Bjorn Andreas Bull-Hansen, A True Viking

Today is a special segment for “All Things Viking” in that I am happy to bring up a particularly inspiring man that I so luckily came across while scouring the web and its’ endless list of blogs. Author and Blogger Bjorn Andreas Bull-Hansen, creator of Bull-Hansen.com and many books on the life of Vikings.

A True Viking

Bjorn is someone I would consider a modern day True Viking. Reading over his posts, he very much lives by the Viking ideology, in the same manner I am applying to building this website. His blog is nothing short of amazing. I have spent a few days just reading over the posts there and learning more about what it means to adapt and be a Viking. Bjorn successfully teaches others about the history of Vikings with out the flashy fillers seen in the History Channel series “Vikings.”

In having the opportunity to speak with Bjorn, I have found that he is a very kind person. He is respectful and helpful. Combine that with his guides on what it means to be a Viking, if a Viking mindset is right for you, and a plethora of ideas and how-to’s on Viking life here, you have someone who is very much a Mentor to everyone interested in the lifestyle.

Bjorn’s books are currently only in Norwegian (a language I would love to learn and may buy the novels in the original language for that purpose!) but he is actively working on having them translated, searching for a Literary Agent to help bring his books to publishers in other countries. I would be quite excited to see this come through and work out for him!

All in all, I am amazed at the vast amount of information on Bjorn’s site, from vikings to Bushcraft, Bjorn has a page I can happily spend hours on just relaxing and reading, learning and exploring from the eyes of a True Viking, someone both born and living in the home of the Vikings, where the history is rich, first-hand experience, to applying it to his daily life and helping others to achieve the same thing.

Bull-Hansen.com is literally a goldmine of information worth checking out if you truly want to adapt a Viking lifestyle, or just learn more about that era.

Building a Forge

“Disclaimer: I am no expert, nor do I claim to be an expert on this subject matter. It is something I have always wanted to do. Being the nature of this post, I do NOT recommend building a forge if you are not ready to deal with temperatures exceeding 1000 degrees F. If you follow this guide, do so at your OWN RISK and please take all precautions to prevent injury. I am NOT responsible for any injury or damage done by following this. This is NOT my own forge, but one found by youtuber SwallowForge. I don’t take any credit for his work, and definitely recommend consulting his video guides for further instruction!”

Building a forge is something I have wanted to do for quite a while now. When I was just a young boy, reading fantasy novels and studying history in school, the blacksmith always caught my attention. Never being a man of much money, working hard and crafting fine weapons and armor for many different customers, the honest hard work was always intriguing. As I grew older I started to study the art in a little more detail, but never took it farther than that.

Kick back to about two years ago, my brother-in-law had brought the subject up. He had gotten in to the show Forged in Fire. Of course a show like that caught his interest in it, and being the builder kind of guy he is, he started talking about blacksmithing a LOT! But…it stayed at just that. Talking about it and no action.

Fast forward to a week ago. I was just hanging around, relaxing and being a bum, when all of a sudden some little spark in my brain went off. Right there in my head I just felt a giant urge to take a leap and build my first forge. I started doing a lot of research and came across this video. It’s a very cheap and simple forge, not meant to last long, but decent enough to get you started in the process and help you learn how a coal forge works. Needless to say, modifications can be done to it to improve and make it last longer, but that’s for another post.

For now, to keep things simple and finally start on a life long dream, I stuck to just the basics in the video. All in all, if you shop right and already have the majority of the tools, or someone you can borrow them from, you can build this forge for roughly 30$-40$ at max. It is SUPER cheap, not very safe, but highly effective. It took me a few days to complete for a couple reasons, though reality is it should take no more than an hour or two of hard, focused work.

0915161223A List of Supplies:

  • About 10ft of wood, cut to 4 sets of 1 foot and 2 sets of 3 feet.
  • 1 8 inch x 1 inch diameter non-galvanized steel pipe
  • 1 6 inch x 1 inch diameter non-galvanized steel pipe
  • 1 shut off valve at 1 inch diamater
  • 1 Electric Air Mattress Pump (Battery or Wired, I went with Wired.)
  • 2 10mm steel rods (I used rebar, don’t recommend it!)
  • 1 steel baking pan 14inx10inx2in (this will fit the frame best)
  • Lumpwood charcoal (highly important that you use charcoal and NOT coal.)
  • Wood chips/shavings
  • A bowl of any sort and a cotton rag
  • Screws/Nails/Hammers/Drill Bits for holes.
  • Coffee. Lots and lots of Death Wish Coffee!!!!!!!!!!!!
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That’s a bit better detailed of a list than the video gives you! It seems like a lot, but as soon as you start piecing it all together it really isn’t too bad. In fact, the most expensive part in the list was, to my surprise, the charcoal. So, let’s go over the process!

