‘Notung! Notung! Neidliches Schwert !
Jetzt haftest du wieder im Heft ....’
Richard Wagner, Siegfried (Act I, scene iii)
Some years ago, I decided I would like to acquire a good pattern-welded sword. My existing sword, which I had made myself, (with a little help from my friend Simon Stanley, the Archer) while adequate, was, I thought, inelegant. I thus began a project to comission and complete a high status early Anglo-Saxon sword.
I first approached Patrick Barta of TEMPL in the Czech Republic but there were considerable difficulties, notably price and delivery date. I thus terminated our contract.
Around this time, after some hunting around, I stumbled upon Paul Binns, (of ‘Paul Binns Swords’), who lives in The Fens. I asked Paul to make me an Anglo-Saxon spear with a particular pattern and I was delighted with it. We drove down to Wisbech to collect it, as a 6+ foot spear is an awkward item to post.
I found Paul a kindred spirit in that his work was technically excellent without that ‘sterile perfection’ which blights true reconstructive blade-smithery. Some while later, I took the plunge and asked him to undertake to make me a Migration-Age Anglo-Saxon sword featuring the ‘Serpent in the Sword’ pattern. Paul loves a challenge but this pattern is not the easiest. Time passed and Paul got busier so I suggested I might finish off the sword if he could finish the blade.
So it was that I drove up to where Paul was taking part in a Tudor reenactment and collected the blade. He had produced a masterpiece, the subtle greys and silvers of the steel showing the wyrmfäh I had requested. I drove home much delighted and began to plan how I would finish the sword.
...To be continued....