2013 SMUHA Jarl's Squad Suitmaking
The Womens Suits.
Fitting the skins.
The overall theme of this year's Jarl's Squad suit was green reflecting the Jarl's support for Glasgow Celtic. The Norse Viking
Triquetra design for the shields & belt buckles was chosen by the Jarl. The Triquetra is generally believed to be of Norse and
Germanic origin. It can be used to represent various triplicates such as the realms of Land, Sea and Sky or the interconnected
parts of existence such as Mind, Body and Soul, and as with many Celtic themes the unbroken circle represents eternity. In
Europe the symbol has been found on carved stones dating back to the eighth century and a Norse rune known as the Odin
Knot or Val Knot resembles it almost exactly.
The shield 'blanks' were made by the squad & the boss's were made from pressed copper by Alan Jamieson at Vidlin. The
boss's were coated with a satin nickel-plate finish by Satchrome Ltd. in Walsall. A 'whale tail' featured at the back of the
helmets and was also laser etched into all the axe & knife handles by Keith Gorman at Black Rose Laser Design in Fife.
This was added to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the 'Hoswick Whale case' of 1888, one of the most significant legal
cases in Sandwick and Shetland's history when the ownership of 340 Pilot Whales driven ashore was contested by the [then]
Laird who demanded a third of the whale's value as 'landlord' of the area. The Hoswick residents however, won full ownership of
the whales at the Court of Session in Edinburgh in 1889, a decision that removed all such Landlord claims over whale
stranding ownership in Shetland thereafter. The galley was burnt at the very beach which was the focus of this victory.
The mens kirtles (a velvet type cloth) & women's dresses were all made by Bertha Johnson at Lerwick and the skins were
Norwegian reindeer with delivery organised by Helge. The helmet fibreglass shells were made by Brian Wishart at Sandwick &
the pewter metalwork on them by Scott Blance Sutherland in Aberdeen, who also designed and made the belt buckles and
Jarl's reindeer skin badges. The axe & knife handles & the banner standards were made by the squad from Canadian Maple
with the axe heads cast in aluminium by Taylor's Foundry in Suffolk, apart from the bairns', which were all timber and
beautifully made by Tommy Sutherland in Gulberwick. All members of the squad had a knife with the blade 'blanks' made by
Cutting Technologies in Barnsley who also made the shield metalwork. A pseudo knife edge was added by Leonard
Christie at Sandwick, while the knife pouches were made from reindeer skin trimmings. Each axe & knife also had a Goucho
knot in leather added to the handle. The boots were sourced from Kiwi Sheepskins in New Zealand and embellished by the
squad with the same metal rings that formed the breastplate. All the rings were sourced from Le Privo.The banners were
made by Erik Moncrieff at Lerwick. The women of the squad made their own jewellery, including rings & ear rings, apart from
the elongated Triquetra necklace (or Trinity knot) which was sourced from Shetland Silvercraft.
Over 1800 metal rings were used to create the mens breastplates & boot decorations etc., and 385 silver discs inlaid into the
breastplate rings. Over 3,800 leather strips (with over 11,000 holes manually punched in them) held the breastplate rings
together and over 6,600 rivets held the various suit parts together.
Routing out the shield blanks, cutting & drilling handles.
Shield handles fitted, green vinyl background glued to shields & triquetra metalwork being added.
Triquetra metalwork attached, adding aluminium edging to shields.
Making the shield boss's from squares of copper, hydraulically pressed out into the boss shape.
Attaching the shields boss's, webbing strap & fur fabric on the shield back.
Jarl's Shield with additional metalwork.
Jackson Smith polishing shields.
Cutting the Canadian Maple, trimming the handles & planing the handles to the correct width.
Routing the curve to the handles & rounding the edges.
Sanding the handles & testing the fit of the axe heads.
Prototyping & fitting the Goucho knot for the handle.
Whale Tail laser etched into handles, applying several coats of Tung oil to handles & attaching Goucho knots.
Permanently attaching axe heads.
Bairns axes with timber axe heads.
Belt rings for carrying axes.
Cutting leather strips to join the breastplate rings.
Trimming the leather strips to the required length.
Punching riveting holes in the leather strips.
Joining the breastplate rings.
Cutting the breastplate straps.
Attaching the breastplate straps & the finished breastplate.
Trimming excess fibreglass off helmet blanks.
Polishing helmet blanks before attaching metalwork.
Cutting & attaching internal helmet size adjusters.
Jarls helmet wing attachments & completed Jarl's helmet.
Knife design & routing out handles.
Rounding & sanding handles.
Knife blade blanks & routing pseudo knife edge along blade.
Whale Tail laser etched on handles & attaching handles to support to enable applying Tung Oil to handles.
Polishing knife blades.
Polished blades ready for attaching to handles.
Attaching Goucho knots to handles.
Prototyping knife pouches & finished knives.
Trimming wristbands & laser etched wristband before applying dye to etching.
Applying dye to wristbands.
Cutting the belts & applying detail to the leather.
Prototype & final belt buckle & belt tips.
Punching holes to attach the belt tips & completed mens belt. The womens belt buckles were inlaid with green enamel.
Boots as supplied & making front of boot ring attachment.
Attaching rings to front of boot embellishment.
Completed boots & rings attached to bairn's boots.
Constructing & fitting the womens suits. The womens belt buckles were enamelled green.
Unpacking & measuring each Reindeer skin.
Creating a trimming template & cutting the skins to fit.
Trimming & fitting the skins.