Blacksmith coal forging classs and the tools I made there. #4: Forging with a Viking blacksmith

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Blog entry by mafe posted 04-26-2019 11:59 AM 1934 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Small spoon knife, making the handle Part 4 of Blacksmith coal forging classs and the tools I made there. series Part 5: Bend knife / spoon knife »

Forging with a Viking blacksmith
the Danish Jonas Bigler

Last time I was taking a blacksmith class here in Denmark, it was on Funen (with wonderful Jørgen), this time it was on Zealand closer to my home town Copenhagen and with a Viking blacksmith.

After forging my own tools for a few years now as a joy, to upgrade my woodworking journey, I decided it was time to get some of the rust of my hands and have a real master look at my ways of working, about the methods and what bad habits I have worked into my routines.
So when Jonas one of our skilled hard working Viking blacksmiths here in Denmark, wrote that he made a small class, where we would only be a few, I wrote him back and asked if he could learn me to laminate steel (put layers together) and most of all if there could be time, for him looking at how I work – Jonas wrote me back and agreed, so off I went the coming weekend.

This blog is just me sharing my joy.

Packing up some tools and examples of my work, at the workshop, an getting ready to go.

Time to pull up the sleves.
Had to stop and take a picture of this working man, on my way through Copenhagen that morning.
(Sculpture in front of Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen).

Breakfast on the go…

Outside Copenhagen, the landscape started to open up and I could almost smell the forge coal.

Even I also brought gas and my own little forge, for some experimenting.

Here he is, the man Jonas, preparing a forge and giving us basic information of the day.
Jonas showed us different projects and skills during the day, amongst these, he took a horseshoe nail and forged it into a Thors hammer in just a few heats and with a level of skill and delicacy that was out of this world.
Wonderful how inspiring it is to see someone with skills, do what they do best, we always know who is really a master once we see them work.

We were four guys that would spend the day together by the forges and anvils, hammering steel, getting tired and sweaty, but also being spoiled with tips, hints, ways and Jonas wonderful being.

One of the things I set out for was learning how to laminate steel and at the end of the day we got at it, first by the coal forge and later trying with my little gas forge (it was struggling to get hot enough…).
But I learned the skills and now know how to do it, also learned, that it’s making a lot of sparks, so it will not be done in my little woodworking shop (too much wood there).

Here a happy monkey, after hours of forging, making a bend knife, just for the training and for Jonas to comment on my methods and especially my hammer work. He could give me a few tricks and learned me to be more gentle, but in general he said I got the methods just fine and found my way. (There are many).
I showed him some examples of my tools, he said that my hand work was really fine and he seemed really pleased with my works. He also said that he could not learn me about the design, it was clear that I knew about that (I must admit that made me really proud coming from him).

We had a wonderful day outside, forging by the fire, smelling coal and nature. Jonas was trying to be all over and managed to learn us all new stuff, teach and be there as a wonderful human.
(The other guys at the class were new in the forging, as far I could tell and all had a good time and came home with tools they had made).
We were also spoiled by Jonas wonderful wife, she had made us the most wonderful food, so to get a break at the mid of the day, warm food and a beer for me, were a little visit to Valhalla, home of the Gods. Thanks. ;-)

In the afternoon Jonas and I took up the forge welding again, we made some by the coal forge and I forged my first laminated blade out of this first part.
Later we tried with my little gas forge, but as I said we struggled to get it hot enough (need more air, I think), Jonas were kind to help me out with the power hammer, so I could make a couple of rods ready, that I could bring home for tool making.

So all in all a wonderful day in many ways, I learned a lot, also about what I did right, enjoyed to see Jonas work with a hammer, like a ballet dancer, impressive, enjoyed especially Jonas and his sweet wifes personality and we spend some time after the class talking and hanging out in their garden, so I was kind of sad to leave, but also really tired and full of impressions.
Thank you to both of you, if you should read this.

(I will actually be back in not too long, since I’m going on a long bow building class of his in June, that I got as a present at my fifty years birthday, I look forward to learn new there also and meet up with them again).

This is what I ended up with, a bend knife blade, where we talked about bending methods and ways of making the final edge.
Two rods of laminated steel, that I can use for later projects.
Finally my first ever laminated knife blade, all laminated and forged by me, the happy monkey.

So back home in the shop, after some days of rest, I could unpack my tools and finish up what I started.
(This picture were actually from the packing up day).

Shaping up the laminated blade, with files and sandpaper.

Re heating and adding my stamp.

After the re heating, you could clearly the see the lamination.

Time to harden the blades.

Quenching in oil.

Finally the finished blade.

I love the texture and the mix of roughness and clean sharpness.

As usual tempering in the oven.

Now all that’s missing is the final sharpening and making them into knifes.

Press here for the next part:

Here a link for Jonas Biglers homepage, where you can see some of his works:

Hope this post can inspire others to make their own tools or taking a blacksmithing class.

Best thoughts,


-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

12 comments so far

View Alexey Khasyanov's profile

Alexey Khasyanov

221 posts in 3987 days

#1 posted 04-26-2019 12:27 PM

Some spoons coming soon…

-- @alexey_Khasyanov

View lew's profile


13366 posts in 4869 days

#2 posted 04-26-2019 01:14 PM

What a wonderful way to spend the day. Thanks, Mads, for including us!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View pottz's profile


17471 posts in 2098 days

#3 posted 04-26-2019 01:43 PM

now thats what id call a fun day,creating, learning,good food and new friends,wish id been their mads.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View GR8HUNTER's profile


8525 posts in 1826 days

#4 posted 04-26-2019 02:24 PM

looks like a blast plus what a GR8 learning experience great story GREAT JOB :<)))))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN :<))

View SMP's profile (online now)


4138 posts in 1019 days

#5 posted 04-26-2019 02:30 PM

Some people want to go to Hawaii and sit on the sand, but for me this looks like the perfect trip! Thanks for sharing.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

26290 posts in 4219 days

#6 posted 04-26-2019 03:54 PM

Wow, that is a top shelf blacksmith shop!!

Cheers, my friend!!!!.........Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

7651 posts in 1696 days

#7 posted 04-26-2019 04:58 PM

Looks like a great day and many years of future projects to come! Fantastic!

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View madts's profile


1957 posts in 3454 days

#8 posted 04-26-2019 04:59 PM

Mads: I think that you are having way too much fun!


-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

View htl's profile


5464 posts in 2273 days

#9 posted 04-26-2019 08:24 PM

Very interesting!!!

-- An Index Of My Model making Blogs

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10963 posts in 5166 days

#10 posted 04-28-2019 11:07 PM

YES! Very interesting! :)

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:

View Druid's profile


2205 posts in 3909 days

#11 posted 04-29-2019 01:24 AM

Here is another inspiring, well explained, informative description by you. Thank you for sharing.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

View mafe's profile


13202 posts in 4203 days

#12 posted 05-22-2019 02:55 PM

Hi there,
Alexey Khasyanov, Smiles, time will tell, right now I’m a lot in the city and I usually do the spoon work out in nature.
Lew, yes it was a wonderful day, that will stay a sweet memory in the future. Thanks.
pottz, you should have! Smiles.
GR8HUNTER, great smile here thank you.
SMP, yes this kid of travel stays In a different way and the skills follow us after. Like the sand in the shoe… :-D
Jim, yes I was a wee bit jealous on that power hammer… smiles.
Dave, yeps the beauty is that it was kind of just a beginning.
madts, trust me, I try my best!
htl, smiles.
Joe, big smile.
Druid, so kind of you, thank you.
Thank you for the comments,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

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