Anglo-Saxon style knife
Posted by Adam Parsons
I have a mutual arrangement with a friend of the groups to produce each other various items, mostly exquisite tablet braid for wood, metal, and bonework. You can view some of Ingibjorgs fantastic work on her website.
On is occasion it was my turn to make her a copy of an Anglo-Saxon knife, suitable for use and a reasonably high status Anglo-Saxon womans outfit she had made.
She had a few ideas, but we decided something based on this example from the Victoria and Albert museum would be a good idea as it is fairly generic in terms of dating; probably 9th-10th century, but very diagnostically Anglo-Saxon with its inhabited vine scroll motif. The original was made in bone, but I thought this would also look very nice in a piece of limewood I had, which holds very fine carving well.
I manufactured a appropriate sized and shaped blade, with a distinctive angle back, characteristic of Anglo-Saxon England and continental Europe, and then began work on the handle. Firstly roughing out the shape of the handle, drilling the hole for the tang, before carving out the design. at least this way if anything goes wrong with the drilling, it is before I have sunk hours into carving the wood.
When the carving was done, I buffed the handle with a cloth and oil. Finally, whilst holding the knife blade in a wet cloth the keep the blade cool, and thus not destroy the temper of the blade, I heated the knife tangs tip, and then forced the final bit into the handle, burning in the last bit to keep the blade in place.
I am not entirely sure what the little motif on the reverse was, perhaps just a whimsical piece of whittling, but it was there on the original so it seemed rude not to include it here! I am pleased with the final result, I hope its new owner will be, but now I need to move onto a carved scabbard to match it!