October 10th 2012
"Secrets of the the Viking Sword" Documentary
some photos here:
In the Summer and Fall of last year I had the pleasure to be involved in the production of a TV documentary program focussed on the Viking Sword.
The program was produced for NOVA (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/) though the work of National Geographic and Pangloss Films (http://www.panglossfilms.com/). In October of 2011 Pangloss Films came to my shop and documented the making of a special sword based on the research of Dr. Alan William's of "The Wallace Collection" in London (http://www.wallacecollection.org/). Several years ago Dr. William's began a study of Ulfberht inlayed sword blades and discovered that the blade which carried a signature of a certain type appeared to have no slag. His work can be seen in several articles and his new book "The Sword and the Crucible" ISBN 9789004227835. I had the pleasure of spending a few weeks with Dr. Alan Williams in North India back in 2007 and can tell you he is an extremely insightful archeo-metallurgist.
The program will discuss the importance of Dr. Williams' find, a particular blade housed at the National Museum of Denmark (http://natmus.dk/) as well as illustrate the manufacture and larger context of these cultural artifacts (My bit).
We did the work in a charcoal forge with leather bellows on a stake anvil....more or less. Some of the smelting processes of manufacture are based on the research of Dr. Ann Feuerbach , currently at Hofstra University, and I await her book on the subject which she is currently authoring.
For my part I enlisted a bellows and hammer man in the form of Kevin Cashen of Matherton Forge in Michigan (http://www.cashenblades.com/). Kevin and I have been friends for many years and in addition to being a deep well regarding European blades and a talented craftsman...I simply enjoy him being around.
Kevin was a huge help to me for the film shoot as it is always a good thing to have someone around with his skills and depth of knowledge, but he preferred to be a bit more off camera than on. Thank you Kevin!
Following the filming Kevin and I went to Arms and Armor in Minneapolis (http://www.armor.com/ ) and saw Chris Poor and Craig Jonson and were given a very good tour and handling session of the Oakeshott Collection. http://www.oakeshott.org/
In this project I was part of a greater whole and I believe this may be a defining watershed for the public to see what is possible by modern smiths.
Peter Yost of Pangloss Films has produced may award winning features for TV and I look forward to seeing this program he has crafted.
A similar sword made by the same methods is $7,500 for the blade.Fittings are in addition to that cost.
The show can be viewed online (in the US) at this address:http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/ancient/secrets-viking-sword.html
There are some still images from the creation process of Ric's ULFBERHT reproduction from the documentary at : http://www.doorcountyforgeworks.com/Available_Work.html
I'm going to let readers soak in the available materials first. I do have a commentary on the documentary, but will leave that a couple of days to let you all sort out the information.