I finally finished my first viking sword that I made all-by-myself. The big challenge on this one is that wide shallow fuller - I've never done that before and it looks difficult to get right.
Here's the sword blank (1075 steel) with the bevels forged in. I shaped the initial blank with the power hammer, and then hand forged the tip and the bevels.
I didn't take a picture, but the bevels are forged in with a spring tool whose dies are radiused to 6". Here's the result:
Slightly crooked, but it gets a lot of the steel to the right areas and significantly widened the blade. It also made it about an inch longer. I did run the fuller all the way back through the tang.
One of the biggest challenges on any sword is getting it straight in all dimensions. Here's how I start to establish a straight edge - marking fluid and a scribed straight line down the edge. It will move during the hardening process, but it's much easier to get back to straight when that's where you started. Doing it this way also means that I don't have to rely on the sword sitting flat on a surface.
The fuller being straight struck me as the biggest challenge of the blade, so I made this contraption to grind the fuller straight:
It's essentially a really big work rest (with legs) and a sled to hold the blade level as I move it. It worked very well for the rough grinding of the fuller. It got it nice and straight. After that all the grinding was done by hand. Not ruining the nice straight fuller is much easier (but not easy) than trying to establish one by hand. The wooden sled is a prototype and I learned a couple important things from it. First, make it metal as I set it on fire during the grinding. Second, without some kind if repeatable indexing for holding the blade you can never get the blade back in the same position again, so make a better sled or do all the grinding you can the first time. And yes, that's a 6" wheel on the grinder.
The finished blade was pretty much straight. The sides of the fuller are a bit wobbly because that line can't directly be made straight - it's created by the interplay of the fuller and the bevels and is affected by the thickness of both. All you can do is make both as straight in all dimensions as possible and then do some cheat grinding where you didn't get it quite right.
The guards and pommel are carved from wax. I modeled them after an original that I think is in the Swedish National Museum (but I could be wrong).
I get the overall shape completed and fit them to the blade before I start decorative carving. That way if I blow some fundamental dimension or the fit, I haven't ruined lots of hours of carving.
Skipping over a whole lotta work, here's the final product:
The blade is 28" (711mm) long and the sword is 34" (863mm) overall. It weigh 2lbs 13oz (1146g).
The handle is stabilized cherry burl, and the fittings are all bronze (90% Cu, 10% Sn)
I'm fairly happy with it. I'm going to make the next blade a touch thinner as this one has a little more forward weight than I personally like. But then again another smith who held it said it was the first sword he really like because of that slight forward weight. It does let you know exactly what it's for - cleaving.