When I last rambled, I was ¾ of the way through one half of my Nydam quiver. I finished that half and realized that I had made a very serious error; I had not paid enough attention to how well the two halves were going to fit together. Basically, I had turned the billet to size/shape and then cut it in half lengthwise to hollow it out. Cutting it in half ate close to ⅛” of material for the width of the saw blade. That meant the finished quiver would not be round. Furthermore, my cut wandered a fair bit.
Seriously, how do you keep and round cylinder perfectly aligned and perfectly centered on a bandsaw? Maybe there is a jig that I could have built, but that would require measurements, accurate cuts, and other nonsense that I choose not to partake in. Had I continued with the cherry version of this project, I would have had to use a metric sh*t tonne of wood filler and I would have had to carve the outside to make it round-ish. Sorry but there are other, more period-correct, ways to skin this water buffalo.
My path was fairly clear…I needed to start over.
So I did.
As I mentioned in my previous post, the wooden quiver found at Nydam was made from some type of maple. I still didn’t have a suitable maple log and my cherry is too twisty so, this one will be ash.
I was not willing to chance splitting this log with wedges or a froe, as would have been done 1600 years ago. I made my life easier (for once) and used my chainsaw to create the two halves I needed. As you can see, the chainsaw doesn’t leave behind a very smooth surface. Learning lessons from version 1, I opted to plane these smooth using a handplane. It takes a lot of sweat to do this but planing by hand is so immensely satisfying that I didn’t mind. Plus, since I wasn’t starting this version with wedges and an axe, I figured I owed the SCA-woodworking-gods some kind of serious sweat.
Once I go the two surfaces smooth and mating up quite nicely, I paper glued them back together. For those that don’t know, I paper joint is where you apply glue to the mating surfaces but before you put them together, you lay some paper in between them. Newsprint is great for this as you don’t want anything too thick. You want to glue to soak through a fair bit. What you are left with a glue joint that can be taken apart fairly easily, later on down the road. As you can see in the photo below, I also took the precaution of applying a hose clamp at either end. I didn’t want to be sent running from 2×4’s of ash if this thing came apart on the lathe.
The hollowing went just like last time so I will not waste your time explaining that again. One thing that does warrant a mention is that ash is horrible wood to try to carve. It’s not as hard as many others but it is significantly stronger. It might have been ok if I had worked it when it was really green. I had had this log for almost a year when I turned it and it was another year after I turned it before I got to carving.
I must also say that the paper joint worked a treat. With the hose clamps, it held together nicely on the the lathe. After a year of sitting around inside drying out some, it popped apart beautifully with a well placed blow from my axe. I only need to clean up a couple of areas with the knife before carving could get underway.
Tadum! It’s hollowed!
Like the original find, my version has a wooden disk in the bottom that has been carved and fitted by hand and glued in. The original was also pegged in place with 4 small, oak pegs. between the tightness of the fit and the wonderful strength of modern wood glues, I saw no reason for the pegs. If the authenticity police would like to have a word with me, too bad. It’s my project, not their’s.
As documented in the paper by Rau (see link below), the original quiver was held together by glue and sinew laid and tied in the 7 narrow grooves along the length. 1600 years ago, it would have been hide glue. I used oh-my-gods-it’s-stronger-than-the wood-itself-and-nuclear-bomb-and-water-proof-as-well modern wood glue. Hide glue is still fairly easily obtained today but honestly, I wanted something I knew and trusted to last. Afterall, I want to use this quiver, not repair it.
Likewise, the sinew is completely pointless for my purposes. First of all, I only have artificial sinew so, why bother? Secondly, the modern wood glue makes any kind of sinew completely superfluous. Thirdly, it’s my project.
Rau also said the the 3 deeper and wider grooves held, at one time, some form organic material. I opted to use leather. My thinking was that if I wet it and stretch it before application, it will dry tight to the wood (when I stitch it). Secondly, it will look pretty cool, especially after I age it too look like it has been in a bog for 1600 years. Third and really importantly, using leather meant that I didn’t need to weave a band. I don’t react well to weaving…or fibre arts.
There it is, waiting for the leather to dry/shrink. The brass ring, attached to the wider band, is the product of my own creative license. I will use it to attach a shoulder strap, as Rau theorized it being carried. I am unsure about this theory for several reasons.
1, Carrying the quiver by a single point would allow it to swing around a fair bit when moving. It will be prone to getting caught up on everything nearby.
2, With the hanging point this high (19cm from the top), the quiver will hang almost straight down. This should make drawing and arrow an awkward thing. I’ll know more once I have been out on the range at Pennsic and I’ll report back.
With all of that in mind, I took the liberty of adding another brass ring to the leather band at the lower end of the quiver. This will allow me to incorporate a 2-point harness, hung from a belt, if I so choose. Again, there is no evidence to suggest this is how the quiver was carried/used. Ultimately, I need to use this thing and enjoy it in an SCA context.
The original had been sitting in a bog for 1600-ish years. Making my own version and leaving the wood and leather all freshy freshy seemed sort of stupid. I whipped up a batch of iron acetate which I knew would darken the ash a whole bunch (and blacken the leather entirely.
Much has been written about how to make and apply iron acetate, most of it far more elaborate than it needs to be. This is simple stuff, people.
Take about 3″ of steel wool (the good kind that doesn’t have oil in it) and wrap kind of loose in cheese cloth. Throw that in half a mason jar of white vinegar. Cover the top with plastic wrap but, poke a couple of small holes in it. Come back in a couple of days and remove the cheese cloth/steel wool glob. Toss it. Use a brush you don’t care much about and brush the mixture on your project. Wait for a few hours to see if it is dark enough If not, do another coat. Stop when you are happy. Dead nuts simple and none of the nonsense about strainers, temperatures measuring pH or sacrificing a virgin rabbit underwater during a full moon.
I finished the whole deal up with a coat of Tung oil. There’s no real need for that considering how I will use and store the quiver.
So there you have it, the first of my quivers that are completely plausible for a Norseman, and not a cloth bag to be seen. Imagine that?