(Note: metaphor-alert! This is not a site about swords, sword smiths, or Vikings. But if you like marketing and copywriting topics, make yourself comfy.)
The Cowboy and I just watched a documentary last night that had us utterly spellbound.
It was about the Viking sword.
But not just any Viking sword. This documentary was about the legendary Ulfberht sword.
Historians have uncovered 171 of these swords which were in circulation between 800 A.D. – 1000 A.D. However, the quality of these swords were ahead of their time. By 800 years.
You see, the type of steel that was used to make the Ulfberht was “crucible steel,” steel that had to reach a temperature of 3000 degrees in order to melt away the slag from the steel and allow the carbon to be distributed more evenly.
Modern steel manufacturers can provide this type of high heat with sophisticated processes. But back in the medieval age, all the sword smiths had were clay ovens. No one thought that creating crucible steel was even possible for that time period.
During the documentary, Richard Furrer, owner of Door County Forgeworks, took on the ambitious task of re-creating the Ulfberht sword, painstakingly taking the viewer through each intricate step.
After placing the crucible filled with steel, carbon, and glass into his homemade replication of a medieval oven, he and his partner operated the bellows, blowing air into the coal beneath for hours.
In fact, back in the medieval times, whole villages would take turns stoking the fire for the sword smith.
Door County Forgeworks’ process for creating a sword was simply fascinating. It was a very precise process and something could have gone wrong at any stage, ruining the creation of the ingot or the sword itself as it was being forged into a sleek blade.
At the end of the successful venture, Richard Furrer said this:
“I see myself as a caretaker of this knowledge. I can’t make a better blade than this. It represents my entire skill set, as it sits now… sitting there in a 2 lb. chunk of steel.”
The Ulfberht replica will be auctioned off sometime in October. The bidding will start at $7500.
My question: how many of us have truly applied ourselves to mastering the art of whatever it is we love to do? Will we create a masterpiece such as the Ulfberht?
To do so means immersing ourselves totally in our art.
And that kind of dedication, my friend, is what will create value.