Know him on his large hands
The blacksmith was a central figure in Viking Age society. For this reason he can be encountered every day, making new tools and weapons either by order or perhaps with the intention of being put to sale from his store. His goods are in high demand, for everyone has need of the knives, scissors, fire steels, harness buckles, ploughshears, nails and more that he creates. Life is easier for one who can afford an iron pot or perhaps some metal plating for the wooden spade.
It is hard, hot and dirty work fashioning the glowing iron into useful objects - and sure enough the blacksmith can usually be recognized from afar by his large hands and coal blackened clothes.
Extraction of iron
Bars of raw iron have been imported from Sweden, among other places, but it has also been necessary for the smith to extract iron from local sources of bog ore, in order to have sufficient raw materials for his production.
Our smith and expert in the art of extracting iron, Michael Nissen, has documented his experiments with extracting iron in Ribe VikingeCenter as well as other places. Download the report on his experiments (Danish).