The magic and Pure Alchemy of Iron

Posts tagged “iron age

New Creations April 2013 (Gallery) Jewelry and Knives.


     Detailed obscure Celtic amulet etched into 24 gauge brass.


Scandi edge riveted 1080 modern Viking knife.


Germanic -Anglo Saxon eagle etched in brass.


New smaller iron Mjollnir design.


Not metal but an antler Mjollnir!


Bronze Athame or Witches dagger.



1080 Scandi edge (utility) with stag handled.


Arm and Neck rings in Nordic bronze style.

A good variety of projects!



Iron: Maximum Hardness For Weaponry (1018) (Low Carb Steel) BULLET POINTS.



What We know:(1018)(Low Carbon)

If you heat iron and quench in water it will get a bit harder.

Quench in oil it will get harder.

Hammer while cold it will get even harder like copper/brass/bronze.

Forge in coal for long enough in the right circumstance you can carburize/surface harden.

Coal forging can help maintain carbon content.

What actually happens: Quenching.

Carbon molecules get trapped inside iron molecule formations causing a hardening effect. Less carbon=less effective.

What actually happens: Cold hammer hardening.

The crystal structure in the steel is forced to deform causing hardening effects.


All the above methods are true and work to some extent, but if you find your self in the Zombie apocalypse as has been a hilarious and enjoyable topic as of late then you may need some on the fly Macgyver skills in weapon creation.

Take you bar stock or junk steel: flat,square or round (Round/Square may yield better results than flat)

Hammer the steel flat or lengthen the flat by hammering on edge then on flat side (Were deforming crystals)

Continue to work the steel while hot and create as much of the blades form while hot (Edges, point, handle)

Once done with you shape use your Ball-Peen (Round side) to pit the flat body of the blade while hot. Do both sides thoroughly.

OK NOW STOP!!!!!!!!Do not quench!!:

You have through the above process changed the crystal structure of the iron by deforming it while hot. Allow to cool naturally until it is able to be handled.

It should be extremely hard if not impossible to bend at this point by hand. Keep thickness at around the thickness of “2 quarters”.

Place cold steel on anvil and begin using the round end of your Ball-Peen on the cutting edge and main body.

As you hammer,  the steel will continue to harden.

Straighten blade by hammering.

The blade will now be at maximum hardness and rigidity. If your edge is uneven simply grind/stone to desired level.

The result is now much harder, and more durable than quenching because the interior structure is effected more than when quenching in liquide.


This is now a primitive but formidable weapon with high durability. I had read some similar info a long time ago but I have always used this kind of material for ornamental purpose, after a week of forging a Athame and the quench actually softened the thin steel, I realized I had actually undone the hardening that occurred while hammering. This in my opinion is the best way to finish anything ornamental or otherwise when using a low carbon steel. The end result also looks beautiful! A good technique to remember when crafting an on the spot tool as well. Again nothing will ever make this as good as HC steel but this material continues to be the most fun to test and experiment with. Again not my own original concept I but it has been enjoyable testing it and coming upon it again in a way by accident. Good knowledge to have.

Final Note:

This process is more controlled less technical than carburizing steel. Carburizing only effects the surface to a certain depth allowing for a more durable surface to resist ware. This process actually effects the steel throughout and create a more uniform hardening due to deformation of the crystals. Example: hammering from round to flat causes major changes in the crystal structure and also forces more steel into a single area. Another form of this is “Edge packing” As described above when you create your edge by hammering in the bevels instead of removing the steel with a grinder.


Know what you have and how it works!


Blade (hot hardened) and then cold hammer hardened (No Quench). Will not bend or  budge.





Who are the Norse people (History/Culture post)



The Norse/Germanic people : A brief history:

The history of the Nordic people begins in Central Asia and the Russian steppe when the Indo-Europeans start migrating west into modern-day Europe. During the great migration a branch of the IE moved into present day Scandinavia and became isolated most likely due to climate disruptions. Human beings have occupied Scandinavia for at least 7000 years. It is in the forest and frozen mountains that the Nordic people get the distinct cultural/linguistic identity known as Germanic. After developing a unique culture the Germanic people begin moving south for less turbulent weather and cross the Baltic and North seas into Germany, Poland and Jutland. The migration age tribes founded the modern Nordic countries we know today like Scandinavia (Norway-Sweden-Denmark), Germany and England to name a few.

