Well today I made a scale Viking shield using techniques as per the Vikings themselves, although the design of this first shield is not correct it was constructed as a learning exercise in preparation to a full-size shield I am wanting to build in the new year.
The shield is one of the most common items for a Viking warrior to carry, people often assume that axes were the most common weapon, but in fact they often carried spears and swords as well – whereas the shield was universal.
The shields themselves were typically circular of 30-36 inch (76 – 91 cm) diameter. This allows the shield to be fairly lightweight while protecting the most important areas of the warrior. This miniature shield is 30cm/12 inch in diameter with the centre metal section being 0.9mm thick and 10cm/ 4 inch diameter, sized mainly on the wood I had available.
There are three struts running along the back of the shield with the main slats riveted in place (Read: Nailed, then the rear side of the nail peened over) using hand tools.
On the full size shield a circular cut out would be made in the centre of the shield behind the domed centre, and the middle support brace would be used as a handle with the domed centre providing space for the users hand.
I learnt several thing during construction of shield that hopefully won’t be repeated in subsequent attempts.
Firstly I used a flat faced hammer to create the dome which resulted in lots of circular marks, its not too bad but a ball hammer would have been a better choice if I had one.
Secondly the two outside slats were too small and thus only the centre brace is attached to them so I had to use some smaller blocks to help keep them attached.
Thirdly, the braces go all the way to the edge of the shield which I don’t think looks that great, although it would be easier on a larger shield as each slat would have a lot more space on it.
Lastly, I made the attachment holes too large on the metal centre so I couldn’t use the small nails to attach it and had to use screws with large flanges instead which effects the looks of the shield.
If you have any comments or questions let me know!