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Viking Sword (pattern-welded) WIP

Jacob Cashion

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All right - finally started it! Day one of my biggest project of the year (so far). Spent the day getting the material prepped, through the first weld, and drawn out ready to cut + stack in the morning (after I get more propane - I was lower on gas than I thought, but that's why I always keep an emergency grill tank handy lol).

This project is a lot of firsts for me - biggest billets I've welded to date, first damascus sword, first multi-pattern composite, first project I'll incorporate my new (developing) engraving and inlay skills, first [damascus] fishmouth weld..... I've been planning this for months, and I'm so excited to finally get it under way!


I checked my math many times, and decided to make damn sure I won't come up short on material - my decisions on billet size came from me deciding to forge very thick, and I'll probably have a fair bit extra - I wanted to start with 25 layers, so I rounded up to 57 cubic inches, split between 2 billets. (Materials 1/8" 1080 & 1/16" 15N20)

20221019_104921.jpg No, that's not rebar - I use old cement ties to hold billets, they hold up really well.


One billet I drew out to a 1.5" x .75" rectangle, that I'll cut into 4, stack, and ultimately make into 4 bars of 100 layer interrupted twist.

The other billet I turned 45 degrees and completely resquared, then turned 45 degrees and flattened / drew into a bar 1" x 5/8" x 37". This bar will get stacked at least twice more (maybe... probably .... 3 times) until I turn it into 2 bars for my edge material.

Once the final 6 bar billet is welded, I'll use a fishmouth to join it all together at the tip.


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Not my fastest progression on a project, but I'm taking my time (plus, I'm on vacation and have lots of different stuff I'm trying to fit in before I go back to my day job). Today I'll finish drawing out the 100 layer bar, rounding it and get all 4 pieces twisted

Also arguing with myself about whether to stack my crushed w's one more time (3rd weld is finished, both times I cut into 6 pieces and stacked, so I have 36 "layers" in it now. I kind of want to cut it in half and bring it to 72, but I don't want to make it too fine since in the finished blade the edge material will be well under 1/2" wide. Anyone have thoughts on this? 

My goal is to have the blade rough forged by Sunday.

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  • 2 weeks later...


That’s looking good so far……in my experience it was only when I could see the results that I could really decide if I liked what I was seeing ….. and then adjusting accordingly on the next one… Take your best guess and take notes….. time has a way of making your memory of  previous choices you made fuzzy….and we all know what doing the same thing and expecting different results is called……    

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Okay, didn't get quite as far as I had hoped when I wrote my last post (had to make some more Damascus), and progress has slowed now that my vacation is over, but I'll be welding the final billet this week. Today I'm forging out the edge steel and getting everything cleaned up and ready to go.


Except for one bar that I decided to remake, the twisting went pretty well (unfortunately, my new firebricks did their job a little too well, and in a brief moment of inattention the center section of the final bar actually began to melt and pit, actually leaving behind some slag in my gas forge). Still, even though my adjustable interrupted-twist jig and usual wrench couldn't grip the round stock and I had to do it the old fashioned way (post vise and pipe wrench), and at welding heat I couldn't see my marks, I was able to get the twisted sections close enough with my eyeballs that with a little maneuvering, everything lines up within my "acceptable" tolerances.

20221029_102219.jpgThe (original) 100 layer bar, 0.75" round x ~57" (and the myriad hammers enlisted to keep it straight -that is, whichever hammer was closest at the time). This was cut into 4 bars.


20221030_110040.jpgThe original set of twisted bars after wire-brushing- the one with the badness is first on the left


20221106_131413.jpgThe final set of twisted bars, forged out .5" square. Usable section (between the red lines) = 20" long


20221027_091136.jpgTest etch of the endgrain on my crushed bar for the edge steel. Forging down to .5" square and making two 20" long pieces today


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