View Full Version : Viking sword


Jeff Pringle
08-12-2004, 08:44 AM
Just finished this 9th century-style blade, in 1018/1095 damascus with silver-over-iron hilt...inspired by several blades from the period:
http://www.home.earthlink.net/~jlp3/images/Dirksword%202side.jpg
http://www.home.earthlink.net/~jlp3/images/Dirksword5small.jpg

J.Arthur Loose
08-12-2004, 09:06 AM
Nice work, Jeff. My good buddy Sylven just sent me those pictures yesterday... so I guess there's some synchronicity at work here. Welcome to the forum.

So what is the edge material on that? I stopped using 1018 / 1095 combinations after discovering that the carbon migration coupled with the low manganese in 1095 made for a really bitchy heat-treat. That being said, I used that same issue to get a soft spine/core a couple times by welding on a plain 1095 edge, carefully heating/forging thereafter and counting on the pattern-welded section to miss the curve in the quench.

I also understand you've done some smelting? We'd love to hear about that too.

Jesse Frank
08-13-2004, 07:16 AM
Wow, thats stunning! :101
What did you use to groove the iron for the silver overlay?

Jeff Pringle
08-13-2004, 09:26 AM
The edge material is 1070, drawn down from 4" stock on a friend's Nazel hammer. interestingly, some damascus patterning showed up on the 1070 during the final etch so it must not be entirely homogenous material.
"bitchy heat-treat"? This is one of those metallurgical terms I'm not entirely familiar with, but the comination of 1018/1095 has cracked on me a couple times, I chalked it up to forgetting to warm the quench water. Oil quenching has always been predictable/not troublesome. What have you run into?
The Vikings did mainly two types of inlay, the parrallel undercut grooves (super tedious!) and the random cross-hatching, which seems more common on the more curvy type R & S hilts. This corresponds to the koftgari technique, and that was my intention on this sword. The iron gets crosshatched with an engraver, scraped sideways. However, I only had two months to make this sword, instead of my preferred six months - six years, so when the koftgari was giving me issues on them pommel lobes I copped out and had it electroplated to fill in the grooves, sanded it flat and re-electroplated to a few thousandths so the electroplating will wear away more authentically.
Has anyone done alot of koftgari technique? Got any pointers for working compound curves?
Smelting is alot of work for a little bit of very cool metal. More on it later....
Jeff

J.Arthur Loose
08-13-2004, 10:39 AM
The edge material is 1070, drawn down from 4" stock on a friend's Nazel hammer. interestingly, some damascus patterning showed up on the 1070 during the final etch so it must not be entirely homogenous material.
"bitchy heat-treat"? This is one of those metallurgical terms I'm not entirely familiar with, but the comination of 1018/1095 has cracked on me a couple times, I chalked it up to forgetting to warm the quench water. Oil quenching has always been predictable/not troublesome. What have you run into?

Yes, I think "bitchy heat-treat," is the technical term. ;) Basically the inevitable carbon migration lowers the carbon content to the .56-ish range, which is still hardenable, especially if you're going for a differential heat-treat. The low manganese in the 1095, especially once it has lost carbon content gives you less than one second to go from austenitic to martensitic. I went from Heatbath #50 at 150F to salt-water at 150F and got perfect, fully hardened blades, but did have a high failure rate, usually partial hardening; with the thicker spine sections failing. Great working blades, just ugly after the etch. The specs on the 1018 revealed that it had a lot of random alloying elements, which was likely a factor as well.

From much of my reading, I've discovered that the pattern welded sections of most Migration / Viking blades were made of two low-carbon materials differentiated by other alloying elements, such as phosphorus, with a high-carbon edge. One of the main reasons I was using high / low combinations in the first place was because I had originally thought that they were historically accurate for the core material.

I did notice the lines in the edge material. Looks great. Curious!


Has anyone done alot of koftgari technique? Got any pointers for working compound curves?
Jeff

Check the Fine Embellishment forum here or Don Fogg's forum...

mstu
08-13-2004, 11:44 AM
Nice work! Elegant and understated, a person has to look twice to notice some of the details. Are the dark lines a patina on the silver or are they showing the underlying iron? And either way, are the designs done with a chisel or burin, a dremel tool, or some other method?
Michael

Jesse Frank
08-13-2004, 11:52 AM
Awesome. What kind of graver did you use? I have been meaning to make one, just havet got around to it. Not to mention the fact that I haven't actually seen one ;)

Jeff Pringle
08-13-2004, 05:06 PM
the inevitable carbon migration lowers the carbon content to the .56-ish range

-If you use equal amounts of both metals?but now that you mention it, I have had partial hardening on two blades, at least one most likely due to that narrow window. Very annoying, not getting it right on the first try. This blade hardened well, like it wanted to be a sword, with just a little warpage.

the pattern welded sections of most Migration / Viking blades were made of two low-carbon materials differentiated by other alloying elements, such as phosphorus, with a high-carbon edge.

