And now for a definitive reference: look for _The History

of Metallurgy,_  by R F Tylecote, 1976, published by the

Metals Society, London,  isbn: 0-904357-06-6


There are other good references as pertains to period

brass, "latten," bronze and "gunmetal."  Of course, the

essay (previously mentioned) from _Dress Assessories_

is certainly germane and is one which I've been quoting

since it was published.


This is what I know in a nutshell (based on many years

of interest and research on this matter): bronze is an

alloy of tin (in the metal form) and copper (in the metal

form).  It was used mostly for castings, since it is far

less viscous that brass, which pours badly on a good day

and isn't worth mentioning on a bad day.  Bronze, however,

is too hard to easily engrave.


What we now call brass, and what was used almost

exclusively in period for ENGRAVED furneal brasses

(starting in the 12th century), is the product of melting

copper in a crucible with layers of zinc carbonate and

charcoal.  Tylecote has the best and most-understandable

discussion of the process, though what he describes is

the process from Theophilus in _Divers Arts_, but with

far less words and far greater clarity.  Brass engraves

like a dream (it's much softer than bronze) but casting it

is a pain in the euphemism (yes, you can find this out from

reading texts in materials science, but I personally

discovered this little quirk of brass the hard way...and I

still have the casting to prove it...)


European brasses hit the medieval art scene starting

with the area around Aachen, and spreading from there.

All the early English funeral brasses were engraved and

the imported from low-land Germany.  The zinc carbonate

was mined in the Ardennes and Saxony areas, which is where

the method of making brass originated in europe.


The attribution of hemimorphite with calamine was the result

of the lack of agreement between nineteenth century geologists

(see Dana's first edition, for example).  The calamine used

by the medieval metal-workers was zinc carbonate, known now

as Smithsonite (named after the founder of the Smithsonian

by American geologists, but only accepted internationally as

the mineral name for zinc carbonate during this century).


The other really good ref I know of on period brass is a book

on funeral brasses, in the possession of a friend of mine in

Storvik.  I'll see if I can hunt him down and get the ref posted

here.  It has a good discussion on brass vs bronze in period, if

my memory hasn't turned completely to pudding by my dissertation...


Making period brass is one my list of things to do this fall.

I've already smelted my own silver, gold and copper. What's

left other than lead, aqua regia and brass?  (And no, niello

doesn't count...)


ttfn, Twcs, medieval material science junkie



From: ez010263 at ucdavis.edu (Kate was here)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Buckles : What kind to use?

Date: Fri, 06 Sep 1996 06:19:06 GMT

Organization: UCD


Daniel de Lincoln remarked:

>Well, if you want to do other metals known in the Middle Ages,

>quicksilver (== mercury) comes to mind (and stays there, I suppose)


Not even in my dreams!  For grins and giggles, I just wrote a

piece for Therica's Boke of Divers Knowledge on all the

myriad ways one could poison oneself playing with mercury

compounds in medieval arts.  Nasty stuff - mercury compounds.

I draw the line at retorting my own mercury.  I won't do.

It's too f'ing dangerous - and I am a professional (geochemist,

that is)


>...  Did the medievals know about arsenic, while you're at it?


actually, what they called arsenic in period is not the elemental

arsenic metal, but "white arsenic" also called "white arsenic"

or "arsenious acid," ie As2O3.  One of the favorite poisons of

renaissance Italy...ain't history fun?  ;-)  Refs, of course, on

request (email, please...)


ah well, back to the alchemy set...   ;-)

ttfn, Twcs



From: David Corliss <corlisd at aa.wl.com>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Buckles : What kind to use?

Date: Mon, 09 Sep 1996 12:11:35 -0400

Organization: Retro Team, Parke-Davis Ann Arbor


Daniel de Lincoln remarked:

>Well, if you want to do other metals known in the Middle Ages,

>quicksilver (== mercury) comes to mind (and stays there, I suppose)


Seven metals were known as such in the Middle Ages. Their rank in the Great

Chain (highest to lowest) is:










Beorthwine of Grafham Wood



From: Bill Sanderson <bills at opcom.ca>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Buckles : What kind to use?

