How to Forge Ragnar Lothbrok’s Axe from “Vikings” in Real Life

Have you watched Vikings? If so then you know all about Ragnar Lothbrok’s axe, a vicious-looking weapon that’s going to be forged in real life on Man At Arms: Reforged. Watching these guys work is just awesome since they take a round piece of metal and start hammering it into shape. As you watch it begin to take form you can’t help but marvel at the ingenuity that’s been handed down throughout the years and the skill that’s needed to produce each one of the weapons that they’ve been asked to make by the fans. Every one of them is absolutely beautiful once they’re done, works of art that are very, very deadly as well.

The original shape that was hammered out started looking more like Rollo’s axe thanks to the size, but that’s remedied by some clever cutting and grinding. It’s interesting to realize that instead of sticking with a solid piece of metal the front end of the axe was cut off and then split down the middle so that an insert could be placed inside to give the weapon more solidity and create a better edge. Also, watching the hole being punched through the axe, where the handle would eventually be put in, was pretty interesting since it’s a much longer and more involved process than one might have thought. As they describe it they needed to get an hourglass shape from one side to the next so as to allow the handle to fit right.

The haft itself is taken from a piece of white oak that is then cut into shape and sanded down so as to approximate what it should look like. It is then ground down to avoid leaving any splinters or burrs that might mar the wood, and then it is rubbed down with linseed oil. This gives it a much darker and more impressive look that will add to the appearance desired.

The axe itself is then heat-treated to give it a more authentic look since the grinding that was done created a shiny, new-looking weapon that just wouldn’t seem right. After the heat treatment it’s buffed out and then fitted onto the handle, where it is tapped on with a soft hammer so as not to mar the axe blade. After putting one wooden wedge in and then a metal one to add to the stability, it’s time to wrap the handle in leather.

The thin strips of leather that are used to wrap the top portion of the handle make it look positively awesome, while the more heavier wrap at the bottom of the handle is to keep it from flying out of the user’s hands.  When it’s all said and done this thing looks absolutely vicious and more than ready for a field test.

Perhaps the best part of this particular episode however is that one of the guys has his girlfriend dress up as a shield maiden and then has a little surprise for her. After the field tests, and after the axe is safely buried in a chunk of wood, the forger gets down to one knee, which floors the lucky lady, as he then asks her to be his queen.

You can’t end an episode better than that.

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