I was quite flattered when Arthur Von Eschan asked me to be one of the guests for the grand opening of his Ásfólk studio / school.
I had met Arthur when he undertook a private one week training session here last Fall. The course content was a special 'Forging the Viking Age' program we designed together. It included work using replica Norse forge, anvil and tools - making a number of replica objects. As well Arthur undertook a full bloomery iron smelt using a VA style short shaft furnace (which he also constructed). We both felt it was an excellent week.
Arthur is still working up details on the Grand Opening event (so expect details to be added soon!)
Bill Short, Icelandic Researcher and Combat Instructor, is another of the special guests. (I have worked with Bill a number of times in the past - and certainly recommend his work.)
These are my proposed sessions over the roughly 24 hour, two day event:
Lecture : Iron and the Norse
An examination of how iron was made, how it was worked, and what it was made into during the Viking Age. Illustrated with artifact images and many replica objects for close examination.
(expected to run 60 - 90 minutes)
Demonstration : Forging the Viking Age
Showing the construction and use of a 'sand table' style forge (charcoal / bellows stone / twin chamber bellow) with replica blacksmithing tools (largely based on those from the Mastermyr Tool Chest). As well as discussing the dynamics of the tools, a small seax (knife) blade will be forged from antique wrought iron.
(expected to run about 60 minutes)
Workshop : Forge a Seax
Participants (limited by available equipment!) will work in pairs to forge a small, simple knife blade from mild steel bar. Each pair will alternate forging with operation of the bellows - all using replica Viking Age tools. The completed rough forged blade is yours to keep (and may be further finished within other working sessions under planning).
(expected to run 90 - 120 minutes)
Demonstration : The Aristotle Furnace
The Aristotle is a theoretical model of a small scale 'hearth steel' re-melting furnace. (There is some evidence this process was known to Norse metalsmiths.) Over a roughly 30 - 45 minute working cycle, it can convert 600 - 800 gms of any scrap iron material into a roughly predicted carbon content 'bloomery textured material.
(expected to run 45 - 60 minutes)
Workshop : The Aristotle Furnace
Individual participants can run through the operation cycle of the Furance. Each will produce their own cake of modified carbon 'steel. The small roughly 500 gm (1 lb) cake created is a good size for further forging down to a working bar at your home workshop.
(expected to run 45 minutes per person - ongoing)
Round Table (proposed) : Building the Viking Age
Join experienced re-enactors and museum program designers Bill Short and Darrell Markewitz for a rather free wheeling discussion of some of their trials and triumphs attempting to bring the Viking Age back to life. Expect some observation on what works (or doesn't!) in public presentations. The good, the bad, the ugly (!) of making and using artifact replicas.
Hope to see you there!