Friday, February 27, 2015

Gjermundbu Helmet reproduction.

Finally getting back to posting. Hurray! Here are pix and description of my latest headache of a project:

For me, a relatively fast turnaround project, started about a year ago and finished recently, with the exception of the strapping and suspension. I hope to have the latter complete in time for Scandinavian Faire in April.

This is an 85% or so accurate reconstruction, based upon all currently available information. There were two noticeable details I omitted, namely the overlap at the corners of the ocular guard due to the original having been made with separate cheekbone guards (I made mine erroneously in one piece, only learning after completion that it was inaccurate) and the hollowed “ribs” of the frame, which I cheated and simply made from thick steel bar. Otherwise, I incorporated inlay on the ocular as was found on the original, a feature almost always missing in most reproductions, due to the use of too thin a material. I also made a special fluting tool to make the flute at the top of the browband, just below the rivets on the infill panels.

Apart from the inaccuracies noted above, my reproduction is fairly close to the original otherwise. The ocular is a close match to the original in terms of thickness, being made from ⅛” thick mild steel plate, and the browband and “under-ribs” (for lack of a better term) are made from 14 gauge. The inaccurate “outer-ribs” use ⅛” thick bars rather than the thin, deeply dished ribs of the original, but at least capture the spirit of the original construction. The infill panels are 18 or 20 gauge thickness (I don't remember which). I used 6mm riveted and solid rings for the aventail. This feature I believe existed on the original helmet but is no longer extant, having been detached prior to burial. The rings are similar in size to those found in the burial with the helmet. Note the suspension method for the aventail, derived from a few slightly larger rings directly attached to the browband. It is my firm belief that the aventail was NOT directly attached to the browband, but rather used a simplified version of the suspension band seen on, for example, the Coppergate and Valsgärde 8 helmets. In those examples, the mail hangs from a wire that is run through a channel with notches to hold it in place. In this case the channel is replaced by the mail rings attached to the rims.

References: “Gjermundbufunnet” is the authoritative reference for this helm, and “The Anglian Helmet from Coppergate” has some supplemental data as well. More accessible references include any of the Osprey books pertaining to Vikings, along with many general works on Viking history.