Watch Nova on PBS tonight as Ric Furrer takes you through the creation of the legendary Viking sword known as the “Ulfberht.”
Specializing in the forging/making of steel via the ancient methods, Furrer has conducted seminars and demonstrations on how to make steel from sand at a number of venues, including the Batson Bladesmithing Symposium at the Tannehill Ironworks in McCalla, Alabama.
Little is known for sure about the legendary Ulfberht sword. Believed to have been made somewhere around the 10th century, the Ulfberht is described thus by the late Hank Reinhardt (pictured above in a photograph by Patrick Gibbs at a past DragonCon event) in his The Book of Swords:
“Sometime early in the 10th century, the ability to produce a large enough bloom of steel to make a full sword was developed … [The resulting] steel swords also had a slightly different shape [than their predecessors]. Instead of the edges being parallel, there was a defined slope to the point. The point was still rounded but the slope put weight closer to the hand, thereby making them somewhat quicker on the stroke and on the return. These new swords all had the name ‘Ulfberht’ engraved on the blades. It’s fun to speculate how this sword was developed and who this person was.”
For more on tonight’s program, click on http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/ancient/secrets-viking-sword.html
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