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Richard K





Joined: 01 Jul 2019

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PostPosted: Thu 30 Jul, 2020 5:02 pm    Post subject: Viking Round Shields         Reply with quote

So I constructed a viking round shield recently and it weighs almost exactly 8lbs, which is on the lower end of 8-15lbs weight range per Hurstwic's website...
Now, I don't consider myself weak (probably more average in terms of strength), but I found it REALLY tough to keep the shield up in a neutral position for more than a few minutes at a time.
Does anyone have any experience with this as well? Are there any evidence for a strap system perhaps to assist with raising the shield?
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Zach Gordon




Location: Vermont. USA
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PostPosted: Fri 31 Jul, 2020 4:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As with everything, it will (of course) be super difficult at the beginning.. as your muscles haven't specifically developed to use the shield. Even someone who is very strong will have difficulty in using muscle groups that they aren't used to/using muscles in a new way.

The other thing to consider is just how much training, and the sorts of lives these guys would have had. These men were as fit as modern olympic athletes/royal marines/navy seals.

It will take some practice/time. Dont expect it to be instantly "easy" to wield something that you aren't used to.. but if you train with it frequently, you should develop the muscle memory eventually!

Z
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Matthew Amt




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PostPosted: Fri 31 Jul, 2020 5:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Zach Gordon wrote:
The other thing to consider is just how much training, and the sorts of lives these guys would have had. These men were as fit as modern olympic athletes/royal marines/navy seals.


Sorry, training? Vikings? I wasn't aware that there was much literature to support that, but it's not my main focus. I was kind of under the impression that a lot of Vikings were farmers and craftsmen who went raiding part-time or just now and then. I certainly agree that people were generally fit and tough back then, but even professionals like huscarls were not likely to be trained up to Olympic or SEAL standards.

Also (and again, not my main area of research!), 8 pounds sounds like a *maximum* weight for a shield like that, to me. Did you taper the thickness of the wood, so that it's thinner near the edges than at the center? That will make a huge difference in how if feels and handles. Shields did have carrying straps, but in battle you're just using the grip.

Matthew
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Leo Todeschini
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PostPosted: Fri 31 Jul, 2020 9:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This is very much not my area of expertise (if I have any), but the Gokstad shields which I think we believe to be fairly real as opposed to just ornamental are around 10mm thick at the centre and down to maybe 5mm at the edges, tapered as Matt says and made of linden (lime; a light wood) according to the sagas. When I have made to these approximate dimensions, I have never weighed them, but there are no where near 8lbs; maybe 5-6 lbs max (estimate) including a 1.6mm thick boss.

I am in no way going to say Hurstwick is wrong, because I will admit I am off my core areas, but a 15lbs shield sounds so very very wrong to me....

For what its worth I have a circa 1400 heater shield here in 15mm poplar, canvas front and back, gesso and paint and that weighs 5.3lbs or 2.3Kg (no boss)

Tod

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Richard K





Joined: 01 Jul 2019

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PostPosted: Fri 31 Jul, 2020 5:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew Amt wrote:
Zach Gordon wrote:
The other thing to consider is just how much training, and the sorts of lives these guys would have had. These men were as fit as modern olympic athletes/royal marines/navy seals.


Sorry, training? Vikings? I wasn't aware that there was much literature to support that, but it's not my main focus. I was kind of under the impression that a lot of Vikings were farmers and craftsmen who went raiding part-time or just now and then. I certainly agree that people were generally fit and tough back then, but even professionals like huscarls were not likely to be trained up to Olympic or SEAL standards.

Also (and again, not my main area of research!), 8 pounds sounds like a *maximum* weight for a shield like that, to me. Did you taper the thickness of the wood, so that it's thinner near the edges than at the center? That will make a huge difference in how if feels and handles. Shields did have carrying straps, but in battle you're just using the grip.

Matthew


Yea It's tapered near the edge at around 6cm from the edge (as per Society for Combat Archaeology). The shield it self could be a bit thinner though. It's roughly 7mm a the edge, which is 3mm off from the gokstad shield. I don't think this would make that much difference with weight.

Also shield thickness varied, some examples were almost 1/2 inch thick. Mine is about 8mm, so I don't think 8lbs is out of realm of possibility.

edit: measurements.


Last edited by Richard K on Fri 31 Jul, 2020 5:52 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Tyler Jordan





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PostPosted: Fri 31 Jul, 2020 6:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Roland Warzecha (Dimicator) has done more practical research on viking round shields than anyone I know of so you might want to check on some of his works, and these couple others I linked. Modern replicas built for authenticity have weighed between 4 and 8 lb, and a plank thickness of around 6-3mm to 10-5mm taper. interesting how the edge taper always seems to be to half of center thickness.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-DDWp3AoeI


https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10223251826860797&type=3
.
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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
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PostPosted: Sat 01 Aug, 2020 4:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As already said, 8 lbs would be the upper range of these shields. Tapering the planks produces a weight closer to 5-6 lbs.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books
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Jeremy V. Krause




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PostPosted: Sat 01 Aug, 2020 6:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Tyler Jordan wrote:
Roland Warzecha (Dimicator) has done more practical research on viking round shields than anyone I know of so you might want to check on some of his works, and these couple others I linked. Modern replicas built for authenticity have weighed between 4 and 8 lb, and a plank thickness of around 6-3mm to 10-5mm taper. interesting how the edge taper always seems to be to half of center thickness.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-DDWp3AoeI


https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10223251826860797&type=3
.


