Vking sword

Discussion in 'Sword Discussion' started by HOMER GRIFIN, Aug 7, 2015.



    Apr 15, 2015
    Did anyone see the PBS NOVA program about the ULFBEHRT sword? If not,click on Richard Furrer's website,he posted a link to the show.You will be amazed at this man's skill.
  2. Bludgeon


    Dec 28, 2014
    Provide a link.
  3. collim1


    Aug 14, 2014
    Yes it was excellent.

    It has been on Amazon Prime and Netflix at various times, not sure if its still showing on one of them or not currently.
  4. Bill Siegle

    Bill Siegle KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 3, 2000
    That was a very cool show. I have watched it several times on Netflix after catching it on PBS.
  5. druid189


    Apr 27, 2008
    Yes....a few years ago in fact. I even used it recently to prove my point when arguing against all the super-idiot steels that some companies and knife makers are trying to peddle, while padding their wallets....

  6. Shann


    Sep 2, 2004
    I caught the last half hour or so. It was very interesting. Has anyone here ever handled or owned a sword or knife by this man?
  7. Bo T

    Bo T

    Feb 12, 2011
    I'm interested in this also. Although I am still 6 numbers away from being able to afford one:)
  8. GrReaper


    Sep 22, 2014
    It was a nice program. That maker has a website. I don't think he makes a lot of swords. He's a blacksmith. The replica that he made sure looked good.
  9. horseclover

    horseclover Basic Member Basic Member

    Nov 21, 2000
    You may note that it was Kevin Cashen working with Ric to produce the steel ;)
  10. vorpalblade


    Jan 13, 2014
    Thanks for posting this fascinating documentary. I loved watching the display of high craftsmanship and the history connected with it.
  11. crimsonfalcon07


    Dec 27, 2010
    That was a good one, although it's been posted several times before. Never hurts to do a search to see if your question or comment has been previously discussed.
  12. Mecha

    Mecha Titanium Bladesmith Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 27, 2013
    Hell, if it wasn't for reposts and inquiries into the authenticity and value of katanas, the sword section would be pretty dead! :D
  13. vorpalblade


    Jan 13, 2014
    I agree. One really worthwhile repost, like the OP, is probably more valuable than ten lackluster posts. It gave me the opportunity to watch a great documentary I hadn't seen before.
  14. kaotikross

    kaotikross Banned BANNED

    Nov 20, 2013
    Hi Homer Griffin. My real name is Peter Simpson, pleasure to meet you. :)
  15. Sikael


    Aug 30, 2014
    It's interesting... I've seen it before, and enjoyed watching it again. I'm not sure what it really proves; this particular blacksmith made an ingot of fairly slag-free steel, using the design of a forge discovered in Central Asia (dating roughly to the appropriate period); he then used the excellent design of the Ulfbert (sorry, '+Ulfber+t') -- and a millennium's worth of hindsight -- to make a replica.

    In fact, there's more hype than actual history. A few Vikings imported and repurposed some primo Damascus steel using the Volga trade route... probably. It could have been a Frankish blacksmith or shop, judging by the name and the crosses alone, but the Ulfberts turn up in Viking grave-sites, not Frankish ones.

    Whoever made the swords, and the inscription, the consensus seems to be that they weren't the person responsible for making the high-carbon steel. It likely travelled up the Volga as raw material after being produced by one of the peoples who are well known as makers of high-carbon Damascus... so... it's no more a mystery than the Buddha that ended up in a Viking grave, or the Muslim coins.

    And why is it 'mysterious' that so little is known about the blacksmith shop responsible for the Ulfbert? Outside of medieval Japan, it's pretty rare anything is ever known about individual swordsmiths. We're talking about Scandinavia circa 800-1000 A.D. -- there was a reason they called them the Dark Ages.

    All that aside... what kind of argument does this offer 'against all the super-idiot steels that some companies and knife makers are trying to peddle, while padding their wallets...'? I saw one modern steel-maker agree that the steel made in the Central Asian-style forge was 'not bad', given the tools and knowledge they possessed at the time. But I'm not sure how you managed to dig up a condemnation of 'super-idiot steel' in that documentary. You could just as easily argue the opposite, by saying that Damascus was the 'super-idiot steel' -- or powder metallurgical steel -- of the time.

    I don't think 'super-steels' (I'll guess you mean PM steels like CPM S110V, M390, Vanax 75, CPM M4 or CPM 3V to 10V) are better than conventional carbon steels like 1095, 5160, and 52100, or tool steels like O1, A2 and W2. They all work very well when the maker understands the strengths and weaknesses of the steel in question, and matches it with the appropriate application; i.e., M390 might be preferable to 5160 for a folder with a 3.5-inch blade, when edge retention and corrosion resistance are prized; 5160 might be preferable to M390 for a machete, when toughness is sought above all else. There is nothing in the documentary that suggests otherwise, IMO.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2015
  16. horseclover

    horseclover Basic Member Basic Member

    Nov 21, 2000
    A couple of older articles on steel and "Damascus".



    A good thread on what's going on re wootz


    Some other older articles on pattern welded viking swords (and other stuff)


    There are innumerable other articles and discussions regarding wootz, and the Ulfbert swords that any can access and read. Both younger and older visitors to the internet are simply unfamiliar with the topics and may grasp their first "find" as noteworthy of sharing. It's much a part of any discussion forum.

    The Nova show was a decent condensation of information but the shame is many will stop at that point and move on without exploring further. A working knowledge of virtually any subject needs more attention than watching a few videos and reading a few articles. It is certainly not my expertise but the Nova show was expected and somewhat disappointing to me as the time allotted simply isn't enough to covey much information.

    A terrific older PBS documentary was of the Haya people of Tanzania smelting iron and producing true steel. Less fragmented than the video above, it dealt with a single subject and imprinted more to me than this newer video, as I found myself racing in mind to remember where I had read of the different facets before.

    I honestly would have gotten more out of what Ric and Kevin were doing at the shop. John Clements air time, I guess, because he can speak to a camera ;) I would have given that time to more from Alan Williams.

    It is not just this Nova episode. I feel PBS production has really fallen off since the 1980s and 1990s. They tend to dumb it down a great deal more and play for the entertainment value (John Clements in this case) over the academic information.

    For me, each in its own context and wootz is an incredible subject needing many hours of reading.


    Last edited: Aug 20, 2015
  17. Mecha

    Mecha Titanium Bladesmith Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 27, 2013
    Nations and empires rose and fell, fortunes were won and lost based on how good the steel weapons and armor of the past could be made. We're not talking about pocket knives here. New advances in materials and weaponry, even if they were a flash in the pan, meant life, death or glory: it wasn't "hype." As Horseclover is saying above, the nuances of different materials and how they behave needs study to be appreciated. A small difference in metal or processing can result in an armament that's drastically different or superior to another. For example, when I first had the pleasure of handling a fine sword made of CPM 3v, and seeing it in action, my comment was simply, "If a small army had these swords 800 years ago, they would have taken over the entire world."
  18. Lycosa


    Aug 24, 2007
    The new rulers will have Ti swords.
  19. Mecha

    Mecha Titanium Bladesmith Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 27, 2013
    Lycosa, the president of the ti sword fan club!
  20. horseclover

    horseclover Basic Member Basic Member

    Nov 21, 2000
    So, the documentary I had recalled was entitled "The Tree of Iron". All I can find is a couple of previews on Youtube and a site that is pay for play for the full 58 minutes.



    Good stuff


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