Jim started making reproduction artefacts in 1999. Whilst working at the world-renowned Jorvik Viking centre he got to spend a long time looking at the original finds and wanted copies of these for his re-enactment hobby. Alas, many of these wonderful items were difficult to obtain, so he made it his own personal mission to learn how to make them for himself. He found his background in archaeology immensely helpful in undertaking his first project: a set of folding trader's scales. Soon a toilet set and a ring pin followed and his new project was a Viking comb. .
Through trial and error and a lot of hard work, Jim managed to make his first comb and in the process brought to life the ancient art of comb making. He has lost count in recent years of how many he has made, we estimate in excess of 100.
Soon, fellow re-enactors and colleagues from the Viking centre had seen his work and he was getting bombarded with orders to make more for them. And so, in 2002 we founded Asgard Crafts. Very quickly, it went from a part time hobby to a full time business. We realised very quickly that to do justice to our work, we had to be 100% behind the business and thus it took over as the "day job".
In 2011 we moved from our cramped shed in Wester Ross to an industrial unit on the Isle of Skye. Our range of designs grew further, and we invested in bigger casting equipment. In 2015 we left Skye behind for Argyll, an even bigger industrial unit and more staff.
We have been very busy over the last few years and Jim has spent a lot of time learning new skills. Those of you who have been with us from the start will see that we now have a range of Viking silver and bronze, and that our range of pewter is growing steadily year on year. Who'd have thought that a teenage passion for re-modelling war-gaming miniatures would come in handy in later years when carving intricate masters for all our cast items?
An exciting area of the business is museum work. It is such a wonderful experience to create a replica that will be seen by thousands of people. Our biggest project to date involved a horse bridle, which is now on display in the Manx museum in the Isle of Man.
We have also undertaken work for films, T.V programmes and adverts. We also work with a number of European folk metals bands and produce branded merchandise for them.
In 2019 we decided to open our very own shop, located in York. You can find us at 14 Little Stonegate, York, YO1 8AX.
But who are we? There are 6 of us based in York, and then 9 of us working in Argyll currently making, designing, packing, or polishing. Everything that is cast is made in the UK – pewter is cast on site, or in the case of our bronze and silver, Birmingham. All of our bronze and silver is then finished by hand by our staff in Argyll. Our t-shirts are printed in the UK too.
We do not have share holders, or offshore accounts in the Bahamas. We pay our tax in the UK. Every item you buy from us supports this business. It pays the wages of our skilled staff. It helps us develop new designs. It puts food on the table and joy in our hearts as we can continue to do a job we love. Thank you for your custom.