Getting Started:

First things first, PLEASE make sure to do this step. MEASURE EVERYTHING!! I started this project while my brain was over stimulated by a fat burner pill and coffee and decided to forgo the measuring. Not recommended at all! Fit one of your pipes against the short side of the steel pan, mark it. This will be where you cut a hole in the pan to fit the pipe through. Make sure to have a GOOD DRILL or this part will be long and painful. Get the best and largest drill bit you have and cut in to it. My drill died on me mid-way, so I improvised and used vise grips to pry it open. It didn’t come out pretty, but it functions and that’s all that matters!

Your finished product will look like this:

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Ignore the sweat drops, it was very humid, and I was on a strong fat burner! Also worth noting, please wear gloves, unless you literally want a lot of blood and sweat to go in to this project, we can just put a lot of sweat in to it by wearing gloves. I learned this the hard way when my drill died and I had to cut holes in the wood frame by hand.

Next, sorry, I didn’t get a chance to take pictures here (but if you follow the video shared, you will see exactly what I mean) you want to start making your measurements in the wood. Take the pipe out of the pan and line it up with one of the long pieces of wood. Mark the edges where the bars will hold the pan up. Make sure to keep it no more than 1 inch deep. I learned this the hard way, putting it too deep in the frame creates a large risk for the frame itself catching fire.

After you’ve made your measurements of where the holes for the steel rods will be, get a 10mm drill bit and drill the holes. Do this on BOTH pieces of the 3 feet wood! Then you can fit one of the 1 foot pieces to the end of it and use screws to put it in place. The end product will look something like this:

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Notice the other two pieces of 1 foot already in there. The back one is very important, as it will serve as the stand for your air supply. The middle is important IF your measurements are correct and your bars aren’t too low. It will be holding a cooling system soon enough. If you mess up measurements the way I did, you will see my workaround for that!

Alright, that is the most important part of the frame. Next, you’ll want to fit some legs. You can get that from scrap pallet wood. I used 2×4’s for my legs. I went with the same system as the video, 2 legs in the back, braced, and 1 leg in the front. It works out very well.

Do NOT over-complicate this. The idea is to get a cheap, quick forge put together to start using and learning how they work. I almost didn’t have this project finished because I started thinking too much. “Well, maybe if I use this instead of that. I’m just gonna look online real quick to see what they about…” and so on! Don’t! Just get this all together, I promise it will be worth it!

Final Product:

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You want to be sure to wet the rag AND fill the bowl with water. This is to keep the pipe from becoming too hot and melting/burning other equipment. It seems silly, but it works. As you can also see, because of the pan I got (not paying attention and just wanting to put it together) I had to drill extra holes in it and put the bars through the pan rather than outside of it. This is also NOT recommended! The front bar near the air supply got red hot and is now bent downward. I will need to get another rebar, some extra pipe to extend the air flow more to the center and readjust so the heat is not as near to the bars. As you can also see in the last picture, the wood frame burned. It had actually caught fire once the temperature got really high! This is due to the bars being placed TOO LOW! So I can not stress enough how important it is to MEASURE EVERYTHING. Learn from my mistakes people! My next steps to make this forge last longer are to:

  • Add a steel plate to the bottom of the pan to reinforce it.
  • Line the inside of the pan with firebrick.
  • Put some firebrick along the sides of the frame to prevent burning more.

And that’s about it. All issues aside, it is a FULLY FUNCTIONAL forge, cheap, quick and easy to make! We had thrown a chunk of metal in to test it out and play with it. Needless to say we didn’t quite get it hot enough to reshape it completely, other than create a slight bend. That will be a project for another post soon enough though!

Well, that’s it. That’s the forge. It’s very simple, very cheap and quite effective as a learning tool. Please be careful if you decide to make one yourself. I’m not responsible for your decision to do so!

Until next time…

Death Wish Coffee: The Beginning

I Finally Opened It!

I finally opened my 1lb bag of Whole Bean Death Wish Coffee! Upon opening, I was greeted with an amazing smell of coffee rushing out of the air tight bag. The beans themselves had a nice color to them for a dark roast. It was glorious to say the least. If you follow me on Snap Chat, you got to experience the whole process with me, from opening the bag to grinding the beans, loading the drip machine up and taking my first sip.

Needless to say, a couple friends were in a “WTF dude!” mindset after seeing a billion pictures and videos of the whole process! But I don’t care. It was the best day ever.

