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.
Inspired by "The Serpent in the Sword" from Lee A Jones, I embarked on the quest of forging a pattern-welded double-edged sword that has a visual serpent at its core. The video shows my progress over about 7 days of work. Pattern-welding in addition to structural benefits is also visually very attractive. The sword in this video is constructed from a total of seven bars. Two edge bars, two twisted bars and three bars for the serpent. The whole process while using modern tools is very similar to the one that anglo-saxon or viking-age blacksmiths might have employed. Each step in created a pattern-welded sword is explained and narrated in the video above.
In my quest to forge another double-edged viking-age sword, I have been experimenting with a serpent pattern. As part of my experimentation, I forged the the seax shown in the picture. It's over all length is 21.5 in, with a 16.5 in long blade and 5in long handle. It's a 7 bar construction. The cutting edge and back are W1. The two twisted bars are 11-layers of 15n20 and 1095. The serpent itself is an 11-layer straight laminate of 15n20 and 1095 backed by two bars of mild steel. As the picture shows the pattern came out quite nicely and the overall shape of the blade is quite pleasing. The next project is going to take the serpent pattern to a double-edged sword. We will see how that goes.
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.