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Carl Massaro




Location: NY
Joined: 02 Mar 2004

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PostPosted: Tue 27 Dec, 2005 9:56 pm    Post subject: Antique Tulwar         Reply with quote

I just got this for Christmas It was purchased off of Ebay. My guess is 18th or early 19th century. It appears to have a wootz blade. It also feels as light as a modern fencing saber. Any input?










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David Lindberg





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PostPosted: Tue 27 Dec, 2005 11:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm no expert on this, but I would say that is a mechanical damascus blade, rather than wootz. hope it helps. The finish on the non-corroded areas looks very good. I would say that you have an excellent sword there.
Hope this helps,
Dave
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Wed 28 Dec, 2005 12:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very nice wootz!

Notice how the pattern darkens towards the edge.
Could this be an example of a hardened edge section of the blade section?
I have seen similar things along the edge of some other well preserved examples.
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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Wed 28 Dec, 2005 3:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Looking at the last picture, it appears that this sword has been ground quite a large number of times, indicating that it has been in "use" for some time.

And, yes, the steel appears to be Wootz. I'm no expert, but the fake wootz I've seen was a lot more "symetric" than this.
Mechanical damascus, or pattern welding, is MORE work than making a wootz blade; the wootz pattern comes from the steel, not the forging.
In fact, wootz became famous because it has a high enough carbon content to forge blades from one, unlaminated piece of steel, so called "monosteel" swords. However, European steel making technology achieved the same in the 12th/13th cent. (Japanese, for instance, never did...)
Mechanical "damascus" has been around for longer than "real" damscus/wootz; It mostly disappeared from use with the rise of monosteel.
In the east, wootz remained in use until the indian mining district where it was made depleted its mines. (though the pattern and qualities arose from the smelting process rather than the ore.)

This is of course just from the top of my head. Feel free to correct or suplement.

But, anyway, congratulations with a very nice sword!

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
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Carl Massaro




Location: NY
Joined: 02 Mar 2004

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PostPosted: Wed 28 Dec, 2005 8:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks guys! The pattern on the blade does not seen to have any raised texture to it, which initialy worried me, and it seems to fade right near the handle. I was afraid that some jokester had printed a pattern on it. But, the pattern is indeed present in a sandwiched form on the spine of the blade.

My initial reaction was also that it was pattern welded, because the wootz examples I have seen had more of a "circlular" pattern to them, that is, the pattern seemed to be a bunch of small rings or circles. I don't know if this is standard for all wootx examples, though. However, I think the blade is supposedly the right time period for wootz, assuming it is indeed from the 18th century as the seller claimed. Does anyone know when India stopped making true wootz blades?

What is the difference between mechanical damascus and pattern welding?
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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Wed 28 Dec, 2005 10:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This site has a few usefull articles;
http://www.vikingsword.com/ethsword/index.html

especialy:
http://www.vikingsword.com/ethsword/index.html
and
http://www.vikingsword.com/ethsword/patterns.html

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
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Andrew Winston




Location: Florida, USA
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PostPosted: Wed 28 Dec, 2005 12:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nice old sword, Carl. This is, indeed, wootz. It's hard to tell much about it from those photos (wootz can be hard to photograph anyway), but the vanishing of the pattern close to the hilt can be due to several things. It could just be that it hasn't been polished or etched in that area, or it's possible the wootz blade was scarf-welded to a section of non-wootz steel in that area.

Close-ups of the cartouche would be interesting. Can you make out anything that looks like writing?

"I gave 'em a sword. And they stuck it in, and they twisted it with relish.
And I guess if I had been in their position, I'd have done the same thing."
-Richard Milhous Nixon
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Jesse Frank
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PostPosted: Wed 28 Dec, 2005 12:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Elling Polden wrote:

And, yes, the steel appears to be Wootz. I'm no expert, but the fake wootz I've seen was a lot more "symetric" than this.
Mechanical damascus, or pattern welding, is MORE work than making a wootz blade; the wootz pattern comes from the steel, not the forging.
In fact, wootz became famous because it has a high enough carbon content to forge blades from one, unlaminated piece of steel, so called "monosteel" swords. However, European steel making technology achieved the same in the 12th/13th cent. (Japanese, for instance, never did...)


