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Viking sword equivalent


Sam Salvati
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Is there an equivalent book to "Craft of the Japanese Sword" concerning the construction techniques and methods used for western and viking swords?

Let not the swords of good and free men be reforged into plowshares, but may they rest in a place of honor; ready, well oiled and God willing unused. For if the price of peace becomes licking the boots of tyrants, then "To Arms!" I say, and may the fortunes of war smile upon patriots

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Sam, I think that that you are going to have a problem finding a book devoted to the traditional techniques of manufacturing a Western European/Viking type pattern welded sword. I Japan the art of the swordsmith didn't die out as it did in Europe and there exists a continuous tradition of swordmaking. In Europe and countries settled by Europeans we are trying to rediscover an art that has been lost. You may have to refer to chapters on more general knife/sword making. Jim Hrisoulas has a section on the Viking pattern welded sword in the chapter on damascus steel in "The Master Bladesmith". There is also a more general chapter on swordmaking in the same publication. Ian Pierce's "Swords of the Viking Age" has a short final chapeter on the pattern welded blade. Oakeshott's "Record of the Medieval Sword" has an article in the appendix on making a western style sword by traditional methods.

 

You might want to go to myarmoury.com and take a look at their reading list. They might have something listed there. Good Luck.

 

Doug Lester

HELP...I'm a twenty year old trapped in the body of an old man!!!

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Doug, I thought so. Do you think there could be enough information, with information on patterns, possible techniques, to compile a book not so much on the tools used but the techniques?

Let not the swords of good and free men be reforged into plowshares, but may they rest in a place of honor; ready, well oiled and God willing unused. For if the price of peace becomes licking the boots of tyrants, then "To Arms!" I say, and may the fortunes of war smile upon patriots

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Sam, I had to think a bit on this. I would say that there probably is enough material to assemble into a book. Of course, it will depend on how detailed that one would intend to make it and whether one wanted to write a "how to do it" type of book or a scholarly study of how it was done. There is more than just the creation of the blades but also the construction of the handle and guard. Then there are the dynamic forces that influences the design of the sword.

 

Doug Lester

HELP...I'm a twenty year old trapped in the body of an old man!!!

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Doug, good points. I think, that a mix of both history on solid theory or artifact-proven methods and construction techniques as well as modern construction methods would be best. There is evidence enough I think of viking age forges and tools to know what they were working with. Following Craft of the Japanese Sword as sort of a guideline, do you still think it could be possible to cover most of the important aspects, materials used, construction and layout of the patterns, construction and materials used in the hilt, scabbard making etc?

Edited by Sam Salvati

Let not the swords of good and free men be reforged into plowshares, but may they rest in a place of honor; ready, well oiled and God willing unused. For if the price of peace becomes licking the boots of tyrants, then "To Arms!" I say, and may the fortunes of war smile upon patriots

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I'm not familiar with the book you sited but I think something like that could be done. You might want to pick the minds of some people who have written similar books, possibly Jim Hrisoulas.

 

Doug Lester

HELP...I'm a twenty year old trapped in the body of an old man!!!

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  • 1 year later...

Hello:

 

Actually book IV is well on its way to being done with several different chapters on traditional European composite pattern welding/blade construction..I am just now finishing up the Japanese section...(see photo of the hamon on one of my last Japanese style blade below) and I should be back onto the European stuff in about a month....

 

I will probably be crucified for this book like I was for the first three but what the heck..no one ever told me any of this was a secret...so be patient..alot of nifty stuff in there so far and more to come..such as dying bone, doing multi fullers..some Indo-Persian stuff, just a bunch of info all rolled into one so be patient..it's coming

 

JPH

DSC01100.jpg

Edited by JPH

If you wish to know the price of freedom..Visit a Veteran's Hospital...I am humbled by their sacrifice... 

Why is it when the Mighty Thor throws his hammer he is dispensing Justice and fighting Evil..BUT..when I throw my hammer I wind up in a mandatory 16 week anger management course??</p>

I came into this world naked, screaming and covered in someone else's blood...I have no problem going out the same way...

 

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I'm really looking forward to book 4, Jim. I refer to your first books all the time, and book #1 was my only instruction (aside from a few Blade magazine articles) in bladesmithing when I started out in 1988.

 

Cheers!

 

Dave

-----------------------------------------------

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly." -- Theodore Roosevelt

http://stephensforge.com

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  • 2 years later...

I might be able to help.

 

The Sword in Anglo-Saxon England: Its Archaeology and Literature [Hardcover]

Hilda Roderick Ellis Davidson (Author), Ewart Oakeshott (Illustrator)

 

http://www.amazon.com/The-Sword-Anglo-Saxon-England-Archaeology/dp/0851153550/ref=pd_sim_b_9

 

 

That should be enough information to find it. I'm too lazy to format stuff... my advice, buy that hardcover for 16 bucks before someone else does, or before its out of print like lots of the books I've given up trying to buy for less than 100.

