There are three levels of Wootzsmith recognized within the IWS: Apprentice, Journeyman, and Master. These denote different levels of skill, knowledge, and accomplishments in the field of making wootz ingots and forging them into blades. While blades were not the only historical use of wootz, they were by far the most common use and also the form in which wootz won its reputation for excellent performance. All members and non-members are encouraged to use the material in a variety of ways, but for the purposes of Certification the IWS concentrates on blades.
All members of the IWS, prospective Wootzsmith or otherwise, have access to the Basic Wootz Information. This includes historical information as well as the basics of making and forging wootz. As Wootzsmiths are certified to higher levels within the IWS they gain access to more and more detailed information that will help them advance their understanding of the material. Society members that are not smiths, but instead researchers, collectors, or wootz enthusiasts will gain access to these materials through different channels.
Wootz Associate: This certification is targeted at collectors, dealers & historians. This one day course debunks the false narrative regarding the history of Wootz steel and any myths associated with the steel. You will be introduced to various historical examples of wootz blades and armours. You will be taught how to assess the quality and value of antique wootz objects and how to correctly identify blades from regions around the world and the manufacturing techniques used in producing those objects.
Apprentice Wootzsmith: This is the level where all Wootzsmiths start or started, whether they are just joining the IWS or have been making and forging wootz for decades. To Register at the Apprentice level a prospective Wootzsmith must provide evidence of having made at least three of their own ingots from scratch, along with at least three finished blades that show a clear pattern. There is no requirement on the type of pattern, but it must clearly be a carbide-based pattern. Evidence can be submitted in the form of pictures or Social Media posts, but it must be clear that the ingots and blades are the work of the applicant. Any member found to be representing another smith’s work as their own will be immediately removed from the IWS.
Journeyman Wootzsmith: This is the first level that requires Certification through testing. The purpose of the testing is to establish that the Apprentice Wootzsmith has gained sufficient knowledge, skills, and control over their wootz process to consistently produce blades that meet a reasonable performance standard. For those just starting out, the standard might seem quite high, but it is quite achievable and definitely worth the effort. In order to apply for this certification level, smiths must:
1) Have been a member of the society for 1 year.
2) Have submitted sufficient evidence to meet the Apprentice Wootz Smith requirement.
3) Have taken the Associate Certificate course.
The smith who has fulfilled all of these requirements may submit an application to test for the Journeyman Wootzsmith certification.
Master Wootzmith: This is the highest level of Certification that the IWS awards, and successfully reaching this level requires an extremely deep understanding of the metallurgy and history of wootz. As with the Journeyman certification there is a performance test, but there are additional requirements on the test blades that only a master of the material will be able to meet. In addition to the performance test, the applicant must pass a knowledge test that will cover a wide range of wootz-related topics, such as metallurgy, historical production, and historical uses.