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Zeb Camper

Single edged Viking sword. In need of some guidance.

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Hey guys! 

I couldn't keep the cat in the bag any longer! Over the past couple weeks I've been planning to make a single edged Viking sword. Is it out of my skill set!? Yes, but I'd like to give it a go anyways! 

I've got the book with information about this sword right here in my lap, but it's not telling me some important details. It's left out thickness, or weight though it does mention it was quite heavy and that this type was among the heaviest of all types of Viking age sword. I would guess to make it 5/16" thick at the cross and 1/4" before the tip. The fuller I would guess to be very shallow indeed, as it looks flat in the pictures. I was thinking of putting a curved plate on my grinder and rigging up a special grinding jig that will essentially act like a surface grinder (fool proof). 

Also, the pommel looks to be solid, but I can make out a faint line right at the ridge suggesting a two piece construction but I see no evidence of peening anywhere. How was this put together? 20190124_214134.jpg154838653618624359268.jpg

 

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One of our flamin beard guys did one a few years ago, Powning ??

a search might find it for ya it was a beauty, if any one could answer your questions I would bet on him...........;)

 

 

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I wish that I could find my copy of that book but I'll give the best advice that I can.  You're right, from the description in the text and the illustration it seems like that there is little taper in thickness and width which I think would go along with blade making at that time.  I know that seaxes tend not to have much taper at that period.  I think that you're right about the fullers in the blade as being shallow and wide.  I don't think that the pommel is in two parts with an upper guard and the pommel proper.  I believe that it was forged in one  piece, had a blind hole punched in the center of the base and then heat fitted to the end of the tang.

I don't know if I'm getting my texts mixed up but as I remember there may be a chart covering the development of lower and upper guards and pommels/peaning blocks.  There are multiple styles that would be correct for that style of blade.

Doug

Edited by Doug Lester
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Those pommels can be one piece, but two is more usual.  The upper guard is just a straight bar, the tang is peined to that.  The pommel itself is often thin and hollow, with a U-shaped wire brazed in, which is used to rivet the pommel to the upper guard via a pair of holes on the outer ends of the upper guard.  There are some x-rays in the "construction clues from artifacts" thread in the history forum.

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Agreed,  pommels like that are usually in two parts; the pommel proper and the upper guard.  However, looking at the picture, I don't see a real line between the two nor do I see where the ends of the wire that were used to rivet the two together.  Either way would be correct.  Unless it's the camera angle the pommel is definitely off center.

Doug

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On 1/24/2019 at 10:24 PM, Zeb Camper said:

 I would guess to make it 5/16" thick at the cross and 1/4" before the tip.

 

Wow, I would think that to be very heavy.  But I have no experience in breaking down cross sections of earlier swords.  Most of my info that I have comes from 15-16th century items.  They are all two handed swords as well. 

Take a look for the name Roland Warzecha and his research.  I Know I've watched a few of his youtube videos where he is taking information on 10th century originals.  But I don't recall if he breaks down any distal taper information.  Unfortunately distal taper information is the singing key to how a sword functions but rarely do you see it listed in documents. 

 

Keep at this one, I'm gonna be really intrigued with how it comes out.  I have a really ambitious project I want to try this year myself, (aside from trying to make a wrapped axe). 

 

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Somehow I missed those dimensions, and yeah, that's a bit thick.  Think more like 1/4" or so at the cross and not a lot of taper, maybe 3/16" just before the tip.  These things didn't have a lot of taper compared to the double-edged ones.  Final weight needs to be no more than three pounds, ideally no more than 2.2 lb or so.  These are heavy swords, but still single-handed ones.  And that weight includes all the hilt fittings.  Viking swords in general are the heaviest of the single-hand swords, with one example coming in at four pounds, which is frankly ridiculous.  Might be another reason the Ulfbehrts were so prized, their superior steel allowed them to be much lighter but still stronger.  They tend to weigh in around 1.8 lb or so.  

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You guys make great points. Thanks all for the input. It won't go to waste! 

I wonder if I might make a double edged one instead. If these are as heavy as you say, I would be inclined to think they are quite unwieldy. 

Since I have never finished a sword, I'm not 100% certain if I should'nt make a mono steel blade first as a test dummy... I've never even made a double edged blade other than my two failed attempts at swords when I was younger. But I think I can make an ingeniuse grinding jig to eliminate any error on my part there. And make a sanding jig too. I think if I had the fate of all that pattern welded steel at stake I could be motivated not to mess up though! 

Alright. Back to the drawing board! I'll probably have to change the thread title. 

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1 hour ago, Zeb Camper said:

I'll probably have to change the thread title. 

You can do that by going to your very first post of the thread and when you hit edit it will allow you to change the title

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Thanks! I'm just gonna make sure I know what project I'm doing before I start changing stuff. 

There was a pre migration (more likely Roman) period germanic sword blade that had been rehilted in the viking age (or modern day) that had my eye a while back, but I'm not sure anyone besides myself would think it was cool and I would then have to keep it. Not necessarily a bad thing, but I'll have to commit to the build cost and expect no return. 