 

oh yeah, here's the contents:

 

List of swords in Museums in the British Isles
THE MAKING OF THE SWORD
1. Iron for the Blade
2. Eastern Sword-blades
3. Pattern-welded Blades
4. When and Where were they Made?
5. The Teutonic Sword
6. Inscribed Blades
7. The Construction of the Hilt
8. The Pommel
9. The Grip
10. The Guard
11. The Decoration of the Hilt
12. The Ring on the Hilt
13. Inscribed Hilts
14. Sword Attachments
15. The Scabbard
16. Scabbard Inscriptions
THE TELLING OF THE SWORD
1. Historical Records
2. Anglo-Saxon Wills
3. Some Sword Terms in Beowulf
4. The Sword Hrunting
5. The Sword from the Lake
6. Other Swords in Anglo-Saxon Poetry
7. Sword Riddles
8. The Sword-blade in Old Norse Literature
9. The Hilt in Old Norse Literature
10. The Scabbard in Old Norse Literature
THE USING OF THE SWORD
CONCLUSION
APPENDIX A. The Forging of a Pattern Welded Sword
APPENDIX B. The Shifford Sword, by RE OAKSHOTT

 

uhm, you mentioned handle construction, this book BRIEFLY goes over that, you asked about how its made and this book briefly goes into that, now by going 'into' that, and by handle construction.... 3 years ago when I bought this book you couldn't google so much as a diagram of just, how the viking handle was constructed, how did they make a pummel, without the tang peened off at the end and showing? well one look at the diagram will show you that they riveted a pummel cap on the bottom with rivets on both sides of the pummel...

does it show you or tell you a step by step construction of how to do it? no. or does it spell out how it was done? uh, no... no one does, and I don't think anyone wants to, cuz like that guy said, it died out... that means that everyone who was there, or who knows, without a doubt how it was done is dead... and anyone who writes a book and says, YES this is absolutely, Precisely how it was done, Definitively! might be wrong!... and I think this book goes over that as well... there were many viking swords, and and many ways they were made... but they don't go into, 'how to'... just what they know and can tell from what they have. oh and there's alot of neat pictures as well, not as many as I expected, and alot more of 'oh now this sword was found in the river of.... in Europe, meaning the vikings must have been there, at one point as well...' oh... no shit... ok...

 

well I took a gamble in buying it and I got what I wanted (pretty sure, u can find for free now *sigh*), diagrams of the handle construction and patters of the pattern weld, but what I found was the ulfberht, or lack there of of information on that....

 

 

you might enjoy this as well:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXbLyVpWsVM

 

Nova - secrets of the Viking sword

he makes an ulfberht sword (not sure about the spelling) using nothing more than iron, glass, sand, carbon, and some sort of crucible, and oh yeah, a small furnace to cook it in, for about uh, how long did they say.... I won't ruin the rest you can see for yourself.

 

uhm, also Jim Hrisoulas has a book called the pattern welded blade

 

http://www.amazon.com/The-Pattern-Welded-Blade-Artistry-Iron/dp/1581605447/ref=pd_sim_b_3

 

Don't think I've even gotten around to cracking that one open yet. His first book was my first book too... and like wayne goddard said, you see his shop and his set up and you immediately become discouraged like.... Ugh! I can't afford all that... then I found the book 50 dollar knife shop and tried again... and now I'm studying how the ancients made them out of dirt, and rocks, by the way, anyone have any information on the crafting of NCO swords or sabers/ cavilery swords from the 1700's or even the civil war? also I'm finding very little information on how they originally made an anvil... I would think, cast, then either quench, temper and your done or weld the steel top plate to the top then quench and temper.

 

 

when's Jim Hrisoulas's 4th book supposed to be out?! I'm gonna buy that....

Edited by Nick.h
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Is there an equivalent book to "Craft of the Japanese Sword" concerning the construction techniques and methods used for western and viking swords?

I think Peter Johnson should write that book with chapters by Vince Evans, Kevin Cashen, Roland Warzecha, Patrick Barta, Jeff Pringle, Petr Florianek and a few others.

 

Ric

Richard Furrer

Door County Forgeworks

Sturgeon Bay, WI

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Nick, cavalry saber manufacturing was an established factory production scheme from the 1690s on. First was the Hounslow arsenal (google "Hounslow Hanger"), then Wilkinson started in on them. In the States, Ames started making them by the 1790s. There's no mystery to them other than exactly what machines were used.

 

As for anvils, what timeframe are you speaking of? They were never cast until the 19th century, when first the Fisher-Norris company figured out how to weld a steel face to a cast iron body in the mold in 1845. Steel-casting technology took a little longer to catch up, with the first all-steel cast anvils showing up after 1900. Prior to those two innovations, all European and American anvils were made by welding up a lot of wrought iron and then welding on a steel face, which yes, had to be heat-treated. Prior to the introduction of Bessemer steel in the 1850s, most anvil faces were built up of several small plates of shear steel.

 

Ric, I second your idea! B)

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freaking twice, don't update avg when your trying to type on here, it closed the browser twice!

 

well in highlight no one is claiming I don't know what I'm talking about, that's good news.

 

kay so about the swords I'm looking for information on how the handles were attached, its not that I don't trust anyone here its just that I was looking for a publication, diagram, or manual as to how they were made. I'm assuming some sort of pummel cap but I can't figure out how it was put on, and don't really want to pry one off ruining it to find out.

