A few weeks ago i did something fundamental to bladesmithing. I made carbon steel.
the method i used was to add carbon to Wrought Iron by packing thin pieces of wrought in a case with charcoal dust. This was "baked" for three hours at well above critical temperature. The iron soaked up this carbon to produce what is known as shear steel.
This steel was then "piled" and then fire welded together and folded numerous times to produce a useable piece of matierial.
the character of this steel comes from it's laminated structure as well as the small inclusions of slag that remain even after the refinement process.