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Paul Chen Battle Ready
Hanwei Irish Viking Sword - SH2456

Hanwei Irish Viking Sword

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Overall Length: 34 1/2'' Blade: 28 1/2''

No Longer Available
Weight: 2 lb 6.4 oz
Edge:  Very Sharp
P.O.B.: 4 7/8''
Thickness: 4.7 mm - 3.9 mm
Width: 45.8 mm
Grip Length: 4''
Pommel: Peened

The sword was an esteemed, though comparatively rare weapon for the dark age Vikings. In excavated Icelandic burials, 1 in 10 weapons unearthed are swords. Though the spear and axe were more ubiquitous, the sword had a certain prestige and mystique. It was much more difficult to make a good sword, for unlike the axe and spear, hard steel is not good enough; the sword must flex and return true. Quality iron was the first challenge for the dark age smith - iron was often obtained in bog deposits, where rivers washed iron out of the mountains to be carried in streams and concentrated in the bog soil. Such a bog could be ‘’harvested’’ once a generation for the iron. The iron could be smelted in a furnace and the ‘’blooms’’ of more pure iron was often worked into bars of varying carbon content and durability which would then be twisted together and pounded into a single bar, and eventually formed into a single sword.

This ‘’pattern welded’’ steel combined hard steel needed for durability and sharp edge retention with soft steel to give the sword flex. It is beautiful, creating intricate patterns in the blade, but it is inferior to monosteel for it introduces the possibility of hidden imperfections sandwiched between the welds of the different bars.

The skill required to work with this raw material and create a good sword was tremendous, and a good swordsmith would be the pride of a tribe and chieftain. Emerging from his workshop filled with heat, fire and ill-understood ‘’alchemical’’ processes, the smith brought forth swords that could be as much a work of art as a tool of war. Elaborately twisted pattern steel, sinuous and awe-inspiring could be inlaid with silver or copper runes and made into items of power and magic. The smith may have worked in secret, his hidden methods heightening his appearance of his ''supernatural metal miracle-work'' within his shop, communing with the gods and imparting their powers and energies into his blades. Such mystique was very good for business.

The best blades seem to have been imported from northern France, where smiths had a long-distance, many-handed trade that brought them ingots of superior crucible steel from the ironworks of Persia. This steel was heated to temperatures that the Vikings were not capable of producing, creating a better, more pure steel and allowing certain Frankish smiths to create a mono-steel blade, which would become the future, superior swordmaking method in the centuries to come. These swords were known as the Ulfbehrt swords, for they are so inscribed with that mysterious name or brand on the blade. Naturally, like any premium high-end good, there were phony Ulfbehrts that were substantially inferior, undoubtedly sold to a gullible or unlucky Viking. Likely, the merchant could only hope that the bearer died when his knock-off sword failed him and could not seek vengeance for the forgery.

All of the time and talent it took to make a sword from the iron pulled from the earth, and the limited amount of talented smiths to make them, ensured that the sword was a premium weapon of status in the Dark Age.

This Viking sword is based off an example excavated in Ireland, where the Vikings had established a Norse kingdom in modern day Dublin - it is dated to the early 10th century. The sharp blade is of high carbon steel and the guard and pommel are of steel. The grip is spiralled brown leather. The hard scabbard is of brown leather, tightly wrapped over a fiberglass core. The fiberglass is more resistant to warping and more durable than traditional wood scabbards. The scabbard has a steel chape and throat piece.

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