(About): A Sword Encompassing the Known World
Any Viking jarl would know that the fine swords of the burgeoning Viking Age in the early 9th-century CE were not unsophisticated choppers, little more than reworked farm implements like a billhook or spear. The swords of the 9th-century were finely engineered works of craft, assembled with parts from all over the known world to create a weapon of unparalleled deadliness. Darksword Armory have reproduced one of these fine swords in the form of our Oslo Viking Sword, using thousand-year-old heritage techniques as well as modern time-saving forging processes. The result is a weapon that will break shields without breaking the bank!
A Blade Rising From the Dark Ages
The blade of our Oslo Viking Sword is an undeniably Viking blade: broad, flat, straight-edged, and with a wide fuller extending almost its entire length. The master-smiths at Darksword’s artisan workshop have chosen 5160 spring steel as the material to forge it from. The historical original swords from the early Viking Age were doubtless incredibly impressive for their time, but were frequently inconsistent in quality. Modern 5160 steel is a cut-above these older metals: whilst a rare handful of the heat-treated Viking blades that have survived would have approached modern standards of sharpness and hardness, using 5160 spring steel means that Darksword’s smiths can produce swords that are the equal of even the finest blade-smiths of the Viking period, every single time.
Another feature of the construction of Viking Age blades was their resilience – a high-carbon-edged blade with a core of homogenised lower carbon steel or iron was not only much more practical to manufacture than a blade made wholly from brittle high-carbon steel, it was also much less likely to shatter in combat, being able to flex and bend enough to absorb the enormous forces involved. Darksword Armory are no slouches – they have reproduced this feature with a unique dual-tempered heat treatment used on all of their blades, resulting in a hardness of 60 HRC at the edge, and 48-50 HRC at the core. They’ve tested their blades bending through 90º (!), before returning to dead true afterwards – all whilst retaining a flawless cutting edge. Truly, the Oslo Viking Sword’s blade is a masterwork.
A Hilt Painstakingly Reproduced with The Viking ‘Lost-Wax Method’
The hilts of Viking swords were designed to be an instant mark of nobility wherever they were worn, and on whichever battlefield they were unsheathed. Where fine blades were often re-used again and again – ground down, altered, reforged – hilts are often extremely diagnostic of where and when they were manufactured, often because of the characteristic and unique artistic styles used to decorate them. Our Oslo Viking Sword is no exception. Although we have frustratingly little direct archaeological evidence of Viking craft processes, we know that the Vikings used the ‘lost-wax method’ to make some of their finest craft objects. In this method, an intricate wax model is carved with the use of delicate hand-tool, and then coated with hard clay. When the mould is fired, the wax melts and is ‘lost’, leaving only a negative impression that can be used to cast in metal. This is exactly the technique used by Darksword Armory’s expert designers, producing a hilt design incorporating stunning Viking knotwork, based on historical originals – it is then cast in solid bronze, known for its ability to pick out even the most delicate of details. The hand-grip is solid ebony hardwood, engraved with matching knotwork shapes.
The hilt is a Petersen Type D, a substantial ‘three-lobed’ design which developed in the early 800s CE, a simplified practical development of the earlier Migration Period swords that featured two duelling animals on the pommel. The hilt is made with a full-tang, peened construction: the crossguard, grip and pommel are all threaded onto the sword tang, the end of which is then hammered flat to secure them all firmly in place. This means that it is a fully battle-ready sword, safe for use in re-enactment and roleplay, and even light combat against similarly-hard swords. Its intricate artwork and beautiful blade would make it an excellent way to finish off a historically-accurate Viking portrayal, but it would also make a fantastic addition to a Viking-inspired fantasy outfit. And don’t forget – women Viking warriors bore their own swords too!
(Curiosity): Swords in the Early Viking Age
As societies emerged from the Dark Ages and began to trade in a systematic and interconnected fashion as they had done in the Roman period, we begin to glean more of an idea of metalworking and sword construction techniques: although experimental archaeology has proved that it is possible to make surprisingly good steel from bloomery iron, refining techniques were haphazard at best. Most early Viking Age swords would have been pattern-welded, with a softer iron core displaying the distinctive swirled lamination of different qualities of iron, with harder steel edges welded to the outside. This construction was likely a response to inconsistency of available materials: blade-makers attempted to homogenise by piling and twisting metals together, resulting in spectacular patternation, which was then associated with quality and deliberately reproduced over time.
The finest Viking blades, such as that which would have been used to make swords such as our Oslo Viking Sword, were not made by the Vikings – Viking smiths had access only to poor-quality bog-iron. Every Viking warlord would covet a blade made by the Germanic and Frankish master-smiths of the Upper Rhine, the fertile valley between modern France, Germany and Switzerland. These stunning blades would be ‘acquired’ – either by legitimate trade, black-market smuggling or by vikingr raiding bands – and then taken back to Scandinavia to be fitted with spectacularly-worked hilts made by masterful Norse artisans.
- Total length: 36 inches
- Blade length: 30 inches
- Blade width: 2 inches
- Blade material: 5160 carbon steel
- Guard and pommel material: Solid bronze
- Grip material: Ebony
Weight: 2 lbs. 7 oz.