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Gerald Fa.





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PostPosted: Mon 29 Sep, 2008 12:35 am    Post subject: Steel and metallurgy in Europe         Reply with quote

I have questions about Steel and metallurgy in Europe. I have some knowledge about it; I think I need to touch this up more… I have gotten very rusty on this subject… ( Laughing Out Loud rusty) Confused

I know that the Europeans were very able to make spring steel or Harden steel for there Steel armors & I think swords as well. And that is VERY VERY strong… Happy

But I would like to get more in depth in to Steel and metallurgy in Europe… Confused

I keep hearing some people say that the Swords & steel in Asia is better then the Steel & swords from Europe… Confused I have a hard time believing this; because looking on European arms & armor reading as well as seeing what they are & what they can do is amazing! For a example: I read that there are some 58 to 64 inches Zweihanders that were about 3.5 lbs!!! (Most were over 60 inches and are about 4 to 6 lbs) I think that Europeans did know how to make just as good or better steel…

And what about the folded steel technique in Europe, was it known as far back to the Romans? (I herd it was)

How good is the metallurgy in Europe? And how did they make steel and arms & armors… Also any Steel names? Like Nordic Steel (Romans had). Or Toledo steel?



Thanks! Big Grin
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Mon 29 Sep, 2008 1:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This is a good start:


Sword Blade Hardness: the current research

An article by Craig Johnson

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Bruno Giordan





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PostPosted: Mon 29 Sep, 2008 1:59 am    Post subject: Re: Steel and metallurgy in Europe         Reply with quote

Gerald Fa. wrote:
I have questions about Steel and metallurgy in Europe. I have some knowledge about it; I think I need to touch this up more… I have gotten very rusty on this subject… ( Laughing Out Loud rusty) Confused

I know that the Europeans were very able to make spring steel or Harden steel for there Steel armors & I think swords as well. And that is VERY VERY strong… Happy

But I would like to get more in depth in to Steel and metallurgy in Europe… Confused

I keep hearing some people say that the Swords & steel in Asia is better then the Steel & swords from Europe… Confused I have a hard time believing this; because looking on European arms & armor reading as well as seeing what they are & what they can do is amazing! For a example: I read that there are some 58 to 64 inches Zweihanders that were about 3.5 lbs!!! (Most were over 60 inches and are about 4 to 6 lbs) I think that Europeans did know how to make just as good or better steel…

And what about the folded steel technique in Europe, was it known as far back to the Romans? (I herd it was)

How good is the metallurgy in Europe? And how did they make steel and arms & armors… Also any Steel names? Like Nordic Steel (Romans had). Or Toledo steel?



Thanks! Big Grin


Recent analysis on an etruscan falcata have shown that it is pattern welded (ferrite -> cementite --> ferrite outer layer).

Until recent times blades were made according the foglia system (leave stysem), i.e. a pattern welding of the same metal, which was considered to be a strenghtening method for making blades.

It is widely attested in brescian documents (Brescia was the main armor and weapon production site for the venetian republic).
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Jeroen Zuiderwijk
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PostPosted: Tue 30 Sep, 2008 5:48 am    Post subject: Re: Steel and metallurgy in Europe         Reply with quote

Gerald Fa. wrote:
I have questions about Steel and metallurgy in Europe. I have some knowledge about it; I think I need to touch this up more… I have gotten very rusty on this subject… ( Laughing Out Loud rusty) Confused

I know that the Europeans were very able to make spring steel or Harden steel for there Steel armors & I think swords as well. And that is VERY VERY strong… Happy

But I would like to get more in depth in to Steel and metallurgy in Europe… Confused

I keep hearing some people say that the Swords & steel in Asia is better then the Steel & swords from Europe… Confused
If someone says that, you should ask what the average carbon contents and hardness of the European, or Asian blades is for a specific period/region. If they can't answer that, ignor them Happy

Quote:
I have a hard time believing this; because looking on European arms & armor reading as well as seeing what they are & what they can do is amazing! For a example: I read that there are some 58 to 64 inches Zweihanders that were about 3.5 lbs!!! (Most were over 60 inches and are about 4 to 6 lbs) I think that Europeans did know how to make just as good or better steel…
Of course they did. They were making steel when China was still in the bronze age, and Japan still in the stone age. Although most of the early steel from the iron age was unhardened (as they probably hadn't mastered tempering yet to remove the brittleness), I know that from the Roman period onwards, properly hardened steel was available. That doesn't mean that every sword/knife was optimally hardened, as there was good (expensive) and bad (less expensive) quality blades. This was the case for a long time, though as well hardened steel became gradually cheaper and more available, the average hardness increases over time. The fact that low quality blades exist doesn't mean they couldn't make high quality ones, it just depends on what someone was willing to spend on it.

