Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Norse Trefoil Arrowheads

My friend Neil Peterson has been after me for some (too long) a time to forge some replica Viking Age arrowheads.

I have begged off this - primarily because this is largely specialist work. There are a few others out there who have concentrated (solely, from the look of it) on the skills and tooling required to be effective at this type of work. Hector Cole of the UK being the 'state of the art' in my opinion.

Neil has been most interested in two specific points, illustrated in the (almost impossible to find) 'Viking Artifacts' by James Graham-Campbell :

Image adjusted to life size
These are described as his number 12 (part of a group) and 267 (two shown) , " ... from the large find discovered in Estuna churchyard in 1964. ... objects of 7th to 11th century date are 245 arrowheads ... the greater part dating to the Viking Period." (pg 12)
From : Estuna, Uppland, Sweden, listed as Statens Historiska Museum 27761 (both images).
Further details are given on the second entry #267:
"Two tanged iron arrow-heads, with trefoil-sectioned blades of pointed oval form : between the blade and the tang is a rounded shaft, the larger having two ornamental mouldings. L 15.7 and 11.3 cm." (pg 74)

Forging a trefoil head represents a bit of a forging problem. Being able to see the original, or have some better idea of the detailed cross section, would most likely suggest the method used.
After a couple of forging tests, using differing starting shapes and sizes, differing forging steps, this is what I eventually came up with:
Life size - 1/4 inch grid
These are *rough forged* - and would need to be trimmed / sharpened on the cutting edges to finish. The longer of the two (#12) would then have the circular notch cut in, most likely with the edge of a file (like the square profile one found in the Mastermyr Tool Chest).

I ended up using a bottom profile tool to create a sharp line for the trefoil cross section:

This is the selection of tools I used for the work, with the addition of a cut off (or a straight chisel)
- The tongs are a special fine pair of goose neck, designed with a 'half square' notch on each jaw. The basic goose neck shape is seen in many VA tongs - although not so extreme. I am not aware of any artifact tongs with notched or profiled jaws (all I have seen are flat jaw).
- The shouldering tool here is intended for mounting in the hardie hole of a modern anvil, a feature no artifact anvil has. It is also quite possible to make this tool as a simple U shape, to be held by an assistant. There is no artifact version of this tool (again that I am aware of). Mind you, the simple construction would easily lend the metal to be quickly re-cycled as needed. Norse objects do show the shouldering form - 'loop and tab' hinges being a clear example.
- The bottom tool is *not* found in the artifact record.
I found the best way to create a robust central rib in the trefoil cross section was to lay a square taper 'edge down' into the groove, then pound flat from above. There may be a modern conception of 'mass production' at play here however. Using the bottom tool certainly was much faster and created a thicker cross section than hammering two diagonal bevels on one side. The results were also more consistent (but I can see repetitive skill coming to play there).

If there are any readers who have examined these, or other Viking Age trefoil arrow heads, please take the time to add a comment!

Neil has now added the full 'mini paper' up on the DARC web site: 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Yule to you too

Because I know a lot of you are pretty sick of 'Happy Happy'... 

(click for larger size to read the text)

Friday, December 19, 2014

Some IRON snippets...

...stumbled or sent via the wide world of the web.

Telluric iron

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Iron, native iron or telluric iron
Sawed slab of basalt with bright, metallic native iron inclusions from Uivfaq, Disko Island (size: 7.8 x 3.5 x 0.6 cm)
Telluric iron, also called native iron, is iron that originated on Earth, but is found in a metallic form rather than as an ore. Telluric iron is extremely rare, with only one known major deposit in the world, located in Greenland.
I'm always telling people about this - the only occasion metallic iron is found on the earth's surface, other than nickle-iron meteors. Someone should compare the trace elements in this material against known Norse artifacts - to see if this resource (within reach of the Greenland Colony) was ever utilized by the Norse. 

Excerpt on Iron Making from the BBC's Tudor Monastery Farm 
Filmed at the Rural Life Center in Surrey, England

From the Rural Life Center web site : 'Smiths and Wrights' :
... a half-scale furnace complete with bellows and hammer at the Rural Life Centre. ...
There have been several burns in the furnace, proving the efficiency of the bellows, but currently there isn't a big enough supply of charcoal yet to enable iron to be made – despite being only half-size, this furnace will still need four tons of charcoal when in action.
Actual smelting of ore is still being considered (due to potential dangers involved) but a charcoal burning programme has already been initiated at the museum ...
Those who have ever undertaken or observed a full iron smelt likely spotted the same thing I did on viewing the video clip : Everything was spotless clean and there was no heat effects visible on the tapping surface - or slag anywhere. This is also an early blast furnace (late Medieval technologies), charcoal fired to produce liquid *cast* iron. Mention is made of the second part of this system, the use of a separate 'finery' forge set up to effectively *remove* carbon from the cast iron to create workable wrought iron. I strongly suspect the large bar seen being worked under the (very neat!) water powered tilt hammer is actually modern mild steel - understandably used for demonstration purposes.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Tentative (!) 2015 Schedule

Believe it or not, I have had people asking me about the 2015 courses schedule for several weeks already!

