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How to make a viking shield?

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How to make a viking shield?

Postby mrpercie » Sat Sep 21, 2013 12:01 pm

After making some pretty shoddy shields just as a project, I wanted to make a more battle ready and authentic shield. The round shield used by vikings and anglo saxons was my choice.

Using http://www.hurstwic.org/history/articles/manufacturing/text/viking_shields.htm and http://www.myarmoury.com/feature_shield.html on the viking shield as a reference, I now need to know where I can find most materials.

The start would be finding the correct wood. The stores which sell wood are pretty vague on the type of wood, its just called hardwood plywood without giving the type if its birch, ash, alper, poplar or what. I don't know whether that matters so much when it comes functionality, im sure all types of hardwood are similar but are the ones that are recommended slightly better than the others or is it just more authentic since the wood was native to the lands of the vikings and anglo saxons? As long as the wood I get isn't weak or overly heavy then I don't mind what type of wood is used.

The method I was going for was 1/4 inch linen Lamination, Basically the wood would be a 1/4 inch deep with a few facings of linen glued onto it. The planking method, where solid planks were butted together, was probably a more common way but seems like extra work to make a shield from planks when I can get a single sheet of wood at the right depth. Leather facings were also probably more common but I don't even know where I can get leather and having made a shield before using canvas, I have a pretty good idea how to use the material.

I don't know if linen is necessary or if any other type of linen "like" material would be fine, like cotton sheets or Canvas.

The Boss was something I wanted to ask about, for one of my previous shields I used a metal boss I bought from The Knight shop, but after checking some info, I found that the metal was thinner than what was recommended for a reenactment shield. The only place I knew that sold a thick enough boss was an Australian website and the prices seemed a bit high, so if anyone knows where to buy bosses which are tough enough then please give me some links.

From then on its clear what I do, I cut out the hole in the center of the wood for the boss, I use broad head nails to hammer on the handle and then bend the nails on the other side to stop them slipping, I glue on the material, then hammer on the boss. Painting decorations and adding rimming will be left to another day.

In summary, I need Information on what type of wood is sufficient for a battle ready and (if possible) authentic viking shield and where I can buy this wood if its not in the regular department store, Info if the method Im using is at all authentic or correct, and links to any websites which sell a strong metal boss which is of the correct thickness.
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Re: How to make a viking shield?

Postby Beowulf » Sat Sep 21, 2013 1:32 pm

Everything I've ever read (archaeology, scholarly, period sources) says limewood. You're in luck because the real thing can be found in England. On this side of the pond I would have to use a Limewood cousin. From what I remember even though it is native to England and Mainland Europe it might not be the easiest thing to find due to the consolidation/franchisement of businesses selling wood. If you can but locate a source it will be glorious (or at least a proper shield).

I cannot drag out all sources, but I did a quick search and this covers a few tangental things to Viking/Saxon Culture shields:

http://www.livinghistory.co.uk/forums/v ... =2&t=28007
Full-sized 13th century knight. Comes with authentic "chainmail" and "broadswords". Performs Liechtenauer moves when buttons are pushed! *Do not place on dance floor or golf course. *Do not give motorcycle. *Not for use as a security system, baby-sitter or rodeo clown. *Not space capable. *Under no circumstances should you stop feeding Beowulf. *Use only under Historical supervision.

viewtopic.php?f=41&t=18618
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Re: How to make a viking shield?

Postby Kataphractos » Mon Sep 30, 2013 4:22 pm

Kult of Athena sells bosses in a few sizes for like $15-$20.
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Re: How to make a viking shield?

Postby mrpercie » Sat Oct 26, 2013 4:54 pm

What gauge of steel should the boss be? between 6 gauge and 10 gauge (5mm to 3mm) is what is historical and I guess good enough for reenactment but I have found no one who sells bosses that thick.

Most seem to be about 14 gauge steel. Or is that enough? I know iron is said to be soft compared to steel But I wouldn't have thought it would make that much of a difference.
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