A few recent little projects
Posted by Adam Parsons
We are all off back to Murton this coming weekend and I have, over the last few months, been working on and off on a number of projects. Firstly, a copy of a 10th century wooden knife handle found during excavations in York. As you can see from the published drawing the back portion of the knife was reasonably well-preserved, but the front was missing and I had to get creative and try to reconstruct it as best I could.
The first attempt I felt was a little short, so I had another go with a slightly longer handle, and mounted it on to straight-backed style blade, which I have noticed seems to be more popular in Scandinavia during the period.
… And also a seax scabbard, with some brass fittings. The fittings are a hybrid of Scandinavian sidearm knife fitting sets, and the style of fittings from some contemporary sites, and an earlier saxon seax. As there are no seax fittings remaining on the examples of decorated seaxes we have from the UK, I am fairly confident this is a decent educated conjecture, and pretty close to how they probably looked. At least, if someone walked past me wearing it in the 10th century I am fairly sure they would think that’s nice, rather than; what the hell is that supposed to be!
I have also been working on casting some ‘silver’ rings, arms rings, and strap ends. Obviously, these are actually pewter, but it has been a reasonably cheap and effective was of me learning how to cast, and cold forge and punch the metal.
After drawing out a flat bar, I made some metal punches and decided to have a go at making one of the domed hollow punched arm rings from the Silverdale hoard, a hoard found in the next village to the one I grew up in.
When I had decorated the arm ring, I used a rawhide hammer to beat the flat bar domed over the reverse head of a ball pein hammer, before soldering on some terminals, which was actually the trickiest part.
You can see the enlarged photocopy of the original arm ring, with its central rosette here, next to the pre domed punched bar. I haven’t plucked the courage to try another yet, but I do plan to, and this time try to add the rosette to, perhaps with an amber setting?