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Wootz steel is quite a paradox. It has no fixed recipe or steel composition. Yet it was a material of choice for many generations of blade smiths and warriors.

Quite often wootz is called "Wootz Damascus". This is not an accurate definition. It is based on the visible pattern on the polished and etched steel that may resemble some Damascus patterns. The main differences in genuine Wootz Steel and Damascus Steel are the technology and the steel composition.

Wootz normally has much higher carbon content than Damascus.

Wootz steel has not been forge welded like Damascus, it comes form a crucible as an ingot.

So what makes the Wootz steel so valuable and attractive? I would put the steel quality on the first place. It does not meant than the wootz blade will out perform the modern heavily alloyed steels. Unfortunately it will not. The wootz also will rust if it was made the same way as thousands of years ago. So what "magical" qualities may make wootz the material of choice for a blade smith? Wootz steel is extremely good in cutting. It was the best choice when most of the armor was made of leather or hides.

Wootz blade will cut and may self sharpen to some extend. The secret is in the steel structure. Wootz Steel consist of relatively soft and very tough matrix saturated with fine grains of very hard and abrasive particles called cementite ( in some cases carbides). The matrix make the blade very tough. It is hard to break a wootz blade. It will rather bend than snap. During a fight or other use the soft matrix will wear off; exposing new, fresh, hard particles that will cut. The blade will continue to cut until the geometry of the edge will allow.

I think that the wootz era has ended because of two possible reasons. Firstly because steel armor became much better and tougher. It required very hard and massive steel swords to get through. The second reason was the tradition to relocate the best blade smiths from conquered countries. When blade smiths were separated from their local ore supplies they could not adjust the technology at new location fast enough. There could have been many more different reasons that we do not know.

Year by year the secrets of the technology were lost. Nowadays the very few blacksmiths and blade smiths are trying to rebuild it and rediscover those lost secrets. Wootz process is very complex and a lot of small details may have huge impact on the final product. That is the main reason why there is no two equal blades or no fixed recipe. If two different smiths will make the blade using the same ore, the same charcoal and other ingredients they will produce very much different blades.

Every minor detail matters. The clay that was used for the crucible, the weather, the local water quality and even the time of the day. I have to admit that so far I can not guarantee that I can make a wootz blade on demand at any time. It is a challenge and sometimes a torture. I had up to a dozen of failed melts with no ingot at the end. I had dozens of ingots forged to the stage when they broke and no blades were made. But with years of experience I started to understand this technology. Piece by piece, step by step. I am as far from the full understanding as the Moon from the Earth.

But I am on my way. Every wootz blade that I make I test. I can not promise that it will be the toughest and the hardest. It will not last forever, or show you the way home no magic there. But each blade will be full of hard work and my soul. I believe people still are able to appreciate this.

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