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Mittwoch, 21. Juni 2017

Lo and behold the wonders of wood and water!

 I am deeply grateful. Yes, people tend to complain a lot these days. It´s the weather, of course. When the sun is shining, they complain it´s too hot and the summers were different in ´em days. When it rains, the weather´s always so foul. There are a lot of other things people rant on and need so desperately they get in a foul mood if they can´t get it.

It´s hot outside, yes. And I cannot understand them, and what bewilders me is that we are moving on altogether different paths. When I talked to an old mountainbiking friend of mine with whom I made reconnaissance only but recently, he was utterly confused why I was content riding my old battered bike. Of course he owns a pedelec, an enduro bike and a lot of fun stuff to have. He is an avid skier, too, and time was when I enjoyed skiing a lot. No, I freely admit, I can´t afford that anymore, as well as all that other stuff, and while I miss the times it is the attitude of thinking THAT a problem. It is with a hint of nostalgia that I look at these times, and talking to him lets me feel a warm memory as well as pity. Pity for a society that needs to heap up commercial things in order to be happy. One might argue that I discuss my needs away. I am legally poor, of course, there is no denying the fact, and the hard and sorry truth is that it is not easy to make a living the way I try to do it. And when I falter, or become sick, my situation as well as my pride will most certainly lead to my demise. But there´s the trap: I have not yet died. And while I am alack of a whole lot of things, I realized that there are things of far higher value just waiting around the corner. But I could not even make myself understood to this friend of mine, and please take note that I have tried long and hard. I have always tried. But what I realize is that we do not talk on even levels, society and I. People blindly run around like chicken in the slaughtering den. They run from manmade problem to manmade problem, entangled in a cunning trap the nocturnal predators, the rulers of the human world, have set for them, and they go into it voluntarily. Getting away would be so easy and yet they cling to being hurt and anxious and live in fear and awe. Lobbyism is said to be dangerous for our democracy, and I daresay it is, but what I see working with politicians and other oligarchs is that they most absurdly and ridiculously entagle themselves in their own traps. Their actions do not make the slightest of sense; it is all but one big mimickry. I see a war in which we all are engaged, but in the end, it is a laughing matter, a conflict that now is fought for decades and centuries even, over a name. I see prophets of doomsday prosper and yell at each other over details in the schedule when exactly mankind will die. It is like a geese den. The geese squeek and squail at each other and hit themselves over one grain of barley, while outside, the fox, breaks into a wicked grin. The geese are fat and immobile... because the farmer wants them that way. The fox is lean and mean and hungry, and he could not care less for all the squailing and the noise they make. And even if the geese are mean to each other-the other world will break into their slaughtering pen mean and wicked. This is what I see, and refuse to take part.   
 This is the other world made flesh. No, no fairy tales abound here, if you cannot see them. There is elf shit at the end of the rainbow, and it looks exactly like shit. The mountain will still be a mountain, and it won´t open to give you access to the dwarven kingdom. But if you don´t insist on the traditional, if you do not remain fixed on the words of a fairy tale alone, chance is, it will happen to you out here. But when you learn to understand the language of these fairy tales... have to make a sacrifice. This sacrifice is the words of a world at war with itself. This sacrifice is your longings and needs. Oh, yes, in a tiny part of your mind you will still have them, and they will still be important. You won´t be a hermit all of a sudden, no holy man, and there will be no flash of enlightenment. The sacrifice, to be true, is exactly this expectation. You won´t have any power all of a sudden. You won´t make things happen.
 Things will happen to you. This is frightening and enlightening in one, and yap, this is the reason why I find it hard to commune with a whole lot of people these days.
 So again I went into the woods today and was in for a big surprise..

It is soothing not to talk when talk is not given. It is soothing that the creek  runs like it always did. The flowers and the trails and the reeds and the sun tell a story without words, and no words are needed to understand the language of this fairy tale. Only when you understand this language of silence will the gates to the dwarven kingdom open up for you, and they will provide you with riches far beyond gold.

But elf shit will still be smelly. ;-)

The knife that happened... ;-)

 This is yet another tall Fimbulmyrk tale... but i daresay you´re accustomed to weird stuff like this by now. There are a lot of extremely weird coincidences in my life indeed... it all started with a hike from the bus stop  to the ironforge. I had a schedule what I had to make or what I at least planned to make. On the way I first encountered something. At first I thought it were a stray dog, but as I came closer I saw it was a fox, only that it was a blonde one. It was by absolute coincidence that I followed him for quite some time, until he made his merry way into the thicket.

