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Old 14th February 2010, 08:42 PM   #1
Jens Nordlunde
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Default Identification of wootz steel ingots

From fiends I have heard that mill balls, once again are offered as being ingots.
If you are interested in ingots, be very careful, and read this old thread.
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ight=mill+balls

Fixed.
R.

Last edited by Jim McDougall : 17th February 2010 at 04:39 PM. Reason: amplification of description of title
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Old 15th February 2010, 12:22 AM   #2
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For some reason this link does not work.....
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Old 15th February 2010, 07:45 AM   #3
Jens Nordlunde
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The link works on my computer, but should it not work on yours try to search for 'mill balls'.
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Old 15th February 2010, 09:24 AM   #4
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works on mine as well. Excellent info. Thanks Jens for posting
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Old 15th February 2010, 04:02 PM   #5
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Rick, thank you for fixing the problem .
Alex, thank you for your answer - and remember whatever you buy - be careful.
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Old 15th February 2010, 04:34 PM   #6
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Ok now it works - thank you.
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Old 15th February 2010, 04:50 PM   #7
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Thanks again, Jens.
I never considered buying the ingots. Too much uncertainty and lack of evidences of origin and authenticity. I think that buying based on "because it looks like wootz ingot" is not good enough... the same is true even for finished, end result products:-)
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Old 15th February 2010, 06:41 PM   #8
Mare Rosu
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Default What do the ingots look like?

Jens
What are the ingots that you are asking about look like?
I bought one and sent it on to Dr. Ann for her to test and to keep.
I do not know the results of any testing she may have done on it but it just may be a mill ball and not crucible steel 'Wootz" at all.
As your link to the above thread states, I did by one other ingot but it did not look at all like a mill ball type ingot but rather a large flat disk. I did have it tested and it was deemed cast iron and not crucible steel (wootz).
I sent it back to the dealer.

Attached is a picture of the ingot (mill ball?) I sent to Dr Ann ( taken from your great thread "Magnetic Weapons")
Is this the type you are asking about?

Gene
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Old 15th February 2010, 11:32 PM   #9
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Thank you Jens for keeping the awarness of this subject in high visibility for those that seek the truth of some of the stranger pieces we see out in the commercial world.

Spiral
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Old 16th February 2010, 12:15 AM   #10
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I agree with these observations, and thank you Jens for posting this!

I know little of wootz and its esoterica, but very much agree with caveats.
Something like these unusual ingots or mill balls or whatever the case may be, really should have some sort of accredited authentication. It seems that many times I have seen items listed as varying sorts of rare antiquity, which have turned out to be very ordinary items of far more recent age.

I look forward to hearing more on how this type of metal object can be tested and the outcome.

All best regards,
Jim
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Old 16th February 2010, 02:36 PM   #11
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Gene, Jonathan and Jim,

Thank you for your posts. I have only seen ingots/mill balls on pictures, so I am not the right one to answer what exactly they look like, so I think Gene should ask Ann what it is. I have however seen the mill balls described like this. “If it has a spherical, or nearly so, form, have a smooth surface then it is very unlikely that it is an ingot.”

If you go to the link above and read post 37 Jeff Pringle gives some of the answer. Here is a short quote, “All steels solidify with a dendritic structure, not just wootz, so that is irrelevant but often comes up because people first hear of crystalline dendrites in steel via wootz.”

Jim, I don’t know what a test would cost, the only thing I have heard is, that it takes some hours of work, so it may be as expensive as the item in question.

Jens
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Old 17th February 2010, 03:58 PM   #12
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Since the last time this topic cropped up I found another photo of an original ingot, and a good illustration or two of the crucibles used to make them (which, of course, define the shape of the ingot ). The easy diagnostic feature on ingots is going to be some evidence of a former meniscus (that curve of the surface that contained liquids have near the edge) where the liquid steel met the crucible wall...here are two real ingots, three crucible shapes and some steel shot from a ball mill, you can see the complete lack of similarity!
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Old 17th February 2010, 04:08 PM   #13
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Jeff, Thank you very much for your post and the pictures.
Form this, there is no doubt what mill balls look like, so you have cleared that problem very well - once an for all .
Jens
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Old 1st March 2010, 03:42 PM   #14
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Default Wootz or Mill balls, open questions.