This are great links and spectacular workmanship. aThanks for sharing.
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Kai Lawson




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PostPosted: Sat 01 Aug, 2020 8:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I fenced at Ásfolk for a while (until it closed for COVID), and I was lucky enough to take a short class with him while I was there. It’s true that 8 lbs would be a heavier shield, but it also helps to bend forward and keep a straight back and low shoulders. Using your upper back and posture helps a lot. It looks like a less extreme version of some of the hinged postures seen in I.33. Roland shows it off plenty in his videos. I will also say that actually getting into it and dueling someone definitely helps remove the perceived weight. You’re much more focused on tiny movements and touches and positioning and such. It’s only after a few consecutive long bouts that you notice you’re starting to get tired.
"And they crossed swords."
--William Goldman, alias S. Morgenstern
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Jeremy V. Krause




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PostPosted: Thu 06 Aug, 2020 7:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This is kind of off topic but do we know if kite/tear drop shields also showed differential thickness along the surface?
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Anthony Clipsom




Location: YORKSHIRE, UK
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PostPosted: Thu 06 Aug, 2020 10:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeremy V. Krause wrote:
This is kind of off topic but do we know if kite/tear drop shields also showed differential thickness along the surface?


The Szczecin shield is described as

Quote:
The frame of the shield without a boss was made of alder wood in plank construction, of one layer of six planks, 6.5 to 17 cm wide and 0.4 to 0.7 cm thick, butted together in a row, with edges touching each other.

Anthony Clipsom
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Martin Kallander




Location: Sweden
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PostPosted: Thu 06 Aug, 2020 12:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeremy V. Krause wrote:
This is kind of off topic but do we know if kite/tear drop shields also showed differential thickness along the surface?

I don't think there are any surviving kite shields that have been found and the sources aren't that detailed so there is no way to be sure
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Anthony Clipsom




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PostPosted: Fri 07 Aug, 2020 2:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Martin Kallander wrote:
Jeremy V. Krause wrote:
This is kind of off topic but do we know if kite/tear drop shields also showed differential thickness along the surface?

I don't think there are any surviving kite shields that have been found and the sources aren't that detailed so there is no way to be sure


See above Martin - two kite shields from the later 12th century were found at Szczecin.

Anthony Clipsom
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Martin Kallander




Location: Sweden
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PostPosted: Fri 07 Aug, 2020 3:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
See above Martin - two kite shields from the later 12th century were found at Szczecin.

That is very interesting, I skimmed an abstract about it and surmised that this is a very recent discovery, 2019? That is a very interesting development! Does anyone here have images of these shields?
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Anthony Clipsom




Location: YORKSHIRE, UK
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PostPosted: Fri 07 Aug, 2020 3:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You can find a picture and reconstruction of one of them here

http://warfare.ga/12/Szczecin_shield.htm

While they were only published in English in 2019, they were actually found in 2000 and published in Polish in 2009/10.

There is a short topic on them somewhere else on myArmoury discussing the Polish publication, IIRC.

Add : Previous discussion here http://myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=344...t=szczecin

Anthony Clipsom
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Jeremy V. Krause




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PostPosted: Fri 07 Aug, 2020 7:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Anthony Clipsom wrote:
You can find a picture and reconstruction of one of them here

http://warfare.ga/12/Szczecin_shield.htm

While they were only published in English in 2019, they were actually found in 2000 and published in Polish in 2009/10.

There is a short topic on them somewhere else on myArmoury discussing the Polish publication, IIRC.

Add : Previous discussion here http://myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=344...t=szczecin


Very cool find.

I'm not sure but that shield doesn't look curved as we are used to seeing in period artwork.
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Anthony Clipsom




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PostPosted: Fri 07 Aug, 2020 7:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeremy V. Krause wrote:

Very cool find.

I'm not sure but that shield doesn't look curved as we are used to seeing in period artwork.


I think the excavators were of the opinion that they couldn't tell whether it was originally curved or not, because it could have been flattened by the soil above.

Anthony Clipsom
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Sean Manning




Location: Austria
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PostPosted: Fri 07 Aug, 2020 8:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeremy V. Krause wrote:
This is kind of off topic but do we know if kite/tear drop shields also showed differential thickness along the surface?

There are several big heaters and round-tipped shields in Jan Kohlmorgen's Der Mitterlalterliche Reiterschild but I don't know offhand if he checked for varying thickness.

Remember that varying the thickness across the board is only extra work if you start from boards from a sawmill! Most shield makers started with a tree trunk, an adze, and some mallets and wedges- they could distribute the thickness in whatever way made sense to them.

www.bookandsword.com


Last edited by Sean Manning on Fri 07 Aug, 2020 8:22 am; edited 1 time in total
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Martin Kallander




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PostPosted: Fri 07 Aug, 2020 8:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

At first I was honestly a bit bummed when you linked to the shields as they didn't really look like kite shields conventionally do. Having seen what they would have been like if curved however, I am once again excited about these shields and my guess would definitely be that they were originally curved. Looking through the web I found a certain Dimicator who illustrated what the shield would have looked like if curved and it appears quite similar to how they are shown in contemporary art.


 Attachment: 262.6 KB
Dimicator's image showing how it would look if curved [ Download ]
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Jeremy V. Krause




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PostPosted: Fri 07 Aug, 2020 10:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Martin Kallander wrote:
At first I was honestly a bit bummed when you linked to the shields as they didn't really look like kite shields conventionally do. Having seen what they would have been like if curved however, I am once again excited about these shields and my guess would definitely be that they were originally curved. Looking through the web I found a certain Dimicator who illustrated what the shield would have looked like if curved and it appears quite similar to how they are shown in contemporary art.


Yes, I agree with the depiction- that the shield would have been originally curved.
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