The culture of the Norse was actually already 1000 years or older when the Viking age began and a new wave of Germanic people again started crossing into Europe and Britain carrying largely the same migration age culture, legal systems, Runic codex and religious beliefs as the previous migrating tribes. Some of the identifying markers of Nordic culture is complicated knot work, exceptional metal/wood work, seafaring/boat building and design, metaphoric poetry and spoken word, grand feasting halls, ancestral worship and equal rights for women. A fact reviled by Roman authors when facing the Teutons in the Alpine regions during the migration age. I use the term Norse as a general description of the larger Germanic culture from its Dutch origin “Noors” “People from the north” because Germanic culture originates in Scandinavia/Denmark.




We Norsemen have an indigenous alphabet called Runes or the Elder Futhark, The header of my blog is in Anglo-Saxon Futhorc set and many variations exist as the system evolved out of the Elder Futhark. Runes were typically used for marking ownership such as Hermeric owns this knife or Olaf is buried here but many large inscriptions do exist. Each sign also has a divine meaning with immense power behind it. I have often called the Runes the language of the universe. I personally believe in the power behind the Runes. The origin of the Futhark is a mystery, theories exist but none satisfy in explaining the origin. It was largely accepted that a Mediterranean origin like Etruscan might explain it but no early finds exist near the Mediterranean, they all exist in Denmark , Northern Germany and Scandinavia. Now it is theorized that Western Germany/Denmark may be the original zone of expansion and Scandinavia being less explored has some very old inscriptions and “could” be the originator of the Runic script. Some have linked the Runes with the Hallristningar symbols carved in Neolithic Sweden/Norway which adds a new layer of age and interest to the story. The divine description in the Norse Lore is that Allfather Odin pulls them from Ginnungagap as he is hanging from Yggdrasil.  A full article on Runic origins and theory will be presented in an upcoming post.

Sites of Elder Futhark discovery in Europe. Common Germanic would be the language. All German languages were mutually intelligible at this time.





Nordic Bronze Age. 1700-500 BC

 Pre-Roman Iron Age in Germania/Scandinavia 5th/4th – 1st century BC

Germanic Migration 750BC-1AD.

Red= Before 750 BC

Orange= New settlement by 500 BC

Yellow= New settlement by 250 BC

Green= New settlement by 1AD.


Stone Age Connection to Germanic Culture:

 Stone Age Carving from Norway.

 Complex Nordic Bronze age carving of obvious similar creation as the design above.

Rock carving form Norway (Over 6000 years old) Showing unique artistic elements.


Norway 1200BC

 Many images on these stones dating from 6000 years ago tothe Iron age depict many traditions found in Germanic and later Viking age culture such as waging war on boats, farming/herding, fishing, ship design, beings in Germanic religion and symbols found throughout Nordic culture prehistoric to modern. When looking at these images one could understand how the Runes may have evolved out of it stylistically.  The exact culture responsible is unknown in some cases but elements can be traced to later Nordic customs.

STONE CARVING PHOTO’S ARE FROM WIKIPEDIA. Copyright to respective owners.



A small gallery of images and symbols. Art of my own creation is marked.


 Irminsul: Ancient German totem most likely of Yggdrasil (World tree) Symbol is associated with The Saxons and a Deity called Irmin who is most likely Odin under one of his alias/regional names. (Not my art)


Thor-Thunor: Nordic Thunder God. Viking age bronze statue.

 Helmet replica from the Sutton-Hoo find. Adorned with glorious plates referencing Nordic customs, legendary figures and amazing detailed metal work. (Not my photo)

 Stone carving designs from Gotland Sweden. Copyright Call Of Steel 2012.


Gotland Sweden Stone Carving: Pre Viking. Copyright COS 2012.


Viking age stone carving from Gotland Sweden:Viking age. Copyright COS 2012.



Anglo Saxon decoration. Copyright COS 2012.



In summary I hope this post gave at least some idea of Norse culture. It is near and dear to my heart as I descend from these mighty folk and try as an artist to keep some element of the old ways alive and well into the future.


Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more Blacksmith and historical posts.




My Shop


Check out my shop for some very unique Jewelry and wrought iron pieces.