This is not an attempt to prove that these are wootz ingot or mill balls. It was discussed many times in several forums so I will leave it to the expert to decide. But since I was offering for sale few of these wootz/mill balls I feel I should share with you some facts and findings
I sacrificed one of this balls and submitted it to the good hands of Giora Biran, a blacksmith and a friend and this is what we have done:
The ball was cut into two halves with a disk and one of the faces flattened.





(Please note the crack in the center, also known as “pipe”. I will refer to it later.)

One half was heated to about 800 degrees and hammered down (in several heating cycles) to a flat bar shape:







One face was polished and etched to reveal a very clear pattern:



A small part of the bar was further forged to a small kitchen style blade (more and bigger blades are being worked out now), polished and etched:



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Old 1st March 2010, 03:44 PM   #15
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Default Wootz or Mill balls, open questions (cont.).

The Facts:
1)These balls are definitely coming from India. They are supposedly coming from an old armory but I can not substantiate it.
2) In the pile of several tenth balls that I have seen, many were of quite a symmetrical shape, few of non regular shape and all has the depression on one side.

The findings:
1) These balls were cast in a crucible. The depression and the “pipe” seen on the cut ball is very typical to what happens in the cooling process in the crucible.[br]

2) It is hard steel. We did not measured the exact hardness but Giora estimate it to be (after hardening) around 60

3) The pattern is clear and very similar to what we have seen on Old Indian wootz blades.

The open questions:
1) To start with, why to use cast steel ball for milling? It is far more common to use white cast iron for this task. It has a harder shell and it is definitely cheaper. The milling process require hundreds of balls, so all were cast each in a separate crucible ?? It is quite expensive.
2) In the early 20th C. (the age suggested in a previous thread for this balls) perfect shape balls were easily available, from a variety of materials and sizes. So again why to use crucible cast steel balls?
3) After a short while in the drum the mill balls will definitely get a non regular shape (but will never have the depressions we see here). In the pile of balls I have seen most of the balls had a perfect symmetrical shape. Does this mean that they are all un-used? Below is a photo of two mill balls I personally collected from an abandoned lime stone quarry (abandoned in the 50th). They are made of cast white iron and has the typical shape after use

[br]
4) The chemical composition of the balls may be a key to answer many of the questions. I am planning to do it and I will gladly report further findings

p.s: I had a private correspondence with Jeff Pringle regarding this issue. We are not in agreement and I hope he will post here his opinion.
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Old 3rd March 2010, 01:08 AM   #16
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I feel I must put my foot in here as well.
I was sent one of these ingots by Artzi many years ago I have not forged it as I said I would..it is still in ingot/ball form and I am shamed for not getting to this sooner.
I will have it chemically tested for elements.

While in India I saw many of these at a friend's shop in Udiapur and asked for a sample..it had 14% chromium when tested and did forge out to a nice pattern.
I will post images when I locate them. Some of these balls were as large as oranges others as small as grapes.

Ric
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Old 3rd March 2010, 03:34 PM   #17
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Yes, we have a difference of opinion on these
Regarding the facts:
1) They also come from America, so origin is immaterial
2) The shape is not consistent with ancient ingots, so symmetry or depression also does not matter

Regarding the findings:
1) Definitely NOT cast in a crucible. The depression is the wrong shape to be derived from solidification shrinkage, the internal porosity is in the wrong place to be associated with the depression.
2) & 3) also immaterial

Regarding the open questions:
1) Choice of grinding media is governed by hardness and specific gravity of the material to be crushed, there is no reason to think cast iron is more common. Several types of cast steel shot are commonly available.
2) Because we have evidence of cast steel being used, it clearly must be one of the economically viable options, no need to ask why.
3) This is immaterial, since there is no reason to think they are ingots, why speculate on how they wear away in the mill? But there is no reason to assume the process is not random, generating symmetric and asymmetric forms.
4) This will of course be a good idea!
I admit my opinion is colored by having first run across these in a very non-wootz context, but the shape of the ones sold from India and some of the ones I found at a mine in the US are identical.
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Old 3rd March 2010, 04:23 PM   #18
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Default Testing Crucible steel (wootz)

