Introduction to Blacksmithing: Viking Era Ironwork
Level: Beginning and Intermediate
Would you like to hone your basic forging skills by making the simple yet essential articles of hardware (such as hooks, rings, chains, and hinges) that would have been common in any early European town or settlement? Would you also like to try your hand at forging actual, antique wrought iron into your own modern artifact?
I offer a basic and intermediate level class in hardware forging designed to reinforce the common blacksmithing skills of students as they produce small utilitarian hardware. Intermediate students will have the opportunity learn small forge welding and the forging of wrought iron. This will be a wide-ranging class for a moderate number of beginning and intermediate blacksmithing students.
We will make simple but essential articles such as hooks, chains, rings, hinges etc., which would have been common in any early European household or encampment. We will survey an archeological text covering artifacts recovered from the Viking town of Hedeby (in northern Germany) as a guide to technique and form for various categories of hardware. Modern mild steel will be used for most projects but intermediate students will also do some forging in wrought iron in order to learn about the unique properties of this historical material. Intermediate students will also have the opportunity to forge weld small chain to gain experience in this technique.
Wrought Iron was the forgeable, industrial successor to bloomery iron, which had been produced for many centuries before it. Wrought iron was produced by burning the carbon out of pig iron (similar to cast iron) at intense heat. This process yielded a white hot, pasty mass of slag-soaked, low-carbon iron, which was consolidated into fibrous wrought iron of varying degrees of refinement. It was THE forgeable form of iron for centuries until the introduction of modern Bessemer iron.
I invite you come and learn about forging the hardware which would have been completely at home in the Viking era and earlier!