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Jacob Johnson




Location: Martinsburg, WV
Joined: 13 Jun 2011

Posts: 6

PostPosted: Mon 13 Jun, 2011 8:45 pm    Post subject: Another Viking Incoming!         Reply with quote

Hello all, my name is Jacob Johnson. I am part of the SCA and I am a history major. I enjoy the Viking period most, 793 c.e. to 1100 c.e. I want to get a kit as authentic as possible for a Russ Viking circa 950 who has traveled and traded far and wide. I wish to make a riveted iron chain mail shirt but I don't quite know how to do riveted, I am figuring out European 4-in-1, and I have no sources for iron wire or mail. I will be making an iron viking sword made from traditional pattern welding methods in a two burner forge. Any help with either of these or any more advice for the whole hit is helpful. I am basically making this kit form the ground up but I am a poor college student with no sewing experience and have only recently started researching textiles and clothing of the period. I appreciate your time, Bjorn Ulfricson
Gunnar: Slaves! Come earn your money! Yaaarh!
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Colt Reeves





Joined: 09 Mar 2009

Posts: 466

PostPosted: Mon 13 Jun, 2011 9:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi.

My advice is that if you have the time to do so, play with the search function on these forums. You may be surprised at the wealth of knowledge you turn up. You will probably learn a lot of things about other periods and places by accident along with that which you are interested. Wink

Also, I'm not sure what your present knowledge level is, but I find this site here gives a excellent overview of Norse culture, weapons, life, art, etc: http://www.hurstwic.org/history/text/history.htm

I liked it so much I went out and bought Short's book, which I recommend. It is basically a rehash of the website with a few changes, but nothing beats having a book in hand.

"Tears are for the craven, prayers are for the clown.
Halters for the silly neck that cannot keep a crown.
As my loss is grievous, so my hope is small.
For Iron, Cold Iron, must be master of men all..."
-Cold Iron, Rudyard Kipling
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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

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PostPosted: Mon 13 Jun, 2011 11:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If you can make a pattern welded sword then you are better off not bothering with the mail. Just make a few more swords and sell/exchange them for some mail.
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Johan Gemvik




Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Joined: 10 Nov 2009

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Posts: 793

PostPosted: Tue 14 Jun, 2011 4:40 am    Post subject: Re: Another Viking Incoming!         Reply with quote

Jacob Johnson wrote:
Hello all, my name is Jacob Johnson. I am part of the SCA and I am a history major. I enjoy the Viking period most, 793 c.e. to 1100 c.e. I want to get a kit as authentic as possible for a Russ Viking circa 950 who has traveled and traded far and wide. I wish to make a riveted iron chain mail shirt but I don't quite know how to do riveted, I am figuring out European 4-in-1, and I have no sources for iron wire or mail. I will be making an iron viking sword made from traditional pattern welding methods in a two burner forge. Any help with either of these or any more advice for the whole hit is helpful. I am basically making this kit form the ground up but I am a poor college student with no sewing experience and have only recently started researching textiles and clothing of the period. I appreciate your time, Bjorn Ulfricson


Greetings Bjorn!
As a fellow SCAdian Viking I welocme you most heartily to this forum, and I can probably give some advice on Vikig age maille making, though beware making it entirely historical is much more resource and time consuming than most think. As in probably several years in the making, at least if you have a life. Wink
On the other hand, making pattern weld swords may be a lifetime project to master so maybe the maille is easier in a way.
A good friend of mine made a haubergon from pre-drawn wire entirely in riveted links some years ago and it took abot 2 years. I'll post some photos actually since I haven't shown it on the forum yet. This was a germanic flat ring light maille type suitable primarily for 15th-16th century. The Gjermundbu maille I've started on uses solid links punched from plate, which makes the weave actually faster to make, but on the other hand the links are very fine, about half the diameter again making the weave a lot slower to build, and contrary to what some of my friends say I do have a life... Wink

Just like Dan suggests, if you can make patter weld swords, selling or trading one for a high quality maille (or two, or 5) is much easier going than making one. Though any one can trade for would not be entirely historical, as they're not being sold at present. Getting or making one fairly historical riveted maille, which most non-experts in maillemaking would deem authentic, is much easier though.

The best ones I've see mass produced so far are the roman mailles sold by getdessedforbattle.co.uk
These would suit a viking persona just fine and make most of us armour fetish people drool.

Still, if you're game for making authentic viking age maille, I can give you some pointers on punching solid gjermundbu size rings from plate and how to make the riveted links also. I have this thread on here: http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=22224

I've only worked maillemaking in steel so far, and the iron scrap I have access to that I haven't gotten arount to trying out yet may not the the right quality. Needs some testing to find out.

