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Keith Ducklin

Richard, Gerry,

Thanks so much for your prompt and helpful replies.

I’m coming at this sideways, from a lifetime of practical sword use, so I’m aware of just how much I have to learn.

Gerry, is Samuels’ “Light Microscopy” an updated version of his earlier “Optical Microscopy”? I only ask because, if it’s still useful, “Optical” is much cheaper and there’s a UK seller! (Besides, I’ve just spent a fortune on Alan Williams’ “The Sword and the Crucible”.)

Richard, are you familiar with your namesake’s book and sundry papers/articles? In “TS&TC” he talks in great detail about how widespread the use of heat treatment was (less than one might expect): how the Vikings, for instance, ran the gamut from utilising hypereutectoid (probably crucible) steel to very mild steel for their blades. Some blades are heat-treated, others aren’t. Some have heat-treated edges welded onto mild steel cores etc.. One of the overall conclusions of Williams’ work is that heat treatment was not universally employed, either for swords or armour, before the Western adoption of the blast furnace and finery. It’s an engrossing read.

Thanks again,