Quote:
And what about the folded steel technique in Europe, was it known as far back to the Romans? (I herd it was)

It was known since they first started working iron, as folding is the only way to make useable iron out of a bloom from the smelter. You need to forge it down and fold it to remove the slag.


Quote:
How good is the metallurgy in Europe? And how did they make steel and arms & armors… Also any Steel names? Like Nordic Steel (Romans had).
Nordic steel refers to steel used from at least the La Tene period (from roughly 300 BC). This however refers to the carbon contents, not the actual hardening. A lot of La Tene swords were made from Nordic steel, but weren't hardened, aside from workhardening by cold hammering. The steel had the potential in that time to be quench hardened, but they didn't do that yet at the time. I don't know who the Romans got their knowledge from (as generally they didn't really invent much themselves, just took good ideas from others), but they seem to have spread the knowledge of hardening and tempering.
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Gerald Fa.





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PostPosted: Mon 06 Oct, 2008 10:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Steel and metallurgy in Europe         Reply with quote

Bruno Giordan wrote:
Gerald Fa. wrote:
I have questions about Steel and metallurgy in Europe. I have some knowledge about it; I think I need to touch this up more… I have gotten very rusty on this subject… ( Laughing Out Loud rusty) Confused

I know that the Europeans were very able to make spring steel or Harden steel for there Steel armors & I think swords as well. And that is VERY VERY strong… Happy

But I would like to get more in depth in to Steel and metallurgy in Europe… Confused

I keep hearing some people say that the Swords & steel in Asia is better then the Steel & swords from Europe… Confused I have a hard time believing this; because looking on European arms & armor reading as well as seeing what they are & what they can do is amazing! For a example: I read that there are some 58 to 64 inches Zweihanders that were about 3.5 lbs!!! (Most were over 60 inches and are about 4 to 6 lbs) I think that Europeans did know how to make just as good or better steel…

And what about the folded steel technique in Europe, was it known as far back to the Romans? (I herd it was)

How good is the metallurgy in Europe? And how did they make steel and arms & armors… Also any Steel names? Like Nordic Steel (Romans had). Or Toledo steel?



Thanks! Big Grin


Recent analysis on an etruscan falcata have shown that it is pattern welded (ferrite -> cementite --> ferrite outer layer).

Until recent times blades were made according the foglia system (leave stysem), i.e. a pattern welding of the same metal, which was considered to be a strenghtening method for making blades.

It is widely attested in brescian documents (Brescia was the main armor and weapon production site for the venetian republic).


Thanks for some of that! Happy
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Gerald Fa.





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PostPosted: Mon 06 Oct, 2008 10:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan Robinson wrote:
This is a good start:


Sword Blade Hardness: the current research

An article by Craig Johnson


Thanks for the article. So far I read most of that; it is very, VERY intrusting.... I will finish reading it soon.

I do know a lot on how good weapons and armor worked, and what they can do; I know some historical battles of how they performed. But I have limited knowledge on how they made swords and weapons, and I have limited knowledge about the steels as well; but that article helped a bit... I do know the fuller is not a "blood groove", the purpose of the fuller is to strengthen or lighten the sword. (Similar reasons on why you see decorations on the Steel of European armor…)

I do know a bit how the Romans made their swords but that’s about it on sword making; and even then I need to know more about them as well. I do know the way the Romans made their stuff is going to be driftnet the way the Europeans did in the 1300s AD and up…

I am having a conversation with a guy; and he said “The secret to the strongest in the far Eastern sword’s steel came from the wootz steel…” Confused

What is he talking about? Never herd of them using wootz steel… Also I said that the Europeans in the very early1400s or late 1300s was well able to make harden & spring steel; for their armor and swords! This is something that I think the Japanese could not do. They had to put soft and hard but bridal steel together to make their swords, and that was not harden & spring steel…


So can any one tell me?
Confused


I know how the Europeans make there Steel armors. They take soft steel after they shape it and then they make it what’s I think called “harden steel” & or spring steel.

“Harden steel” & or spring steel was hard and very, very strong but not bridal… This made them capable of stopping such arrows from Long bows and Composite recurve bows at close rang!

Look: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uo72dL7uDuc

I was thinking if they could do such things with their armor why not with their swords Question
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Bram Verbeek





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PostPosted: Tue 07 Oct, 2008 1:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wootz steel contained trace elements of all sorts of elements, just like modern alloys. The raw material was better, so the product would be better as well.

