A Viking Age knife is made using one of four design shapes and tang (hilt) shapes. The four knife shapes are: the seax, drop point, clip point or straight back. The clip point's end has a false edge, which is a curve above the point. The tang shapes are full, with a wide taper and rat tail. Early Viking Age knifes had a metal handle with a curved end. The knife sheath is made of leather with two loops to hold it on a belt. Make a Viking Age knife from a file and use tooling leather for the sheath.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- 1-inch or larger flat file
- Rotary tool
- Abrasive rotary tool cut-off wheels
- Electric hotplate
- Pot holders
- Welding gloves
- Large bucket
- Small bench vice
- Sharpening stone
- Silver wire
- Safety goggles
- Plumber's soapstone
- Bench vice
- Motor Oil
- Soft Cloth
- Tooling leather
- Leather punch
- Transparent ruler
- Optional - Needle
Make a tracing of the outside edge of the file. Draw the shape of the knife blade in the tracing. Use the entire width of the file tracing when designing the blade. Cut out the shape.
Turn on an electric hotplate and place the file on the burner. Heat the file and turn it periodically for 30 to 40 minutes. Turn off the hotplate after the file has turned grey. Leave the file on the hotplate to cool.
Remove the cooled file off the hotplate. Place the template of the blade on the file. Trace around the template with a piece of plumber's soapstone.
Put on the goggles. Use a rotary tool and cut the rough shape of the blade just outside the soapstone line. A Dremel with an abrasive cut-off wheel works well.
Light the torch and put on welding gloves. Pick up the file handle with heavy tongs. Heat the blade area of the file until it is red hot.
Place the red-hot file on an anvil. Continue to hold the handle of the file with the tongs.
Begin forging the blade. Hammer the edge of the file to widen the blade in the desired area. Only take the forging down to one-eighth of inch. The blade bevel is made with a rasp.
Quench the file in a bucket of water after forging for two or three minutes. Reheat the end of the file and repeat the forging process until the blade is the desired shape.
Quench the file. Turn it around and grab the blade with the heavy tongs. Heat the handle and the top one inch of the file until it is red hot.
Place the file on the anvil and forge the end of the file and the handle. Shape the top end of the file into an oval shape. Forge the handle to extend like a dull ice pick. Quench and reheat the handle as needed to create the desired shape.
Heat the end of the knife handle after the desired shape is reached. Place the end of the handle over the nose of the anvil. Hammer the tip around the nose to create the desired curve. Quench the handle when finished.
Secure the handle of the blade in a bench vice. Use a rasp and bevel the edge of the blade. Draw the rasp from the blade to make the bevel cut. Flip the blade and repeat the process with the other side.
Sharpen the edge of the blade with a whetstone soaked in motor oil. Rub motor oil into the blade and handle to prevent rust.
Wrap one to two inches of silver wire on the handle beginning at the oval shape at the top edge of the blade.
Trace around the blade of the finished knife. Fold the paper in half on the line at the top edge of the knife. Cut out the template.
Open the template and lay it on the back side of a piece of tooling leather. Draw around the template one-quarter of an inch from the edge of the blade and directly against the template on the top edge. Cut out the sheath. Draw two straps on the tooling leather. Draw the length of the straps three inches longer than the width of the sheath template. Cut out the straps.
Lay the sheath so the back side of the leather is facing out. Mark around the blade edge of the sheath every one-quarter inch. Start at the same location on both sides so the holes will line up when lacing.
Lay the two straps on the back of the leather sheath in the desired locations. Trace around the outside edge. Remove the leather straps. Draw two straight lines across the strap marks one-quarter inch from the fold line of the sheath. Place marks from the drawn straight line out to the edge of the sheath on both sides of the fold line every one-quarter inch. The marks will be one-eighth of an inch in from the traced strap line. Stop marking when within a half-inch from the outside edge. Make sure the holes are directly across from one another.
Turn the leather straps so the back of the leather is facing up. Count the marks made for the straps on the sheath from the fold of the sheath to the edge. Place a mark one-eighth of an inch up and one-eighth of an inch in from the narrow edge all four corners. Place the same number of marks up each side of the strap to correspond with amount of marks on the sheath.
Punch each mark with a leather punch. Punch hard enough to pierce through the leather on each punch.
Fold the sheath together and line up the straps with the strap holes. Thread catgut through the holes to secure the straps to the sheath. Tie the knots on the front of the sheath.
Thread catgut through the holes on the edge of the sheath. Tie the knots on the outside of the sheath.
Tips and warnings
- Rub saddle soap or other oil on the outside of the sheath for water protection.
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