The Crafting of Heimdall’s Sword
In November of 2009, Myself, Swordsmith David DelaGardelle of Cedarlore Forge and my friend and fellow Metal Artisan, Andy Davis, were contacted by the production team working on bringing Marvel Comic’s legendary comic book Thor to the big screen. They were looking for swordsmith’s capable of crafting a huge, intricately detailed, legendary hero weapon for the formidable and powerful character, Heimdall. Without hesitation, we took on this incredible but difficult task in the short time the production team had given us. Setting out we had no idea just how much we would learn and just how much of a blessing and adventure the experience would be.
The props team working on the film came to us with a rough conceptual design that one of their talented artists had painted. David then began to refine the design back forth with the team in Photoshop to make it as functional and realistic as possible. In refining the design, we tried our best within the parameters to throw in some slightly historical touches seen on some ancient Germanic swords, such as the swords fuller and knot work patterns. The sword itself however is obviously at its core meant to be majestic and quite literally “out of this world”.
We were blessed with the task to bring to life two hero steel and two stunt aluminum copies of this one sword.
While we were only asked to create this one particular sword it was still the most challenging project we had ever undertaken as sword makers, up to this point. So we were happy to pour all of our energy and imagination into this one very prominent hero sword. The rest of the film’s weapons were beautifully crafted by none other than world renowned swordsmith and armorer: Tony Swatton and his skilled group at Sword and Stone in California.
David hardening the blade by heating it to non magnetic and quenching it in oil:
Andy sending sparks flying while grinding the blade to shape:
After we had finalized the design for Heimdall’s sword with the team we went straight to the forge with a drive and zeal to craft something incredible. We began by crafting the blade from high quality L6 tool steel. Ground, hardened, tempered, and polished it to an antique blued finish. The swords ornate guard and pommel were the most challenging aspect of the entire sword, due to their unique shape and function.
The sword, known in Norse mythology by the name of “Hofud” is not simply a mere war sword, instead it is an ancient key that controls Heimdall’s technologically advanced observatory on the Bifrost bridge of Asgard. It opens and closes portals to other worlds and dimensions in which the hero’s fight in the film. Being both a sword and a key, the guard serves the double purpose of obviously protecting its wielder, and also serving as extending handle bars to turn the key once its placed into its keyhole.
David at work cleaning up and refining the knotwork on the cast bronze crossguard:
The guard and pommel were cast out of hollowed polished bronze for the hero steel swords, and colored lightweight aluminum for the stunt versions. Norse knotwork was carved into the fittings and into the figured Mahogany grips by hand on each copy of the sword. The knotwork is a reflective nod back to the original Norse mythology and cultural-history the comics were based off of, while still keeping a modern vibe of an unknown advanced civilization. The knotwork is also reflective of the patterns seen inside the walls of Heimdall’s observatory and in the architecture and decor of the city of Asgard itself. In total, the sword stood at 5 ½ feet long from tip to pommel, and the hero steel and bronze versions weighed close to 10 pounds each.
Shots of the sword in the movie:
In the end, Heimdall’s sword turned out to be a sword we would have never dreamed of crafting ourselves. We are beyond thankful for being blessed to have worked on such a creatively stimulating and challenging project that pushed our skills further as young swordsmith’s who are still learning this craft in a traditional context.
We’re honored to have played a small role in this incredible film, and we hope that our work somehow reflects back to the traditional and historical elements of swordsmithing amidst the incredible visual scope of this modern epic.
The Finished Sword:
Cedarlore Forge LLC in no way owns the rights or images of and related to the Sword of Heimdall used in Marvel Comic’s movie Thor ©
Thor, the Movie: © 2011 MVL Film Finance LLC. Marvel, Thor, Heimdall, Heimdall’s sword, all images related to the Sword of Heimdall, and all related character names and their distinctive likenesses: TM & © 2011 Marvel Entertainment, LLC and its subsidiaries. All rights reserved. © Cedarlore Forge LLC. All rights reserved.