I don't know, man. I've made wootz(or at least it was a dendritic crucible steel which is roughly the equivialent), and I can tell you first hand that there's a reason why lots of guys do pattern welding, and very few make wootz.

Also, it wasn't merely the fact that it was a crucible steel, it was because of the dendrites that you see in the pattern. Those carbides allow extremely good wear resistance as compared to comparable steels, especially in the period.

That is one heck of a sword!

http://jfmetalsmith.com/
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Carl Massaro




Location: NY
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PostPosted: Wed 28 Dec, 2005 1:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you very much guys! Unfortunately, that is about as precise a picture I can get of that cartouche. Sadly, there is extremely heavy pitting and wear in that specific area as you can see from the photograph.

From what I do see, it seems like there was writing in it due to the curves of the script. Perhaps Arabic or Hindi?

The blade is very short, about 27 inches if measured along the curve and the handle is a bit smaller than other antique tulwars I have held. This was probably made for a man who was slightly smaller in stature. I have large hands, so his hands were at least smaller than mine.

As Elling Polden mentioned, the last picture of the hilt does seem to indicate that the blade was ground down a number of times, perhaps indicating years of usage. It seems that the width of the blade at the hilt is almost a centimeter thicker than it is 5 inches up, with a steep curve inward. I would imagine that when this sword was new, it would possibly have been almost a centimeter broader and maybe an inch longer.

The sword is also solid! No looseness or rattling whatsoever. I am concerned about this rust on it and how I should go about getting it cleaned without removing any of the gold. I should probably find a professional conservator in NYC since I live close by.

In the meantime, what should I coat the blade and handle with for protection? Mineral oil? I am afraid of the gold rubbing off.
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Carl Massaro




Location: NY
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PostPosted: Wed 28 Dec, 2005 1:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Notice how the pattern darkens towards the edge.
Could this be an example of a hardened edge section of the blade section?


I think that is just the lighting. I still suspect that the edge has been ground down through years or resharpening.
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Steve Pollack




Location: Colorado
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PostPosted: Thu 29 Dec, 2005 2:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A very nice sword. I can remember when these tulwars were sold for less than $20, and still weren't moving (SIGH). To reopen some old forum wounds, let's see you handshake-grasp THAT hilt.
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Carl Massaro




Location: NY
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PostPosted: Thu 29 Dec, 2005 6:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I can't really grab the hilt fully. My hand doesn't quite fit.

One thing does bother me, though - when I received it, I noticed thet that end of the blade was slightly bent to the left when I looked straight down the spine. When I tried to lightly bend it the other way, the blade took a slight set in the other direction. Tis leads me to believe that the blade has a bad heat treatment, or temper (I forget which one). Shouldn't a bladw with steel like the be able to bend out of line a bit and return true?

Perhaps it lost it's flexibility with age or exessive sharpening (too much heat)?
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Chuck Russell




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PostPosted: Thu 29 Dec, 2005 9:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

very cool indeed. nice addition
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Thu 29 Dec, 2005 9:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Carl;

Sounds a bit strange that the blade would be dead soft and not heatreated: May have been when new but may have been heated too much at some time in it's history. Maybe in a fire ? Or overheated when it was reground ?

Maybe just the original edge was selectively hardened and after numerous resharpenings we only have the soft inner core of the blade left.

Maybe something none of the above ?

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Jesse Frank
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PostPosted: Fri 30 Dec, 2005 5:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:
Carl;

Sounds a bit strange that the blade would be dead soft and not heatreated: May have been when new but may have been heated too much at some time in it's history. Maybe in a fire ? Or overheated when it was reground ?

Maybe just the original edge was selectively hardened and after numerous resharpenings we only have the soft inner core of the blade left.

Maybe something none of the above ?


One of the idiosyncrasies of wootz is that it doesn't need to be hardened to have good edge retention. Basically the carbides are set in the softer iron surrounding it, giving it something of an abrasive saw tooth effect.

Hopefully Jeff Pringle will chime in, he's got a lot of experience with wootz Wink

http://jfmetalsmith.com/
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