Jeff you did a great job in answering the questions as well showing us where you got the mill balls.
As to question #4

Below is a extract from an article by Verhoeven, Pendray and W.E. Dauksch, "The Key Role of impurities in Ancient Damascus Steel Blades":

http://www.tms.org/pubs/journals/jo...oeven-9809.html

Take a look at the whole article as it has the pictures and much more information on wootz testing.


The article showers the chemical composition of wootz from several old blades.
A most interesting point is that one of the wootz blades,( sword #8 ) long identified as wootz by the museum as well as others is in fact not wootz at all, according to Verhoeven. Indicating "eye ball" testing of the pattern is NOT the the way to tell wootz from non wootz.
Gene


"THE SWORDS
Figure 2. Macrophotographs of Zschokke sword blades.
A major problem in doing scientific experiments on wootz Damascus steel is the inability to obtain samples for study. Such study requires that the blades be cut into sections for microscopic examination, and small quantities must be sacrificed for destructive chemical analysis. A rare example where museum-quality wootz Damascus blades were donated to science for study is reported in the 1924 paper of Zschokke.13 A famous explorer and collector, Henri Moser, amassed a collection of some 2,000 Damascene blades and donated two daggers and four swords to Zschokke for study. The Moser collection is now displayed in the Berne Historical Museum in Switzerland, and the remaining pieces from the four swords of the Zschokke study remain there. Recently, Ernst J. Kläy of the Berne Museum donated a small sample of each sword for further study to be conducted.
This article presents the results of a study of these four samples. Also, four additional wootz Damascus blades, all thought to be a few hundred years old, have been acquired and are included. Hence, all of the blades studied here are more than two centuries old and were presumably made from wootz steel. These blades are referred to as genuine wootz Damascus blades to differentiate them from the reconstructed wootz Damascus blades made by the technique developed by the authors.


Zschokke Swords
Zschokke identified the four swords of his study as swords 7-10, and the same code is used here. The swords had an original width of around 30 mm. The samples provided were approximately 18 mm wide by 88 mm in length and contained the cutting edge. The surface of the samples were refinished by polishing with fine SiC papers and then etching in ferric chloride. The contrast on the sample's surface was enhanced by applying the ferric chloride with repeated rubbing from a cloth. Figure 2 presents macrographs of the four sword samples; sword 9 has the most distinct pattern.
Pieces were cut from one end of each of the samples with a thin diamond saw. A 2 cm length was cut for chemical-analysis studies, and an 8 mm length sample was used for microstructure analysis. The chemical analyses were done using emission spectroscopy on a calibrated machine at Nucor Steel Corporation. Table I presents the chemical analyses, along with the values reported by Zschokke. Agreement between the analyses done by Zschokke in 1924 and the present data is reasonably good.


Table I. A Comparison of the Current Chemical Analyses with Zschokke's Analyses13*
Sword 7 Sword 8 Sword 9 Sword 10
Material Current Zschokke Current Zschokke Current Zschokke Current Zschokke
C 1.71 1.87 0.65 0.60 1.41 1.34 1.79 1.73
Mn 150 50 1,600 1,590 <100 190 300 280
P 1,010 1,270 1,975 2,520 980 1,080 1,330 1,720
S 95 130 215 320 60 80 160 200
Si 350 490 1,150 1,190 500 620 500 620
* Analyses are given in parts per million by weight, except for C, which is in weight%.


