Replica Viking Shields
These “Viking-inspired” custom replica shields are based off of information from historical finds, as well as the efforts of groups seeking to recreate viking martial combat techniques using period equipment. Learning from these groups, I was amazed at the depth of what I discovered . . . and also the depth of unknowns that exist around the equipment of the period.
As such, Gaming Ballistic is pleased to offer these viking-style shields. Each shield is crafted out of kiln-dried aspen or poplar boards butted together with liquid hide glue, and feature hand-carved oak handles. Each is “semi-custom,” and combines modern materials, a range of historical and non-historical dimensions, and both manual and power-tool construction methods with a range of options.
These shields are remarkably light and nimble, but not designed for high-power blunts-vs-wood blocking. Such use will quickly destroy these shields! They are employed with finesse, quickness, and skill. My instructor constantly reminds his students that the shield is the primary weapon in viking-style combat. See the videos below for good and bad examples of using these versatile weapons.
Custom Shields: Styles
Gaming Ballistic offers two basic shield styles.
Striðskjold: The “war” shield. The shield tapers from 5/16″/8mm at the steel boss down to as little as 1/8″ of wood at the rim (3mm). When used with old-growth, green timber, such construction would trap sharp blades and allow them to be wrenched from the opponent’s hand. Even with modern, kiln-dried wood, the blade-capture phenomenon can be quite . . . distracting . . . to the foe. It is recommended that this shield be upgraded with hide edging and stitching for robustness, especially if training with blunt wood or steel.
Barnskjold: The “child’s” shield. Whether as an amazing accessory to a costume, or (more appropriately) to be used by younger berserkers in martial training. Crafted of 1/4″ aspen, these shields are less than 24″ in diameter (suitable for warriors up to 48″ tall). They feature a lightweight stainless boss, and a handle with a maximum thickness and width of 1/2 x 1″, though still the D-shape.
Upgrades and Customization
Customize your shield with the following options
Diameter: Specify the target diameter of the shield to the nearest inch. The suggested diameter is half the warrior’s height. The maximum diameter offered is just shy of 36″, which is suitable for users up to about 6’4″. Normal biomechanics suggest that the shield be no larger than half your height plus 4 inches. A 34″ (86cm) shield will well serve folks from 5’6″ to 6’0″ tall, while a 31.5″ shield works well for about 5’1″ to 5’7″.
Center Boss: The child’s shield (bjarnskjald) comes with a lightweight stainless steel boss (about 5 oz); the adult shields come with one of several offerings, to be decided upon when you order (I’ll contact you).
Taper: The child’s shield is not tapered; the adult shields taper from about 8mm at the boss down to 3.5-5mm at the edge. This is a no-cost option. If you want a full-thickness shield with no edge taper, it is a no-cost option.
Edge Stitching: Thick (12/3, or 1mm diameter) linen thread can be stitched through holes around the shield rim, and tied tightly. This is seen in some period finds, and helps keep the edge together. Adding edge stitching increases shield cost by $50.
Rawhide Edging: Also seen in some (but not all) period finds, thin hide was glued to the shield edges (and sometimes the face), which brought the total shield edge thickness to roughly 2mm thicker than the wood – 4.5-6.5mm including the hide. The hide was frequently parchment-thin, and Gaming Ballistic uses goat (1 oz) goat hide to keep the thickness down to roughly historical levels. Rawhide shrinks pretty spectacularly when it dries on the shield, which helps keep the otherwise very thin edge intact as well. The rawhide will be molded to the shield edge, and glued in place with hide glue. If you want more robust deer hide, which will be 2-4oz, that can be arranged. Adding hide edging increases shield cost by $75.
Rawhide Facing: This option is all-new as of November 2018. Full-face goathide on both the front and back of the shield! This adds tremendous robustness to the shield, and with proper thinning of the face, hardly any weight. Note that variations in how the hide and glue absorb humidity will likely cause the shield to buckle and warp a bit as the seasons change! Adding hide facing includes edging, and increases the shield price by $225.
Shipping and Tax
To simplify ordering, prices are inclusive of 7.125% sales tax and the cost of shipping the package within the continental USA.