Date: Wed, 11 Sep 1996 13:30:57 -0400

Organization: OpCom Solutions Inc.


David Corliss wrote:

> I. Marc Carlson wrote:

> > <David Corliss <corlisd at aa.wl.com>>

> > >>Can anyone comment on the availability of _zinc_, a component of brass,

> > >>at this early date? I was under the impression that zinc,and therefore

> > >>brass, was unknown at this time. I am accordingly inclined to regard all

> > >>references to brass at this time to be mistranslations of bronze (copper

> > >>and tin) or other copper-based materials.

> >to my limited information. Thank you for your assistance.


> Beorthwine of Grafham Wood


Check out references to calamine, which is zinc oxide. Brass was usually

made by packing copper in calamine and the heating in a crucible. Try

this outdoors, as the heating process releases all the oxygen in the

calamine and really adds to the heating process. As well as the toxic

fumes from zinc and copper.





Date: Thu, 24 Jul 1997 22:10:25 -0600 (MDT)

From: Frederick C Yoder <fyoder at mesa5.mesa.colorado.edu>

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

Subject: re: Blades and carbon content of steels...


Two good but not perfect methods for determining the carbon content of

steels without a lab are as follows...

#1. What was the original source of the metal?  If it was a trestle or

rail bolt as I've often used, you can assume its a medium carbon.  A

cutting tool or leaf spring?  High carbon or exotics (Avoid exotics for

forged blades at all costs, they'll act unpredictably in the forge...)


#2. Spark test...  Get a good welding handbook, such as Hobart's. It

should describe a test using a grinder to identify metals...  

   (Been a long time since I did this, so I may be way off on this...)

    Orange straight sparks, low carbon

    Orange-Yellow, with on or two skyrocket bursts, medium

    Bright-Yellow, with lots of bursts, high carbon...

Hope this helps...


Fred Yoder

fyoder at mesa5.mesa.colorado.edu

Grand Junction, CO



Date: Sun, 08 Aug 1999 12:20:46 MST

From: "j'lynn yeates" <jyeates at realtime.net>

Subject: BG - metalworking guilders: Makin Steel in 10th Century

To: bryn-gwlad at Ansteorra.ORG


... from another list:






     Contact: Andrew McLaughlin

     Andrew_Mclaughlin at materials.org.uk


     Institute of Materials


The secrets of 10th century steel production unearthed in desert



     A one thousand year old steel production site has been

unearthed by an international research team in the remains

of the ancient city of Gyaur Kala in Turkmenistan. The

excavated remains of three furnaces, probably used to produce

the steel used in ancient swords and tools, suggest an

advanced production process that predates the next evidence

of co-fusion steel (the Huntsman Process) by more than a



     Dr Dafydd Griffiths, part of the international research team

from University College London, says, "These remains give a

fascinating glimpse from over 1,000 years ago of a process

for making crucible steel using a sophisticated furnace design.

We know of no ancient metallurgical furnaces of similar design."


     The crucibles stood on a pad of clay with recycled crucible

fragments between pads to help distribute the centrally supplied

air. The 1cm-thick crucible lids with a central hole were able

to withstand temperatures of up to 1500 degrees Celsius before

starting to sag. The ancient steel makers showed considerable

knowledge of the steel production process and the reactions

deep within the furnace itself by placing the thick-walled

crucible in the hottest zone of the 80 cm furnaces. "These

features all suggest a mastery over the process", according

to Griffiths.