I want to make sure you understand that I am not saying that this event had anything to do with what happened next. It is linked to the other event by mere coincidence of course. Or not at all. Near Gut Ahlhausen, the manor in the neighbourhood of the ironforge, I found a right treasure hoard of bloomery steel, among which there also was an ingot of already refined steel. It turned out to have an estimated carbon content of about 0,5-0,7%, and I could not resist probing it by forging a blade from it.

Now this is a very special event to me, and a very special steel. It was a bit like a belated birthday present. All you faithful readers of my blog are well acquainted to the fact that I am questing and researching on a local variety of rondel knife, the "Brakkersfelders Knopmetz" of old hanse provenience. And my research up to date has made it very plausible that this steel was - amongst other places - refined at the site of our ironforge. I state that due to the research I have made in the Civil Archive of the town of Breckerfeld and the Ennepetal Ironforge Chronicle from 1592 (fragment). The Manor of Ahlhausen was the property of the Duke of Bönen, who in that period of time also was patron of the ironforge. I found the bloomery steel on an ancient trail leading from the ironforge to the manor. So I was very excited that the steel I found is most plausibly the legendary steel from which the Brakkersfelders Knopmetz was made from!

And I could not resist forging an utility blade from it to test it and its properties. As I said, the spark analysis offeres clue that there was roundabout 0,5%-0,7% carbon in it. The steel, although wrought, reacted quite nicely to the forging process, with a temperature window from 900-1100°C. It offered a strange resistance to the hammer, an indication of high ductility. In the forging process there was one layer coming off, which I rewelded in the forge using Borax as flux. It welded very nicely and evenly, even if it was done the dirty way with no grinding beforehand.

 It did not move that well under the hammer, too. Annealing after the forging process was done in 8 cycles, bringing it up to dull orange and letting it cool besides the forge and then at room temperature, which then was about 25°C. After achieving a softness that made it possible to work it with a file easily, it was ground. Forging to final shape, by the way, had been done nearly 90% beforehand, so little grinding was required. Then I did a probing quench in lard with additional tempering from the heat in the spine and some heating over the open forge, until a blue hue was achieved. This turned out to be too much, so I repeated the quench and just tempered to a golden hue. The blade appeared too soft afterwards still (testing by slamming it edge first into mild steel rods).
 So I annealed it once again, and, gathering my resolve, did a selective water quench, first with a long temper to a blue hue, then again to a golden hue.
 Afterwards the blade still dented when I slammed it into iron rods. A file was able to take off shavings, not as easily as before, but still far too easy.
Bummer, I thought, you have messed that one up and was right mad with myself for that.

48h later I tested again. Still denting on steel rods, but now it chops stag antler without denting, carves the spine of selectively tempered spring steel knives, and the file slides off with the minutest of shavings. A knife of defined 58HRC can carve the edge of the knife, but a Karesuando blade of 12C27 with an estimated hardness of 57HRC just slips off. Blimey, what´s that, I said, and tried to carve the 58HRC blades edge... and it bit. From all I can know I would estimate it to 54-56HRC, but that last feature simply is not logical. My theory is that the blade is not that hard, but makes up for what it lacks in hardness in tensile strength and ductility. The fact that it dents on iron rods but chops stag antler and carves spring steel could maybe be explained by the composite nature of wrought iron. Some areas dent, others do not. It´s not a homogenous material after all! Bending it to 15° showed no adverse effects, slamming it tip first into hardwood and levering it out bent the first millimeter of the tip, but left the knife unaffected otherwise.

Be it as it may, for a 16th century steel this would have been state of the art.

Now I have made a big fuss in the beginning of this article by saying that there was just a coincidence, and the events are not linked to each other, and from a logical point of view, this cannot be supported. But then I can say I have never searched and researched consciously for that steel. It just came to be. It just happened. Word led me from word to word, deed led me from deed to deed. It has been a fairy tale so far, and it still is. And in this fairy tale there´s another story that goes like this:

"once upon a time, in a land far away and around the next corner..."

It just happened. t occured to me. Again, and I like it. ;-)

We are told a lot of lies these days. I daresay I´ll stick to my fairy tales more from now on... ;-)

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