Basic Course
Iron Smelt
Retail Shows
Special Course
3 - 4
10 - 11
17 - 18
24 - 25
31 - (1)
(31) - 1
7 - 8
14 - 15
21 - 22
28 - (1)
Basic (two day)
(28) - 1
7 - 8
14 - 15
21 - 22
28 - 29
FITP = Turf to Tools
Basic (two day)
4 - 5
11 - 12
18 - 19
25 - 26
EI4 = Smelt demo?
Early Iron
Olivebridge NY
2 - 3
9 - 10
16 - 17
23 - 24
30 - 31
ICMS = Aristotle
ICMS = Turf to Tools
Kalamazoo MI
6 - 7
13 - 14
20 - 21
27 - 28
DARK Upper Canada
Iron Smelt

4 - 5
11 - 12
18 - 19
25 - 26
CanIRON 10

Badeck NS
1 - 2
8 - 9
15 - 16
22 - 23
29 - 30
Celtic College = Glass
Celtic College
Celtic Festival
Owen Sound
5 - 6
12 - 13
19 - 20
26 - 27
Known World = Iron Smelt
Known World

Quad State

Troy - OH
3 - 4
10 - 11
17 -18
24 - 25
(31) - 1
ReARC = Iron Smelt ?
Iron Smelt
Iron Smelt
(31) - 1
7 - 8
14 - 15
21 - 22
28 - 29

Iron Smelt
5 - 6
12 - 13
19 - 20
26 - 27
Basic (two day)


The main change for 2015 is that I have attempted to place all the workshop courses at the Wareham Forge on either the second or fourth weekend of each month. Introduction to Blacksmithing (Basic) are all offered on the second weekend. Various specialty courses are offered on the fourth weekend. 

Basic (two day) : This program will be limited to TWO students, working only PROPANE. Only offered in the cold weather months!

Viking : This is a new 2 1/2 program - Forging the Viking Age, no previous skills required.  It will compose of an evening lecture, first day working modern equipment but making Norse objects, second day working with a Norse charcoal forge and bellows combination.

Experimental Iron Smelting has been shifted to coincide with the Summer Solstice and Samhain, plus the normal Thanksgiving, weekends.

Those who wax poetic about the 'free and easy life of the artist' might note that 2015 is still not even here yet, but already my schedule for next year leaves me only FOUR 'open' weekends - from mid May to mid November!

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Vintage Computer for Sale / Macintosh Performa 580-CD

Running on my desk
The Apple Macintosh Performa 580-CD 
features a 33 MHz 68LC040 processor, RAM expanded to 36 Mb,  a 250 MB  hard drive, and a 2X CD-ROM drive in a relatively compact all-in-one case with a 14" color display.
This is one of the last Macs to include a 3.5 floppy drive.
SCUZI interface (no USB!)
Installed with System 7.5.1

The Performa 580CD only was sold in Canada, Asia, and Australia,
This specific machine was purchased new in Toronto - Spring 1995, I am the original owner.

Other Hardware:
Apple ACK-310 expanded keyboard with cover
Apple Desktop 2 Mouse
Hewet-Packard 540 Printer
All required cords
Mouse pad
Original (!) Box

Installed Software:
a) Applications
AppleWorks v 5
Claris Organizer
Claris Works
Microsoft Excel v 4.0
Microsoft Word v 5.1
The Writing Centre
b) Communications
Eudora 3.1
Internet Explorer 3.01
Fetch 3.0.3
Netscape 4.01
RealAudio Player 2.02
Web Weaver 3.0.1
c) Computer Support
Darkside Screensaver
DropStuff 4.0
SAM 3.5
StuffIt Expander 5.5
ZipIt 1.3.5
d) Games
Eric's Solitaire
Marathon 1.2
Solitaire Till Dawn
Warcraft 1
e) Image Processing
Colour It 3.0
KeyCad 1.0
Photofix 3.3.3
UltraPaint 1.05

Operating System Support:
Original Performa Users Guide
Original Performa Installation CD (bootable, OS 7.5) plus duplicate copy
CD with OS 8.0 - which this machine does run
CD with OS 8.1 - which this machine does run

Manuals for installed sofware:
Appleworks 5 original install disk
Claris Organizer Users Guide
Microsoft Excel - Getting Started Guide
The Writing Centre - Quick Reference
Microsoft Word - Getting Started Guide
Claris Works Users Guide
Ultra Paint Manual

Additional Software Included (all on CD)

a) Educational
Grolier Encylopedia 1995 (copy)
The Family Doctor (copy)
b) Games
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Collector's Edition (full box set)
Afterlife (original CD package)
the Dig (original CD package)
Doom (copy)
Doom 2 (copy)
Hexen (original CD package)
Labyrinth (full box set)
MacPlay Sampler
Myst (original CD package)
Postal (full box set)
Prime Target (copy)
Warcraft 1 (full box set)
Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego (full box set)
Combination / Sampler Disks - total of 5

6 copies of 'MacWorld' Magazine - 1996 - 97 (about age of computer)
18 individual 'Mac Addict' CD's : Dec 1996 - August 1998 (demos, utilities, software)

Asking Price is $250
 This was my workhorse machine until roughly 2000. The majority of the Wareham Forge web site - and all my business records and technical writing was undertaken with this computer.

