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Making Wootz Steel

Our experiments in creating crucible steel with a composition similar to ancient Wootz steel are continuing. In this video, we show the process of making a Wootz ingot and our first successful forging of the ingot into a bar. Our crucibles are charged with wrought iron from wagon tires, pulverized charcoal, some O1 tool steel, calcium carbonate and glass. Watch the video for all the details.

Phone call with a Heavily-Accented Phisher

or How I failed to get the whole story

I am lying on the bed with a stomach bug when the phone is ringing. It says 544 Unknown Name. The following is an abbreviated recollection of the phone call.

Woman: Hello. This is a computer support call. Are you the owner of a Windows XP, Windows 7 or Windows 8 computer?

Me: Thanks for calling.

Woman: Are you the owner of a Windows XP, Windows 7 or Windows 8 computer.

Me: Yes, I own the computer I am using.

Woman: Can you look at your keyboard. In the left bottom corner do you have a key that says CTRL.

Me: I turned off the computer. Do you want me to turn it back on.

Woman: Yes, turn the computer back on. Let me know when it is ready.

Me: OK. I pressed the power button. It says it’s booting.

Deliberate pause for dramatic accent. I wait about 30 seconds. During the whole phone call, I managed to turn the computer off at least 5 times.

Me: It says user name now. What shall I do?

Woman: What is your user name and password. Continue reading "Phone call with a Heavily-Accented Phisher"

Crucible Steel

Our first experiments with creating crucible steel. The video shows the first run in which we melt wrought iron at 3000F. The ultimate goal is to create crucible steel with high carbon content that can be forged into swords.

The Serpent in the Sword continued...

The Serpent in the Sword project is slowly progressing. I have posted a couple more videos documenting the process. In part 2, the bevels of the sword are forged, the geometry is established on a belt sander and the sword is finally heat treated. In part 3, the sword fittings are made, e.g. the lower and upper guard as well as the pommel and wooden hilt. If things go right, the sword will be finished just in time to my visit to Germany in July. The Viking museum in Haithabu has a special event in which 20 Viking ships will sail to its harbor. There is also the new Viking Puppet Theater which should be fun to watch. It's called "Wikinger Puppentheater Ygdrasil" and has it's premiere in April at the museum in Haithabu.

The Serpent in the Sword

Inspired by "The Serpent in the Sword" from Lee A Jones, I embarked on the quest of forging a pattern-welded double-edged sword that has a visual serpent at its core. The video shows my progress over about 7 days of work. Pattern-welding in addition to structural benefits is also visually very attractive. The sword in this video is constructed from a total of seven bars. Two edge bars, two twisted bars and three bars for the serpent. The whole process while using modern tools is very similar to the one that anglo-saxon or viking-age blacksmiths might have employed. Each step in created a pattern-welded sword is explained and narrated in the video above.

Pattern-Welded Seax

In my quest to forge another double-edged viking-age sword, I have been experimenting with a serpent pattern. As part of my experimentation, I forged the the seax shown in the picture. It's over all length is 21.5 in, with a 16.5 in long blade and 5in long handle. It's a 7 bar construction. The cutting edge and back are W1. The two twisted bars are 11-layers of 15n20 and 1095. The serpent itself is an 11-layer straight laminate of 15n20 and 1095 backed by two bars of mild steel. As the picture shows the pattern came out quite nicely and the overall shape of the blade is quite pleasing. The next project is going to take the serpent pattern to a double-edged sword. We will see how that goes.