Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: The Aussie Bush
As I read your explanation, it requires only that there be two zones of different composition: one being wootz proper, the other being some mix of other components that are inferior in quality. Then they are folded and forged as you describe.
The "other components of inferior quality" seem to be crucial in the manufacture of proper wootz. The account of Dr Nonikashvili's method describes the use of a glass layer. Presumably some of the inferior material that collects at one end of the wootz ingot contains remnants of the glass and therefore should be high in silica content. Have tests been performed on historical wootz ingots to determine what other components such as glass may have been used in its manufacture? It seems to me that if one simply did surface tests of wootz weapons the "other components" may be missed because they were folded to the interior of the piece, and so some examination of the ingots themselves would be necessary.
Also, do you think the presence of these inferior components may have jeopardized the integrity of wootz blades, making them inherently more likely to fail?
Very interesting observations on that broken blade. It did not break in vain ...