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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Sat 01 Jul, 2006 11:42 am    Post subject: Vikings / open boats / seawater / rust ?         Reply with quote

Just wondered if we have any period sources or just speculation how the Vikings protected their weapons and armour when

seawater / seaspray would be a very real problem in any open boat in rough or even not so rough seas.

Frequent and immediate cleaning after any fight on the water I would imagine and maybe storage in oiled skins or seachest.

Probably a problem for any warrior of the period, but made worse by being in very salty air.

So would even a fairly new sword look like one of our antiquing projects after a repolish ?

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Martin Wallgren




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PostPosted: Sat 01 Jul, 2006 11:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Could lots of grease or oil been a option?

"- Grease me up woman, I´m going in...." (Famous Scottish reenactment battlecry or so I´ve been told anyway.)

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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Sat 01 Jul, 2006 12:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Martin Wallgren wrote:
Could lots of grease or oil been a option?

"- Grease me up woman, I´m going in...." (Famous Scottish reenactment battlecry or so I´ve been told anyway.)


There might be some way to protect everything in storage for a long voyage but during a fight at sea? Mostly close to the shore as I doubt any battles occured miles from shore, the arms and armour would be exposed to salt spray and if the fight was a long one, many hours would go before one could clean and re-oil. So I think some rust would have to be polished away almost at every use at sea or near the sea.

After a few years, even if always maintained as bright as possible, the finish would have at least a lightly pitted texture resembling one of our antiquing jobs, but polished intead of left patinated, as long as the sword was still in active use.

Natural lanoling in a scabbard lined with wool might help as long as the inside of the scabbard didn't get any sea wated inside.

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Martin Wallgren




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PostPosted: Sat 01 Jul, 2006 1:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don´t know what they used but I grew up in the same enviroment as thy did, at the coast of the baltic sea. The way folks did it in my grandpas time was canvas and grease. And lots of pollishing. And as far as I know sailing and warfare is alot of time doing little and then bursts of action. I belive polishing was probally a main task. Oiling is important too at my latitude. In the winter we have the trechourus(sp?) snow and Ice that cling to the steel and don´t do anything until you get indoors and put your blade away, just to find it full of small brown-red spots the day after. This I know from experience after training outdoors in the winter.
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B. Stark
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PostPosted: Sat 01 Jul, 2006 1:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Seal skin and oil. Whale oil. In our era we don't think about these types of things as whales and seals are generally off limits for hunting. I'd imagine weapons were heavily oiled and stored when combat was not close at hand. Mail armor at sea would be a nightmare to maintain for any length of time. I've the impression that Scandinavians as well as other north seas cultures wore special garments for long voyages. Seal skin, when treated correctly is highly water resistant and would make fine foul weather gear and would have been readily available for the era. Obviously there is no surviving physical evidence for such that I know of....
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Martin Wallgren




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PostPosted: Sat 01 Jul, 2006 2:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I second mr. Starks oppinion.

About the maille I´ve heared somewhere about the old sand in a barrel trick, you put the maille in a barrel filled one third with sand and let roll for a while. On a ship this may have been done using the natural movement of the hull out on the waves. Something else I´ve found out is that if you have the maille in a bag of canvas and carry it around and let it bounce and move it pollish itself to some degree. The rings turn and clean themself against eachother.

Another thought is did they have the intention to keep the blades and armour shiny glittering and bright? Many tools left to us from the earlier generations are burned in oil and black and only have the edge left "naked". A black oiledburned maille still serve and have the additional perk that it give you away a little bit fast visually.

Just my thoughts though, no real backing on this but anyway...

Martin

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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Sat 01 Jul, 2006 4:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hmmmmmmmm ........ maybe painted helms ? Although that wouldn't work with maille very well.

Maille in storage with lots of oil soaked into a canvas bag might be safe as long as it was in storage.

A coat of whale or seal oil sounds plausible. How about a coat of olive oil or linseed oil in more southern climates.

Wonder what the maintenance of sword and plate at sea from the 16th to 19th centuries, the methods used then might be similar and their might be records of regulations of the 18th century British Navy still available to consult.

I live in a cold climate also in the winter and it's the condensation on cold metal when coming indoors combined with road salt that we notice here: Car bodies just don't last very long up here unless treated with antirust compounds.

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Peter Bosman




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PostPosted: Sun 02 Jul, 2006 12:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Martin Wallgren wrote:
Another thought is did they have the intention to keep the blades and armour shiny glittering and bright? Many tools left to us from the earlier generations are burned in oil and black and only have the edge left "naked". A black oiledburned maille still serve and have the additional perk that it give you away a little bit fast visually.

Just my thoughts though, no real backing on this but anyway...

Martin


Just think about what would YOU do. I second your thoughts Big Grin

Peter
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Martin Wallgren




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PostPosted: Sun 02 Jul, 2006 1:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter Bosman wrote:
Martin Wallgren wrote:
A black oiledburned maille still serve and have the additional perk that it give you away a little bit fast visually.



Just saw that I missed out on a little word... It shuld be
Martin Wallgren wrote:
A black oiledburned maille still serve and have the additional perk that it give you away a little bit LESS fast visually.


Sorry about that folks... was tierd and it was in the middle of the night here.

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Jeroen Zuiderwijk
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PostPosted: Mon 03 Jul, 2006 2:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I once came across an article mentioning a Vinking sword having a layer of lineseed oil on the fuller. The edges did not, which probably because it was removed during sharpening of the blade. A coat of lineseed oil should provide a good protection I'd guess.

I've just found the article again: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Historic-HornAntlerBone/message/556
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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Mon 03 Jul, 2006 6:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

On longships, equipment was stored in wooden chests, that doubled as seats . Arms and armour generally wasn't brought out before battle was imminent.
The sagas make little mention of such lowly activities as weapon maintenance, however.
Later, larger longships had decks. The ones found are generally quite small; Of the large longships with 25 pairs of oars, we only have descriptions, and a few pieces that where recycled as building materials...

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
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Al Muckart




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PostPosted: Tue 07 Apr, 2009 9:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sorry to ressurect an old topic like this but I haven't seen lanolin mentioned.

Lanolin is the grease from raw wool. Medieval Scandinavians left it on the wool when spinning and weaving to make cloth (vadmal) for warm waterproof clothing. See Woven Into The Earth by Else Ostegard for more information.

Lanolin is an extremely 'sticky' grease that adheres well to metal. It's pretty messy, but very effective. I imagine a woolen bag woven from heavy vadmal cloth spun and woven "in the fat" would make for a pretty good storage bag for metal items shipboard.

In modern contexts it can be found in a product called lanocote.

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Adam Rudling




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PostPosted: Wed 08 Apr, 2009 2:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lanolin was mentioned at the end of the 3rd post ..... Wink
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Wed 08 Apr, 2009 6:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Adam Rudling wrote:
Lanolin was mentioned at the end of the 3rd post ..... Wink


Yes but it was a very short mention and so long ago. Wink Razz Big Grin ( Hey I'm missed stuff like this myself at times. Cool Just a little friendly teasing here ...... no offense meant ).

On the other hand you added information about lanolin and " vadmal " cloth. Big Grin ( Googled it and learned something new ).

http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&a...26rls%3Den

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Peter Remling





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PostPosted: Wed 08 Apr, 2009 9:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

So presumeably they would use the valked wool to cover thier iron belongings. The valked wool would also then be the same as their sailcloth and serve the additional purpose of being a replacement. Thanks for the info, I too had to follow several different googles to find the answers but it was certainly worth the effort.
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