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Toothed leatherworking devices in Viking contexts in Wales

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  • rmhowe
    Those things greg found on an archaeological site a year or so ago are now in a book called Vikings in Wales, an Historical Quest editted by Mark Redknap, who
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 13, 2002
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      Those things greg found on an archaeological site a year or so ago
      are now in a book called Vikings in Wales, an Historical Quest
      editted by Mark Redknap, who usually sticks to ships and underwater
      archaeology. ISBN 0720004861. About 15GBP plus shipping or buy
      through David Brown Book Co./Oxbow Book's American outlet.

      This is apparently the first book to deal with the remains and
      evidence of Viking occupation in Wales.

      There are three of the tooth devices on page 83 picture 127:
      "Toothed socketed tools associated with leather working have
      been excavated at llanbedrgoch. Similar tools have been found
      at a number of early medieval sites in Ireland and England, including
      Dublin, Whithorn, and York. Hides could be turned into a variety of
      goods such as shoes, sheathes, purses, straps and harnesses.
      Length of the most complete toothed socketed tool is 56.9mm,"
      or a bit over two inches high. They appear to have only two teeth at
      either side of the tool, and the socket is worse than you see on
      many Anglo-saxon spears, more like the sides of a long rectangle
      bent around. Not forge welded closed. Saxons didn't generally do
      that, possibly because it would mean doing an accurate job on the
      tapered end of the spear shaft and some serious work/thought.

      My personal way to handle a socketed spear is to put a half inch
      wide steel rule down the socket until it stops. Looking across
      the end of the socket sides I would note the depth of the ruler
      and mark this on the shaft as the place to be reduced to the width
      across the diameter of the end hole. At the other end, assuming I
      was dealing with a straight spear blade to the socket I would
      mark the center of the pole with a half inch diameter hole and
      begin to reduce the waste from one marked line to the other.
      Works nearly every time. Particularly with a good massive rasp.

      My best guess is that they were used as scribes to
      mark out the width of a strap to be cut or to space holes for
      decorative accessories (not particularly worn on belts at this
      place then). There is a rivet hole (iron pin probable long gone
      with the wood) on the top of each of them to attach the handle.

      Got another decorated Eng/Ger. goose wing axehead this weekend.
      Have to make a handle for that bad boy. They are anything but straight,
      round or evenly tapered. I was tempted to buy another axe -
      french long head hewing pattern identical to some I've seen in
      medieval illustrations. $250 was a bit much this month for one.
      MWTCA.org for those of you willing to shell out cash for something
      nearer period. One rarely sees such tools at flea markets.

      One does see a number of shoemaking tools there. I've seen burnishers,
      iron and shoe lasts, awls, sewing needle handles, saddler's pliers,
      many hammers, more rarely punches.

      Saw a damned nice cowboy style saddle at an all week flea market
      near Asheboro on NC 74 for $25. Full rig with belly and breast bands.
      No mold either. Good shape. Rarely see one that nice for so little.

      Picked up an unused Dremel Metal Shoe polisher there for $20. Took it
      apart last night and put on some taper screw mandrels for jewelery
      buffers and brushes. A similar, but smaller Foredom buffing/wheel
      machine ran me #120. The mandrels for the buffs/brushes ran me about
      another $6. Runs about 1750 rpm which is all right with me.
      3450 would be slinging stuff all over me. They take 5/16th" tapered
      adaptors obtainable from http://www.riogrande.com/ and other jewelry
      supplie places. The shoe buffs are obtainable from Dremel and would
      make fair goblet buffs. Mine were apparently unused. Screw back on
      if I decide to use them. One side has reverse threads but only on
      a 1/4 inch end. Filing flats on the shafts will be the only other
      needed modification unless I add a light to it. How did I arrive at
      this idea? Well I either saw it in a jewelry magazine or I've seen
      a pro do it at a show and shelved it for a likely opportunity.

      Life is where you scrounge it.

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