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Zeb Camper

Single edged Viking sword. In need of some guidance.

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That's a nice profile for sure, and postdates pattern-welded blades by a few years, so good call.  

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Yeah, I'm really wanting to do p-weld, but at the same time I'm wanting something wieldable... I've been researching this time frame and really want to stay true to the viking age. 

From what I've read, in formal dueling, care was taken to land hard, fierce blows more so than fast cuts. In some sagas they would go through several shields. I could see how a more forward heavy blade might help with this style. But, how would you use the sword in battle, or informal dueling?

I'm not real sure what I want to do.Might just try to forge something out of truck spring to start, since I've never done anything quite this big...

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Is there a way to forge it so the only pattern welded steel is the fuller? That would be awesome, But i don't really thing thats possible..  Unless it was san mai, mono steel outer layer and damascus interior.....and then grinding into the fuller would expose that damascus.    Sorry im just thinking out loud here..     But it seems like this is a historical design, and im not sure if damascus san mai was ever made by vikings... Is viking even the right thing to call them?? maybe Anglo Saxon or just some random germanic tribe....?   Again, just thinking out loud... :lol:

Edited by Conner Michaux

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Posted (edited)
16 minutes ago, Conner Michaux said:

Is there a way to forge it so the only pattern welded steel is the fuller? That would be awesome, But i don't really thing thats possible..  Unless it was san mai, mono steel outer layer and damascus interior.....and then grinding into the fuller would expose that damascus.    Sorry im just thinking out loud here..     But it seems like this is a historical design, and im not sure if damascus san mai was ever made by vikings... Is viking even the right thing to call them?? maybe Anglo Saxon or just some random germanic tribe....?   Again, just thinking out loud... :lol:

You're unknowingly thinking on the right track. 

Multibar constructs were very common, but not on that blade shape. Multibar allows you to stack and weld multiple bars in a way that you can see them all from the profile. Most of the time this was twisted bars in the middle and plainer steel on the outer edges. 

San mai (though not called that) was around too. A lot of times you'd have pattern welded bars for bread on an iron sandwich. So iron in the core and separate pattern welded bars for the outsides as a jacketing. Or, you might have an iron jacket over a steel core, or a steel jacket over an iron core, and other configurations. 

And yes, "Viking" is more of an action than a title. It might be better thought of as the age of viking. 

Edited by Zeb Camper

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Being that "Viking" means raider I think that the Viking age still fits but it still drives me up a wall when people refer to Viking farmers.

Doug

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I think you're absolutely right on that one Doug. 

I was trying to say that you might have a fleet of say Danish ships, and they stayed Danish until they started to raid; then they became Vikings. I think perhaps you had to come to the would be pillaged site via boat as the root for Viking- "vik" meant "creek" in old Norse and "wik" was the old english word. This became "Vikingr" Some translate it to "warrior from the fjords".I think if you were attacked by a neighbor via land it might not be "viking" but I could be (and usually am) wrong.

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You've been doing your research, Zeb, good on you! B)

Semantics aside, I have had the luck to handle an actual Viking sword alongside an even more rare Anglo-Saxon sword.  The Viking had an inlaid inscription and is suspected to be an Ulfbehrt, weighs around 3lbs, and handles like a 2x4.  The Anglo-Saxon was full pattern-weld, weighs about 2lbs, and handles like a dream.  Roughly the same length, too.  The one you made a model of would be in between, retaining enough mass for a hard blow, but nimble enough to be useful against a faster target.

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Thanks!

You dont have a picture of said "dreamy handling sword" do you? Maybe some measurements even? I would really like to do p-weld, but would rather let form follow function. If I could find an excuse to do both though... The sword shape I drew from the SOTVA book doesnt seem like an easy shape to try for pattern welding. I imagine it could look sloppy pretty easily. 

I really should just beat out a leaf spring sword and play with it huh? 

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sP3310233.jpg

This is the "Viking" sword, with new guards and pommel.

sP3310234.jpg

and this is the Anglo-Saxon.  Regrettably I don't have any full-length pics, hopefully someone who was at Fire and Brimstone 2012 does.  Here's a closeup of the pattern:

sP3310235.jpg

 

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15 hours ago, Doug Lester said:

Being that "Viking" means raider I think that the Viking age still fits but it still drives me up a wall when people refer to Viking farmers.

Doug

The term "Viking" has many meanings, that is only one. 

19 hours ago, Conner Michaux said:

Is there a way to forge it so the only pattern welded steel is the fuller?

