Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
You are correct: my diagram does not touch on the composition of wootz, it only shows what the smith did with the already manufactured ingot.
Nonikashvili’s method is unique and I am not smart enough to judge its faithful replication of the ancient process. But all old descriptions mention only iron ore and leaves ( a source of C).
The famous paper by Verhoeven, Pendray and Dauksch “ The key role of impurities in ancient Damascus steel blades” provided the best available analysis of the chemical composition of the older blades studied by Zschokke in 1924 and some newer samples.Interestingly, Si concentration was quite high in all of them, likely contamination with sand (????).
The authors postulate that the iron ore was coming from different sources and that the majority of old wootz blades were actually of rather poor quality to the point that one out of 4 swords donated by Moser for Zschokke study had too low C content to even qualify for being a true wootz.
But again, what I presented is how the old masters dealt with the ingot to maximize the use of real wootz component in the working areas of the blade, not how the ingots were made.
And you are right: the pulwar blade did not brake in vain. Let’s take our collective hats off and give a 21 gun salute to the old warrior.