If you want the most accurate quality wrought iron available today you need to either make your own from bog iron ore, which yes, is being done by some even today, or buy charcoal Iron from this one forge in the UK that still makes it.

"The Dwarf sees farther than the Giant when he has the giant's shoulder to mount on" -Coleridge
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David Huggins




Location: UK
Joined: 25 Jul 2007

Posts: 490

PostPosted: Tue 14 Jun, 2011 2:00 pm    Post subject: Viking         Reply with quote

If you looking for of the peg clothing you could do a lot worse then these offered here. Machine sewed but hand hemmed..
http://historicenterprises.com/mens-dark-ages...p;sort=20a

best
Dave

and he who stands and sheds blood with us, shall be as a brother.
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Jacob Johnson




Location: Martinsburg, WV
Joined: 13 Jun 2011

Posts: 6

PostPosted: Tue 14 Jun, 2011 4:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks all. I can't seem to find iron rings and I dont exactly have a lot of money, fifteen dollars at presesnt but soon to change I hope. I would be happy with steel, blackened to look like iron. I am having trouble getting the 4-in-1 down but that takes practice. I have whole summers to do nothing but make chainmail, hehe, The sword forging will probably be expensive for iron bars or steel, but I have some black smith friends who will teach me to make swords. I am starting with a seax. I have not found anyone making authentic and accurate riveted mail, the type with alternating rows of riveted and welded rings. The clothing I am fine with b uying fo the most par, some I still want to make myself. As long as it is period to 950 c.e. I am happy.
Gunnar: Slaves! Come earn your money! Yaaarh!
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David Clark





Joined: 10 Feb 2009

Posts: 129

PostPosted: Tue 14 Jun, 2011 6:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jacob Johnson wrote:
Thanks all. I can't seem to find iron rings and I dont exactly have a lot of money, fifteen dollars at presesnt but soon to change I hope. I would be happy with steel, blackened to look like iron. I am having trouble getting the 4-in-1 down but that takes practice. I have whole summers to do nothing but make chainmail, hehe, The sword forging will probably be expensive for iron bars or steel, but I have some black smith friends who will teach me to make swords. I am starting with a seax. I have not found anyone making authentic and accurate riveted mail, the type with alternating rows of riveted and welded rings. The clothing I am fine with b uying fo the most par, some I still want to make myself. As long as it is period to 950 c.e. I am happy.


Kultofathena sells a wedge riveted mildsteel flat ring hauberk with alternating rows of solid rings. I know it is not as authentic as the real thing, but it is a nice compromise and not that expensive if ye think about it.
http://www.kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=...7%27+Chest
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Johan Gemvik




Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Joined: 10 Nov 2009

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PostPosted: Tue 14 Jun, 2011 6:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A seax is a great starting project to learn knife and sword forging. Good pick!

No, fully authentic iron mailles aren't being sold as I said, nor is proper viking age type riveting as seen on the Gjermundbu, which is the only surviving fairly complete true viking age maille I've heard of so far, the rest are fragments or piles of loose rings, as in the case of the Birka finds.
But you can get pretty good looking mushroom type riveting that most won't realise isn't the same.

Jacob, did you have a look at my thread link? Wink

In it I link to some excellent scientific papers on the subject of mailles.
Vegard Vikes work Brynjevev is simply outstanding and examines 5 mailles from various ages and shows the solid rings in the ones that have them to be punched from plate, not welded. It examines the cross section metallurgy showing grain direction in both riveted and solid rings and determine that most of the riveted had drawn wire, one had hammered wire and all the solid links have been punched from plate and then ground round on the outside, while the inside was primarily worn round by wear.
Yes, there are indeed some few maille rings that people have though to be welded until fairly recently and looking at them I can see why as they're often rings with just a formless thicker bump that kind of looks like a weld. These have in recent years all turned out to be rusted together riveted links which X-rays show clearly, or you can also find some mailles with flat butted mendings made from thick round wire, which may have been soldered together at some point, but not welded.

Having tried repeatedly to make welded rings I know it's practically impossible to make them by historical means. Basically you have to forge the tiny ring together inside the fire, because if you put them on the anvil to hammer the normal way, they just cool off before you can strike and then they won't be forgeable anymore. With modern welding equipmen't it's an entirely different matter, but vikings didn't have these. Also punching from plate is easy and fast as I show in the other thread, welding, unless using a modern industrial point welder is slow.