 

19 hours ago, Zeb Camper said:

Yeah, I'm really wanting to do p-weld, but at the same time I'm wanting something wieldable...

This is all possible. If you intend to use the last design drawing, you might consider doing a multi-bar stack and a fish-mouth weld for the tip. That might not get enough material out there for that long skinny tip though. A welded core and a wrap-around weld, might get you more material.

If you choose to do the single edge variety, a 4-bar stack is probably the way to go for PW.

Another thought is the fish-mouth on a 3 or 4-bar stack with a wrought core and HC steel edges. That would look cool.

It's that long skinny point that perplexes me with a multi-bar composite. How to get the fuller short of the point and still have enough material out at the end? I suppose that you could take the edge bars and weld a section of them together for the tip. Then insert the pointed core bar up to the welded portion and wrap the edges over the core. How lucky do you feel?

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Posted (edited)
22 minutes ago, Joshua States said:

It's that long skinny point that perplexes me with a multi-bar composite. How to get the fuller short of the point and still have enough material out at the end? I suppose that you could take the edge bars and weld a section of them together for the tip. Then insert the pointed core bar up to the welded portion and wrap the edges over the core. How lucky do you feel?

Similarly, if you didn't mind the fuller (patterned core) coming to more of a point, you could cut a long skinny fish mouth at the tip, and weld in a matching triangle of edge material.

Edited by Brian Dougherty

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I have done both of those, and by far the best aesthetic is the hairpin edge wrapped around a finished-to-size core.  To get that long thin tip you need the edge bar to be wider at the bend of the hairpin, otherwise you don't get the length.  To make it even more fun, an upset square corner on the tip that is then forged into itself to form a thick V shape works better.  As long as you avoid cold shuts.  That's sort of how I did the trowels.  A fishmouth weld will show up when etched, and it can be a cool effect, but if you don't want that the hairpin is better.  The first weld in setting the core is done by driving the point of the core straight down into the bend of the hairpin.  Then you get the pleasure of keeping track of those long 1/4" thick edge strips as you weld them sideways the hard way without slipping off to either side.  Preparation is key.  You can do it, I've seen your stuff.  It's actually kind of fun when it works well.  The opposite is also true, of course.  I have a dwarf-sized PW sword that started out about 38 inches long.  It's 24" x 2.5" wide at the moment.  One of these years I'll finish it up, as it's still kinda cool.  I'll go all Tolkien on its ass...

Ric Furrer uses clamps made exactly like a traditional collar joint on decorative work to hold the bars.  Works much better (or at least with less probability of failure) than simply wiring them. 

 

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Ok. Well, I guess I need to find a better sword type to do this.... I think I have enough steel for a 4, maybe 5 bar construct after millscale... I wonder if a 4 bar would look ok? I would guess so... 

Does it really need to be as small as 1/4" bars welded up? Would 3/8 do a little better? Assuming we're talking square.

As far as the hairpin goes, why not fold the edge bar in half and weld an inch or so up and then forge a round spot back into it for the p-weld to sit? And your method is just like making a bend and then forging it sharper and thicker from a U to a V right? 

I might look into making clamps. 

Thanks! 

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3 hours ago, Zeb Camper said:

As far as the hairpin goes, why not fold the edge bar in half and weld an inch or so up and then forge a round spot back into it for the p-weld to sit?

That's what I was trying to say when I mentioned this

7 hours ago, Joshua States said:

I suppose that you could take the edge bars and weld a section of them together for the tip. Then insert the pointed core bar up to the welded portion and wrap the edges over the core.

Could be dicey. You are going to be forge welding the edge bars together and then trying to forge weld the core into the weld at the tip. Everything would have to be at welding heat for the second weld when you drive the core into the welded tip material. I see weld failure written all over it, but who knows? It might just work.

7 hours ago, Brian Dougherty said:

Similarly, if you didn't mind the fuller (patterned core) coming to more of a point, you could cut a long skinny fish mouth at the tip, and weld in a matching triangle of edge material.

This would cause an open V to appear at the end of the P-weld core bars. 

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Hey Zeb!

Check out this thread if you haven't already, it may have some helpful stuff in it! As far as forging the pattern around the tip I would recommend doing the 45 degree cut and forge, in order to make the pattern flow nicely with the lines of the edge. Cutting a more acute or obtuse triangle from the end will give you different effects as well.

