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Old 2nd February 2016, 06:10 AM   #1
dralin23
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Default viking sword or historism?

hi guys,
some days ago i saw an old looking sword. at the first view i thought it is an realy old viking sword but my second idea was if it is an mew maded antique looking sword? the reason for these opinion is that the surface form the blade and also from the guear looks to good, the guard is moovable at the angle an by an view inside the guard i could see new rust but no dark patina....
i know there are a lot of old looking sowrd at the market not only form the recent days, these fashion started in the victorian time when a lot of rich peoples in the western wolrd want to buy "old" weapons and armours for their smoking cabinets.
iīm very curious about the opinions from the other members in the forum.
medival swords are not my special branch, so i need your knowledge
thanks stefan
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Old 2nd February 2016, 08:23 AM   #2
RobertGuy
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The lobed pommel worries me a bit. Usually these were in two parts with the tang peened through the lower part and then the upper part riveted on. I'm not sure that this is definite proof that it is a replica as I believe there were old examples with single piece pommels.
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Old 2nd February 2016, 08:44 AM   #3
kronckew
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found this: Saxon/viking sword construction

info on two part and single part pommels.

the wide hollow on the inside seems to indicate something would have covered it, which is missing and would have served as a pommel bar/lower guard.
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Old 2nd February 2016, 02:04 PM   #4
Lee
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Red face Verdict: I don't know

First, dralin23, your skepticism is justified. Only very rarely can I either denounce or confirm authenticity from pictures, and this is not one of those rare obvious exceptions. If this is a forgery, it will not date back to Victorian times, but will be from the last two or so decades and most likely from eastern Europe where the forgers are growing ever so more proficient.

The overall form and relative dimensions appear to be within authentic limits. Your concerns about traces of active (red) rust in concealed places are well founded, but not absolutely denunciatory. The long hollow in the last picture appears to be a typical inset for the blade (the lower guard being loose and having been slid up against the upper guard for the photo).

Often forgeries will be over-decorated in hopes of fetching a higher price, but this sword appears to lack such elaborations. However, usually a Peterson type K (5 lobed pommel with parallel lobes) will have added decoration.

So, in the end, I do not know and I am not even sure that I would know if it were before me in good light. Is there any evidence of an iron inlaid inscription in the blade or traces of perished hilt non-ferrous overlay?
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Old 2nd February 2016, 04:04 PM   #5
dralin23
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Default viking sword

hello lee, kronkew and robert,
thank you for your replay. i know it is not so easy to say something only from some views at some pictures.
but it is everytime intresting to talk and discus about an sword or an armour with other intrested collectors.
i was looking at the blade and the pommel and the guard too, there are no one trace from an old inscription or an pattern at the surface. maybe it is covered with these thik patina or old rust but i wouldnīt like remove it.
i will ask the old owner from these sword in the next some days, maybe he could tell me something about the circumstances from the purchase. it is intrested to know how was the way from these sword since it come at the open market( years ago). where was it sold in the past, was it an well reputated auctionshouse
it is right in the last decades after the borders fell to the east comes a lot of "rare" swords ..mamluk swords, shashkas, kevshure swords , kinjals and a lot os japanes swords from the east and sometimes it is realy not easy to see that these sword is an fake sword. the craftsman there are also very good and they learned step by step.....
i will give you more informations when i got some more.
thank you, stefan
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Old 3rd February 2016, 09:39 AM   #6
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Hello Stefan,

one good way to test your sword without destruction is a x-ray investigation.

If it is a viking sword, it must show laminations, an inserted cutting edge or a mechanical damascus pattern. Many vikings swords have laminated high quality steel for the cutting edge and a beautiful mechanical damascus pattern for the rest of the blade.

Some sources claim that some vikining swords were made from crucible steel but i think this must be wrong, i never see one. The famous "ulfberht" blades for example were forged from laminated refined steel.


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Old 3rd February 2016, 12:39 PM   #7
dralin23
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Default viking sword

hello roland,
thank you for these information,
i was looking for some other exampels from viking swords and there are a lot of swords where i could see very clear the damascus pattern through the rust ore through the patina.
also at the angle you could see the pattern and there i know it is an old sword, i will try it to proof these blade with x-ray, iīm curious about the result.
roland, i donīt think that evey sword was made from damascus or pattern welded steel. i believe that also mono- steel was used to make such swords. in the gisli saga i could read that one warrior used at the fight not his damascus steel sword because he loose the steath and so he wouldnīt like wear it outside the house.....and in the fight he must used his simple steel( iron) sword and after some beats it was bent and he must everytime bent it back with his feet...,
thank you again,
stefan
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Old 3rd February 2016, 02:52 PM   #8
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Hello Stefan,

"Illerup Adal 11 and 12, Die Schwerter" would be a very good source for you. Tons of viking swords, many of them in very good condition.


As far as I know, the only monosteel in the past up to the 19. ct was wootz. Because they never reached the temperatures of ~1600°C. Wootz was made and forged at much lower temperatures. I'm quite sure, that medieval european blacksmiths never made blades from wootz, because the forging of wootz (forged at ~750°C) is totally different compered to laminated (refined) or pattern welded steel (~1300°C).


