Re: [medieval-leather] Re: Re: Stroppy!
- There is a technique of thermal cycling O2 that produces very Wootz-like
results. It's in the experimental stage now, but results are very
promising. It's been named Neo-Wootz for now to differentiate the two, but
the name is just about the only thing that looks different without
If you have access to a precision kiln or annealing furnace you may be able
to reproduce the results yourself. So far the low tech experiments have not
had satisfactory results, unfortunately.
----- Original Message -----
From: Grooby, Peter <peter.grooby@...>
> Wootz isn't something to 'have-a-go" at.
> It is made in a large crucible, the molten metal forming the classic
> 'damascus' pattern within itself.
> The metal is then cooled and worked to shape below red hot. If it is
> heated too much them the molecular structure gained in the crucable would
> Rest assured that it is possible to make pattern welded steel using
> the popular fold and weld method. Although it is much easier using the
> controlled enviroment of a gas forge.
> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
- "Jack C. Thompson" wrote:
>I have an old book on Tokio from not long after it changed names.
> I put a mirror finish on my leather paring knives, and the
> final polish happens on the flesh side of a goat skin sharpening
> wallet which I make.
> However, looking at an old slack strop in my collection, the
> following information is stamped on some cloth stitched to the
> leather at the bottom (i.e. the part one holds when stropping
> a blade):
> "GENUINE SHELL Finish on this side" I don't know when 'Tokio'
> became 'Tokyo' but this particular strop is 'part' number 230,
> manufactured by 'Tokyo Shioda.'
It's full of stories and pictures from the period. I collect
the currency of the era, and China (Literally the Middle Kingdom
Chung Kuo), Choson (Korea, land of the morning calm), Dai Nihon or
Nippon (Great Japan (or Giappon as Marco Polo named it was an
invention drawn from his attempt at a Chinese pronunciation))
and Annam - roughly Northern Vietnam and a bit south. Actually,
the Chinese referred to the short legged Japanese as Island Monkey
People, and the Japanese called the Europeans Namban or Southern
Barbarians - lots of this had to do with their lack of bathing
or tonsurial habits, they also came from the south.
America was named Beikoku by the Japanese - meaning Rice Country.
We exported rice there at one time, mostly from our southern
Edo, the capital of the Tokugawa Shogunate became Tokyo about
1868 when the Japanese Emperor resumed control over the state
and established the National Diet, or legislature there.
Previously Emperors had largely held a ceremonial religious
role, and were kept in Nara, the Daimyo's and the Shogun
ruling 'by consent' as it wasn't. The last Shogun was a weakling
and abdicated control. This was brought about by the incursion
of Admiral Perry in about 1854 and the forced opening of various
tradeports throughout Japan causing a tremendous rift in Japanese
Society. There is a print showing the hapless Japanese trying
desperately to tow Perry's new sidewheeler out of the bay.
It was done as much to protect foreign sailors shipwrecked on
the shores of Japan as it was to open the company to trade
(with someone besides the Dutch getting rich).
One of the first things the new Emperor did was send his scholars
and ambassadors abroad to learn European and American industry,
marine science, and military training. In thirty-five very short
years they beat Russia's navy and took Port Arthur. They possessed
an amazing assimilation rate. (The Borg should take lessons.)
This pretty much ended the Samurai role in Japanese Society
excepting those who served in the Military or Foreign Relations.
Japan also took Formosa (Taiwan) and Korea during this period.
They had long had the Ryukyu (Floating Dragon) Islands -
Okinawa and areas adjacent.
Some of the old time Samurai and their Dai-myos (Great Names) they
followed got in some serious trouble for firing on the American
and other foreign ships, or attacking them in public.
Tokyo simply means Eastern Capital. Edo was originally a small
fishing village until Tokugawa Ieyesu decided to move the
Capital there from Kyoto after winning the incessant wars
about 1616 or so.
He established a period of peace lasting about 240 years.
During this time only the Portuguese black ships could trade
at a manmade island, I seem to recall it being in Nagasaki
Harbour. No European was allowed on the mainland. Only certain
Japanese were allowed on the island, consorts among them.
Previously the Spanish and Jesuits were allowed on the mainland
but John Adams, an English ship's Pilot, exposed their treachery
to Ieyasu. This was the period depicted in part by the movie
Shogun with Richard Chamberlain. The names were changed but if
you know the history they are instantly recognizable. John Adams
told the Shogun of the Pope's agreement to divide the New World
equally between Portugal and Spain, and was of course not amused.
He was never allowed to leave Japan. He did command an arquebus
corps for Ieyasu. His title was Anjin-san, or Lord Pilot.
This was the curious period when some European armor was copied
or adapted to Japanese tastes.
The Japanese wanted Chinese Silks and spices, the Chinese wanted
tobacco, and other things like opium. Gold was at a premium in
Europe, buying much more silver to trade to the Chinese for the
silks and spices that brought outrageous amounts of gold from Japan.
The Dutch / Spanish could trade for an unequal amount of silver
for gold until the gold ran out in Japan because of the
difference in relative evaluation. They also took back gold,
tea, silks, lacquer, opium, and flower bulbs and porcellain to
Europe. Amsterdam was built on this trade, much as Venice was
in the Mediterranean.
About 1870 to 1872 there arose a Samurai rebellion to restore
the old customs. Samurai had been forbidden to wear swords
in public, and even had to learn new trades, such as teaching
to support themselves. In the end the main part of the Samurai
was defeated by the new commoners' army and the leaders commited
suicide in a cave. The new commoner's army was European trained
Magnus the eclectic.
> 'Shell' is a term used in the leather trade to refer to horse
> butt. It is the same leather used for making the best blacksmith's
> There is no grain on either side of this piece of leather, but there
> are layers of leather, and leather is hardest/densest on the grain side
> and softer on the flesh side.
> The flesh side would hold more stropping compound; the grain side
> (with the grain removed) would hold less compound, but would work
> fine 'smoothing' out the blade.