2014 SMUHA Jarl's Squad Suitmaking
The Womens Suits
Routing out the shield blanks, fitting handles & fur to back.
Adding vinyl front cover, back detail, boss's & arrows.
Glueing strips together & bending in a mould..
Planing, sanding and oiling the bows.
Adding the grip.
Burning decoration onto finished bows.
Removing supplied handles.
Making & fitting new handles.
Making sword 'frogs'.
Trimming leather covering, adding rivets and ear guards & curved arrow head around helmet
The main theme of this year's Jarl's Squad suit is based around the Jarl's passion for archery. The main weapon of choice is
obviously the bow and arrows with the arrow design being the main decoration for the shields and helmets. The colour was
chosen as it is a favourite of the Jarl and makes the suit bright and colourful, working well with the polished steel used
Almost the whole suit was made by the squad, and the parts which were bought in (the swords and boots) were dismantled
and re-assembled using parts made by the squad. A Celtic knot design also runs through the suit, appearing on the quiver,
belt, boots and armguards (hand cut from silver coloured leather) and on the sword and bow (hand burnt into the wood). In total,
squad member David Lobban cut 272 designs of various sizes from leather, and burnt the knot on to the wooden bows and
sword handles 136 times.
The bright red and silver shield contains over 140 individual components .The bosses for the adults shields were sourced from
Jelling Dragon, while the bairn’s bosses were pressed from copper by Alan Jamieson in Vidlin, and finished by Shetland
Powder Coating. The Jarl’s shield boss was pressed from brass sheet by Alan. The six arrows on each shield were cut out in
stainless steel by Poseiden Engineering in Oldmeldrum. Time was taken to make the back of the shield look good as well.
The men’s kirtles were made locally by Christine (Teenie) Sinclair, while Lorna Erikson made the ladies and girls clothing in
the style of 10th century Viking dresses using the Norwegian colours of blue and red, in line with the place of birth of the
character being portrayed by the Jarl.
Bows were made by laminating light and dark hardwoods and planing them to the required shape, and oiling them after a good
sanding. The quiver was made from a variety of materials, from empty bean tins to real leather and finished off with strips of the
kirtle material and the silver knot design. The arrows were fletched by the squad with over 300 feathers being cut into 705
fletchings and over 300 metres of thread being used to hold them in place.
The women’s pewter love knot pendant was sourced from St Justin’s based in Cornwall. The bead strings and bracelets were
made by the ladies and girls in the squad, and are again in the traditional Viking style but also incorporate the squad themes
of the arrow and the Celtic knot. The married women all carry keys. In Viking times the women kept the key to the family chest
containing important and valuable belongings.
The armour of padded leather contains an average of 120 studs per suit and studs feature heavily in the suit with over 10,000
being used in total by the squad. The enamelled pewter buckles and brooches were made by Scott Sutherland in Aberdeen.
Mucker boots were used for footwear and were ripped apart and rebuilt to cover the whole boot. The swords were sourced from
‘Get Dressed for Battle’ in Durham with the original handles removed and replaced with handmade handles incorporating the
Celtic knot design. Belts were cut from heavy leather and embellished with the knot design and buckles. The "frog" for holding
the sword was cut from the same leather. The helmets were moulded from an old Lerwick Jarls Squad helmet using papier
mache, covered with fibreglass, fleece and leather. The helmet is finished with yet more studs and adorned with an arrow
running along the top, ending with an arrowhead as the "nosepiece". The helmets were made to fit each squad member
individually. The whole suit is finished off with Fallow Deer skins from Wildlife Products based in England
Making paper mache helmet blanks.
Glueing felt 'underlay' on helmet blanks & covering with leather.