Magnus Sigurdsson Hardradi: historian and armourer
Not quite the norm!
With my range of historical knowledge, my expertise rooted in traditional craftsmanship and my use of today's technologies, I create high-quality items of skilled workmanship.
As well as faithfully following history as closely as possible in my use of materials and construction techniques from many different ages, I cheerfully embrace modern technologies and materials, when the design requires them. I do not, though, use modern methods and materials for historical pieces. The feel and soul of a genuine article can never quite be replaced, but in using the same materials and construction methods a modern piece can be imbued with a little soul of its own.
I do on the other hand make the most of CAD technology, laser cutters and CNC machines when the need arises. This type of technological aid is incredibly useful in the design of mechanisms and gearing systems - it helps keep the production costs down and the finished article affordable!
I am also intrigued by "speculative history", in other words, by trying to formulate designs and machines that ancient writers tell us about, but for which there is no physical evidence or accurate description.
Another one of my interests is the realm of "alternative histories", where we can speculate on countless "what if" designs, such as the current popular interest in Steampunk. My work has led me to these alternative histories in many time zones, producing such things as European-style repeating and collapsible "pistol" crossbows, torsion-powered longbows and electronic railguns using Victorian technology.
I have now been recreating past technologies for over 30 years. I try to study the past by sticking as closely as possible to original materials and working techniques. These methods, of course, have to be tempered to modern health and safety regulations, and to the materials currently available. I have in the past smelted my own iron and created my own different types of steel. I have dabbled in bronze composition and casting techniques, as well as flint and glass knapping. I have, through necessity, become proficient in many of the ancillary crafts needed to support iron and steel creations, and work proficiently with wood, leather, horn and bone.
Concept and design
Using history, (often with a "twist") and mechanical, I design such items as character-enhancing weapons and accessories, full-size siege machines and transportation devices.
Historically-based weapons tend to handle better, even when reproduced in foam or aluminium, and have - pardon the pun - an ‘edgier’ appearance.
The ability to make both models and full-size machines helps with designing. Those who have worked from computer-generated designs or models, will understand that both do not always work when brought to full size , so having a designer that understands "big" can be a tremendous advantage.