Friday, April 23, 2010

Going Viking!

Since Louise has now gotten herself a new job in the "viking ages" (At Bork vikingehavn) I have been thinking more and more about making some viking period stuff. I will of course visit Louise at her new job and do some crafts, so I need new clothes for the right period.

I have not quite decided what to make in terms of clothes, but I am aeking to get to do something. So I made a thing that I will surely need, whatever clothes I might decide to make - A belt.

I have long been facinated by bone buckles from the viking and medieval period, so that is what I have made. That way I could also try to use a new material (bone) and finish an old project that I have been wanting to finish for a long time - the pump-drill that I made last year.

The buckle is made from pieces of pig bone that I had lying around. I sawed the bone into plates and cut out the basic form using a coping saw. The I refined the shape using various rasps and files. The pin is set in place with a piece og brass rod, riveted on both sides of the buckle.
The buckle was then fittet on the belt using brass rivets.

The belt is aproximately 2 cm wide.

I needed the pump-drill to make the cirkle-pattern on the buckle and strap-end, so I made a small drill bit to fit in the pump drill. It turned our like this.

The bit is simply made by hammering flat a steel nail, and then filing out the "teeth". I didn't harden or temper it, but it works great none the less.
The bit is 5 mm wide.

And then there is another viking-related project, that I want to get back to. Since I made the Birka-wallet I have been wanting to make another one. The last was not the correct size and I read somewhere that the braids were done using metal foil rather than leather. So that is what I will try to do this time.
Although I still need to get the exact measurements from the originals (If you have them, I would be very interested in hearing from you! I believe they are in one of the Birka-books).

Here are some experiments I made, using copper foil for the braiding. I think it looks very nice.

More Viking crafts is yet to come... We are danes after all ;-)


  1. Jeg glæder mig til at arbejde sammen med din kæreste på museet til sommer, og til at ha' en mulighed for at nørkle sammen med jer ;-)

    -mvh. Liv.

  2. Hey, you can find the original size of the birka bag here:

    but you have to search, there are all about 2500 pictures from Birka. In the publications from Birka you will not find the sizes, unfortunatley.

    Greets, Anja

  3. Love the pump drill and bit, well done.

  4. The Birka wallet was decorated with gilded leather. It's described in Arwidsson, Greta, 1984 "BIRKA II:1 Systematische Analyse Der Gräberfunde". The description is in chapter 16 - Gräslund, Anne-Sophie "Beutel und Taschen".
    There was a museum replica made. It is photographed here with a scale alongside:
    There is a photo of the fragments of the original with a scale here:
    Love your blog.