The weapon itself, produced by our associate weapon-smith, is of Petersen Type-K with a substantial iron hilt integrating a large lobed pommel. This, combined with its long and broad blade (again of piled-steel construction but this time more vividly visible) gives the weapon a substantial and severe feel, contrasting well with the rather more elegant Gram.
Finds of this sword-type have been found across western and central Europe, including Great Britain and Ireland, with well known 'Ulfberht'-branded examples suggesting a Frankish origin of the type. There is nevertheless evidence of widespread manufacture of such swords (including many poorer-quality examples, particularly in Norway) suggesting this style, if initially of Frankish origin, was widely copied. Remaining in use for some centuries, the Migration-Age origins of the design of such swords is clearly visible, therefore making re-creations like Grásiða a useful illustrator of evolution and transition in sword design, into the "Viking Age".
The sheath of Grásiða, crafted by Thegns member Æd Thompson, was designed to compliment the sword while remaining, as far as possible, true to Anglo-Viking sword scabbard finds. A fleece-lined wood core was carved, accommodating the sizeable blade of the sword. In a deviation from usual procedure, but in line with a number of early Scandinavian scabbard finds, the core was deliberately carved to be slightly loose then wrapped in a "bandage" of linen before the foundations for the leather-moulding were added. The structure, then coated with animal-glue, was wrapped with wet oak-tanned leather and sewn up the back, with the leather moulded along the foundations as the leather dried and the glue cured. This led to the foundation-moulding designs showing crisply, with the linen-bindings beneath shown as faint diagonal lines.
It quickly became apparent that internal linen bandaging represented an effective means of regulating the tightness of scabbard-core. Though, in general, tightening the scabbard, the linen bindings can be seen to progressively 'flex' to accommodate the sword, as it is inserted, such that the scabbard remains tight enough to keep the blade secure but not so tight that it is difficult to insert. It is conceivable that this variation may have emerged as a means of achieving a well-gripping scabbard without the need for the careful fine-tuning of carving and animal-hair length normally involved. It is further, possible that such scabbards may have maintained optimal tightness for longer, thus a more reliable blade-protector particularly in the context of a lengthy campaign.
The name "Grásiða" - a sword name borrowed from the Sagas - means "grey-side" in Old-Norse, while the Old-English approximation of this name translates to "Grey-scythe"; both strong names for an 'Anglo-Viking' battle companion.
Grásiða, now completed, we feel is representative of a moderate to high-status 'Viking' sword from the 9th-10th century; an elaborately smithed, substantial hacking blade with a hilt hearkening back to earlier styles, built for function, and with a sheath prioritising durability - with a little ostentatious wealth-display for good measure.