Sword 8 is hypoeutectoid and, therefore, cannot be a true wootz Damascus steel, because such steels will not form Fe3C particles on cooling. Metallographic examination confirmed this expectation and revealed that the surface pattern seen on this sword (Figure 2) was due to ferrite bands in a pearlite matrix. Therefore, this sword will not be considered to be a genuine wootz Damascus sword in the following discussion.
Micrographs of surface and transverse sections of the remaining three swords are shown in Figure 3. The micrographs of the surfaces are, in effect, taper sections through the bands seen on the micrographs of the section views, and, as expected, the widths of the bands are expanded in the surface views."

Last edited by Mare Rosu : 3rd March 2010 at 04:34 PM.
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Old 8th March 2010, 02:18 PM   #19
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Mare don't ignore sword no. 8 ... it exists
-just cause it doesn't support someones patent does not invalidate it... ..

or maybe the ancient smiths ran it through their spectroscope and figured it out ?... wootz ?... or Nootz ?
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Old 8th March 2010, 03:46 PM   #20
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Gt
You make a good point; I was trying to say the same thing.

"A most interesting point is that one of the wootz blades,( sword #8 ) long identified as wootz by the museum as well as others is in fact not wootz at all, according to Verhoeven. Indicating "eye ball" testing of the pattern is NOT the the way to tell wootz from non wootz.."

Explaining further;
Just because a blade has a wootz like pattern does not make it wootz, case in point a "mill ball" made into a blade by Jeff Pringle (above) looks good, with a wootz like pattern, but is it wootz? Jeff say it is not and he made it.
Oriental Arms also made a blade, from a round ball ingot, with a woots like pattern and Oriental Arms said it is wootz.

Blade #8 was wootz until Verhoeven tested it to HIS standard and declared it was not wootz. Until then most folks said it was wootz and some even today still do.

This all begs the question; what is wootz? Surely not just the pattern.
their is more to it than what the eye can see. That leaves only testing to make the case is it wootz? or non wootz?
In my opinion that was what Verhoeven, Pendray and others was trying to establish, a base line of testing to use to determine " true wootz" from all the look a likes.

Let's not forget the question, that Jens asked when he started this thread, basically where did all these round ingots, the round balls so called mill ball come from and are they woots or not?

There will always be a difference of opinion on most subjects, so a lively discussion here is a good way to establish at least some sort of base line for wootz, at least to most of the folks here on the forum satisfaction.

If one has a blade that he bought as woots and likes it, who is to say to him it is not wootz. He may be disillusioned about it but it is his and he is happy with it, who cares?

I have PM Dr Ann Feuerbach for her help.
Gene
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Old 8th March 2010, 04:18 PM   #21
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I find the latest development very interesting, and would like to ask those of you who work with the metal, and who sometimes get it tested a question.

Is the way Verhoeven and Pendray tests the metal the same in every laboratory, or does each laboratory have their own tests?
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Old 9th March 2010, 04:14 AM   #22
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The interesting thing about sword 8 to me is that it looks like sham wootz, the banding seems similar in certain significant respects – my theory is that sham is a (comparatively) low carbon pattern, and if more sham blades were tested they would bear this out. But most of the tested blades are of the Persian or Indian ultra high carbon patterns.
Jens, there are several standard methods of determining alloy content, the Verhoeven paper mentions using emission spectroscopy, which is the commonest method, my lab does that as well. They call it OES for ‘optical emission spectroscopy’.
Another way to look at the info in Gene’s previous post is in terms of ranges, a later Verhoeven paper summarizes the previously published data on wootz thusly:
C 1.0-1.87%
Mn 0.005-0.014%
Si 0.005-0.11%
S 0.007-0.038%
P 0.026-0.206%
Cu 0.03-0.18%
Cr <0.01%
Ni 0.008-0.07%

So if one were to analyze some metal and find it far outside these ranges (especially if it was elements other than carbon which is fairly easy to move) there would have to be some other good reason (like solid provenance) to include it in the wootz pile, sword 8 not withstanding. The old steel was a very clean steel, not easy to replicate in modern industrial practice.
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Old 11th March 2010, 01:04 PM   #23
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Jeff, thank you for your explanation.

It’s a heavy subject when you are not used to it. I also tried to Google on the subject ‘Mill balls’ and I got 46800 links – enough to satisfy everyone.
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