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Old 28th June 2020, 04:12 PM   #13
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Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: Eastern Sierra
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Originally Posted by ariel
Generally, Caucasian bladesmiths did not work with wootz at all. The exception to the rule was Geurk Eliarov ( Elizarov, Elizarashvili) who used Indian ingots and very questionably, his son Kahraman.
Although I have a Georgian bulat (wootz ) blade. A very similar twin of it is in the Hermitage museum and you can see it in the Miller's book " Kaukasiske vabben..." , but no wootz is mentioned. Miller dated it to the early 18th century, well before Eliarov's birth.
Thus, we still may not know the whole story.
In the 19th century, Daghestani baldesmiths , the main blade manufacturers for the entire Caucasus, avoided orders for mechanical damascus blades like a plague. They viewed them as too expensive in terms of coal requirements and time/ effort consuming.

As to Anosov.... He worked for many years trying to make bulat, including using crushed diamond as a source of carbon, but nothing came out of it. Suddenly, a Russian Captain Massalsky was sent to Persia, and brought back a full description of the process. Both Massalsky and Anosov's papers were published in the same issue of the Russian metallurgical journal, and from that moment Anosov started mass producing what he called "bulat of the best Persian patterns". Regretfully, all the existing Anosov's blades show low-contrast Sham at the most. Personally, I am not sure that Anosov "rediscovered" the secret of bulat. At the most, he got instructions received from Persian masters how to obtain ingots ( of whatever quality), but was totally clueless about the secrets of forging. He sent a "bulat" yataghan as a gift to Faraday together with very flattering letter, but one can see small smudges of something vaguely resembling bulat only at the tip of the blade. Faraday never responded to Anosov's letter.
I remember my grandfather giving me a synopsis of Anosov as a late teen and being captivated and caught up in his dream of ultra high carbon steels of over 1% that were both hard and tough. Unfortunately I was a bit too lazy to create my own bloomery to try to replicate the process. Anosov's claims were astounding and 30 years later seem to have been proven unfounded. Even if I had created an ingot I would have worked it at too high a temp and lost the pattern or tried to harden it and lost the pattern that way because that was the tradition I knew and could not have imagined any other process. The cost of coal for that endeavor was a bit beyond my means as well at the time as all my money was being put into school. Stress cracking blades in differential hardening experiments was already heartbreaking enough. ;(

Massalsky I don't know or remember at all. I will put him on my list of things to learn about.

The Caucassian kindjal did not seem to use the red bulat often from what I've read in contemporary sources. Conversely Y. Miller, Caucasian Arms... does call a fair few of the blades in his book bulat steel. Some are obviously imported blades, ex. plate 41. Do you know if there was a significant tradition of wootz being used by Persian or Turkish (I've read Turkish wootz kindals were much more common) smiths for their qamas? Plate 43 of the same book being an example that I have always wondered if the blade was produced elsewhere outside the Caucasus and decorated in Tiflis. You have gotten to handle more of these blades than I ever will so please forgive my badgering.

Finally, where did the Dagestanies got their steel? Did they begin to import large amounts of European raw materials? It seems if they were still producing bloomery steel lamination would not have gone out of fashion.

PS. Back to the original question of the thread; Could the pattern in the blade featured in this thread be "Large, visible martensite crystals" Rivkin, arms & Armor... p. 70, figure 6?

Sorry for a lack of documenting pictures or scans in this post. If I get a chance I will fix it.
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