Viking Arm Rings and the Tools to Forge them

Day 1:  Forging Decorative Punches for Silver Work:  Students will forge and heat-treat their own punches (3 pieces) for decorating Viking style silverwork.  A variety of traditional designs will be available to inspire the students.  Additional tool steel blanks may be available for for purchase for students who wish to make more punches – either in class or elsewhere.

Day 2:  Forging and Decorating a Viking Style Silver Armband:  The 2nd day will begin with casting silver into small ingots.  The students will forge out these ingots into tapered flat or square bars long enough to fit their arms, then decorate them with punched, Viking style designs.  Students may use their own punches or those available from the class tool collection. Finally the forged and decorated silver bars will be bent to shape to give some authentic Viking Bling.  Students may purchase silver or sterling in class or bring their own.  Two to four ounces (troy – i.e. 75g – 150g) will generally be required for an armband depending on the size of arm or wrist to be fitted and the “wealth and status” of the student (haha).

Arm rings  in the Viking Era served as both personal décor and visible indications of the wealth and status of the wearers.  They could be used as payment in transactions – sometimes being hacked into smaller pieces to obtain the weight of silver required for a deal.  Indeed, the simplest, unadorned arm rings are referred to as “ring money” and in many cases survived as fragments. I invite you come and forge your own Viking style silver-working tools and armbands!