Spring steel is not made with soft (mild) steel, it is made with steel of a higher carbon content, annealed (heated and then cooled slowly to make it workable) and then re-tempered.
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Tomm Skotner





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PostPosted: Fri 17 Oct, 2008 3:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wootz is a kind of steel developed in India and Sri Lanka about 300 BC. It would seem that smiths and smelters in this region had acquired knowledge about the production of iron and steel superior to that found in the Middle East and Europe during the middle ages. It has been suggested that the smelters in south India would smelt iron in crucibles, which was unknown anywhere else in the world at the time, and might have added glass and charcoal to it. Some have also suggested that they could have constructed a sort of blast furnace for steel production, using the monsoon winds to power it.

Wootz steel was widely exported and became famous in the Middle East for its resilience and ability to hold an edge when used to forge weapons. And from there, it was then exported to Europe. In the Middle East and Europe wootz steel was often called Damascus steel, and the swords made from were called Damascus blades. This is not to be confused with Damascened blades which simply means that the blade has been pattern welded. There may have been some confusion involved because wootz steel often takes on a wavy pattern somewhat similar to that produced by pattern welding.
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Sat 18 Oct, 2008 2:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bert Hall's short article might be useful here:

http://www.the-orb.net/encyclop/culture/scitech/iron_steel.html
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James R.Fox




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PostPosted: Sun 26 Oct, 2008 5:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sirs-Wootz steel was crucible steel smelted in a blast furnace in a sealed clay crucible with either mixed wrought iron and cast iron, or wrought iron and charcoal. Archaeologists have found the furnaces in southern India and China. China was first to do it as they had already invented blast furnace for their bronze founderys, India started alittle later.Unfortunately, I cannot persuade this page to add my attachments. Also, the Indians put glass in theirs as it made the remaining slag in the wrought iron float to the surface of the finished ignot to be removed.
Ja68ms
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Craig Johnson
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PostPosted: Mon 27 Oct, 2008 7:22 am    Post subject: Primer on Wootz and such         Reply with quote

There are some great material on Wootz online.

Here is a Primer to start:

Brief history of crucible damascus steel by Dr. Ann Feuerbach

The production of crucible Damascus steel by Dr. Ann Feuerbach

Dr. Feuerbach has done some very good work on this and detailed many of the newest finds in this area or research.

A wide ranging discussion on what advantages and disadvantages wootz brings to weapons True Combat Value of Wootz, this thread has several contributors with good knowledge and covers a lot of ground.

Best
Craig
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Jeroen Zuiderwijk
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PostPosted: Mon 27 Oct, 2008 9:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Tomm Skotner wrote:
This is not to be confused with Damascened blades which simply means that the blade has been pattern welded. There may have been some confusion involved because wootz steel often takes on a wavy pattern somewhat similar to that produced by pattern welding.
I've only seen the term damascened used for the technique to inlay (non-ferrous) metals into a roughened surface, never to describe patternwelding. Both wootz and patternwelding is frequently called damascus. But as both are totally different, it's better to use the individual namings.
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James R.Fox




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PostPosted: Mon 27 Oct, 2008 11:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mr Johnson-Thank you for the citations, I'm going to spend alot of time with them.My Articles cover mostly the Han Chinese steel industry, ( I say industry as the Han Emperiors built a series of furnaces, each of whicch could pour 3000 pounds at a time,)at just ONE of their steelworks. Iron and steel belonged exclusively to the Imperial house. Other state in the area did not acquire the the knowledge untill after the Han collapsed around 220 AD, acccording to my understanding.
Ja68ms
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James R.Fox




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PostPosted: Thu 06 Nov, 2008 10:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sirs-I refer agan to The ARMA article "Fightbook Clues to the Quality and Build of Knightly Weapons." In this the author states that some german smithe Did know to mix carbonacious material with their ore when smelting, (basic wootz) and some smiths Did use salt baths, sal ammoniac to be exact ,to quench. The fightbooks referred to come from around 1400 if I remember rightly.Also, as I pointed out in an earlier post, the Han Chinese invented the crucible steel process. Unfortunately, I still cannot make this site post attachments so I can show you the pages I refer too.Alzheimers I guess, I'm 70.
Ja68ms
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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Thu 06 Nov, 2008 2:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Tomm Skotner wrote:
Wootz is a kind of steel developed in India and Sri Lanka about 300 BC. It would seem that smiths and smelters in this region had acquired knowledge about the production of iron and steel superior to that found in the Middle East and Europe during the middle ages.