 

Edited by Zeb Camper

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Hey you never know someone else out there might think it's just as cool and drop what you need on it. 

The only thing I see about that sword, which is discussed in the topic, something throws me off about it.  Typically, swords arch to their point not have a hard angle to the tip.  Makes me think it's tampered with, I could always be wrong. 

 

And I would make the patterned welded version not the mono-steel.  :D  But that's because I like pattern welded stuff. 

 

 

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Daniel, remember that the blade has suffered some corrosion and that may have changed the profile of the point some.

Doug

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As for the pommel/upper guard construction, there's a WIP in pinned Show & Tell has an amazing how to do it and leave no trace of rivets and seams: https://www.bladesmithsforum.com/index.php?/topic/36908-viking-sword-fingrbitr/&

 

 

Edited by Joshua States
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5 hours ago, Joshua States said:

 

 

 

That sword is legendary! I love those guy's stuff! 

8 hours ago, Daniel W said:

Hey you never know someone else out there might think it's just as cool and drop what you need on it. 

The only thing I see about that sword, which is discussed in the topic, something throws me off about it.  Typically, swords arch to their point not have a hard angle to the tip.  Makes me think it's tampered with, I could always be wrong. 

 

And I would make the patterned welded version not the mono-steel.  :D  But that's because I like pattern welded stuff. 

 

 

Wwell that is true of viking age swords, but not of germanic roman spatha!...Spathas?.. Spathi? Thats why the blade is so cool to me. To think it was passed down from around 450 or so all the way to sometime around 800 give or take where it was rehilted in viking age fashion and used and it never broke makea it legendary! But then again, it may be a fake.  I like to believe the prior. 

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Screenshot_2019-01-29-21-34-59.png20190129_213058.jpg

here is the old sword next to my drawing of it on contractors paper enhanced to see the lines better. You can see I made my drawing 1/8" wider on each blade edge to account for decay and the tremendous amount of sharpening and re-grinding/polishing that this blade must have taken over all its centuries of service.... But maybe I should leave the blade more narrow because it's finalwidth is what makes it cool. I'll shrink it back down 1/16" on each side I think. You can tell some of the measurements given by the owner were approximate. My hilt components wound up oversized. My version is drawn with the handle on. 

What do you think? 

Edited by Zeb Camper

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Looks interesting.  What are the dimensions that you are going for?

Doug

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If I recall correctly, the dimensions are as follows: 

97 cm total length 

81cm blade length

50 cm original blade width (1/4" added in my drawing) 

3mm blade thickness (very thin)

11 cm handle area (abnormally long)

The original is 1.6 lbs. 

I think thats right but just going off memory. 

Edited by Zeb Camper
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20190130_194416.jpgScreenshot_2019-01-29-21-34-59.png

i think I'm just gonna do it! The double fuller might be tough... I do know a machinist... Might be cheating but it'd sure look good! 

It Will certainly bare a cool name and have some legend behind it. The ancestral blade handed down from a line of roman soldiers to Vikings. Maybe even a story told in carvings or other applied art on the scabbard. Should be cool! 

 

Edited by Zeb Camper
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... And the build cost for pattern welded steel bought from New Jersey steel baron along with grinding belts, sand paper, and a leather side for the scabbard will be over $500. And I didn't charge myself for the fittings that have to be made. Not to mention propane.

I figure a blade of this caliber will take around 150 hours to complete (without making the grinding jig). If I decided to make a profit by selling it, and pay myself $10 an hour and multiply it by 2 to pay myself, grow on, and start the next; it puts the total build cost at around $3,500. 

Gotta figure out if I can afford to build this now lol! This one may end up being truck spring and mild steel pattern weld saving $100 and shrinking the material cost to just over $400 if I held off on the scabbard for now it's a $200 build. Buy cheap Lowe's sandpaper and crappy belts and it's $100..... 

Budget bladesmithing 101^^ ;) 

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Finally stumbled (almost literally) across my copy of Swords of the Viking Age and found the single edged sword mentioned above.  If pictures from the next page had been posted it would be seen that the pommel existed without an upper guard.  It would also shown that the lower guard was a poor fit to the sword which was not demonstrated in the full length photo.  Also, if you read the first sentence describing the find, the sword was described as being a probable  marriage of parts.

Doug

Edited by Doug Lester

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21 minutes ago, Doug Lester said:

 

:blink:Whoops! Thanks! I can't beleive I missed it!

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Well, I decided to just buy steel.

We'll give it the ol' college try (whatever that means). 

20190510_123832.jpg

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Posted (edited)

I think I might go for this instead... The way it was described as "wooing" you to swing it. And with my scale drawings side by side it seems to make more sense design wise. I'm not sure if this design will warrant patternweld though... What do you think? Other than a x-"MEFECIL" overlay. 

 

 

20190513_072420.jpg

Edited by Zeb Camper
Sorry, picture was huge.

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Jeroen Zuiderwijk has been a big help and great resource for me on doing viking style seax projects

 

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