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Another Saxon Quiver

Another Saxon quiver, this time 7th century. I was going to say something glib along the lines of “I won’t discuss construction as that has already been covered in an earlier post”. I’ve just checked that post, and in it, I left construction for a later post. I guess this will have to be it.

7th century Anglo Saxon quiver with arrows

While of a similar shape and height, this quiver is a little larger in diameter than the previous one. This is deliberate, as while primarily for my younger son, I also want to be able to use it and my bow has a 60# draw weight with correspondingly thicker arrows.

The change of period is mainly done by the decoration and as it wasn’t for an order, I could devote more time and effort to the design and execution without someone keeping asking when it would be finished.

Base

Cut a disk of softwood about 80mm in diameter and 20mm thick. I used a piece of pinus radiata from the wreckage of the First Airborne Viking Tent of blessed memory. You could use ply if you like, but I like to think real wood looks and works better. It will remain in the base of the quiver to protect the leather from the arrow points. Cut a rough circle in 3mm leather that’s somewhat over 120mm diameter – the diameter of the disk, plus twice the height, plus a bit for not quite being aligned properly.

Wet the leather and place the disk on the flesh side in the centre, then press into a 90mm storm water pipe connector and leave to dry. When the base is dry, pop it out of the connector and trim so the edge of the leather is flush with the upper edge of the wooden disk. This is the same way as I make bases for jacks and bombards – more in a later post.

Top

Rather than using a round of willow, this one has a piece of 1.6mm leather rolled until it is a bit over 12mm thick. Bring the rolled ends together to form a ring and secure with stitches. I used edge-grain stitching so all the shows is two neat parallel lines, one either side of the join. Dampen it and work any lumps or puckers out with you fingers until the roll is even. When in place, the tail will extend some distance into the quiver to help keep the round shape at the top. Mine was 370mm wide when it was flat, to fit an 110mm wide opening at the top of the quiver.

Body

This is where the fun starts. The width at the bottom is the circumference of the base cup you’ve made, plus three times the thickness of the leather. This is because the base is the measurement on the flesh side of the leather and you’re cutting for the skin side. You’re increasing the diameter of the base by the thickness of the body on two sides, so if using a non-stretchable material, you’d need to increase the length by 2*pi * the thickness, but the leather stretches sufficiently to meet neatly. Width at the top is the diameter of the tail of the top ring, plus a similar fudge factor. The height is just a bit less than length of your arrow from the back of the head to the base of the feathers.

The body and base with half the embossing done, showing all the tools used

Do any embossing and dyeing now, then start sewing. Remove the wooden insert and sew the base in using saddle stitch. I’ve done two rows because it helps keep the edges clamped in place. Put the wooden base back in, then start sewing the back seam. I’ve used a backing strip of 1mm leather and two rows of saddle stitch, but edge-grain would work equally well. You’ll need to do a bit at at time so you can get your hands in behind the seam. Then sew the top piece in and do the straps. Now you’ll have to do some proper hand bound arrows to match.

Decoration

Front and back of the Stonyhurst Gospel, c AD650.

The design, techniques and dye colours are based on the binding of the Stonyhurst Gospel. There’s still some pigment in the embossed lines

The Lindisfarne Gospels: Gospel of St Matthew the Evangelist, initial page. Lindisfarne, late 7th or early 8th century.

The paint colours and the some of the other design elements come from the more-or less contemporary Lindisfarne Gospel. I drew a quarter of the design on graph paper, then scanned it and used Paint software to mirror and fill in the missing bits. This was printed, transferred to the leather with yellow transfer paper and embossed with the back of a butter knife. Once dyed and assembled, I painted the design. As this was for a teenager, I cheated and used acrylic paints for the flats and gel ink pens for the embossed lines. The straps were finished with a suitable buckle and strap end.

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5 thoughts on “Another Saxon Quiver

  1. I meant to mention that when laying out the body of the quiver, have the long axis parallel to the backbone of the beast. That way you’re using the natural curve of the hide and using the way the leather stretches to maximum effect.

  2. It looks good and an authentic style, although I find it too short for the arrows pictured, as quiver illustrtions show shafts covered up to the fletching. I would expect at this period that Saxons would be more likely to use a smallbow than a longbow. For that, 28″ arrows, a modern innovation, would be too long and too short for a longbow of that period..

    • Erik, that’s a good observation. The quiver needs to be a couple of inches taller to do that.
      My son uses a flatbow with a 28″ draw, I’m using a longbow with 32″ arrows which is more on the money for the period but would need an even longer quiver.

  3. Pingback: The Stonyhurst Gospel | The Reverend's Big Blog of Leather

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