Arctic Fire 2012 DVDs


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Arctic Fire 2012 was an invitational gathering of some of the most talented bladesmiths in the world working within this field of bladesmithing. The event was held in June of 2012 in Anchorage, Alaska. The event was broadcast live via webcast and Middle-earth Network Radio.Bladesmithing is the modern term for the ancient art of forging handmade swords and other edged weapons and tools. In recent years, fueled in part by the growing popularity of historic and fantasy literature/films, the number of individuals crafting “artifact” blades has increased dramatically. These smiths seek to create fully functional blades of the highest artistic level, sometimes taking months or years to complete a single piece. Operating in the overlap between history, myth and fantasy; art, craft and science, this once obscure subset of bladesmithing is seeing a renaissance, which re-captures the high achievements of ancient smiths.

The goal of the gathering, or “Hammer In” as they are called within the bladesmithing community, was to help raise general awareness of the art and craft of bladesmithing, introduce the concepts of artifact level bladesmithing, and advance the craft by inspiring others to try their hand at making a blade. Each presenter demonstrated various bladesmithing techniques and examples of their work. Through these presentations the smiths demonstrate that bladesmithing is a subtle art which, at its highest level, weaves engineering, imagination, craftsmanship, scholarship, and deep philosophy.

This volume captures all of the presentations of the 2012 Arctic Fire broadcast event. Each presentation has been fully re-edited from original footage. The set also includes bonus footage of the railroad spike forging contest, where the smiths break into two-man teams and see what they can create from a simple railroad spike in only one hour.

Look for Arctic Fire 2013 coming in the Summer of 2013 at


Don Fogg: Hand Finishing Techniques
Mastersmith Don Fogg explains the techniques used to bring blades to a high polish using only hand tools. Additionally, Don comments about the mental state a smith needs to cultivate to achieve the patience and attention to detail required in bladesmithing.

Don is a hugely influential bladesmith that has been active in the community as a maker and teacher for several decades. His work is highly sought after by collectors, and since his retirement from active smithing, is rarely seen for sale. He lives in Auburn, Maine.

Jake Powning: The Art of Carving
Renowned swordsmith, Jake Powning, demonstrates the techniques he uses to create the masterful carvings that adorn his blades and their scabbards. Using no power tools, Jake carves a beautiful and intricate Celtic pattern before your eyes.

Jake is one of the most skilled carvers in the bladesmithing world, a skill that he translates into beautiful cast bronze fittings for his blades. He lives in New Brunswick, Canada.

Jake Powning: The Swordsmith as Storyteller
As an author and swordsmith, Jake Powning weaves historically and mythically inspired narratives into blades he creates. In this lecture, Jake explains the process by which he gains inspiration from ancient tales and legends, and recasts them into stories told through the tapestry of steel, wood and bronze.

Dave Stephens: Advanced Pattern Welding
Dave Stephens demonstrates how to create a complex, starbust like pattern of forge welded steel, using a technique called “crushed W’s.” In this demonstration, you learn how plain bars of carbon steel can be fused together, folded, cut and manipulated to create beautiful and complex patterns in steel.

Dave Stephens is one of the hosts of the Arctic Fire gathering. He is fascinated by complex pattern welding techniques, and is passionate about spreading the knowledge of bladesmithing techniques to others. He lives in Anchorage, Alaska.

Michael Pikula: Multi-Bar Blade Welding
The talented, energetic, and eccentric Michael Pikula demonstrates how to forge a traditional Viking “seax” blade, using multiple bars of pattern welded steel. Accomplishing this difficult and demanding task while cracking jokes for the camera, Michael makes it look easy while providing clear instruction.

Michael Pikula is a talented smith and artist that is very prolific. He produces historically inspired blades in the European tradition. Michael has worked in smithies in both the US and Europe, learning a wealth of techniques that are both modern and historic. He lives in Friendship, Wisconsin.

Peter Johnsson: Paradoxes of Sword Design: Principles for its Functional Properties
Considered by many to be the leading living expert on the Medieval Sword, Peter Johnsson demonstrates the many considerations which influence the function of the sword. Covering topics such as mass distribution, pivot points, vibrational nodes and balance, Peter seems to make his demonstration sword hover in the air as he demonstrates how a well-crafted blade will feel in the swordsman’s hands.

Peter Johnsson is an internationally acclaimed sword smith and sword designer. A serious scholar of the functional and aesthetic properties of the sword in the Western tradition, Peter has closely examined hundreds of historical artifacts at major museums. He lives in Uppsala, Sweden.

Peter Johnsson: The Secret Seal of the Swordsmith
In this highly anticipated presentation, Peter Johnsson, considered by many to be the leading living expert on the Medieval Sword, reveals his original theory on the design principles that may have been used by ancient swordsmiths. Combining Medieval theories of mathematics, religion, the aesthetic, geometry, and architecture, Peter demonstrates how his theory can accurately and elegantly explain and predict how ancient smiths designed their swords.

Peter Johnsson is an internationally acclaimed sword smith and sword designer. A serious scholar of the functional and aesthetic properties of the sword in the Western tradition, Peter has closely examined hundreds of historical artifacts at major museums. He lives in Uppsala, Sweden.

J. Arthur Loose: Introduction to Niello
In this entertaining and fascinating presentation, the highly theatrical J. Arthur Loose, demonstrates the ancient craft of creating beautiful and intricate metal inlays known as Niello. Wielding sulphur smoke, molten metal, crucibles and fire, Yul creates a beautiful inlayed serpent design on the guard of one of his custom daggers.

J. Arthur Loose is both a bladesmith and a talented jeweler. He creates beautiful stainless pattern welded rings, and has done interesting academic research on the ancient practice of niello. He has had many exhibits of his work, and teaches metal working, jewelry, and bladesmithing. He lives in Vermont.

David Delagardelle: Digital Sword Design and Illustration Techniques
Artist and swordsmith, David Delagardelle, demonstrates the use of computer-based design tools to illustrate the swords he creates. Demonstrating how software can be used to achieve symmetry in weapon profiles and to apply textures and materials to the various components of the sword, David illustrates how he has successfully designed weapons and armor featured in Hollywood movies.

David DelaGardelle was the co-founder and owner of the Mad Dwarf Workshop (2004-2012), and is today working as the owner and operator of his new swordsmithing endeavor, Cedarlore Forge. David is both an artist and a talented swordsmith working in the mythopoetic tradition. His work is featured in an increasing number of Hollywood films, including the major motion picture, THOR. and the upcoming film the Narrow Road. He lives in Muncie, Indiana.

Railroad Spike Forging Competition
In this “just for fun” finale to Arctic Fire 2012, six of the featured bladesmiths split into two man teams and compete to create an interesting blade from a lowly railroad spike in only one hour. To make things interesting, the teams must shift between three forging stations (each with different tools and equipment) every 20 minutes. It’s a hilarious and frantic fest of fire, forges and frenzy as the smiths race against the clock.

Congrats to Donald from Illinois for winning the Malachite Blade (pictured below) in our Arctic Fire 2012 DVD giveaway!

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