I will be making a couple of trips through the Brampton - Toronto area during December. It may be possible to arrange drop off. Otherwise, pick up at my home (google the Wareham Forge) north of Orangeville  (near Flesherton)

Monday, December 08, 2014

Early Iron 4 - A bit more first notice...


Early Iron Four
April 24 - 26, 2015
Ashokan Centre, Olivebrige NY

Early Iron 4 will be held in pairing with the Northeast Blacksmith's Association spring hammer in.
Current thought is to have a separate admission for the Early Iron related programming. (Although we all expect a certain amount of 'slop' between the two groups of metal smiths.)

At this point the working team for Early Iron 4 is:
Mike McCarthy (who started this whole mess and ran the other EI events) - nuts and bolts on the ground
Darrell Markewitz (who, me?) - some early organizing and communications
Tim Neu (who has organized many earlier NBA events at Ashokan) - helping with the financial aspects
Lurking in the background will be Jonathan Nedbor (New England Bladesmiths Guild) and Lee Sauder.

The Ashokan Centre is well known for its history of blacksmithing events.
The facility is located roughly half way between New York City and Albany

There is an established blacksmith shop there (with a small mechanical hammer) but this will certainly be occupied by the NBA activities.
There is a large 'picknick shelter' overhead with associated field that is the most likely area for the main Early Iron activities.
As well the Centre has ample lecture spaces available.
The Ashokan Centre also provides meal and lodging packages (purchased separately) for participants. These range from open bunks to private rooms. Those who have attended other events there will tell you the food is good quality and there is plenty of it. Rough estimate on a two night / 6 meals is about $190 per person.

At this point there is still some discussion about how to shape Early Iron 4.
Earlier symposiums have centred on demonstrations and teaching. At this point however, the base information on how to build and operate a small direct process bloomery furnace are fairly wide known. (For the last decade, members of the extended Early Iron Group have undertaken a lot of demonstrations!) Its also safe to say there is a kind of 'second generation' of practitioners who have taken that basic research and pushed it into solid 'bloom to object' work.
Some possible 'themes' that this event could explore:
- Historic / Cultural iron smelting traditions (North European / African / Japanese)
- Variations on Ore (similar furnaces then running various local ore types)
- Bloom to Bar to Object (more concentration on the challenges of working up those blooms!)

The exact format the activities take will determine the costing for participants.
One question still open is if Early Iron should recruit one major feature demonstrator? Or recruit a number of 'team leaders' - against a more 'hands on' approach?

At the very least, please mark the date on your calendars.
Spread the word!

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Work available in TORONTO - Great Spirit Gallery

Opening : Tuesday December 9
Location : Toronto Beaches area, 
half way between Woodbine and Victoria Park (north side)
Google Maps link
Hours : 10 am - 6 pm Tuesday to Friday
1 pm - 8 pm Saturday

I am happy to say that I will now have work available at this new, community based gallery in Toronto. I expect the Beaches area to be a perfect fit for the kind of work I have been doing (and potential customer). I met Christi as a student on one of my basic blacksmithing courses, and find her also a great fit in terms of her outlook and intentions with her gallery space.

Work initially available:

'Four Square' - vases (multiples)

'Lines' - bowl (part of 'Knot Celtic' series)

'Compacted' - candle holder / vases (multiples)

'Atlantic Realm # 3 - Kelp' - sculptural

'Layers' - wall plaque

Pentapus, (Hallucigenia # 6) - sculptural

'Segmented Bowl # 2'

'Structural' - candelabra

Monday, December 01, 2014

Viking Game - special Yule DISCOUNT

Special Price for Yule! 
flat $30 CDN
- includes Shipping to USA!
- includes Shipping AND HST to Canada!

Offer from December 1 - December 15, 2014 only
all orders shipped by December 15 for Christmas
Order on the Wareham Forge web site via Paypal

NOTE - Edit on Feburary 16, 2016 

February 15 - May 15, 2012 : Supported by a Crafts Projects - Creation and Development Grant

COPYRIGHT NOTICE - All posted text and images @ Darrell Markewitz.
No duplication, in whole or in part, is permitted without the author's expressed written permission.
For a detailed copyright statement : go HERE