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Damocles sleeps in Florida July 10, 2006

Posted by Jeff in Zook.

Swords over my bedRight: A Chris Poor rapier crossed with a Starfire. To the left, two daggers; to the right, a Hungarian hunting sword. Pleasant dreams, Max …

Whenever I visit my brother Marcus Apollodorus Zook and his family, I spend the night on a futon in his home office, next to a wall on which is mounted a substantial portion of his collection of swords, knives and various cutlery.

As I drift off to an uneasy slumber, I always remind myself that this is, after all, Florida … and they don’t have earthquakes around here … do they?

I’ve been the guest of Marcus’s friend Steve Bloom, proprietor of the Iron Flower Forge, and I’ve gotten to hang out in his fascinating workshop. I am the proud owner of a set of two Iron Flower steak knives.

Closeup of Steve's workHere’s a closeup of one of Steve’s swords in Marcus’s collection. Note the wavy pattern in the sword steel — that’s called Damascus steel. It’s the result of a painstaking process of forging that results in both a distinctive pattern and a stronger steel.

Here is a portfolio of Marcus’s collection of sharp things. There will probably be a swordfight in the screenplay I’m currently working on, and I know who I’ll be calling on for technical advice!

More on Marcus’s other collections in future posts.

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1. Marcus - July 12, 2006

There is “Damascus steel” and then there is real Damascus steel. Wootz the difference?

2. Jeff M. - July 12, 2006

Wootz the difference?

Exactly 😉

Much of what today is called Damascus steel is made from a pattern-welding process, which in some circles is no longer considered authentic. A few years back two metallurgists came up with a way to hand-forge wootz steel to make it hard enough for knives and swords, in what may be a rediscovery of a long-lost East Indian process.

Which does seem to leave more than a bit of confusion as to what kind of steel really deserves to be using the phrase “Damascus”. Not to mention the question: who was Pavel Petrovich Anosov, and why was he so secretive?

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