"The Dwarf sees farther than the Giant when he has the giant's shoulder to mount on" -Coleridge
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Jacob Johnson




Location: Martinsburg, WV
Joined: 13 Jun 2011

Posts: 6

PostPosted: Tue 14 Jun, 2011 8:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Alright, well I think I am going to try and trade for a riveted accurate shirt. So now, where can i get low carbon and high carbon iron bars or stock for sword and seaxs?
Gunnar: Slaves! Come earn your money! Yaaarh!
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Philip C. Ryan




Location: Omaha, NE
Joined: 04 Nov 2005
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Posts: 83

PostPosted: Tue 14 Jun, 2011 9:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here would be a couple of great places to begin your search for experienced smiths and suppliers.

http://www.abana.org/

http://www.appaltree.net/aba/

Skjaldborg Viking Age Living History and Martial Combat
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Zach Gordon




Location: Vermont. USA
Joined: 07 Oct 2008

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PostPosted: Tue 14 Jun, 2011 10:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Have you made many pattern welded swords before? Just curious.
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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

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PostPosted: Wed 15 Jun, 2011 1:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Johan Gemvik wrote:
Having tried repeatedly to make welded rings I know it's practically impossible to make them by historical means.

We don't kow what "historical means" is. Steve Sheldon proposed holding the link in the furnace and using tongs to apply the pressure. Seems to work ok. You can't hammer-weld them because the anvil sucks out the heat too quickly.
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Jacob Johnson




Location: Martinsburg, WV
Joined: 13 Jun 2011

Posts: 6

PostPosted: Wed 15 Jun, 2011 11:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

While I havent made them I do intend to practice and I have several experienced smiths that are going to help me.
Gunnar: Slaves! Come earn your money! Yaaarh!
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Johan Gemvik




Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Joined: 10 Nov 2009

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Posts: 793

PostPosted: Wed 15 Jun, 2011 1:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Johan Gemvik wrote:
Having tried repeatedly to make welded rings I know it's practically impossible to make them by historical means.

We don't kow what "historical means" is. Steve Sheldon proposed holding the link in the furnace and using tongs to apply the pressure. Seems to work ok. You can't hammer-weld them because the anvil sucks out the heat too quickly.


We don't know about every single maille that have ever existed no, much as we don't know exactly how wire was pulled or hammered though we can guess at it, but we do know that the Gjermundbu maille and the others Vegard examined show grain structure in the solid rings identical to punched plate rings, and the same grain structure doesn't fit with welded rings. True for every single maille out there? Perhaps not.

The coppergate maille is often referred to as a unique maille made with welded rings.
I just read the section in The Anglian Helmet from Coppergate by Dominic Tweedle that deals with the welded ring subject. It's a very interesting and well written book showing excellent detail of the helmet and maille aventail and I feel fortuneate to have come across it.
This is however a book from 1956, with the limited X-ray capabilities of that time and unlike modern metallugy studies of rings as made in the most recent decade by Vegard Vike in Brynjevev, or by the researchers examining the Birka maille finds, no rings are cross sectioned and etched for minute grain structure study in a microscope. Given the less sophisticated method of outside x-ray only, what's shown is inconclusive to the proposed welding of solid rings. On the other hand the tests presented in this work shows that clearly you can forge weld iron wire into a solid and there are several tricks to it I wasn't using.

Yet again, welded rings are far more time and effort consuming to make than those punched from plate. Having rings actually slower to make than riveted rings vs rings that would speed up the weave build considerably weighs in favor of the rings being punched from plate. Nothing in the book, x-rays or any other evidence shows any case against the rings being punched from plate either. Perhaps this wasn't even a track of thought in academic circles at the time the book was written.

"The Dwarf sees farther than the Giant when he has the giant's shoulder to mount on" -Coleridge


Last edited by Johan Gemvik on Wed 15 Jun, 2011 3:40 pm; edited 5 times in total
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Isaac H.




Location: Northern California
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PostPosted: Wed 15 Jun, 2011 2:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jacob Johnson wrote:
So now, where can i get low carbon and high carbon iron bars or stock for sword and seaxs?


I am a little bit confused with this request...iron (Fe) is a naturally occuring element,and pure iron actaully does not have any carbon in it. STEEL is made when you add carbon to iron. I believe tradditional viking era swords were forged out of iron,and the smith would add carbon during the forging .This technique would take a lot of research and know-how to perform correctly. If you had never tried pattern welding before,I would get some mild steel stock at your local Home Depot (or equivalent) and practice with that,becuase carbon steel is quite expensive to experiment with.

