Secrets of Damascus steel

Not all steel designs — Bulat!

Peter Anosov, Russian mining engineer, to rediscover the secret of Damascus steel

Bulat appreciated. He was a big fan of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich. He strongly encouraged the search for ores and device «receiver-mill» plants. In the Moscow Armory kept many weapons of that time with Damascus blades and ornate, which is listed in the description as «Moscow business.» We came to us and some documents that allow even mention the names of armourers forged Damascus steel swords of Indian iron. «Akatov, Maul — saber business owner — did damask two swords in the second half of the XVII century.» «Constantine, Fedor — dospeshny master» makes personal use of the king «and batarets butyrlyki red damask steel in 1643″ — recorded in the inventory of the Moscow Armory. It is known that Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich specially sent to Astrakhan for the three boys’ teachings damask saber bands and armored case. » However, after the death of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich all sorts of information about Moscow Bulat dropped.

So, everywhere we are looking for a way to produce Damascus steel, as a rule, by experiments, but no one represented the physics and chemistry of the process. Russian mining engineer and metallurgist Pavel Petrovich Anosov in the twenties X! X century set out to unravel the mystery of Damascus steel. In their search for Anosov began to study the production of Georgia Damascus, which, as we know, at the time mistakenly called Bulat. Especially good were the saber blades forged in Tiflis. PP Anosov by famous Georgian masters K. Elizarashvili managed in 1828 to get all the information about the production of «Georgian Damascus steel.» K. Elizarashvili, or as it is called in Russian, Elizarov, even agreed to train some craftsmen from Chrysostom to his art. To him it was sent the German Schaff, Purusuziantsa Armenian and two Russian masters — Butshueva and Yuzhakova.

They reported that «Georgian Bulat» was made so. I undertook a piece of pure iron and a piece of steel. They are welded and repeatedly obkovyvali, prisypaya sand. Everything was done by eye, without instrumentation and analysis. But the more complex and higher was art. Optimal measure time, temperature, weight, proportions were determined based on the experience of many generations, and the master himself.

After quenching the blade cleaned and polished with emery powder lime stick. And in order to better pattern emerged, guns were placed for 12-20 minutes in a solution of alum. Other artists in the Caucasus had their own techniques and different tricks. For example, forging billet could sprinkle iron powder instead of sand. Wise and quenching. Especially Amosov envoys struck a moment. During the forging of the blade from the forge he stood ready and waiting for a rider when the smith give him a hand-hot in the furnace of the future sword blade. The rider grabbed his thick gloves and a place indulged gallop, flying on a horse at full gallop, lifting the blade over sex. Steel Was Tempered rapid movement of air. Such saber at a certain impact force could cut off the head of a bull.

It was a lovely blades, but as it turned out to true Bulat they had no relationship. Elizarov could not forge a real, not welded Damascus steel. To do this, he needed to «Indian iron», but what it is, he really did not know. Not surprisingly, he returned to Chrysostom, his students have been unable to forge a damask without «Indian iron.» Anosova the welds are not interested, but a real damask.

In the Caucasus, as in his time in Russia, were able only to heat a ready damask mass to a temperature at which the pattern is not lost, and knew how to strip must be forged. An art in itself considerable. But these swords are rarely met. Conventional weapons forged from welding or blades were subjected to various imitation damask. There just was no way to put on the blade image damask pattern!

«… Not all steel designs — wrote PP Anosov — should be called Bulat.

In 1837, lengthy research and a huge work remarkable mining engineer and metallurgist been successful. At Zlatoust factory it was finally made the first blade out of the Damascus steel. «The band became bent without any damage, making a clean and high ringing. Polished end crumbled best English chisels, while tempered — easy to take shape, and cuts cleanly and smoothly. » As Anosov damask pattern resembled the best damask East — Khorasan, with a dark ground, distinct large white pattern and a golden sheen.

Article PP Anosov, «On the Bulat» was published in «Mining Journal» number 1 for 1841 and instantly translated into French and German. It caused a sensation throughout the world. Anosov ahead in this matter unsuccessfully worked Clouet and French-Degran Gyurzhey, Italian professor Krivel, English gunsmith Dyupeyna scientist Michael parade and many others.

When Anosova asked what is the damask, and what was the secret of its production, he replied: «The iron and carbon, nothing more. It’s all about the purity of the starting materials in the method of cooling in the crystallization. » As it turned out, damask — it is only a high-carbon steel. All experiments Anosov and foreign scientists for adding aluminum to iron, manganese, chromium, tungsten, silver and gold to platinum gave nothing, these alloys had nothing to Bulat. Best Paul Anosov damask blade was made according to the following recipe: 12 pounds Tagil iron, 1 pound of English graphite spool 24 scale, 24 spool dolomite. All this is melted in the crucible 5 hours 30 minutes. Metal forging was soft, stretched in cold strip was heated from hammer blows.

And then comes the mystery of crystallization and the formation of the pattern. Involuntarily the question arises: why now we do not use Bulat? We do not now need swords and daggers, but if we are so well known technology, cooking Damascus steel, why not use this remarkable steel for penknives, for a variety of cutting tools, finally, just for razors? Such a razor — the dream of every man.

Pavel Anosov in 1841 could not imagine that, in what ways will be developed in the future industrial production and metallurgy. In those days it was impossible to even suggest that metals could in a hundred years to get such a development. Anosov believed that after its opening damask enter into general use, they will use wherever required his wonderful qualities, and replace Bulat «English has become expensive.» But the famous Russian metallurgist wrong.

Bulat was too expensive. The complexity and duration of manufacturing demand from the master not only a good knowledge of the craft, but this high art. And art and production, art and line method — are incompatible. Where is the plan and the flow begins, there ends the art. Therefore, this Damascus steel in wide scale is not made. That’s why every damask blade come down to us from antiquity — is not only a work of art for us, but also a monument to the history and culture of the people who created it.

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