Posted by on Apr 7, 2014

It gleamed darkly, a pattern of whorls in the steel catching the strange gray light, so that the blade seemed to ripple and undulate almost as if it were alive.

Haunt Me Still

A modern pattern-welded blade
Forged by Trail’s End Knife Company, Collinsville, OK
Image from Wikimedia Commons, CC0


Supple, sharp, beautiful and deadly, the swords of the Vikings and the Anglo-Saxons were marvels of art and technology. Poets called them “blood serpents” or “battle flames.” When they couldn’t get them any other way, medieval Arabs robbed Viking graves in search of them. And in old tales and legends, smiths were counted wizards or gods.

While studying Old Norse and Anglo-Saxon at Oxford, I read Hilda Ellis Davidson’s The Sword in Anglo-Saxon England and found it as gripping as a thriller. I’ve been fascinated by pattern-welded blades ever since.

In recent years, modern smiths have re-learned how to forge such blades. Some swordsmiths whose work I especially admire are:

There are other fine swordsmiths out there. A good place to start looking is:


Forging a Pattern-Welded Blade

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