2013 SMUHA Jarl's Squad Suitmaking
The Shield
The Axe.
The Helmet.
The Breastplate.
The Belt.
The Wristbands.
The Boots.
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.
Completed shields.
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.
Completed 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.
Attaching Metalwork.
Helmet metalwork.
Cutting & attaching internal helmet size adjusters.
Jarls helmet wing attachments & completed Jarl's helmet.
The Knife.
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.
Prototyping wristbands.
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.
Jewellery making.
Unpacking & measuring each Reindeer skin.
Creating a trimming template & cutting the skins to fit.
Trimming & fitting the skins.
Contact SMUHA
2013 SMUHA
The Galley
The Bill
During the Day
The Burning
The Squads
Galley Building
Torch Making
Suit Making
Guizer Jarl
Jarl's Squad