Wootz Steel Razors

Discussion in 'Straight Razors' started by DaltonGang, Sep 24, 2019.

  1. DaltonGang

    DaltonGang Ol' Itchy Whiskers

    I am interested in knowing who makes razors, out of Wootz Steel??

    Also, does anyone know if the Wootz Steel billets, sold out of India, on Ebay,, are really quality Wootz Steel?? I know some knife makers use it, but I dont hear much on the comments on it.

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  2. gssixgun

    gssixgun At this point in time...

    Supporting Vendor
    The only person I know of that is making Wootz SR's is Bruno at Snail Forge in Belgium

    He is on the SRP facebook page if you want to contact him, I think I made you a member there some time back

    Bruno Van Doren and drop my name here is his FB page


    I have honed a few of his Wootz blades, he knows what he is doing

    This is Pendray Wootz

  3. DaltonGang

    DaltonGang Ol' Itchy Whiskers

    Where does Bruno get his Wootz from? Does he make.it himself?

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  4. gssixgun

    gssixgun At this point in time...

    Supporting Vendor

    "Pendray Wootz" aka Al Pendray he is like the Shizit of Wootz steel... Google him there is a ton of info about what he has done

    I can't remember for sure I think Bruno might have tried making it himself too, he does forge steel
    Ask him if you talk with him
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  5. CastleShave

    CastleShave Well-Known Member

    I actually just got one from Bruno, haven’t been able to use as of yet as I am swapping the scales out. Should be done by next week. It’s a nice Steel, I mostly wanted it for the history behind it. From my knowledge he has a very limited amount left over and one for sale already complete(unless he sold it). The pattern is very faint so if your looking for that crazy Damascus pattern this probably isn’t what you want. Bruno does do very nice steel work.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  6. Snailforge

    Snailforge Active Member

    A bit late to this party but I only just became aware of this thread.
    I don't make my own wootz just yet. It is one of the things I have on my to do list, but there are other things requiring more priority. It is not something to do without proper thought and taking your time to work out the process. You are handling crucibles with molten steel. There are many trivial mistakes that could end in death or lifelong injuries. Still, I will get around to that eventually.

    I know several people who smelt wootz, and I buy ingots or bar from them that I work myself. I do have some steel from Alfred Pendray but most of the time I work with ingots from a Polish friend of mine.
    De facto I would not trust any steel I'd buy on ebay, for 2 important reason.
    a) it may not be wootz. Or if it is, you don't have any certainty about what alloys are in the ingot. The influence of alloying elements on the resulting pattern and the etching process is immense. working with unknowns is time consuming, frustrating, and may fail.
    b) assuming it is wootz and the chemistry is ok, there may be voids or crusty bits or porosity inside.

    the difficult thing with wootz is that the resulting pattern depend not just on the steel ingot you start with, but also on the progression of forging cycles at given temperatures, thermal cycling, heat treatment and finally polishing and etching. If you mess up the forging, then you could mess up everything and you wouldn't know until you were finished and wanted to etch. Working with wootz has by far the steepest learning curve of anything I have had to learn.
  7. SevenEighth

    SevenEighth Well-Known Member

    I have two of Bruno's Wootz razors. They are odd to shave with. Odd in a very good way. They kind of chew the hair - bite into it. And give a perfect shave every time.

    So far I have never had to refresh the edges. They just seem to stay sharp.
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  8. DaltonGang

    DaltonGang Ol' Itchy Whiskers

    Thank you for the great info. One day I hope to acquire one.
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  9. Snailforge

    Snailforge Active Member

    I am very passionate about wootz. Both love and hate are passions :D
    There are times when I etch and it is the most beautiful thing there is. And other times I want to throw everything against the wall and smash them with a hammer.

    I have literally used thousands of dollars worth of wootz. Come to think of it, I have probably spent at least 5G just in raw material. I think I can say I am starting to understand the material. I've had a lot of help from a handful of experts, some who learned from Alfred himself. Even so, I had to cover some unknown ground myself because a razor is unique in the sense that the edge is very thin and the spine still 1/4" thick. So that makes for some odd heat characteristics. There is also very little useful written information to be found.

    I could not really explain why I like it so much. I guess it would be the pattern itself, combined with the fact that the material itself is a challenge to understand. Back when I started making them, I didn't even have customers for it. I just knew I wanted to make wootz razors and I paid a lot of money for the steel. Even if I would never have sold the one, it was a thing on my bucket list :D

    From the feedback I have gotten from the people who use them, they are in a different level in terms of shaving. The edges last longer and shave better. Keep in mind, we are talking about diminishing returns here. It is not a magic razor that will be 100 times better than a carbon steel one. But it's like having a cake, and a cake with a cherry on top. Most people who have tried them, say that the wootz razors have a cherry on top.

