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Forging a Composite Viking-age Sword

The video shows forging a pattern-welded Viking-age sword consisting of a 5-bar construction based on dimensions from a find in Norway. The video shows squaring up the rods and how I bundle the five bars (3 twisted core and 2 edge) into a sword-like object and then forge weld it. Instead of employing a wrap around edge, I am cutting a V into the tip that is forge-welded back together.

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Viking-Age Iron Making In Oakland

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Looking forward to USENIX Security!

USENIX Security '11 USENIX Security is by far my favorite conference. This year is taking place in San Francisco from August 8th to August 11th and the program looks pretty strong again. There is some great work on quickly detecting malicious Javascript in the Browser and the talk on "Comprehensive Experimental Analyses of Automotive Attack Surfaces" promises to make us all rethink the security of our cars. Actually, all of the sessions seem like they will be interesting. So, see you all there.
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Pattern-Welded Kurzsax

KurzSax
This knife is a multi-bar construction with W1 for the cutting edge and 1095 and 15n20 for the twisted rods. It is inspired by early Viking-age finds from Norway. The guard and pommel are made from brass and embossed with a triangle design. The handle is made from bok oak used in the defensive ring wall of the Viking-age Haithabu settlement in Northern Germany.

The knife was created as the result of an accident. While working on the rods for a Langsax, I twisted too hard and a piece of the rod sheared off. Fortunately, that piece was long enough to suffice for a Kurzsax. The blade is about 7.5in long and then handle measures 5.5in for a total of 13in. The knife features a scandi grind and is very sharp. There is no secondary bevel on the edge.
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Mästermyr inspired Chest

Last year, I started making an oak chest with forged straps and lock inspired by the Viking-age tool chest found at Mästermyr. The chest uses the same construction as the original one, e.g. mortise and through tenon, rabbets for the front and back, compound angles due to all sides leaning in and dowels. The straps, hinges and chest handle are not authentic but look quite nice.
From Mästermyr Chest

More in progress pictures can be found in the album.
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Forging a Chest Handle


As my work on the Mästermyr-like chest is slowly coming to completion, I noticed that due to thicker planks, the chest is getting too heavy to carry comfortably without handles. Although, the original chest did not have any handles, I decided to forge handles anyway. None of the books in my library had good illustrations of Viking-age handles but the simple design above is going to fit with the hardware I have forged so far.

This handle was forged from a 7in long piece of 3/4in round steel. I isolated a 1in piece in the middle by fullering with a spring fuller at 3in and 4in from the end. After the middle piece was isolated, I tapered both sides to 1/4in so that each end was about 6in in length. The transitions were square, octagon and then round as usual. Each end was bend at 3in over the horn of the anvil.

The loops were forged from 1/4in thick and 1in wide rectangular steel. I used a butcher to get a tenon that could be forged down to 1/4in round and then drilled a 1/2in hole for the eye where the handle is going to fit through.

To make the handle stop rotating at 90 degrees, i.e. to avoid squeezing the hands, I put each end of the handle in the vise and used a set hammer to bend a stop that is going to engage with the plate, see the picture. The base plate is 1/8in thick and the loops where riveted to it with the handle in place. The whole process took about 5 hours.

Surprisingly, aside from a couple blacksmithing books, I could not find any article on the web that shows how to forge a chest handle.
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