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Old 27th April 2016, 11:02 PM   #1
Roland_M
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Default Katar with massive wootz blade

Hello everybody,

Here is an Indian Katar, maybe the highest quality blade in my collection.
The massive Blade is 23 cm long, 7 cm wide at the base and ~10 mm thick at the thickest point. With a weight 750 Gramm ( 26.5 oz.) this Katar is very heavy. It is more a very short sword than a dagger. This Katar was used very intensively, the cutting edges have many tiny nicks, the point was slightly deformed.

I don’t know how the bars are attached. All I can say is that they are not attached from outside and not glued from inside.

The condition when I received it was a very well base for a restoration. I decided to apply a mirror finish on the cutting edges and a darker finish in the chiseled areas.

The polishing and the etching letting a nice pattern appear, very fine spheroidized wootz.
I added some macro pictures of the pattern.


Best wishes and every comment is welcome!
Roland
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Old 27th April 2016, 11:03 PM   #2
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Some macro pictures.
Microscopic fine wootz with a chaotic pattern. Too detailed to see all details with the bare eyes.
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Old 27th April 2016, 11:26 PM   #3
A. G. Maisey
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The bars appear to have been cut from a single block of iron, and an oblong plate left at each end, the oblong plate has been recessed into the vertical bars and probably forge welded into place.
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Old 28th April 2016, 12:49 AM   #4
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I believe that some of these little "spheres" are called pearlite. This happens to some wootz in the process of manufacture. I had a small Mughal kard once that had pearlite just like this in the wootz blade.
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Old 28th April 2016, 01:13 AM   #5
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The pattern almost looks like stone in some places.
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Old 28th April 2016, 01:51 AM   #6
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Beautiful Indian wootz!

Persians figured out how to make "twisted" patterns, likely by adjusting the direction and the force of pounding. The dendrites were "arranged" in a controlled fashion. Old Indian wootz was exactly like Roland's katar: they just pounded the hell out of it, breaking the dendrites into small fragments. Only in ~ 17th century did they start producing Persian variety: the Mughals imported Persian masters and the standards of beauty have shifted to the more elaborately organized patterns.

I have been told by the bladesmiths that mechanically Indian wootz was heads and shoulders better than the Persian one. This is, of course, purely theoretical assertion: AFAIK, no head-to-head competition was ever conducted. Even funnier, I am unaware of any similar test versus mechanical damascus or even high-carbon monosteel:-)

Anyone here has such information?
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Old 28th April 2016, 02:34 AM   #7
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I cannot comment on wootz as I have never worked with it, but I have made a lot of mechanical damascus and high carbon steel blades, the high carbon blades were mostly 01 and spring steel from vehicle springs.

In cutting tests on manilla rope a properly heat treated damascus blade will always cut longer and sharpen more easily than either 01 or spring steel (which could be any one of a dozen different steels).

With small damascus blades intended for use as skinning knives I usually did not draw the temper, so the 01 layers in the damascus remained very hard, and this sort of treatment gives an edge that will last for a very long time and come back to a very sharp working edge easily on only a butchers steel.

With larger damascus blades I always draw the temper, and this sort of edge does not last as long as with an undrawn edge, but it is much tougher.

High carbon steel must be drawn always, and if you draw to a yellow/blue, it doesn't matter how carefully you sharpen, the edge will never last for as long, nor be as easy to sharpen as is the case with any damascus blade.

I do believe that modern high carbon alloy steels might outperform a damascus blade, but they are very much more difficult to sharpen, sometimes to the point where they need to be sent back to the maker to sharpen.
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Old 28th April 2016, 03:06 AM   #8
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Thanks Alan!
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Old 28th April 2016, 03:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
Beautiful Indian wootz!

I have been told by the bladesmiths that mechanically Indian wootz was heads and shoulders better than the Persian one. This is, of course, purely theoretical assertion: AFAIK, no head-to-head competition was ever conducted. Even funnier, I am unaware of any similar test versus mechanical damascus or even high-carbon monosteel:-)

Anyone here has such information?


Hello Ariel,

It appears the Persians themselves appreciated wootz with finer watering patterns, and most Indian wootz displays finer pattern. However, from everything I know, this is purely anecdotical.

Besides, there is hard to charactersie something like "Indian Wootz" because in India they made a wide variety of Wootz from rather low quality, to extremely high quality (but let's keep it in mind that Wootz was surpassed in quality by European steels as early as 17 century (or maybe even earlier).
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Old 28th April 2016, 05:53 PM   #10
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Thanks very much for all the explanations! I read them carefully and learned many new informations.

According to the wonderful and very valuable Dissertation of Anna Feuerbach "Crucible Steel in Central Asia" one can see the quality of a wootz blade by its shine.

"The shine is the lustre, or perhaps glittering appearance of the sword. The sheen can be absent (Piakowski, 1976, 239) or range in color from reddish to a golden color, which is the highest Quality (Bogachev, 1952, 40)." (Tatton, 1880, 60)

This Katar is from the golden type, clearly visible already during the polishing, if the abrasive cloth has a grit of at least 8000, better 12000. The effect was strong enough, to hide the whole pattern.


Roland
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Old 28th April 2016, 07:58 PM   #11
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Hello Roland,

not the area of my collecting but have to say that it is beautiful dagger. The chiseled middle of the blade is very nice worked. The same is to say about the remaining koftgari work! A very heavy dagger, I really glad that I was able to handle it.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 28th April 2016, 09:29 PM   #12
Jens Nordlunde
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Roland,

You have a very nice katar. I dont envy you, but I wished it was mine - and I am very fond of katars :-).
There are some things related to some of the katars I have, which makes me believe that they must come from the same area. However, I am researching it, so I will not théll more at the moment.

Jens
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Old 29th April 2016, 04:16 PM   #13
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Hello Jens,

Thank you for your comment. I have one additional picture, which is worth to show. The Katar have a very interesting pattern from differential hardening.
The area around the point on both sides looks like an arrow with two small barbed hooks.

Also my best wishes to Detlef! I hope, the loss of your favourite cat do not hurt you too much.

Roland
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Old 29th April 2016, 04:38 PM   #14
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