    If there is interest in this topic, I have no problem documenting a build, start to finish from ingot to razor.
  10. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Paperboy

    Article Team
    Just a reminder that non-members do browse this site, and since wootz and damascus can sometimes be confused for each other in google searches.

    Wootz is crucible forged, and has a distinctive crystalline structure. Wootz was the original Damascus steel. Modern "damascus" is more properly called pattern welded steel, and there are lots of various cheaply made "razor shaped objects" made from it.

    There are some good pattern welded razors out there, but they are vastly outnumbered by razor shaped knives.

    Here's a video on Wootz, featuring the late Alfred Pendray:
  11. Keithmax

    Keithmax Breeds Pet Rocks

    Just makes me want one more.

    It is on my wish list too.

    I think most of us would be very happy if document one of your builds. :happy093:
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  12. battle.munky

    battle.munky Has the menthol.munky on his back!

    Not yeah, but hell yeah. Please! Please! Please!
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  13. DaltonGang

    DaltonGang Ol' Itchy Whiskers

    I would love to see an in-depth documentary/video, on making a razor, from Wootz Steel. I think most of us here would too.

    Personnally, i would also like an analysis of the inexpensive India made Wootz Ingots too, since I cannot find any reviews on them, used in razor making.
  14. Snailforge

    Snailforge Active Member

    When I was young and naive, I tried for a while to educate people about wootz being damascus, and damascus being pattern welded.
    Eventually I gave up. It's like trying to hold back a steamroller by hand. The knifeworld as a whole has decided that pattern welded is damascus, so that is how I call it.
    I guess it is like gun purists complaining about the words 'clip' and 'magazine' or such.

    I do a lot of things in damascus aka pattern welded, but only use good quality known steel. It's not magical. If you do everything right, you get something that is just as good as the original steel you start with. If not, then you will get delamination. Damascus is never better than the original steels. The only thing you could say is that after a couple of rounds of forging and folding, the carbon has homogenized so the heat treatment and hardness properties will be something in between both steels.
  15. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Paperboy

    Article Team
    I've had the misfortune of buying some relatively inexpensive kitchen knives that ticked all the right boxes: G10 handles, 'damascus' clad japanese VG-10 core blade, full tang, etc. Real works of art. Problem is that VG-10 is almost the same kind of steel used in DE razor blades. So, they are literally "razor sharp." They are also just about impossible to sharpen and have a tendency to chip like crazy. I've thought about taking them apart and re-tempering them a bit softer to see if it would improve them. (Note: VG-10 is an excellent kitchen knife material, just not in these knives).

    But, between my vintage and modern K Sabatier and Theirs Issard knives, and my Shun knives, I really don't have any reason to mess with them.

    Funny how a razor hobby tends to have a broad influence on other aspects of a person's life.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2019
  16. gssixgun

    gssixgun At this point in time...

    Supporting Vendor

    Good to see you made it over Bruno, you are going to love it here my old friend...

    Welcome to TSD
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  17. Steve56

    Steve56 Well-Known Member

    This should do it Scott.

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  18. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Paperboy

    Article Team
    déjà vu. :)
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  19. Steve56

    Steve56 Well-Known Member

    Lol, I wasn’t watching the thread close enough @PLANofMAN !
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  20. Steve56

    Steve56 Well-Known Member


    This one is a really a ‘hail Mary’, but it seems unique and worth talking about. We’re all familiar with the ‘faux Damascus’ pattern of early French razors, I have a few. But this C. H. Guerre is different. It has a wootz pattern, and is the only razor that I‘ve seen with it. It would be a ‘nevermind’ except that the razor was apparently new when I got it, and the wootz pattern is on the top of the spine, the monkeytail sides, top, and bottom, and you really just don’t see that. It’s probably a fake pattern, but it’s interesting.

    C. H. Guerre was a French maker in the 1860s period, and Napoleon III said that their razors seemed nice at a Paris exposition. So did Guerre maybe ‘recycle’ some wootz? Maybe @Snailforge can offer an opinion. In any case, it is an unusual razor. I suppose that I could put some acid on the bevel, but what kind, how strong, how long? There’s no spinewear on it, new when I got it and honed it with 1 mil Kapton so I can’t test the spinewear - the wootz pattern is on 100% of the rest of the razor. It’s also quite small, as razors of this period tended to be. And it will shave the barbs off a barbed wire fence as these old French razors are known for.

    Where’s Franco Harris when you need him?
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