Mittwoch, 13. Februar 2013

The quest for the "Brackersfelder Knopmetz" - an iron hike

 Kai called the other day if I was in the mood for a hike and some looting and pillaging;-), and it turns out I was;-). So he fetched me by car and we drove out into the hills.
 By the road we found woodworking bum´s paradise....
 We were not exactly sure what wood this was, but it looked great for sure, and Kai took home a huge pile of it. I took a piece of dog rose wood (rosa canina). Then we made for the city of Breckerfeld to do a bimble on the historical trail too have a lookout if we could find signs of the old Hanse trail, ruins and geological info on the iron ore and the potential steel quality of the famed "Breckerfelder" iron ore.
 This certainly is no iron ore, but it hinted we were on the right path, for the red ochre in it hints of bog iron ore. At least in the find context of Breckerfeld it does. It was a bit tricky, for it had snowed and little was visible.
 The historical trail lies somewhat submerged in the underbrush, and it was quite difficult to follow. Here we paused to take a look at the creek, and there we found some first examples of bog iron ore.
 The trail lead into the thicket, and since it´s not quite fair to shy away animals in winter, we did not venture any farther.
 In the next creek we found this very interesting piece of ore. Its frontside was a rich rust-coloured red, and the backside was a quartz stone. Processing this ore would have meant that the resulting steel would have a silicium content. Silicium makes a steel more flexible while reducing the size of carbides. Nearby we found some more stones with a hint of Manganese. The secret of the Breckerfelder steel, provided this ore (of which I found several examples) was processed at a larger scale, would then be a very fine crystalline structure and material properties similar to 1.2842, O1 or common spring steel, depending on the contents. No wonder it became a legend in that time. A steel like this would have provided a high degree of flexibility and a fine edge.

[edit:]I also learned that Manganese might also be responsible for a Carbide-buildup which is characteristical for Wootz steel, which is famed for its edge-holding and flexibility properties!
 In the creek we found some beautiful ice crystals I simply want to share.
 We passed by the ancient cabin and this huge spruce, ancient and benevolent guided us farther into the valley.
 More bog iron ore and more ice crystals.

 See the greenish side of the left piece of ore-it´s mossy quartz.

 In the creek, life well prospers. I take those to be leeches and water worms. I know much too little about the fauna in creeks and want to learn more about them. Of course I put the stones back into the creek!
 Then we drove home. The next day I went there again. Forgot my camera, but this is what I found there:
 An ingot! I will try to forge a blade from it....

Watch this space, the quest has just begun!

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