 

EDIT: I actually just realized you changed your mind and will likely be doing a double edged sword instead! and I had just gotten out my reference on some original single edged swords and everything! :lol:

 

My advice for pattern flow is the following though: decide what you want to do bar wise first, and then whether you want to deal with a 6 foot or longer edge bar when you do a wrap around weld, or whether you want to use two bars you meet in the middle. Alan said everything that I was going to say above, damn that guy! 

8 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

I have done both of those, and by far the best aesthetic is the hairpin edge wrapped around a finished-to-size core.  To get that long thin tip you need the edge bar to be wider at the bend of the hairpin, otherwise you don't get the length.  To make it even more fun, an upset square corner on the tip that is then forged into itself to form a thick V shape works better.  As long as you avoid cold shuts.  That's sort of how I did the trowels.  A fishmouth weld will show up when etched, and it can be a cool effect, but if you don't want that the hairpin is better.  The first weld in setting the core is done by driving the point of the core straight down into the bend of the hairpin.  Then you get the pleasure of keeping track of those long 1/4" thick edge strips as you weld them sideways the hard way without slipping off to either side.  Preparation is key.  You can do it, I've seen your stuff.  It's actually kind of fun when it works well.  The opposite is also true, of course.  I have a dwarf-sized PW sword that started out about 38 inches long.  It's 24" x 2.5" wide at the moment.  One of these years I'll finish it up, as it's still kinda cool.  I'll go all Tolkien on its ass...

Ric Furrer uses clamps made exactly like a traditional collar joint on decorative work to hold the bars.  Works much better (or at least with less probability of failure) than simply wiring them. 

 

 

In all seriousness though, you'll be fine, it's not so much that it is hard as you just have to do the steps in the right order. You clearly have forge welding down and all it entails is a few forge welds in a particular order, weld the core bars first, nice and flat and parallel and then prep the edge bar. I almost always do a full wrap around because I like the look better aesthetically, but it is a pain in the ass, you have to get a very long bar perfectly square all the way through, bend it around your core and then clean everything well enough that you can forge weld back together. I don't clamp or tie anything when I'm doing this operation, much like when the Japanese stuff is concerned I hate having foreign material in there, so I will try to avoid welding or adding wire that can get welded to the blade. I just hold it, pound the billet straight down to set the tip weld and then begin to chase the weld back towards the tang end. 

 

I think the best advice I can give is don't be afraid to tear apart your welds if you need to. I've had sword blades where I've developed a problem with the welding when the bars weren't squared, and I bent the offending bar outwards, let it all cool, took a file to the inside of the bar to make it parallel again, and then heated and forge welded again. Works like a charm every time! There is a lot you can salvage, but be prepared to build this sword in your mind before you go to do it in real life. Everything I make I plan ahead in my mind in order to make sure I won't be surprised by a technique or problem I'm not prepared for. The less surprises you make for yourself the better! 

 

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On 1/25/2019 at 6:30 PM, Alan Longmire said:

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.

On the single edged swords a lot are one piece....and somthing to remember about the way the pommel and tang are aligned is that the tand does not go into the center of the pummel it is often misaligned so this needs to ke taken itto account this also means the tang is not central to the handle....

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More good advice from those better than I am!

I do wire or clamp, but the key here is not to incorporate those into the weld.  Take them off when it's time to.

Thickness is tricky.  You already know you can't draw out a twisted bar without losing the tightness of the twist, and that the pattern of a twist changes depending on how deep you grind into it.  That is why you sometimes see twists that have been cut down the middle and either used as veneer or just swapped back to back.  Thus the thin on-edge welds.  3/8" can work if your twists are much tighter than you want them on the finished blade or if you are comfortable drawing sideways across the billet.  

And the other trick to getting a good tip weld, besides going straight down, is to use a bottom swage that matches the tip profile.  This keeps the sides from bowing out while you weld the very tip, a difficult fix if it happens.

Finally, if you don't want a weld line to show on a fishmouth weld, just polish the edge bars after etching, leaving the core alone.  Creative de-etching. 

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Thanks a ton guys!

I certainly have much to think about. I bought a copy of "The sword in Anglo-Saxon England" last night. I'll try to do some welding drawing and maybe twisting of torsion bars this weekend. I guess the idea is to get the p-weld core welded and forged very close to final shape before adding the edge bar. It doesnt sound too hard, but I think I'll run into trouble with that attitude lol. I'm probably gonna make some sort of twisting jig. 

Thanks! 

 

 

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