     The ancient city of Gyaur Kala stood in the Merv oasis

on the "Silk Road" over-land trading route between China and

the West. "Merv was thus a great meeting point of knowledge

and trading goods from far and wide [but] in terms of nearby

natural resources, Merv had no iron ore, no refractory clay

and very little fuel". The steel makers thus had to conserve

use of their raw materials and recycled spent refractory

crucibles and maximized energy efficiency. Griffiths

says, "It is fascinating to compare ancient and modern

practice and to realize that the artisans of times past

can still teach us a few things that may inspire

improvements in modern processing technology".






     Notes For Editors


        1.This item is due to appear as "Thermal processing in

           the last millennium" by Dr Dafydd Griffiths, in the August

           issue of Materials World, Volume 7, Issue 8, p.472.

        2.Materials World is the journal of The Institute of Materials,

           the professional organization of materials scientists

          and engineers working throughout the world in areas

          involving the use and application of plastics, rubber, steels,

          metals and ceramics.

        3.Brief contents of Materials World are also available

           on the web: www.materials.org.uk

        4.The views and opinions expressed in this article are the

           views of the author and are not necessarily the views of

           Materials World, IoM Communications or any other

           organization with which they are associated.



Date: Sun, 11 Jan 2004 04:03:12 -0500

From: "Phlip" <phlip at 99main.com>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Fw: [TheForge] Wrought Iron & Restoration Work

        Advice & Information

To: <EKMetalsmiths at yahoogroups.com>, "SCA-Cooks" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


Just picked this up from, TheForge, my smithing List. I'm including Cooks

List among the recipients because of our recent discussion about wrought

iron, so that those of you who are interested in the real thing for cooking

gear, might know what you're talking about, rather than mistaking forged

mild steel for the material.


Saint Phlip,



----- Original Message -----

From: "magichammer" <dave at magichammer.net>

To: "TheForge" <TheForge at mailman.qth.net>

Sent: Sunday, January 11, 2004 2:10 AM

Subject: [TheForge] Wrought Iron & Restoration Work Advice & Information


> (forwarded from another list)


> Wrought Iron & Restoration Work Advice & Information

> Chris Topp & Company Wrought Ironworks


> Diploma of Excellence- The Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths



> Due to the misuse of the term wrought iron, accurate information on

> the subject is difficult to find frequently being hidden somewhere in

> the 500,000 web sites listed as wrought iron but are actually mild

> steel fabrications.

> The site as well as showing projects we have been involved in, is

> therefore also intended to provide a resource (via free pdf downloads

> & links) to those involved in or studying Historic Ironwork such as:


> Students

> Blacksmiths

> Architects

> Conservation Specialists

> Specifiers

> Customers


> The site has advice and guidance on what wrought iron is, how to

> specify it, working methods, restoration techniques for both wrought

> iron & cast iron, how to identify different types of ironwork,

> reading lists, links to useful ironwork sites - Historical -

> Technical - Blacksmith Organisations etc.


> Whilst clearly as a small company we cannot provide individual advice

> to everyone interested in this field we have attempted to provide

> this information on the site. The information is free whether you use

> our services or not and you can use it as you see fit, we do not wish

> to hold copyright on the material as we consider it an educational

> resource (although a credit that we supplied it would be nice).

> If you notice any factual errors, then let us know. Anyone knowing of

> any other useful links on the subject of historical ironwork, let us

> know and (if suitable) and we will add them


> Note - Whilst we are happy to add links, we are not doing this as a

> web link exchange, therefore we are generally looking for links that

> will add a resource for visitors ie - Design of a puddling furnace,

> non-profit organisations etc. Reciprocal links from these sites to us

> is not a requirement- Commercial sites will be considered, but this

> will normally be for the purpose that it contains information on

> wrought ironwork not currently available on the site - we do not want

> to end up as a huge web directory or a catalogue.


> Steve suff - office manager



> TEL: +44 (0)1845 501415 FAX: +44(0)1845 501072

> website: www.christopp.co.uk  -  what wrought iron is, how to specify

> it, working methods, restoration techniques for both wrought iron &

> cast iron, how to identify different types of ironwork, reading

> lists, links to useful ironwork sites



Date: Mon,  9 Feb 2004 15:49:33 -0500

From: "Jeff Gedney" <gedney1 at iconn.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Dutch ovens?

