This episode shows techniques for refining wrought iron to give it finer grain. It also shows how to carburize wrought iron and then turn it into shear steel. Both of these techniques are combined to forge a sax knife. Enjoy!
Did you ever wonder how swords were made? My recent video series shows all the steps involved in making a sword. I start from scratch by heating and forging a piece of high-carbon steel into the form of a sword and finish by showing sharpening the sword and cutting exercises. The techniques are very similar to how swords were made for thousands of years. The video documentation is split up into four different parts - you can also go directly to the complete play list on how to forge a sword
In the first video, I take a flat piece of 1075 steel, heat it in the forge and forge in the tang and the tip of the sword. I then forge the bevels and the fuller. After checking that everything is straight and that I have achieved the right dimensions, I normalize the sword to relieve stress created by hammering it. The video shows how to make the sword blade hard by heat treating it - that is quenching it and then tempering the blade.
The second video shows to make the lower and upper guard as well as the pommel. I show how to establish the basic shape and spent a lot of time grinding the blade on a belt sander. This creates the correct geometry and reduces the weight significantly. It is important for the complete sword to be as light as possible since that makes it less strenuous to swing.
Now, I finish shaping the guards and pommel and use a laborious process to fit them perfectly to the shape of the tang. I also take a piece of wood and fit the tang by burning it through the wood. At the end of this video, all the pieces can be roughly assembled.
The final video shows how I create decoration with gold wire using a Koftgari-like process. The wooden core is wrapped with hemp cord and leather and finally everything is put together. I hot peen the tang over the pommel to create a strong mechanical connection. Finally, the sword is sharpened and put to use.
After watching these videos, you should have a very good understanding how the sword is made. The whole process took about 100 hours. The videos condensed this into about 40 minutes. Enjoy!!!
A lot of people ask me about putting more emphasis on the "authentic" sounds that accompany working at the forge. My usual answer is that it can be damn loud. So, loud that it's difficult to talk with each other, especially when running a forced-air burner. The other day, I decided to take my day at the forge to demonstrate these sounds. You will hear the noise atmosphere from neighboring shops, the fan of the coal forge and the very loud forced-air burner. Enjoy.
The background music is "Passing Time" by Kevin MacLeod from Youtube's Audio Library. The video was shot in low light on a Blackmagic Camera using a Canon 17-55m f/2.8 lens. Audio recorded with an Audio-Technica BP4029 shotgun microphone on a Tascam DR-100 MkII. Editing and grading in Final Cut Pro X. Video and Music synchronization via PluralEyes.
Forge diaries are rough and unpolished videos that allow me to post more frequent updates of some of the work I do at the forge. Similar to the videos, the work at the forge is unpolished, too. You will see frequent failures, experiments and the occasional tips and tricks.
The first epsiode starts with an explosion, literally, but then cover a few other items. Find out more at:
This Wootz Seax is the first knife we made from our crucible steel. The bolster is copper and bone decorated with a dot and ring motif. The hilt is ironwood left over from a flooring project. The overall length of the knife is about 14 inches with a blade Length of 7 1/4 inches and a blade with of 1 5/8 inches. The steel pattern is very subtle and not easily seen on the photo.
As usual, I also documented the crafting process in a video:
Our experiments in creating crucible steel with a composition similar to ancient Wootz steel are continuing. In this video, we show the process of making a Wootz ingot and our first successful forging of the ingot into a bar. Our crucibles are charged with wrought iron from wagon tires, pulverized charcoal, some O1 tool steel, calcium carbonate and glass. Watch the video for all the details.
Our first experiments with creating crucible steel. The video shows the first run in which we melt wrought iron at 3000F. The ultimate goal is to create crucible steel with high carbon content that can be forged into swords.
Here are some pictures of my recent forge rebuild. When I originally started to look into refractory concrete as an option, I noticed that there were not a lot of articles on the web describing the process of casting a forge shell from refractory concrete. While many of the steps are pretty straightforward and do not significantly differ from using regular concrete, some people might still find my experience with using Kast-O-Lite 30 LI useful. My need for a new forge arose after some extended forge welding and bloom consolidation caused the roof of my previous forge to cave in. After thinking of different ways to construct a new forge, I decided to go with refractory concrete as it can take more abuse than the kaowool based solution I had employed previously. Kast-O-Lite 30 LI seemed like it fit the bill with a maximum use temperature of 3000F which is not something I am likely to reach unless I am over boiling iron. For general forging, Kast-O-Lite 26 would have been better suited as it provides better heat insulation but I had the 30 LI concrete available. Here is an outline of the process:
The construction used five pieces of concrete: Two sides, one roof, and two pegs. Where the pieces met, I had to split the angle, so used 22.5 degrees on each side of the different pieces. The end result was going to be a shell that would support itself. The first step was creating the forms from 2x4 and some wooden boards. The forge itself is about 13in long, and about 9in high. To get the angles, I used a bandsaw with a swiveling table that I could dial to 22.5 degrees. The measurements that determines the spacing of the pieces were all done on the outside and piece of 2x4 was attached to the board with wood screws. Here is how they looked like.
While visiting Germany this year, I was on a quest to find Viking-age swords as a source of inspiration for future work. The first trip took me to Nürnberg where I visited the Germanisches Nationalmuseum which had an amazing weapons collection including two amazing carolingian swords - here is a picture of one of them:
Afterwards, I stopped at Rothenburg ob der Tauber and were completely amazed by the Reichsstadtmuseum which featured the Hermann Baumann collection of historic weapons and armor including this interesting pommel of a Viking-age sword from Danmark dated to the 9th/10th century:
The last part of the trip was to Haithabu where not only the museum was a great experience but also the concurrently happing Viking market with over twenty long boats from Northern Europe. One of the sword pommels I saw there was the following:
The Serpent in the Sword project is slowly progressing. I have posted a couple more videos documenting the process. In part 2, the bevels of the sword are forged, the geometry is established on a belt sander and the sword is finally heat treated. In part 3, the sword fittings are made, e.g. the lower and upper guard as well as the pommel and wooden hilt. If things go right, the sword will be finished just in time to my visit to Germany in July. The Viking museum in Haithabu has a special event in which 20 Viking ships will sail to its harbor. There is also the new Viking Puppet Theater which should be fun to watch. It's called "Wikinger Puppentheater Ygdrasil" and has it's premiere in April at the museum in Haithabu.