(About): Speculative Experimental Archaeology Forged Into Steel
The fine Viking Age swords made with peerless Frankish blades and exquisite-decorated hilts by Scandinavian artisans were without doubt the finest weapons of their era. Darksword Armory’s expert smiths sought to recreate the finest functional Viking battle-sword that they could – but with a twist. Darksword’s choice of a two-handed grip paired with this blade means that it takes on an altogether different, deadlier character. The blade is incredibly light for a two-handed sword, and the extra mechanical torque that a two-handed grip permits means that it moves snake-like through the air. Although two-handed swords have never been located in the historical or archaeological record, this is a magnificent realisation of what a Viking longsword might have been like. As well as a wonderfully historically-authentic 5160 steel blade, the Guardian Sword is also available with a bespoke blade made from hand-forge Japanese folded steel – for the most discerning vikingr. Ever wanted to wield Eivor’s enormous Carolingian greatsword from Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla? Now is your chance!
A Brutal Blade for a Berserker
The master sword-smiths at Darksword Armory have hand-forged this beast of a Viking blade from 5160 carbon steel. This is a fantastic analogue for the historical iron and steel used by medieval blade makers towards the end of the Viking Age. For much of the Viking Age, most of the iron and steels available to sword-makers were of poor quality – full of slag inclusions and inconsistent in their alloy. This meant that smiths would pattern-weld their metal in order to homogenise and improve them: selecting a range of different billets, ‘piling’ them together, heating, folding and forge-welding them in order to mix them them up. The resulting swirls and patterns of different iron qualities was thought of as a mark of quality since before the Viking Era, even if the reality was a little more haphazard than that. However, by the 11th century CE, metallurgical improvement and better metals available through trade meant that smiths began experimenting with all-steel sword-construction, These shiny, uniform blades resemble would have resembled we think of as sword blades, and they must have been a bolt from the blue for European nobles, who were ever on the lookout for the latest means of displaying wealth and military prestige. Within a generation, these all-steel swords had more or less completely eclipsed the old pattern-welded types, which were relegated to places and producers without access to higher-quality steels. Thus, by wielding our Guardian Sword, you are making a statement of your position as the most cutting-edge of warriors.
The Guardian Sword blade follows Geibig Type 4 in its general shape – a more tapered blade than many historical Viking weapons, with a broad fuller that stops short of the point. The blade’s distal taper (ie. it becomes thinner in cross-section from hilt to tip) moves the centre-of-balance of the blade much closer to the hand-grip, aided by the weight-reducing fuller – but it retains the heft and presence of a blade designed for wide sweeping slashes. Like all of Darksword Armory’s blades, the blade of our Guardian Sword is dual-tempered to make it rugged and resistant in the field, achieving 60 HRC at the edge and 48-50 HRC at the core to retain the flex to help it absorb blows.
A Handsome, Functional Hilt
The hilt of the Guardian Sword is a masterpiece of functional Viking Age design. It is made from rugged mild steel, so it will weather the slings and arrows of roleplay or re-enactment with aplomb. Dr Jan Petersen’s seminal 1919 work De Norske Vikingsverd (“The Norwegian Viking Swords”) sets out a definitive typology of Viking swords, and our Guardian Sword hilt has been based on one of the most archetypical Viking designs, the ‘five-lobed’ Petersen Type R. Swords with Type R hilts appear to have been made at the high-water mark of Viking society, between the mid-10th and mid-11th centuries CE, and our Guardian Sword hilt is a fine example: it has a narrow, curved guard that frames the wide blade, and the classic ‘five-lobed’ Viking pommel. Where the originals would have been made with an upper and lower guard with the pommel made separately and riveted in place, Darksword Armory’s smiths have forged these from one piece for extra durability. They have used a full-tang, hot-peened construction – this means that the guard, grip and pommel are threaded onto the keyed tang, and then the protruding hot end of the tang is hammered flat to lock the hilt firmly into place. The result is a fully battle-ready sword that is fully capable of going toe-to-toe with other blade of similar hardness in combat, and one that will keep secure and safe in the context of re-enactment and roleplay. The handgrip is a simple, elegant design wrapped with wet-formed leather and counter-wound leather straps, providing a stable and comfortable surface for all-day grip. It’s a truly excellent sword that would do excellent service as a fantasy berserker’s brutal two-handed weapon, or as a magnificent wall-piece for your Norse-inspired décor.
The Folded Steel Guardian Sword – A Viking Greatsword That’s A Cut Above The Rest
Viking Warriors seeking an extra-special blade need look no further than the Folded Steel Guardian Sword. Using the ancient Japanese steel-folding techniques of shita-kita, Darksword Armory’s finest artisans have produced a blade with the stunning mokume-gane (“wood-grain metal”) that only results from hours of painstaking hand-forging. Although obviously there was no historical overlap between Japanese and Viking cultures, it is too good an opportunity to miss to unite the finest metalworking techniques in the world with the fiercest martial culture of the medieval period to create a truly unique Viking greatsword. Our Folded Steel Guardian Sword includes a certificate of authenticity and an upgraded leather scabbard with interlaced sword belt.
- Total length: 39 ½ inches
- Blade length: 30 inches
- Grip length: 8 inches
- Blade material: 5160 carbon steel
- Guard and pommel material: Mild steel
- Weight: 2 lbs. 7 oz.
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