How to make a Viking shield

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Step by step instructions for making an authentic Viking shield. Viking were ruthless marauders that needed a proper shield for protection! learn how to make an authentic Viking shield.

Things You'll Need

  • 1/2" Ply wood 3' by 3' sheet
  • Drill
  • Large drill bit
  • Jig saw
  • Pencil
  • sheet metal 20" by 20"
  • Ruler
  • Rivets and Rivet gun or bolts and nuts
  • 1" by 2" by 15" piece of wood (not plywood)
  • 2 raw hide bones or sheet metal strips
  • yellow and black paint
  • Ball peen hammer
  • Mark the center of the plywood with a pencil, then hammer a small nail into the plywood where the board is marked. Tie a string to the nail, measure out the remaining string so it is eighteen inches long. Hold the tip of the string, using a pencil; make a circle by rotating the string 360 degrees. If the string is correctly measured then it will create a circle that is three feet around, the authentic size of a Viking shield. Use a Jigsaw to cut out the circle carefully following the line as closely as possible.

  • A second circle must be drawn and cut out for the boss and handle area. Using the same nail from the first circle drawn, measure out three inches of string and again using a pencil mark out a circle. If done properly it will create a circle 6" circumference circle. Start the process of cutting out the wood by first using a drill. Use a large bit to drill a hole big enough for the jigsaw blade to fit through and then cut out the circle of wood using the jigsaw.
    Thoroughly sand all the edges on the shield, When using a jigsaw it may cut out small "hills" or "valleys" in the wood that distort the circle, sanding will reduce this. Carefully sand the edges of the inside circle to prevent scrapes or nicks on the hands during use.

  • A handle is shaped separately from the shield and attached by bolts. The shield' s handle is made using a piece of wood that is 1" wide, 1\2" thick and at least 10 inches long. A handle can be shaped using a pocketknife, wood files or sand paper. A simple handle is made by sanding the edges of the wood block and wrapping it in cloth for comfort. If using a more intricate handle then start with a 2' by 4' piece of wood and shape from there.
    Attach the handle to the shield by setting the handle exactly in the middle of the inner hole, vertically; the top of the shield should be at a 90-degree angle to the handle. Attach the handle by drilling holes through the handle and the shield then use long bolts (screw the nuts on the backside of the shield) to secure the handle to the shield with one or two bolts on each end of the handle. Alternatively, rivets can be used to secure the handle to the shield.

  • A boss is a metal bowl meant to protect the hand of the shield bearer. The hand is placed inside the center of gravity in the shield, giving the bearer more control by placing the hand inside the shield it becomes exposed on the other side of the shield if not covered by the metal boss. A metal boss is made by using a sheet of metal, find the center of the metal and then draw a circle 6" in circumference, identical to the shield' s inner hole. Now dig a small bowl shaped hole in the ground, approximately the size of a cereal bowl. Place the sheet metal over the hole and starting with the very center, using a ball peen hammer or any other small hammer, strike the area with force, repeatedly hit the sheet metal in a circular pattern progressively widening until you have formed a bowl shape out of the area inside the circle. If the boss becomes so large the metal cracks then stop hitting the metal, the crack will not negatively affect the look of the shield but will become bigger if the boss is made any larger. When the boss is formed, mark out a square or circle surrounding the area of the boss and cut out the square or circle using a metal cutting blade for your jigsaw. Attach the boss by drilling four holes, one in each corner of the square sheet metal or in intervals around the circle and through the shield itself .The boss should be situated over the hole in the shield. Attach the boss by using four bolts, screw on the nuts on the backside of the shield. If the bolts are so long, they interfere in using the shield then cut them shorter using a hacksaw.

  • Painting or staining the shield is optional but improves the shield' s look drastically. A quick Google search will show many different designs traditionally used. A design similar to the pictured shield is made by draw a cross on the center of the shield, extend it to the ends of the shield, and paint within the lines. Let the paint dry over night.

  • The edging on the shield is optional but in combat would prevent the shield from splitting when hit by a sword or axe. Edging can be made from sheets of metal cut into strips 1\2" wider on both sides than the thickness of the shield. Edging can also be made using rawhide strips. Rawhide can be found by soaking rawhide dog bones in water then pulling apart the bone, which will contain many long strips of Rawhide. Attach the metal or raw hide using rivets or in the case of rawhide, glue and upholstery nails are a good choice.

Tips & Warnings

  • Patience during measuring and cutting is very important. The more time you devote to it the better the shield will be in the end
  • Do not use this shield for heavy fighting.
  • Be careful when using this shield, its heavy and dangerous if not used with caution.
  • Photo Credit http://www.viking-shield.com/A101.jpg,http://member.melbpc.org.au/~kja/shield.html
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