I have made three Dark Ages/Early Middle Ages shields - one round Viking
shield and two Anglo-Saxon kite shields.
Viking shield is made of 3/8" plywood on which I routered grooves approximately 6"
to 8" apart in line with the grain to make it appear to be a composite plank
construction. It is covered with canvas and milk-painted. I use milk paint
exclusively since there is evidence that milk paint has been in use since
the ancient Egyptians. And, of course, acrylic and latex paints did not
exist during the time we're portraying. Milk paint consists of milk protein,
lime, and color pigmentation - just as it did in ancient times. All my Dark
Ages shields are edged with rawhide that is sewn on.
Each of my two kite shields is made of thin layers of plywood that have been glued together and
cured while tightly constrained to a 15" radius cylinder - thus giving them
a cylindrical 15" radius of curvature. Again, both are covered with canvas,
milk painted with designs copied from the Bayeux Tapestry, and edged with
sewn-on rawhide. One has an iron boss and the other does not. Judging from
the images on the Bayeux Tapestry, the majority of shields did not have
shield bosses - though many did.
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