Blacksmith made Ironwork, ranging from ornamental iron to wootz crucible steel swords
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The Pattern of Wootz steel is wonderful to see, and truly different from any typical steel seen in the modern world. The patterns can look much like the water in a small stream, or the stars in the night sky, and was legendary for its beauty.

What is the basic idea of Wootz steel ?

Ofcourse if you ask 3 different people what wootz steel is, you will more than likely recieve 3 different answers !
I will explain what i believe to be is the idea of wootz steel and how it comes to be. Wootz is firstly a crucible steel. The steel is born by putting the charge ingredients in a cup like vessel called a crucible. The crucible is put into a furnace and brought up to the melting temperature of liquid iron and held there till the ingredients have time to settle down. Once the steel has settled down in the vessel and has come to an even roll, the furnace is turned off and the steel is allowed to solidify in the crucible. The slow cooling causes certain elements of the charge to solidify first and gradually build a network of dendrites. The dendrites are a tree like structures that forms in the steel. Once the ingot of steel is completely solid, it is broken out of the crucible and can be forged into items. The basic idea of wootz is that its a small crucible, solidified steel. If your steel didn't come from being solidified in a small crucible, then it doesn't fit the basic criteria for being wootz !

How would I define " Wootz Steel"

Several scientific studies have taken ancient steel samples and submitted the wootz to elemental analysis. The steel ( based on the small sample population) tends to be an ultra high carbon steel in a range from 1% to 2% carbon. There is also some wootz that lies bellow the 1% carbon and should not be discounted, but it does not make the best patterning steel. The wootz that i make that will produce good patterns will start out around 1.5% to 1.9% carbon. The steel is a very clean steel with very low alloy content other than carbon which is in the ultra high carbon range. Wootz steel is an ultrahigh carbon steel that is slowly solidified in a crucible to form a segregated/ dendritic structure. The wootz ingot is then forged with repeated heating and cooling cycles in order to form the final pattern.

Wootz Ingredients

The wootz ingredients that i like to use are simply a pig iron of a known 3% to 4% carbon, and clean low carbon iron plate. A ratio of pig iron to low carbon iron is used so that the final carbon level of the melted charge will be above 1.5% C and bellow 1.9%. A small amount of crushed bottle glass is also used to provide a liquid barrier between the melted steel and the oxygen atmosphere.