Viking Age Iron Making in West Oakland

Henrik in the West Kingdom reports that a Viking Age iron smelting workshop will be held July 10, 2011 in Oakland, California.

Knife Making, Forge Welding and Axe Making Enthusiasts! On Sunday, July 10th at 11:00 am (subject to decent weather) Jeff Pringle, and Jim Austin will conduct a Viking Age bloomery iron smelt at Jim's blacksmithing shop in West Oakland. This event is open to interested persons who would like to learn about this ancient process and experience our recreation first hand. The cost to attend is $20 per person, which money will be used to cover the expense of charcoal (100's of pounds) and furnace materials.  

On Saturday, July 9th up to 5 volunteers will be welcome to help prepare for the smelt by processing charcoal and iron ore.  Saturday volunteers can then attend the Sunday smelt free of charge.


Bloomery iron is the ancient forerunner of (now extinct) wrought iron, and was produced from the dawn of the iron age to the onset of the industrial era.  It was a fibrous matrix of very pure, low-carbon iron and slag which was ideal for the manufacture of forged iron articles - especially those requiring forge-welding, such as axes, spears, chains, etc.  When further refined by the smith and combined with high-carbon steel it was used for high quality knives, saxes and swords. Our smelting effort will use a clay furnace (as developed by Lee Sauder and Skip Williams) which conforms to the excavated remains of historical smelting furnaces of the Viking period. The resulting material will be the same as the material worked by blacksmiths for thousands of years into tools and weapons. 

Smelt Location (Jim's Shop) :

2440 Adeline Street
Oakland  CA  94607

Contact:  Jim Austin