The Experience:

So, overall my experience was quite satisfactory. If it would have been my first cup of coffee of the day, the affects would have been tremendous. Unfortunately, it was late evening when I decided to open it up. I’m quite numb to caffeine these days, so I had two cups (roughly 1200mg of caffeine!) Once you hit a certain intake in a day, caffeine’s affects aren’t the same. Needless to say, being an evening Cup o’ Joe, it wasn’t as strong as it could have been. I got a slight energy boost, but nothing I’m not used to after being on strong pre-workouts and fat burners. However, it is much more enjoyable than your typical, stale, store bought coffee! The taste is much nicer. It’s got a stronger flavor due to the high caffeine content, so if you’re numb to burnt coffee from Starbucks, Death Wish Coffee is a party for your mouth.

Moving forward, tomorrow I plan to grind up an espresso shot, brew a drip pot, and combine them just to see what happens! I’m sure it will be nothing short of insane and enjoyable. I’ll also be sure to make it my first cup of the day to get the full affect of that which is Death Wish Coffee! I’m highly looking forward to Valhalla Java in the coming weeks, as that one supposedly has a smoother taste to it.

The Verdict:

Would I recommend Death Wish Coffee? Hell yeah! Will I purchase it again? Definitely! It has such a nice flavor to it. The price is a little steep to keep a regular supply in house, so it will be a special occasion drink or a quick preparation scrambling for the door drink. One 1lb. bag of whole bean will net you at least a week’s worth of relatively fresh coffee. I separate the whole beans in to zip lock freezer bags in a pot size of coffee, label, and freeze them just to make it hopefully last longer. When making a pot, I of course pull 1 bag out, grind it up, then brew it! It’s a small extra step in the process for the freshest coffee you can get besides roasting your own beans.

Final say in it 10/10, will buy again, but maybe once a month at the absolute most. (Until I’m rollin’ in dough of course!)

Valhalla Java and Death Wish Coffee

I’m super excited to have my first post on “All Things Viking” about a product I have followed for many years now and only recently have I had the opportunity to purchase it! Let’s get a little history on this here…

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How I Came Across Death Wish Coffee Co.

First off, I am OBSESSED with coffee, to say the least. No, not Starbucks burnt, old beans kind of coffee. Real, at home, fresh roasted beans, good coffee. Okay, okay, I don’t roast my own beans (YET!) But I have standards! I love finding those little mom and pop coffee shops that you can sit in comfortably, listening to calm music, building relationships with the shop owners and employees, having fresh brewed coffee and fresh roasted beans. That is the absolute BEST coffee you can ever have! Believe me, I never would have known what difference in taste fresh roasted can have if I never had been invited by an old coworker to one of those places.

Back on track to how I found this place. I have played guitar for many years now. Zakk Wylde (former guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne, current singer and guitarist of Black Label Society) has had a HUGE influence on my style. I have followed him for as long as I can remember! Anyway, a few years ago he made this post on Facebook. It was about “The Worlds Strongest Coffee” and supporting a little start up business. My first thought was “That’s pretty cool to see him support that!” Time went on and he posted more about it every day. The company name was…of course, Death Wish Coffee Co. What a fitting name for a company supported by such a person as Zakk Wylde!

Anyways, I started following this company back when they first got their foot in the door. For years I wanted to order their coffee and give it a try, but could never find myself spending 20$ + shipping for coffee.

Finally Purchasing From Death Wish Coffee Co.

Fast forward to a couple weeks ago. I had received an email for a coupon with a random dollar amount attached to it.

I thought, “Okay, maybe it’ll be the low 5$, even then I would still be willing to purchase it at this point..” To my surprise, my code gave me 12$ off! Pretty significant there! So, naturally, I jumped on that sale, and of course, I had to add Zakk Wylde’s Valhalla Java to it. It HAS to be Whole Bean, to preserve the flavor longer, plus being able to grind it to what I need. (After all, I just purchased an espresso machine last month as well!)

So, the product came in the mail much faster than expected! Awesome! But…I have a ton of other no name coffee to burn through (which, by my and my family’s drinking habits should be gone by the end of the week) I must wait. What’s awesome though is how air-tight the package is. They sucked all the air out to help preserve quality, and you can very well see and feel it when you pick up the product.

They also added a couple complimentary stickers, which is pretty cool!

So, this all being said, I’m super hyped to finally have some of The World’s Strongest Coffee in my hands and I can’t wait to try it. When that day comes, you can rest assured that I will be trying both Espresso shots and Drip coffee! And of course, I will detail my adventure with the coffee, from opening the package to grinding the beans and brewing the coffee and going crazy! Woo!

 

P.S. No…I don’t get any kind of commission off this, I am no affiliate. BUT I do have a refer a friend deal to give you 10% off your first purchase HERE. So go ahead, give it a try if you’re interested, and if not, no harm, no fowl!