Viking Shield

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Project by BeardMafia posted 02-16-2016 06:22 PM 1498 views 1 time favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This project was inspired by the TV “Vikings” on the History Channel. My wife’s favorite character, Lagertha, has a distinctive shield design. As we are frequenters of renaissance festivals, initially I thought it would be fun to make a prop shield.

As I did a bit of research, I decided to try to make the shield in a manner that would be similar in construction to historical Viking shields, though with some cost saving measures. I chose ¼” MDF board, and cut a circle to approximately 34 inches. I cut out the center using a jig-saw to leave a 6” hole. Next, I cut the remaining “donut” shape into four slices to simulate original construction methods of nailing together thin hardwood boards. When reconstructed the edges fit together too well to see them as separate, so to highlight the different “boards” I beveled the edges. To keep the slices together, I hand nailed through the face of the shield and into ¼” strips and pounded them flat. Then I used a 1×1” piece of wood to form the handle, sanding the ends to a taper and narrowing an area to grip the shield. The handle was attached using a similar method as the ¼” strips.

The basic design of the shield was thus complete, and I painted it into Lagertha’s design. I ordered a shield boss online and painted it. Unfortunately, I cut the hole in the center of the shield before ordering the shield boss, and I had to upgrade to a slightly larger one. The boss barely covered the center hole, but I was able to make it work. Because of the lack of real-estate, I also was not able to pound over the nails holding the boss in place as it would cause them to tear out of the MDF board. They remain poking out of the back of the shield. Lastly, as you can see in the inspiration picture, there is a black edging around the shield. The vikings used rawhide to edge their shields, so I bought some rawhide dog bones to complete this aspect. Ultimately, my lack of tool shop stopped me from doing this so I just painted the edges of the shield and will reserve this step for a later time.

In the end, it turned out to be a pretty interesting project and I learned a lot about the importance of good plans going into a project. Because of the heft of the base materials, the exposed shield boss nails, and my goof on the center hole, the shield is now a display only shield. But it looks just fine in the house, and my next shield will be much easier to make.

2 comments so far

View ohwoodeye's profile


2708 posts in 4438 days

#1 posted 02-16-2016 06:41 PM

I like everything about this project including the explanation….......”I decided to try to make the shield in a manner that would be similar in construction to historical Viking shields” using MDF just like the Vikings did :)
Plus I like the smoking hot Viking chick with straight white teeth…..Just like Viking women had in the day.
Shield look great.
Well done.

-- "Fine Woodworking" is the name given to a project that takes 3 times longer than normal to finish because you used hand tools instead of power tools. ----Mike, Waukesha, WI

View tomakazi's profile


687 posts in 4568 days

#2 posted 10-04-2021 12:36 AM

That’s a very cool tribute to a great show. One of my all time favorite shows.

-- I didn't go to college, I was too busy learning stuff - Ted Nugent

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