I'm also assuming that the brass guard/handle, was fitted like a hidden tang knife handle would be (sometimes, in the particular case I'm thinking of)...

bear in mind, I'm looking at the Current USMC NCO sword, which are made today in Spain and Germany and many, in fact all real NCO swords I have seen for sale only just, resemble the current model...

 

oh also, ok so anvils weren't always cast, I guess I just assumed since the vikings cast some of their swords. but then again that's a little difficult to do with larger amounts of metal. in this case I'm no expert on anvils but was referring to more current ones to make myself seem like less of a twit

oh, specifically this blacksmith told me that it was a trade secret how they were made, since if you were to quench one you could cast it into the bottom of the sea and still not have enough force to push water to the metal fast enough to bring it to full strength... to which I speculated that you don't need, or want an anvil face to full hardness... and that if it was that difficult then there wouldn't be as many around. I think he was only talking about the higher class, more, well made ones we think of today, like a hay budden, or fisher-norris... or trenton... but still... I just don't know about that one, I think its hog wash and he was pulling our leg.

 

Hey Ric! are you still making ulfberht's?

 

Alan, where did you find the information that you just told me? books or online?

 

I'm gonna post this before avg closes it on me again, so not spell checked

I also apologize for changing the subject, I'll start my own post if the originator wants...

Edited by Nick.h
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Hoo boy... Dude, whoever told you about anvils was feeding you a load! The old ones did require a LOT of water to harden the face, but that was done with a decent-sized water tank and a sluice gate for a waterfall effect. No need for the ocean. This information is available from the book "Anvils in America" by Postman as well as numerous online sources. Anvil faces are usually between 45-54 Rockwell C, just enough to have some spring but not so much that the heat from working hot iron will soften them appreciably. Modern cast anvils vary from maker to maker. Jymm Hoffman has his cast from H-13, which is an air hardening hot work steel. TFS has theirs cast from ductile iron heat treated for toughness. Other folks do other things in between. They all heat treat as needed to get a relatively hard face with enough toughness for the job at hand.

 

The Vikings did not cast swords. Possibly used crucible steel, but did not cast swords.

 

Finally on the USMC NCO swords, I'll have to look at the current crop, but they used to use threaded pommels and/or acorn nut pommel caps. The grip itself has been a plastic thing with a channel in the middle for the last hundred years. The mameluke-style officer's saber is not demountable, it's a full tang with riveted grip scales.

 

Oh: Toss the AVG and get ZoneAlarm. Much less crashy. ;)

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I think Peter Johnson should write that book with chapters by Vince Evans, Kevin Cashen, Roland Warzecha, Patrick Barta, Jeff Pringle, Petr Florianek and a few others.

 

Ric

I would think you should be on the short list of that one too Ric :) It would definatly be a great book.

 

Zeb

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

"Hoo boy... Dude, whoever told you about anvils was feeding you a load!"

 

oh you got that right. That's what I thought man, I was like, uhhhh, but he was a 'blacksmith', I was at his class, I didn't wanna embarrass him in front of His students... ya see, so I just thought I'd bring it up some day if I had the chance and see if anyone agrees with me. Considered picking up the book! I saw that, uh a few years ago, yeah its 155$ on amazon right now. *tisk* I just, can't even begin to justify buying that. I think, I could buy enough refractory and cast/weld and make my own for cheaper than buying that book. (if I payed myself 0$/hr doing it.)

 

"The Vikings did not cast swords. Possibly used crucible steel, but did not cast swords."

 

did I say that they do? uhhhh, no your right I did say that. psh. kay so I watched the Nova special that I linked Ric Furrer to there, and yeah your right. its a crucible steel, they cast the ignot and forge the blade from that... sorry im lazy.

 

use threaded pommels and/or acorn nut pommel caps, that's what I assumed but I'm still trying to prove it without breaking the bank, a Real nco sword, in Terrible condition is about uhhh, well 100 bucks, and just by watching pawn stars I've learned that for every real one there's like, what one or two fakes? I don't know but alot... so, in fact I saw one the other day and went, hmm, stainless steel, 450 bucks? hmm, yeah, no thank you. didn't tell him why, didn't want to offend him.

 

what do you mean the grips were, plastic? for the last hundred years, yeah I know all the new ones are fake, I'm kinda trying to do what cold steel did and make a real one again, just, not with a machined blade, I aught to just email all the re-maker company's and ask for references, but, uh very few get back to me... imagine that.

 

yeah I seen the mameluke-style, one look at that and I was like... 'oh gee I wonder how they did this, man I'll never figure it out.'

alright, may have beat a dear horse here... but oh well,

have a good weekend guys, I'm ganna go google ZoneAlarm...

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  • 3 months later...
  • 3 weeks later...

There is a section on Pattern, or Damascus, in Diderot's Encyclopedia from the mid 18th Century. It is in French and you will probably need to go to a major university to find the full 26 volume set. It takes up about three feet of shelf space and they are large tomes.

Shel Browder

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