This Swordsmith Hacks Ancient Weapons to Unlock the Secrets of Viking Metallurgy

Jeff Pringle is an Oakland-based swordsmith, so it’s no surprise he has hundreds of pre-industrial and viking-era swords, axes, knives and other sharp, wonderful artifacts in his collection. But Pringle describes his collection as almost “accidental,” and the way he uses his collection has put the blades he makes himself in high demand among living history fans eager to use a weapon as close to historically accurate as possible.

Unlike other collectors, Pringle’s interest lies in intensely studying blades from the past so he can replicate them at his forge at Alchemy Metalworks. Pringle jokes that his collection would likely infuriate archeologists because he keeps them piled in a dusty cabinet with literally no “master list” of what he owns (and he’s known to irreparably alter them in the pursuit of smithing knowledge).


Sometimes nerdy is a pristine collection of computers, or carefully collated boxes of keyboards. But sometimes being nerdy is having a cabinet full of rusted weapons and a big forge ready to unlock their secrets.

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