Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Nothern Mexico
Hi Chris. Now I understand what do you mean with "sponge iron". We have modern processes to make sponge iron which are something diffrerent, and from it came my confussion. About the crucible steel: yes, the term has been used as synonymus, but there are crucible steels not being wootz, and also mentioned by Al-Kindi as not being "watered". I donīt think this term do not refers necessarily to a specific type of steel, but to to a specific method of production. Anyway, I donīt intend otherwise but clarify for myself what did you mean, and this is done already. Thank you, Chris.
About this comparison among wootz and modern steels, I agree that most probably modern steels are superior, but neverthless I find those experiments biased, as the blades selected are not representative (statistically or otherwise) of the best wootz blades made in older times. To begin with, we donīt know what quality standards were used to make the selected blades. In nihonto, you can find a wide variation of quality among different blades, depending if they were made, or not, by "masive" production for poor samurai, or the particular bladesmith who made the blade. On the other side, I think the comparison must be made among blades from the same historic timeline, so we can state if the metallurgy and craftsmanship of one area was superior to the one of another area. Otherwise, this comparisons tend to diminish the value the wootz had in their time and drive to false conclusions realtive to the technology and craftsmanship level of other peoples.
I agree that wootz was not a magical steel. And also, I believe that is a steel not scientifically well known to make a definitive evaluation, though itīs beauty is unquestioned. Most of the todayīs statements made about the value of this steel, are only presumptions.