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Old 3rd February 2016, 05:11 PM   #9
dralin23
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Default viking sword

hello roland,
thank you again, itīs very intresting to read your informations about the steel or ironproduction in the past time...,
in the next some days i will proof these sword with x-ray. i will let you know the result . i think itīs intresting not only for my self....
thnaks al lot , stefan
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Old 3rd February 2016, 07:32 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roland_M
As far as I know, the only monosteel in the past up to the 19. ct was wootz.

Roland

Is this correct? I thought that the Vikings made mono steel blades as well as pattern welded. Most medieval European swords were mono steel and not wootz. I admit the quality varied but bloomery steel was available. Perhaps this is what you mean by laminated steel.
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Old 4th February 2016, 10:16 AM   #11
Roland_M
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobertGuy
Is this correct? I thought that the Vikings made mono steel blades as well as pattern welded. Most medieval European swords were mono steel and not wootz. I admit the quality varied but bloomery steel was available. Perhaps this is what you mean by laminated steel.



Medieval European steel was produced similar like japanese steel, it was laminated mono steel.

In Germany we have an own word for this type of steel: "refined steel" (Raffinierstahl). The raw steel from the furnace was very inhomogeneous and must be refined by laminating.

If you watch a medieval or renaissance sword or rapier carefully, you almost always can see traces of laminations. It depends on the quality of forging and the number of layers.

Unfortunately my English is too bad for more detailed explanations. Even in my german language it is not easy to explain.


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Old 13th February 2016, 01:10 AM   #12
Timo Nieminen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roland_M
As far as I know, the only monosteel in the past up to the 19. ct was wootz. Because they never reached the temperatures of ~1600°C. Wootz was made and forged at much lower temperatures. I'm quite sure, that medieval european blacksmiths never made blades from wootz, because the forging of wootz (forged at ~750°C) is totally different compered to laminated (refined) or pattern welded steel (~1300°C).


The forging of wootz is different not because it is wootz, but because the carbon content is so high. If you made ultra high carbon steel in a bloomery, or by decarburising cast iron, you'd have to forge it in the same way as wootz.

Given the carbon content of the high-carbon Ulfberht swords, and the fact that these swords were forged, the methods for forging ultra high carbon steel were known where the Ulfberht swords were made. Whoever made them could have made them from crucible steel.

They had ultra high carbon steel available. If made in Europe, the technology was lost. If imported, then it stopped being imported. We know there was extensive trade with the East, e.g., through the Khazar Khanate, which also traded with Central Asia, which exported crucible steel. We know those trade links were disrupted. So imported crucible steel (probably Central Asian rather than Indian) as the ultra high carbon steel used for the high-carbon Ulfberht swords appears quite plausible. In my opinion, more plausible than an unknown and then lost local technology.
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Old 3rd April 2016, 09:15 AM   #13
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Judging by the patina, as a reenactor smith, I would say that this sword is recently made, chemically rusted and then blackened with motor oil in the forge.

Just an instinctive, rule of thumb judgement.

That kind of black doesn't come from some museum grade compound like paraloid.

And the rusting is consistent with modern steel rusting, some granularity and a few welld efined craters.

Ancient steel would rust in a less defined manner in my experience, with depressions having soft sloping.


Not to mention the lack of pattern welding.

Also the pommel lobes are quite crude if compared to examples that can be seen on the web, being photographed in well known institutions.
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Old 4th April 2016, 06:52 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruno
Judging by the patina, as a reenactor smith, I would say that this sword is recently made, chemically rusted and then blackened with motor oil in the forge.

Just an instinctive, rule of thumb judgement.

That kind of black doesn't come from some museum grade compound like paraloid.

And the rusting is consistent with modern steel rusting, some granularity and a few welld efined craters.

Ancient steel would rust in a less defined manner in my experience, with depressions having soft sloping.


Not to mention the lack of pattern welding.

Also the pommel lobes are quite crude if compared to examples that can be seen on the web, being photographed in well known institutions.


I support Bruno's observation regarding the patina and how the process oxidation / rust is a slow long process that can be read when looking at oxidation by ageing.

Difference in oxidation on Viking swords often depends on where they where found. If they have been lying clay in a fresh water river. If they have been in a grave close to a salt water sea. How much oxygen and water has moved trough the excavation site. What type of dirt the sword is surrounded by and its density and chemical composition. Temperatures trough the centuries in combination with the above. Regardless of the above the process of oxidation on steel that is over 900 - 1300 years is the same. Oxidation might look a bit different depending on the circumstances the sword has rusted in.

The condition of the sword above is what should raise the most suspicion. This Excellent plus condition for a Viking sword. Although I will not dismiss it 100% but this is a above museum grade quality sword and that in it self is reason for suspicion.

I would have the steel carbon dated. Understanding of Metal surgery is a must if collecting early items.
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Old 4th April 2016, 12:55 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruno
Also the pommel lobes are quite crude if compared to examples that can be seen on the web, being photographed in well known institutions.

I agree with this... there are some other subtle details that individually might count for little, but taken together the overall result seems just slightly "off".

Comparing with known examples of type-K, I can't find a single one where the tang has the convex outline seen here. The tang usually tapers evenly, or has slightly concave sides. The fuller also seems to extend into the tang for an unusual extent?

The shape of the guard is also a-typical at best... a more rectangular shape is expected, whereas the oval shape seen here is more usual of other types (H, V, ...).

The sword shares some of these features with another dubious (in my mind) type-K sold at auction. A456 in the Wallace Collection shows the "correct" details. The pommel in particular is similar to the sword under discussion, but much superior in execution as Bruno has pointed out.
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