Blacksmithing usually happens in a dark shop with very hot metal. A dark shop helps the blacksmith see the color of the steel better and thus know when it's ready to work or when it is too cold. Unfortunately, the dynamic range between dark and light makes it difficult to create videos that show both the shop as well as the hot metal. The dynamic range is too high to show up appropriately in videos. Fortunately, this has changed with Youtube's support for HDR. It still requires a new TV to support it though. This video is my first experiment at producing an HDR video. I filmed it on a Sony PXW‑FS7 in 4K raw and then color graded it in DaVinci Resolve on a Sony BVM-X300.
The Mysterybox folks have put together good information on how to produce HDR videos.
A Day at the Forge documents a single day at the shop. This time, I am working on a complex pattern-welded sword that contains a core of 8 pattern-welded bars. Watch me forge-weld the core and then assemble the cutting edges to create the pre-form of what will become a majestic Viking-age inspired sword.
As of today, I have officially reached 5 million views on my Youtube channel. That seems like a large number for blacksmithing videos and something I never expected when I started documenting my exploits. So, let's take a look at the most popular videos.
In 2013, I made a knife for preparing Persian Kabab Barg. This video alone is responsible for almost 2 million views:
A year before that in 2012, I had started working on the Serpent in the Sword. A Viking-era sword with a pattern welded serpent at the core of the blade. At that point, I was also still learning how to mix audio; it was so bad I had to put up an audio remix. The Serpent in the Sword collection of videos accounts for another 2 million views:
At that point, I started spending much more time on video editing but never ended up with another really popular video. I found that pretty ironic. However, in 2013 John and I started experiments with making crucible steel which resulted in a knife with Wootz-like patterning. As of today, this video has a little bit more than one hundred thousand views:
Another video series which documents a complete sword build surprisingly only got a very few views. This is the sword I made for the ChronoBlade game. It was a lot of work and shows all sword making steps in detail but never really got popular.
Those are the mysteries of Youtube! Here is to another 5 million views.
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!!!
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.