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Thread: Alchemical Blacksmithing

  1. #11
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    Great thinking Luxus, what makes you think this will produce the true darmascus. It sounds plausible, your method although you are missing one important ingredient. Vanadium. True Damascus contains vanadium.

    For those who don't know, Damascus steel was an old steel that shows supieror forging techniques than no one can replicate in this day and age (some Germans have found forging techniques of te same quality but it is still not authentic Damascus)

    In this day and age, we replicate the beautiful look of ancient Damascus steel with a technique called "pattern welding"
    Pattern welding is the modern day rip off of Damascus steel, however it is openly known that this is a false recreation.

    True Damascus is a wonderful thing. Worth it's weight in gold back at the time, Damascus steel is where game of thrones gets it's inspiration for 'valerian steel'

    Supieror strength as well as beauty (Damascus has beautiful patterns in the steel)

    Literally NO ONE (officially) knows how to make it anymore. Literally a dead secret. No one has been able to reproduce it, not even million dollar German facilities.

    While pattern welding has an even supieror beauty than true Damascus, it does not have the increased strength that TRUE Damascus steel has.

    Now that we've started the morning on a blacksmithing rave, I'm going on a massive blacksmithing shopping spree

    (MASSIVE!)

    I look forward in the years to come, posting pictures of epic alchemically prepared blade, swords ect.

    Love it.
    Don't you?
    Join me; on a voyage of stupidity, and self discovery: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_c...&v=vccZSHroTG4

  2. #12
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    Elixirmixer, Microscopic examination of ancient Damascus steel has shown that it contains carbon nano tubes. I doubt vanadium was used in ancient blades and my interest was to figure out how they could have made it in ancient times. I have a small collection of Indonesian keris which are pattern welded, pattern welding isn't really Damascus steel.

    So how are we going to make carbon nano tubes using ancient materials. First we need to make iron nano particles on which carbon nanotubes will grow. If you study ancient Indian metallurgy you will find they believed in purifying the ore first by all kinds of weird operations such as pickling and boiling in herbal mixtures. It was this purifying step that accidentally produced these iron nanoparticles. They did not add carbon black to the iron to make steel, if you do this you will not succeed in making carbon nanoparticles because the carbon particles are too big, you need an alternative carbon source. I believe they must have used a liquid carbon source such as honey or oil.

    So what you are doing here is first you are using a corrosive to pickle some of the iron into the solution (they would have used vinegar or lime juice I believe). Then you need to add an antioxidant which would have been in the form of a filtered tea (no herb must enter the mixture, just the juice). I just suggested oak bark which is chemically similar to green tea. A reaction will occur and you will now have a solution containing iron nano particles on which you can now grow your carbon nano tubes. Next you add your liquid carbon source honey calculated for carbon concentration. The liquid mixture along with the Iron to be melted is now all added into the crucible to be heated. Cap the crucible with a tile and put a weight on top to limit oxygen. As the heat increases the honey will carbonise and attach itself to the iron nano particles producing carbon nanotubes. As the Iron melts and converts to steel you now have steel impregnated with carbon nanotubes giving it superior edge and flexibility. People have tried making Damascus steel but where they went wrong is using a solid carbon source without the presence of iron nano tubes. I guess they have found a way to get similar looking effect by adding vanadium but its not true Damascus. Vanadium wasn't a metal even known to ancient peoples.

  3. #13
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    Thats really cool, the process you just shared to impregnate steel with carbon-nano tubes. Very epic indeed. Is this the full process? Are there any other steps I should know about? Cheers.
    Join me; on a voyage of stupidity, and self discovery: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_c...&v=vccZSHroTG4

  4. #14
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    That is the full process however you will have to play around with temperature and length of heating/quenching to get the desired surface crystallisation but thats after you have forged it into a blade.

  5. #15
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    Luxus, this has been invaluable... researching home made nano tubes as we speak.
    Join me; on a voyage of stupidity, and self discovery: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_c...&v=vccZSHroTG4

  6. #16
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    Any ancient iron produced by the traditional smelting methods is going to render a "steel" with other impurities in it. You're right that the ancients didn't know about these other metals, but that wouldn't stop them from occasionally working their way into the final product.

    The traditional smelt is constructed from clay, and filled with layers of ore and coke, and fired with the burning of the mixture. Obviously, you had to use chunks to get airflow, and a pipe is placed in the bottom. You let it burn until you hear bubbling, which means that the slag is melting off. Then a hole is punched in the bottom of the smelter, and the slag drains off. The next step is to destroy the smelter, remove the iron "sponge," and hammer it down into an ingot before it cools.

    The coke or coal you use, and the ratio of coal to iron gave ancient "irons" and "steels" varying qualities, and blacksmiths guarded the recipes, handing them down to their apprentices. Other processes may have involved adding other things to the smelter, different construction techniques, etc. But when that sponge comes out, be ready to smash it down.

    It's also interesting to note, anyone who has hot-welded anything knows that flux is pretty much necessary to get a good bond. Maybe something in the dirt coated the sponge, or another impurity from the coal. My research didn't discuss fluxing in the process of making ingots. And I'm also sorry that I can't provide sources. There's a few guys practicing this in the US, I think one of them talks about it on a website somewhere, but it's been so long that I can't remember.

    Your furnace probably won't put off enough smoke during the working the "carbonize" the iron, depending on the source, but Iron will readily absorb carbon into its lattice at the right temperatures, as well as many other things. Borax iirc makes a good flux if you want to try hot-welding, and it's easy to find.

    The biggest thing you want in quenching fluid is the opposite of what water has, a high thermal rate. Cooling iron (or steel) too quickly results in matensite, and it can be soft enough that you can break it in your hand. I've done this with spring steel by quenching it too fast while working it. Milder steels don't have as much of a problem, and depending on what you're working with, you can actually quench some in water. If you are using rock-hard steel, then some oils are going to work a lot better than others.

    Good luck to you. Let the hammer do the work

  7. #17
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    Dragons Tail,

    The process you talk about was used to produce sponge Iron but Damascus steel is a "crucible steel" ie it is made in a sealed crucible into which the ingredients are added.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crucible_steel

    Elixirmixer , only thing I might change is the antioxidant used, I might experiment with peppermint tea as it is a very strong antioxident or mix oak bark and peppermint together.

    You could always cheat too by buying carbon nanotubes on ebay and adding them to Iron

  8. #18
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    Another great aspect of this work that will come about are new lubricants for specialised engineering purposes. I noticed that when I made Oil of Sodium, it had certain magnetic properties that made it attract to other metals, like they advertise for car oils 'sticking' to your engine parts. Would be really interesting to see how effective these oils are in regards to protecting machinery.

    You'd think all these great mind on here could come together and make some money....

    Anyway, getting a drill press and metal lathe so I can start making epic swords.

    Good morning.
    Join me; on a voyage of stupidity, and self discovery: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_c...&v=vccZSHroTG4

  9. #19
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    I stand corrected. The last time I researched this, there was so much fluff about "Damascus Steel" that it was hard to sort out the facts. According to wiki, that's been resolved somewhat. There's a recipe for Wootz production into ingots on there, supposedly from just before production stopped, giving very specific plant matter that was added to the pot.

    To reproduce it, the originating steel, the forging technique, and the heat treatment would have to be replicated. I'm not sure it's worth the work, myself. But it sounds interesting.

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