Backyard blacksmith Phil Baumhardt discovered some vehicle trash and turned it into Viking treasure. While scavenging for materials, he discovered a pair of suspension leaf springs, likely thrown out during a trailer or vehicle repair. He recognized that they were made of high carbon steel, the same metal used in survival knifes and stage combat swords. Then he decided to make a Sax, a single-edged short sword infamously used by the Vikings.
His backyard forge resembles the environment of an ancient village smithy with a few modern repurposed exceptions. He uses an iron plate bolted to a stump as an anvil and his buckethead wet-dry vac as a bellows. The vac greatly increases the airflow and the heat. After time in the forge, rust and impurities are hammered out of red hot metal as he forms the tang (the metal stem that will go inside the wood and leather handle).
A Sax sword has a straight spine that runs to the point, then curves down to form the bottom single edge. Once Baumhardt finished this drop-point sword shape, he moved on to make cross pieces for the pommel (base of handle) to the cross guard, piercing the metal with a chisel and expanding the holes with a railroad spike. In his YouTube video he explains how he uses a hand filing technique that dates back to 1200 B.C. to create the edge. Finally, he finds maple wood for what will be the leather wrapped handle. From curbside find to backyard forge, Phil has taken a piece of junk and made it into a sleek historical blade.
Here’s a video to see the beginning of the process.
Theron is an educator, business owner, writer, and consultant working within Springfield, MO and the Ozarks community. He enjoys making and building with his 11 year old son and likes to read and write about science, technology, education, sci fi, martial arts, and philosophy.View more articles by Theron Sturgess