Introduction: Anglo Saxon Sword From Pallet Wood
Some long pieces of pallet wood lent themselves kindly to be easily turned into a sword. Living in an area in the East of England near Sutton Hoo, where an Anglo Saxon King was found buried, I thought I would make an Anglo Saxon sword, but an oversized one. As always I've made a YouTube video documenting the build and more detailed instructions follow below.
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Step 1: Tools and Materials
- Pen/pencil and measure
- Wood saw (crosscut or tenon/back)
- Hand plane
- Chisels and Mallet
- 2 lengths of pallet wood, approx. 200cm X 9cm (78 3/4"" X 3 9/16")
- Wood glue/PVA
- Finish of your choice, I used beeswax and mineral oil
Step 2: Preparing the Wood and Marking the Sword Shape
I did most of this build on the fly and as such I do a couple of things in a slightly different order. To help anyone who wants to make a sword of the same shape and size I've included an updated template in PDF format with measurements on the side to help you get it to the same length. I haven't included templates for the other parts as I feel the size and shape of those are more up to your own taste.
I started by cutting the 2 pieces of pallet wood down to 140cm each (55 1/8"), planing the sides to be joined and then clamping them together overnight.
The next day I removed the clamps and planed down both faces of the newly joined board. I just used clamps at either end to hold the template down while I drew around it.
Step 3: Cutting the Template Out
If you're into power tools and you have a bandsaw this part will be easy, it'll also be easier if you have a jigsaw. As I prefer to use hand tools I went as close as I dared to the line with my chisel and finished the rest off with a plane. I then rounded the handle off with a spokeshave.
Step 4: Making the "blade"
I found this to be the most rewarding part of the process and even if you do love power tools I would encourage anyone and everyone to try out a spokeshave as I believe it is one of the most satisfying tools you can use.
I marked out how far I wanted the blade to come into the face of the sword, the edge of the blade would come to its "sharpest" where the two pieces of wood join. Using the spokeshave to start shaping it was a doddle and also incredibly fun, I could spokeshave for weeks!
After that, to get the flattest edge I could, I got out my hand plane and took a few strokes down the blade to take away some of the bumps left over by the spokeshave.
Step 5: Making the Cross Guard
I went with the rough oval shape for the cross guard of the sword. I laid the area of the sword just below the blade onto a piece of wood and traced its thickness. After that I measured 6cm (2 3/8") away from the handle in both directions and made a mark.
I set my calipers to a rough size that I liked, found the centre point of my earlier marks and drew a nice long oval shape. I then marked a mortise in the centre of the oval that would slide onto the sword handle and stop at the blade. I took out most of the waste of the mortise with a brace and bit and then finished the rest off with a chisel. After that I cut the shape out with a coping saw and finished off the edges with a spokeshave.
I would like to point out at this stage that I cut the mortise out of the cross guard before cutting the whole oval out of the board. This was done because I was concerned that the cutting of the mortise with thinner walls around it might cause the cross guard to split. This felt like the safer way to do it.
When it was all cut out and smoothed I slid it onto the sword and up against the blade. I then marked the shape of the blade onto the cross guard and chiselled out a small indent where the blade can slide into.
Step 6: Cutting the Pommel Pieces
I cut a small tenon on the bottom of the sword and made a pommel piece roughly the same shape (though smaller) of cross guard to fit onto it. This was made in exactly the same way as the cross guard.
Then in an effort and homage to the Anglo Saxon sword found at the Kings burial site in Sutton Hoo, I attempted to do a little carving in a small piece and glue it to the end with PVA. My chisel carving skills are not great but it was ok!
Step 7: Gluing and Finishing the Sword
I laid all the pieces on a table and began the glue up which was a very simple process. That was until I found out my cross guard was loose so I packed some wedges in to make it tighter. With proper planning and a decent template I could have avoided that but as I said it was done mostly on the fly.
I left it once again to dry overnight and applied a beeswax and mineral oil mixture the next day. I mucked around with it for a while, swinging and spinning it and then realised it looked kinda interesting on the log outside my shed so spent ten minutes taking "cool" photos of it.
I hope you enjoyed this instructable, I appreciate everyone's comments and criticism so please don't hesitate to ask whatever you'd like.
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