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Hello.  I'm back at college and once again up to some personal woodwork on the sly.  So I'm considering doing a small La Tene-style shield, about two feet tall, with proper one-layer plank construction this time.

The boards I can get at nearby hardware stores include American poplar, red oak and soft maple.  I know poplar is supposed to make a good shield and I've used it on several (unfinished) ones, but would you consider any of these acceptable from a standpoint of both historical accuracy and functionality?

If I go with oak, do I need to worry about any iron/steel fittings rusting?

Is there any facing that could be described as typical -- woven fabric, felt, tanned leather, rawhide?  Or should I just pick a historically-plausible material as suits me best?  If the shield's just one layer of planks, then I'd want it to have some kind of facing (and backing).

How is the wood boss/spine attached?  Is it also faced?

Thanks for any advice.  If I go through with it, it might take a long time to complete among all my other projects -- I'd just want to get the major shaping of components done this semester.
I would suggest thin felt glued on (or leather/rawhide stitched on a more expensive option), you should have no problem with oak and iron/steel except that should it get wet it will stain the wood black where its in contact, but its not acid per se...

If I recall right, not having a wide enough piece of oak (US red) I joined mine down the center, small shields like that are often made from one piece, the umbo (Ash) was then glued and nailed or pegged over the join reinforcing it with a seperate hand grip rivetted on in conjunction with the "boss" forming a sandwich... the board is tapered towards the edge. 

I didn't cover the shield and added a metal rim to the top edge only, Rawhide edges if used should be stitched or laced not nailed. Shield was roughly 75cm long...


[attachment=13737]

Kiln dried US Oak is very hard and therefore difficult to cut by hand and as tough as old boots, Poplar is a lot easier and lighter too though the shield size is small enough that the weight doesn't really matter, Maple may be the best choice.. but I think from the look you could use any of them, its more down to what you can get really.. as it would likely have been in reality.....
Make sure its good straight grained wood with no knots and try and get planks where the rings are at right angles to the flat of the board, not so important with oak.

Theres a whole bunch of other woods but these would do fine I think... Good Luck!
(03-09-2017, 09:35 PM)brennivs - tony drake Wrote: [ -> ]Dan hope this will help  Wink

https://balkancelts.wordpress.com/tag/la-tene-shields/

http://www.kelticos.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=766

http://www.kelticos.org/forum/viewforum.php?f=48
Good luck with the shield and please post when done   Shy
Regards Brennivs  Big Grin

Thanks.  I'm assessing whether I can afford the materials now but if so I'll certainly post the results.

(03-10-2017, 12:57 PM)Crispianus Wrote: [ -> ]I would suggest thin felt glued on (or leather/rawhide stitched on a more expensive option), you should have no problem with oak and iron/steel except that should it get wet it will stain the wood black where its in contact, but its not acid per se...

If I recall right, not having a wide enough piece of oak (US red) I joined mine down the center, small shields like that are often made from one piece, the umbo (Ash) was then glued and nailed or pegged over the join reinforcing it with a seperate hand grip rivetted on in conjunction with the "boss" forming a sandwich... the board is tapered towards the edge. 

I didn't cover the shield and added a metal rim to the top edge only, Rawhide edges if used should be stitched or laced not nailed. Shield was roughly 65cm long...




Kiln dried US Oak is very hard and therefore difficult to cut by hand and as tough as old boots, Poplar is a lot easier and lighter too though the shield size is small enough that the weight doesn't really matter, Maple may be the best choice.. but I think from the look you could use any of them, its more down to what you can get really.. as it would likely have been in reality.....
Make sure its good straight grained wood with no knots and try and get planks where the rings are at right angles to the flat of the board, not so important with oak.

Theres a whole bunch of other woods but these would do fine I think... Good Luck!
Looks good.
I'm pretty sure the big chain stores carry all three between them, just going by those woods that come in 1/2-inch thickness.  Since they don't sell an appropriate European species that I know of, it's down to whatever has the best properties and price.
I'm hoping to cut the outline on a band saw, with a join down the middle to make cutting the hand hole easier, and then chisel it to taper.
Thank you!
(03-13-2017, 11:25 PM)Dan D Wrote: [ -> ]Looks good.
I'm pretty sure the big chain stores carry all three between them, just going by those woods that come in 1/2-inch thickness.  Since they don't sell an appropriate European species that I know of, it's down to whatever has the best properties and price.
I'm hoping to cut the outline on a band saw, with a join down the middle to make cutting the hand hole easier, and then chisel it to taper.
Thank you!

Thanks... it was a bit of fun really and quite generic the shape is based on Battersea though...

I used a hand held power plane to taper it a bit at a time untill it was more or less the right thickness at the edge, I dont know if you've seen the Hjortspring shields? but they do come in the size that you want...

http://hjortspring.dk/wold/shields.htm

BM search for Iron age shields brings up quite a lot, no wood but some quite good templates for different shapes of shields:

http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/co...cult=15905
I'm taking a while to chew it over because the shapes and features of these shields seem to vary with height, so a two-foot oval shield with a facing and long-spined boss would be something of a fantasy piece.  Would my conscience forgive me if I made one in the style of the Hjortspring finds but put a facing on it?  Nate Bell's done one like that.

