Wootz Crucible Steel


Below is a method I used for making wootz many years ago. I have refined the technique since this series of images, but it is useful as a general visual guide.

This was part of a study that a student, Matt Harsh, of Northwestern University did on my wootz in 2001.

The furnace door while at a temperature of ~3000 F.

The crucibles must "cook" for over three hours so I kill time cutting some wood with Ric's 200 year-old Tulwar.

Finally the crucibles are removed after a slow furnace cool.

Getting the newly-formed wootz ingots out of the crucibles can be tricky. Ric uses a chisel and hammer for persuasion.

Unfortunately, most of the crucibles broke in the removal process and could not be reused. Here the ingot can be seen in the bottom of the crucible.

The four wootz ingots.

In order fot the ingots to be forged, they must be contained. Ric accomplishes this by welding a cylinder around the ingot by wrapping it in sheet steel and then capping it.

The ingot is now inside this cylinder. A handle is also welded on.

The cylinder is then heated and forged on a hydraulic press.

Once Ric feels like the material is properly "moving" under the press, the box is removed and forging continues. Here the original ingot shape is compared with the shape at this stage.

The 1.5% C ingot cracked during forging and the cracks had to be ground down.

After grinding, the ingot is reheated and forging continues.

Power hammer forging is used at this stage to flatten the ingot further.

Hand forging with is also used to more accurately feel the way the material is flowing.

After forging is completed, Ric belt-polishes the forgings down to a 400 grit finish in preparation for etching.

©2001 Matthew Harsh All Rights Reserved.


I have been making wootz for over 13 years.

This piece is for sale..contact me for details.


Wootz Sword Destruction 2001

This three part video documents some of my past research into wootz steel. Through the destruction of an old Indian wootz sword blade much information was gained. Here you have the history of wootz as well as description of  its metallurgy.

Samples were taken and bend tested under controlled conditions yielding interesting results for both the old wootz as well as my modern material. Chemical analysis and photo micrographs were also done which will be included in a Wootz Crucible Steel Instructional DVD scheduled for 2011 release. The DVD will include new information and show you how you can make wootz for your own blade work.

Hardness Testing of Old Wootz Blades in Jodhpur, India 2007 by Drs. Alan Williams and David Edge of  “The Wallace Collection” London


Five Day Wootz Making Class 2010.

This is the general style and flow of the classes I teach on wootz. Check class listing for times.

This video was shot by Dr. Ann Feuerbach. Drs. David Edge and Alan Williams of The Wallace Collection in London are shown using a Vickers micro hardness tester on India steel Blades.

This was part of an Arms and Armour conference held at Mehrangarh Fort, located in Jodhpur city,Rajasthan state in Feb/March 2007.

Robert Elgood stands on the left and I next to him.

Many papers were presented at this conference and there were plans for all to be written up at some point by R. Elgood.

More information on this can be read on my website in the blog area on India.

These were all "good" blades, some have been in the family since they were made. Note that in this particular case the two wootz blades (first video and first part of second video) were harder than the last sword in the second video which was pattern-welded. This should be used as a guide and not an across the board illustration since there were bloomery blades which tested in the high 500's as well. One such blade was a European Ferrara blade.

One modern Indian smith had a pattern welded blade he made which was 100-120 vickers...so suffice it to say that hardness can differ a lot..as we all know, but it is good to state.

Some 40 blades were tested in all I think...I have photos of the first blade handed back to the interesting looking Indian gentleman with the colorful turban (have a look in the Indian Blog area for photos)


More wootz research is coming soon

Second blade in this video is Pattern Welded steel most likely from bloomery process not crucible process

Wootz crucible steel blade

students wootz

Student wootz 2010