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International Seminaar of Bulat (Wootz) Crucible steel - 2012

BULAT is a kind of steel, which was used for swords, knives and armor plating. A sword made from Bulat has a good cutting edge, while not being so hard it would break in battle when struck. Additionaly the steel has an attractive pattern of microstructures, which are visible with the naked eye.

Europeans came in contact with the sharp edges of these swords during the crusades, where the crusaders discovered the superior abilities of Islamic weapons made from this material.

This type of steel, also called Damask ,Wootz of crucible steel, was first made in India by mixing iron together with carboneous matter from plants, such as leaves or dried wood, in a crucible. This crucible was then heated to melt the charge completely.  Steel was made in a similar way in Central asia (Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan). In western Europe, everyone failed to recreate and forge this steel. During the 19th century the secret of making and forging this steel wad lost due to the rise of industrial steel manufacturing. It is however evident that in the 19th century, this type of steel was still being made in Tbilisi, Georgia.

In 2010 we organized a seminar in Antwerp (Belgium) with a Bulat workshop. This workshop was given by the Georgian metallurgist Dr. Zaqro Nonikashvili. The workshop consisted of two days of Zaqro demonstrating the technique, with theoretical and metallurgical information.

Due to the good responses, we are delighted to know that Zaqro is prepared to come to the Netherlands and Belgium again to share his knowledge and unique methods. Atelier Gotscha Lagidse from Netherlands with support from Klaas Remmen (University College of Antwerp) and others, are planning to make a second ‘Bulat from Georgia’ seminaar in 2012. A report of last years workshop is accesable at

Content of the Symposium

During the symposium there are readings on the subject, and it will be possible to share expieriences. There are several experts invited to the lectures. There will be a demonstration of the unique Georgian technique. During symposium contemporary works by Bulat / wootz be exhibities also exhibited ancient examples. 

Both homemade crucibles and factory crucibles will be used in a coal fire and a gas fired furnace. The solidified steel will be given heat treatments and will be forged into a knifeblank, using special techniques to manipulate the pattern. The obtained knive will be heat treated and tested, it would have to scratch glass to pass the hardness test. The pattern will be shown by grinding and etching the steel. During these activities, there will be Dutch, French and English explanation of the metallurgical events which occur during the forging and heating cycles. The goal of this workshop will be learning the complete process, and sharing the knowledge how to make Bulat steel. The motivated participant will be able to make simple Bulat objects.

The symposium is of a non profict nature (for Organisators), only the costs will have to be compensated for. We do want to compensate the Georgian Specialist for his travel costs, accommodation expences, and teaching his technique. The costs are set to 220 EUR per person.

Registration can be done by sending an email to After registration, the participants will get a payment request. After the payment is received, info will be sent with more information concerning the program of the symposium, exact date and place. Please ask questions only by email.

Kind regards,

Gotscha Lagidse                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Klaas Remmen 


Metal history in Georgia


A Report of Bulat workshop (November 2010) in Antwerp (Belgium)

Dr. Zaqro Nonikashvili studied in Medical Universiteit. He was first introduced to Bulat in Susdal (Russia) during his studie in known metallurgist Basov. Since 1995, he experiments with Bulat steel in Georgia and professionally employed as a metallurgist specializing in Bulat. So far he has more than 900 smelting process.


"Georgian methode" by Dr. Zaqro Nonikashvili


"Indian methode" by Dr. Zaqro Nonikashvili


Caucasian dagger "Prins" with blade of Dr. Zaqro Nonikashvili. Project of Studio Gotscha, 2011

Dager "Prins", 2011. Bulat/Wootz/Javarden steel, silver 710 gr, gold 5gr, Limoge enamel. Size: 500X56mm. More about this project