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


> IIRC cast iron did not come into use until post-period.


Not necessarily the case, everywhere...


The English were doing a lot of Iron Casting in the Early 1500's and  

there were a number of Cast Iron post found in the Mary Rose  

Excavation, several of which were round bellied kettles with three legs.


I do not know of any of the cylindrical pots with tight fitting inset

lids we call dutch ovens today, but cast iron there certainly was.


In the 15th century the rise of Gunpowder weapons created a need for  

accurate projectiles... the common method was to make round stone  

balls, but Cast Iron balls were much cheaper.


A lot of the European Cast Iron was made into ingots and billets to use  

in Wrought Iron ( the process it is believed having been brought into

the west in the 12-13th centuries through contact with the Chinese who

had the art from before the 6th century ), but it was also turned to  


The European smithies seemed to prefer working with Bloomery Iron,  

which was then hammered and rivetted into shapes.

Most pots and utensils were of sheet work (iron, copper, or bronze).


But some Casters did experiment with making "useful" forms.

But it WAS uncommon.


However since rivetted and watertight pots of brass or copper are  

rather expensive, I'd say cast iron pots are not a bad alternative,  

even if they are made using a Bessemer furnace and the Lodge process  






From: EW Brown <caladin at io.com>

Date: February 24, 2008 10:54:46 PM CST

To: Barony of Bryn Gwlad <bryn-gwlad at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: [Bryn-gwlad] spring stainless (410)...interesting factoid!


I was looking into knife making again, a hobby I delve into

periodically, and I bumped into this

explanation why to use 410 for certain hig durability knife part(and

thus armor) instead of a more commonly

know carbon stainless like 440c...


Since I'd been wondering exactly that question i thought others might be

interested in the answer.


We looked the world over for the very best liner and spring making

steel. Through trial and testing, we chose 410 stainless steel.

The basis of our conclusion was that 410 does not build-up or retain

stress like many other stainless steels.

We have tested this steel on a spring bending jig for 50,000.00 cycles.

After the successful test, it still had room to make another 50,000.00

cycles before the steel broke.

That makes for great spring steel! Our 410 steel is made in America and

is provided in the annealed state, which makes it easy to machine and


This is very important when you're working with it to shape it to your

desired design.







From: Jason Bressie <ronnin84 at hotmail.com>

Date: February 25, 2008 8:28:38 AM CST

To: <bryn-gwlad at ansteorra.org>

Subject: [Bryn-gwlad] spring stainless (410)...interesting factoid!


The past two months I have been working with 410 in making my scales for my shirt. I bought five sheets of .032 410 stainless and had them cut them into bands for scale making. After grinding and shaping 827 scales as well as doing some heat treating experiments in Sir Gaston's kiln, I have come to some facts about it. 410 is more difficult to work with than mild, but easier to work with than 304 Stainless. 410 has a high heat retention which it makes it more difficult to heat treat. 410 needs to be treated very carefully while being hardened, heat treated or you will burn the metal and it will become brittle or lose its rust resistance. When you do heat treat the metal, the .032 had a 45 degree angle bend without losing its form and was comparable to 14 gauge in toughness. I also place these pieces in a concentrated salt solution for a little over two days with no signs of rust at all. I do however would advise to lighlty oil this metal and keep it dry while storing it. As for the look, the steel has a nice blue tinge to it instead of the bright white look that 304 has. My scales are awaiting to be heat treated at Round Rock Heat Treating. Due to the large amount of scaling, I had them heated professionall in a vaccum kiln to reduce the clean up. Frankly I just could not see myself cleaning up 827 scales. I am hoping to get them today and begin putting the scale shirt together pretty quick.



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