Yesterday, March 25th 2011, marks the 190 year anniversary for Greek independence day, so I thought it would be an auspicious date to make some true damascus - wootz steel.
And I did!
Into the crucible went 800gr of mostly wrought iron, 570 gr of GG40 cast iron, and 10gr of Vanadis10 steel to add roughly a gram of vanadium. Some organic matter and a broken beer bottle for glass, and fire it up!
Below you see the setup for the melt. I used my huge forced air propane burner, and managed to melt it all in less than an hour. I have to get some protective dark glasses to be able to see what's going on inside the furnace, as at 1500 or 1600 C it's a bit like looking into the sun.
Anyway, here a closeup of the surface. I believe I can see some really fine dendrites!
I'll cut up a couple of pieces and try to forge them out. Wish me luck.
Again, for those who have no idea of what I'm talking about, let's say that wootz steel in the true damascus steel, a technique that was lost somewhere around the 19th century, and only now being rediscovered around the world.
and my previous post on the subject with a good Scientific American piece on true damascus steel