Medieval heat treating - blood, earthworms and urine

Post Reply
User avatar
Darryl Ponder
Posts: 325
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2013 12:10 pm
Location: Minnetonka, MN

Medieval heat treating - blood, earthworms and urine

Unread post by Darryl Ponder » Thu Apr 18, 2013 5:23 pm

How about smiths hardening steel in human blood plasma, buck's blood (only when in rut), earthworms, white radishes, flowers or urine? Wow, times have changed a bit! I think I'm sticking with plain water, quenching oil and maybe a batch of superquench!

Here is a link to the medieval codex that Craig Johnson of Arms and Armor presented at the April 2013 Guild meeting:

http://wiktenauer.com/wiki/Codex_D%C3%B ... S_3227a%29

Scroll down below 6v-10v to the section 11r-12r"Instructions for the strengthening of iron", that starts with "Now speaks Master Alchemy...."

This text is thought to have been written around 1389 in Germany.

Martin Pansch
Posts: 312
Joined: Thu Feb 14, 2013 10:44 am
Location: Young America, MN

Re: Medieval heat treating - blood, earthworms and urine

Unread post by Martin Pansch » Thu Apr 18, 2013 9:36 pm

If you are interested in the historical and alchemical past of our craft I would also recommend reading On Divers Arts by Theophilus Presbyter, a 10th century German monk. On urine for a quenchent it specifies either using it from a red headed boy or a goat that has eaten nothing but ferns for 3 days. It also covers making basilisk powder as an ingredient for making gold. Of course if you want stuff a little more grounded it also describes how they cast large church bells. It isn't all metal work though. About 25% is pigments and another 25% is glass work.

A word of caution though, some of the techniques in it is essentially unchanged today, others deal with materials that can kill you. Don't do anything in it without researching the risks first.

It is facinating to see how much has changed and how much has stayed the same.

User avatar
Darryl Ponder
Posts: 325
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2013 12:10 pm
Location: Minnetonka, MN

Re: Medieval heat treating - blood, earthworms and urine

Unread post by Darryl Ponder » Thu Apr 18, 2013 10:10 pm

Here is a downloadable pdf of the book Martin was talking about: On Divers Arts

This is an old Latin/English translation copy from Google's scanned books library. Not the easiest read due to layout, but its all there.

Book three on metalworking starts about page 209.

As Martin said, don't try these recipes at home. This is for historical instruction only.
Theophili_qui_et_Rugerus_presbyteri_et_m.pdf
(11.66 MiB) Downloaded 521 times

Post Reply

Return to “Heat Treating”