It is an absolute joy to read you thinking in print. I know that lots of folks around me just look at me and blink repeatedly as if to say 'dude, you are putting WAAAYYYYY too much thought into this game' when I start talking about the technology of instruments, especially strings, back then. And when I look at say, the fractured head end of a Russian Gusli as photographed, and look at the rest of the instrument, and then blurt out "That thing was never finished, it was not buried after years of use. The builder got too enthusiastic, did the detail carving before he bored the holes, then when he bored the peg holes a hidden flaw caused a fracture he could not fix, and in a fit of frustration he smashed the thing against his workbench and threw it in the scrap pile while he went off to start the commission over" people just smirk and say 'How do you know that?'. I answer "Because I am a Russian instrument builder, here is an instrument like that one, notice the same break and missing piece? If it were just the break, that would be one thing. But the secret is in the piece that is broken off! I hadn't seen that photograph when I got frustrated and smashed that one and threw it in the scrap pile before going off to start the commission again."
Almost everything you question ends up with 'So I want to (fill in the blank)'. I have seen so many academics and professionals turn their noses up at practical evidencial theories in lieu of Sherlockian deduction, which would likely work if it was not applied through the filter of such narrow focus and skewed to the predetermined desired results. Yours is a journey of discovery, and as I am on a similar journey I so appreciate you advancing questions that are more in-depth than most would ask, and doing so in the middle of the public forum. It is inspirational and at times motivational.
I can't help, even in my low level of Kingdom participation, reward that kind of ambition. And that ambition has, in at least one case (period fletching attachment using pitch and rosin before tying - you started it with that little brazier we sat around and fiddled with for hours, I have advanced the science a bit using verdigris to keep the bugs out and figuring how to strip feathers to keep the pith off and only the skin of the quill on for better adhesion) directly affected me and a thing I very much enjoy. So I will try to help you in this.
I have family visiting back around my ancestral home in Pennsylvania, some of the richest iron ore deposits this country has are there. I will try to see if they can bring back some useful amount, or arrange to get it from some of the family friends who are still involved in the local mines (slow as they now are, they are NOT completely shut down).
If I can get some I will arrange to get it to you. I really hope I can. The Journeyman bladesmith who lives across the street from me showed me that video a while back, and we have been trying to decide how to do such a project, maybe a smaller blade but the same technique. In this case you are a motivator.
> He didn't say much about the pieces of metal he put into the
> crucible. I assume they were from the bloom iron- the spongy mass
> of glass and iron that is the normal product of smelting back then.
> Repeated forge welding this mass produced wrought iron which had
> the slag inclusions they were talking about that were in common
> swords of the time.. This Iron can have any level of carbon content
> which is controlled by the % iron in the ore and the amount or
> ratio of charcoal to ore ratio (by weight) and probably by some of
> the dynamic particulars of the furnace dimensions. So How did he
> (and they) determine how much carbon to put in and what was his
> final carbon content of the sword he recreated? They didn't say.
> Of course in medieval times, they could not have known this type of
> data, AND they (medieval) measured everything by volume which
> mucked with the systems and made the smelting technology not very
> transportable. As far as proof of Frankish origin, I think the
> video said that the word Ulfberht was of Frankish origin, but that
> how and where they were made and by who (over 200 yeas time) was
> the big misery. - I so want to smelt some Iron. About ready to
> throw in the towel on finding ore and buying some Iron oxide used
> in clay glazes ant trying to make some fake ore.
> Master Gerald
> On 9/26/2013 9:23 AM, Jenna wrote:
>> So, how many people spent 55 minutes drooling in front of "Secret
>> of the Viking Sword" on PBS last night? The joy I experienced
>> was great.
>> I for one must firmly disagree with any scholars who think that
>> the crosses in the inlaid name on the blade prove the blades were
>> of Frankish origin. The fact that these magnificent high-tech
>> blades have only been found in Norse sites pretty much negates
>> that theory in my mind. I should delight to hear discussion on
>> this and other matters related to the program and that lovely,
>> wovely, gorgeous sword.