Wounds of flesh a surgeons skill may heal...

But wounded honor is only cured with steel.

We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.
Each of us should please his neighbor for his good ,to build him up.
Romans 15:1-2
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Jacob Johnson




Location: Martinsburg, WV
Joined: 13 Jun 2011

Posts: 6

PostPosted: Wed 15 Jun, 2011 8:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

From what I have, pattern welded viking swords use "high-carbon and low-carbon" iron. Does this mean steel? I dont want to pattern two bars of iron that are the same because it would have no purpose. I have some railroad spikes, about one hundred pounds, but I dont know what quality they are.
Gunnar: Slaves! Come earn your money! Yaaarh!
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Philip C. Ryan




Location: Omaha, NE
Joined: 04 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Wed 15 Jun, 2011 8:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Basically, when you add carbon to iron, you get steel. Now, by varying the amount of carbon content, you get different steels which have different characteristics. With higher carbon content, you can get steels that will harden and temper better. Pattern welded blades could have iron and steel twisted cores, steel and steel twisted cores, or solid iron cores...usually most will have steel edges.

Examples:

http://www.templ.net/english/making-blades.php


And another good forum to read through:

http://forums.dfoggknives.com/index.php?act=i...a7842864d7

Skjaldborg Viking Age Living History and Martial Combat
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Jared Smith




Location: Tennessee
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PostPosted: Wed 15 Jun, 2011 9:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jacob Johnson wrote:
From what I have, pattern welded viking swords use "high-carbon and low-carbon" iron. Does this mean steel? I dont want to pattern two bars of iron that are the same because it would have no purpose. I have some railroad spikes, about one hundred pounds, but I dont know what quality they are.


Rail road spikes are not all the same, and many will not make very good (high hardness) knives. Making a few "spike knives" is good practice though. Railroad enthusiasts love them as gifts.

The brighter colored contrasting "acid etched" layers in pattern welding usually come from one of the materials having some less corrosive elements such as nickle, possibly a little vanadium or chromium, but primarily 1.5% to 2% nickle. Many like W2 and L6 or Admiral Steel's 8670M for the bright nickle layer. The darker layers can be any of plain iron-carbon "simple steel" that has similar thermal expansion and contraction as the bright layer during typical heat treatment thermal changes. I like 1095 and 1075/85 for dark layers combined with 8670M for bright layers as they readily available and good blade quality materials that take heat treating to a spring or very hard temper. http://www.admiralsteel.com/shop/

It takes a lot of force to get a good forge weld through a stack of a few layers all at once. If you plan to "hand hammer" your first ones together alone, start with small sizes such as 3/8" wide on the top where your hammer will strike. Bigger stacks such as 1" wide are typically done with a power hammer today. Although, some blacksmith groups still demonstrate how a trio comprised of two people with sledge hammers and one holding and moving the piece being welded can forge weld bigger cross sections without a power hammer.

There are several good web sites about pattern welding. I recommend Don Fogg http://www.dfoggknives.com/copy_of_index/craftof.htm

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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Jacob Johnson




Location: Martinsburg, WV
Joined: 13 Jun 2011

Posts: 6

PostPosted: Wed 15 Jun, 2011 9:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I happen to have railroad spikes and some other harder metal. Is it safe to combine these in a pattern welding method to experiemtnw ith what I get? I know that both metals are steel.
Gunnar: Slaves! Come earn your money! Yaaarh!
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Johan Gemvik




Location: Stockholm, Sweden
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PostPosted: Thu 16 Jun, 2011 8:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes, the spikes are perfectly safe to forge in themselves.
Watch out for the Borax (or similar flux compounds) though, that's poisonous and needed for welding together pieces in a forge. Don't inhale, eat or even get it on your skin, though the last is the least dangerous. Read up some on the subject, it's a matter of irreversible long term exposure poisining that can and does lead to early death.

Some blacksmiths use plain fine sand instead, this works fine for simpler welds, though it can be inadequate for comlpex multi layer pattern weld.
Obviously there are safe methods to make swords. But get in touch with a bladesmith that forges and ask a few good questions about these things to get it all safe, and perhaps get some good insights, or better yet lessons on forging. Doesn't have to be a swordsmith, any blade smith would do for starters, just make a big one. Wink

If you want I have photos and sketches from the book Die Saxe von Valsgärde, with lots of different blade shape and size variants on historical seaxes to forge. Not just scandinavian finds, they're form all over.

"The Dwarf sees farther than the Giant when he has the giant's shoulder to mount on" -Coleridge
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