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How to Make a Saxon Shield

Updated July 20, 2017

The Saxons were a warlike Germanic people of the Middle Ages, originating in North Central Europe. Saxon war tactics depended almost exclusively on infantry, who used large wooden shields to deflect blows and create massive impenetrable shield walls. The round shields could also be used as umbrellas, tables, and seating. Saxon shields were traditionally made of Lime wood, but modern plywood is much easier to work with.

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  1. Drill a screw hole in one end of the ruler. Place this end of the ruler on the centre of the sheet of plywood. Measure the desired circumference of the shield using the ruler. Drill out another hole in the ruler at this point. The hole should be big enough to insert a pencil.

  2. Measure 2 ½-inches from the centre point of the shield using the ruler. Increase this measurement if you have large hands or intend on wearing padded gloves. Drill another pencil hole in the ruler at this point.

  3. Secure the end of the ruler to the centre of the shield with a screw. Insert the pencil in the furthest hole on the ruler. Draw a perfect circle by spinning the ruler around the axis of the screw. This circle will form the outside of the shield.

  4. Insert the pencil in the hole closest to the end of the ruler. Draw another perfect circle by spinning the ruler. This circle will show you where to cut a hole for your hand. Remove the ruler once this smaller circle is complete.

  5. Cut the outer edge of the shield with a jigsaw. Drill a hole large enough for your jigsaw blade to fit on the line drawn for the hand hole. Insert the jigsaw blade and cut out the hand hole.

  6. Place a wooden dowel slightly off centre over the hand hole. This will leave enough room for your fingers to grip the dowel. Screw the top and bottom of the dowel to the shield.

  7. Center the boss over the hand hole. Drill at least four holes through the flange. Secure the boss with screws, bolts or rivets. Use a pre-made boss or a shallow metal bowl with a dome as large as your hand hole, and a flat outside edge of at least 1/2-inch.

  8. Paint the shield. An alternative is to cover the face with fabric or leather, leaving a hole for the boss.

  9. Run a strip of leather around the outside edge of the shield. Secure it with screws or rivets.

  10. Tip

    Score deep lines across the shield with a screwdriver, about four inches apart. This will create the appearance of planking or separate pieces of wood.

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Things You'll Need

  • 3-foot-by-3-foot plywood, or larger
  • Yardstick or wooden ruler
  • Jigsaw
  • Wooden dowel
  • Screws, nails, bolts or rivets
  • Metal boss or bowl with flat outer edge
  • Leather or fabric strips

About the Author

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