Yep, they conserved the good steel for where it was needed. I think I?ve run across one reference to differing carbon content vs. three for differing alloy?mostly secondary or suspect sources. Carbon differential may not be completely authentic, but it works for now?looks better than hi-nickel/chrome contrast to me. One of the reasons I started smelting my own steel was to get closer to original materials, that and to understand what it was like to smith in an era where you couldn?t just go to the store to get tool steel. But I've yet to make a sword from my steel. I?ll try throwing a couple percent phosphorus into the mix at some point, but it aint happened yet?I bet it?d be a real pain to forge. I?ve still got a few pounds of 1095 to work through, too, before I go totally native.

On the engraved decoration ? it?s oxidized silver, not through to the steel. Next one gets engraved then filled with niello, that lead/silver/sulfur alloy they used to up the contrast on decorations of that sort. I used three different engravers, depending on line width and surface curvature, and made a micro-burnisher by putting a tiny polished round point on a carbide scribe ? this worked amazingly well to smooth out the curves and line widths on the curved surfaces of the pommel, which were impossible for a non-engraver like me to do solely with the cutting tools.
The gravers used were knife, flat and onglette, and for a description of various gravers, go here:
http://www.ganoksin.com/borisat/nenam/engraving-10-4.htm

Jake Powning
08-14-2004, 07:39 AM
I really like the way you have an interupted twist pattern on one side and a continuous twist on the other. very nice.
here is a link to a bunch of lads from up here that are doing viking age smelting, they will be doing a smelt up here in the maratimes next summer at CanIronV (http://caniron.ca/) they are called DARK (http://www.pipcom.com/~dark/) they have some good links and some interesting reports on their smelts. Anyway I thought you guys would find that interesting. I would love to make a composit viking sword from smelted steel one day. eventually we'll have to start some kind of assosiation to make it easier for us all to do the smelting thing with the intent of making viking swords. :smokin
thanks for showing us your work Jeff. :)

Jesse Frank
08-16-2004, 07:21 AM
Awesome.
Thanks fo rthe link to the gravers.

I think that the association is a great idea! I have smelted just a teeny bit in a crucible and have plans to make a bloomery furnace in the near futer but we will just have to see how it goes. It would be wonderful to pool our resources and have a few get togethers between us smiths that are really into the whole "dark ages" smithing bit.

J.Arthur Loose
08-16-2004, 09:15 AM
Thanks for those links, Jake. I dug the clay for my smelter yesterday... now to root around the local bogs...

Jeff, I did a survey of niello recipes for a senior thesis which is up on my web-site if you're curious. Niello is great alchemical fun... :)

Jeff Pringle
08-16-2004, 09:18 AM
That CanIron5 looks like a interesting event, I like the viking smithing contest idea!
The pattening on the sword was inspired by a sword in the Groninger museum illustrated by Jaap Ypey. Since 4-bar swords are usually either interruped twist or chevron, I thought perhaps the smith mixed his bars up before assembly...or not, I like the way it looks. But the possibility I just spent a couple hundred hours copying a 1000 year-old mistake is appealing, too.
We'll have to start a smelting thread and get our thoughts organized...find out why bloomery smelting is so hit or miss!
Jeff

Jeff Pringle
08-16-2004, 09:35 AM
Jeff, I did a survey of niello recipes for a senior thesis which is up on my web-site if you're curious. Niello is great alchemical fun... :)
Wow, amazing article! I thank you, I've always wondered at the differences between the various niello recipes! Which one had the lowest melting temp, do you think?
A friend of mine asked me just last week for a Niello recipe, I think I'd best direct them to your page.

J.Arthur Loose
08-16-2004, 05:47 PM
The ones with the lowest melting points will be the ones with the most lead. Fike's is really the best mixture, IMO, and melts around 700F.

I saw an actual PW Migration Era sword at an Ashokan Bladesmithing conference a few years back with a very nice eight-bar composite construction. One of the bars was very clearly and very mistakenly twisted the wrong way... ;)

Jesse Frank
08-17-2004, 07:06 AM
"I saw an actual PW Migration Era sword at an Ashokan Bladesmithing conference a few years back with a very nice eight-bar composite construction. One of the bars was very clearly and very mistakenly twisted the wrong way..."

Whoops! ;)