I find it more believable that it was a very lucky case of having uniquely optimal local veins of ore.

The crucible production methods are not known to have varied significantly between many nations bordering the Himalayan sources of ore. Although, it did take a few centuries for the production technique to spread out until it become the primary production method for a very broad region for more than a millenium. Rather mediocre and muddy looking wootz is still being produced by traditional hand methods by some Indian artisans today. The original sources' quality did not stay consistently high over comparable periods of time. I theorize that they depleted the optimal ore veins, and had no real knowledge of the required chemistry to improvise and maintain the original quality. Verhoeven researched and reconstructed the way some in India traditionally make their crucible wootz steel. He was able to replicate wootz to a fair (not great cosmetically compared to some ancient and medieval era specimens) degree using North American ore using only one source from a specific vein in Canada. (Trace minerals of vanadium, nickel, and other key alloying elements, specific range of initial carbon content, etc. were all required in the raw ore source for the technique to work well.)

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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Craig Johnson
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PostPosted: Thu 06 Nov, 2008 2:50 pm    Post subject: Medieval Metallurgical Knowledge         Reply with quote

Hi James

There are even earlier examples where the use of quenching to harden items is clearly described or seen. The article you mention is using several of the Fecht books in the Lichtenauer tradition to support a hypothesis of superior metallurgy in this period. The text that refers to some of the specifics you mention is NMS 3227a, this is a house book from the period that contains several sections on important information one might need in life. The actual specifics you reference may vary some from the particular translation used in the “Fightbook Clues” article.

What the manuscript clearly details is their understanding that iron/steel could be manipulated in its hardness via heat and time. They did not necessarily equate this to metallurgical principles or an understanding of the transformation in the material, but rather to the use of recipes made from local materials. These they surmised would impart qualities to the metal when applied correctly. This is the way a medieval person saw the world and interacted with it. It worked, as a trial and error process had created an empirically understood system that created the desired results.

To your specific mention of the use of sal ammoniac (ammonium chloride), it is the mineralogical form of ammonium chloride. In NMS 3227a it is actually an ingredient in the particular process to be used to soften a piece of metal. What we would call annealing today not quenching.

Best
Craig
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James R.Fox




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PostPosted: Thu 06 Nov, 2008 4:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Craig-In one of my articles it states that the Chinese did not start to work Iron untill after the knowledge of the fact that iron was a usefull metal was spresd east of the Himalaya/Altai ranges by the central asian nomads around 700 BCE. The reason they jumped ahead so fast was that they had already independently invented the waterwheel/windmill driven blast furnace for their bronze foundries. By Han times they were using the puddling process and the Seiman-Martin process to make steel.. These were not invented in europe untill the 1800's The Han were also building blast furnaces that could turn out 3000 lb of steel at one pour.. Remenber classic Chinese civilization is about 3,000 years old or so.Kung-fu tse came along late in the game, he just codified the social and political rules. I really do wish I could show you some of this stuff,maybe I'll get the site to work some day.
Ja68ms
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Craig Johnson
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PostPosted: Thu 06 Nov, 2008 8:21 pm    Post subject: Chinese Iron         Reply with quote

Hi James

I in no way claim to have extensive knowledge of the Chinese industry. I do know they were great and early. If you have links to sites that have the info you can just type the urls in the text. Or send them to me via email and I can see if I can post them here for you.

Best
Craig
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Fri 07 Nov, 2008 2:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There's a little information about the Chinese process in Bert Hall's article, which I've linked to above--but I'm posting the link again here for the sake of convenience:

http://www.the-orb.net/encyclop/culture/scitech/iron_steel.html

Might help for more detailed keyword searches (try something like "Zhou dynasty metallurgy").
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Jeroen Zuiderwijk
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PostPosted: Fri 07 Nov, 2008 5:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
There's a little information about the Chinese process in Bert Hall's article, which I've linked to above--but I'm posting the link again here for the sake of convenience:

http://www.the-orb.net/encyclop/culture/scitech/iron_steel.html
I'd avoid that article. I skimmed through it, and it's riddled with errors. "Most early smelters in Europe could no reach average temperatures of about 700 degrees." Yeah, if that was the case, we'd never had an iron age! Happy

Be very very careful with anything you read on ancient Chinese metallurgy, unless it's direct test results. It's filled with wrong information due to lack of knowledge on metallurgy, repeated myths etc. coated in a sauce of nationalism, which get repeated ad infinitum without anyone checking sources (no surprising, due to the language barrier).
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