A planer is a great idea, I'd think even a hand-pushed one would make it easier to get a smooth, even taper than a chisel would.
(03-15-2017, 12:52 AM)Dan D Wrote: [ -> ]I'm taking a while to chew it over because the shapes and features of these shields seem to vary with height, so a two-foot oval shield with a facing and long-spined boss would be something of a fantasy piece.  Would my conscience forgive me if I made one in the style of the Hjortspring finds but put a facing on it?  Nate Bell's done one like that.

A planer is a great idea, I'd think even a hand-pushed one would make it easier to get a smooth, even taper than a chisel would.

Generally I would use a powered hand plane to shape only removing a very small amount (0.5-1mm maybe) at a time depending on the plane used and type of wood, then finish with a hand plane or spoke shave.. you could cut shallow grooves with a saw and then chisel off the wood in bettween... maybe just as quick.

The Clonura shield which is basically the same as Hjortspring is covered completely in skin, but many shields are not covered at all, the Shields form East Yorkshire were all apparantly made from Maple, Birch and Alder where it was possible to determine the species and at least some were leather covered, as to size:

The curve in the shield may not be original...

[attachment=13754]

Hjortspring average average 70-75cm x 45cm, longest 102cm, shortest 61cm, with some sheilds being "narrow compared with their length. from: "Hjortspring Warfare and Sacrifice in Early Europe" K.Randsborg.*

From: "Iron Age Cemeteries in East Yorkshire" I.M.Stead online


"There is no reason to
suppose that the iron fittings moved after deposition
in the grave, so the full length of the shield is known:
1.12m. This is surprisingly long compared with most
surviving shields or shield covers from Britain
Clonoura (admittedly undated) 570mm, Battersea
777mm, and Chertsey 836mm - but slightly shorter
than Witham (1.13m). The wooden shields from La
Tene itself ranged from 1.04 to 1.1m (Vouga 1923, 61),
and there is much longer example, though not
certainly pre-Roman, from the Faiyum (1.28m)."

I think you could have a spine on even a two foot shield as this has more to do with the type of Boss/umbo used and it need not be anything like as heavy as the one I did, probably lighter would be better...

The types of Boss/Umbo can be wood or all metal or almost any combination, but this seems to date the shield more then anything else with round metal bosses being later but still occuring at the same time as spined boss/umbo combinations..

Heres a chart from: Stary F.P "Ursprung und Ausbreitung der eisenzeitlichen Ovalschilde mit spindelförmigem Schildbuckel", Germania 59, 1981 which shows shields with spined bosses takien from various sources, art and archaeology... source of image see above*

[attachment=13753]

Another source I used was "The Battersea Shield" I.M.Stead which contains some useful info on Shields generally...

And now for something completely different...

"Ein eisenzeitlicher prunkschild vom dürrnberg bei hallein, land salzburg" M.Egg.
I think the Clonoura Shield in the Irish National Museum was made from alderwood and calfhide (?)

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236...c6860f.jpg
(03-16-2017, 11:28 PM)Grimcrazy Wrote: [ -> ]I think the Clonoura Shield in the Irish National Museum was made from alderwood and calfhide (?)

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236...c6860f.jpg

Yes I've read that as well though I'm not sure how reliable it is, the size of the shield means you can easily use goat skins to cover it and it may not be possible to tell what type of skin was used after such a long length of time, could be Horse or Deer as well as marine mammel... most likely best guess.
The Celtic Yorkshire shields were Skin covered though again type would likely be unknown... it is currently thought that Vegetable tanning was unknown amongst the Northern Europeans at this time most finds of leather are from bogs or similar deposits and therefore subject to secondary tanning which would produce vegetable tanned leather even if it wasn't originally....

The second problem is the date the only way to tell would likely be C14, Hjortspring is dated to the 4th Century bc using this method, but essentially Clonoura could be much, much later though it would still be usefull for construction techniques I would think...

The third is the grip size, only about 8cm maximum makes we wonder if combined with the overall size it was intended for a boy... certainly I couldn't hold it my grip being 10cm...
Back from the store...  the oak and maple were more expensive than I remember, so I got poplar.  They had nothing big enough for a boss -- I want to carve it from one piece -- will check the scrap bin at school, but I'll probably have to phone up MW Quinn down in Yardley or order from farther away to get anything decent.

The Clonoura did come up in my searches.  It's very informative as to what a hide-covered shield might look like -- I would probably get goat hide for it, two if need be -- but I wouldn't want to replicate that shield in particular because I, uh, find the shape boring...  The idea that it was a youth shield didn't occur to me but it makes some sense when you put it that way; I have medium-sized hands and could just about hold a 10cm grip standing still, but handling it in a battle could get awkward, with the edges of the cutout banging and scraping my hand.

I've also heard about the question of vegetable tanning prior to the Romans -- there's a few finds from earlier times but technology does get forgotten over centuries.  And plenty of discussion here and elsewhere about the practicality of raw versus tanned in terms of damage resistance, ease of painting, risk of warping the shield board...  On balance, I'd like to try rawhide for this one.
One last question: If I want to paint the rawhide with commercial milk paint, is it a good idea to prime it with gesso (or even just straight hide glue)?
I think the best thing to do would be to experiment on a few scraps or rawhide first, I dont know of any surviving painted Celtic shields but otherwise paint on bare wood, skin and gesso exist in the record in regards to shields...
Good idea.