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Forn Hrafn - Type F single edged viking sword


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This is a very special sword for me, as it both ends and starts the year. This was the last blade I quenched at 2016 and the first piece I finished in 2017. So it is kinda different.

Forn Hrafn, or Old Raven is made to resemble a humble sword from the beginning of the ninth century Norway.

This sword was made by stock removal (not forging, guys) from a piece of 1070 steel. It is heavily inspired on C10560 from Kulturhistorisk Museum from Norway. As I didn't have access to more material about this find, I used some of it's measures and invented others.

As you can see on the pictures, it is not completely straight. The tang of some original single-edged viking swords have a slightly curve in relation to the blade and after looking at several examples, I think it was made on purpose, so the tip of the blade could be aligned with the tang. This would make them more useful for trusts. Also, the blade itself bent a little bit towards it's edge after the quench. Had it happen with a double-edged blade it would be discarded, but as some originals have this very same curve, I decided to keep on the project.

The blade tapers both in profile and distal to about 75-80% of the original width and thickness at 15cm from the tip.

The hilt was fire etched to look like forged and the blade was aged using salt water, vinegar and ferric chloride.

The scabbard is made of pine wood, covered outside and lined inside with natural wool cloth. The belt bridge is a piece of ancient bog oak, around 6000 years old, from Ukraine and is held in place by some glue and leather cord. The raven decoration is not made in any particular norse artistic style, but rather made to look like some naive work. This fits the whole piece as being product of unskilled or cheap work, as presumably were these type F viking swords.

The handle is also pinewood, wrapped with veg-tanned bovine leather.

If you like storytelling, there is also a small tale I wrote for the sword that can be read here: http://vferreiraarruda.blogspot.com.br/2017/01/forn-hrafn-single-edged-viking-sword.html

Overall length: 93,0cm

Blade length: 78,5cm

Blade width: 5,5cm

Blade thickness at the guard: 0,5cm

PoB: 17,5cm

Lower guard width: 10,0cm

Length of the grip: 9,8cm

Weight: 1,390kg

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Nice! I love the overall shape of the sword. The only thing I don't love is the fittings look a bit blocky to my eye, but that is just my taste. Very good job overall.

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I've been following this one with a lot of interest! It's wonderful, and a great exploration of this style! I also really enjoy the scabbard, I'd love to see some progress shots if you have them, also how did you go about peening the tang?

 

Collin, most of the swords of this type I've seen seem to have very blocky fittings, pretty much exactly like this. Most books don't have drawings or photos of the 'right' angles for us, but the book by Fedir Androshchuk Viking Swords has great drawings of a lot of amazingly useful angles. I recommend it highly, it's one of the best, if not the best I have on the topic.

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Collin, most of the swords of this type I've seen seem to have very blocky fittings, pretty much exactly like this. Most books don't have drawings or photos of the 'right' angles for us, but the book by Fedir Androshchuk Viking Swords has great drawings of a lot of amazingly useful angles. I recommend it highly, it's one of the best, if not the best I have on the topic.

Thanks for the insight! I knew these were well within historical norms, which is why I said they simply weren't my taste. Thanks for the book recommendation, I'll definitely look into that. I'm always looking for new info, like you said it is very hard to get an idea of the three dimensional form of things with pictures taken at the angles they are.

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Thank you all for the compliments, they are very important to me.

Collin, I also think they are a bit bulky, but as I wanted to stay as close as possible to some specific styles, I decided to make it this way. But after it was complete, in hand, I think that if it was slender it would not look very well. Also, the point of balance is still about 1cm or half an inch from where I initially wanted. As it is a very heavy sword I think this kind of fit the whole. But I understand you point, at a first glance these guards seem too much.

Clifford, I really love these single edged swords. I have some plans to make a type G single edged for myself using bloom steel and wrought iron this year. But I'm waiting to have my powerhammer finished for it.

Emiliano, thanks for the book recommendation! I didn't read this one yet. About the peening, I annealed the tip of the tang after the blade was done, then made the hole to the same size of the tang, and then ground the edges from the upside of the hole, making it about 1,5mm (1/16") wider on all directions around with about 45º angle in relation to the surface and the hole, ten used a ball peen hammer. And hammered the rest of the surface to make some texture.

Wesley, it looks really bold indeed. Sadly my right arm is a bit injured to hold it properly, bu when I wield it I feel like Arnold Schwarzenegger in Conan!

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There is something to be said for something executed simply and cleanly. Your sword definitely fits the bill. I love the fittings and the plainness of them. I love when things are pretty and sparkly and complex, but there is some honest about simple clean work that I will love every time. I can't see the sparkly swords in my hand, but I can see this one in my hand. Great work Vinicius!

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I love everything about this sword. It is clean and graceful in its lines and looks to be a brutally efficient cutter. I have a soft spot for the single edge sword types and it is nice to see somebody doing one.

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Clifford, I really love these single edged swords. I have some plans to make a type G single edged for myself using bloom steel and wrought iron this year. But I'm waiting to have my powerhammer finished for it.

 

 

I will be looking forward to that, and if you have time maybe some WIP pics of

the power hammer build or installation and / or use ?

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I like that, you really captured the visual feel of these Norse langsaxes, right down to the slight warp from quenching, which they almost all have. There is an elegant brutality to these things. B)

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I like it a great deal. It looks vicious. Chopping, slashing, and draw cutting, oh my. The little nose dive is wicked.

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Great looking sword. I've always been a fan of the"less is more" mentality.

Also, interesting choice for the scabbard cover, I rarely see anything but leather. Is there any historical evidence for this?

I really like the look of it!

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Great looking sword. I've always been a fan of the"less is more" mentality.

Also, interesting choice for the scabbard cover, I rarely see anything but leather. Is there any historical evidence for this?

I really like the look of it!

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Love it..........
​ Great job. A very powerful looking sword.... I like everything about this one !

​ Mark

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Hey, everyone! Thank you for the words. I'm really crazy to make another single edged soon. I hope I will be able to put my hands on the next before April.

And about the scabbard, as Alan said they were common in linen, but the choice for wool was conjectural from my part.
There is a passage in Hilda Davidson's "The Sword in Anglo-Saxon England" that states only that some scabbards were covered with "cloth", but she doesn't specify the kind of cloth used and, taking in consideration that this was a sword made to look humble, but yet impressive, I picked the wool for the job, as it was easier to be found back in the viking age than linen, according to sources about clothing and dresses.

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