The Ravens Warband

Tools used in building work

Most of the tools used to construct the buildings are modern copies of original artefacts which are hand forged by a smith using traditional techniques (Fig 1).

Most woodwork was done using axes, probably because of the difficulty of producing iron of sufficient quality to make large saws. These come in a variety of shapes and weights, each with a different purpose. The most distinctive forms of the Anglo-Saxon period is the wide bladed T-axe (4th from right) used to dress planks.

Also used was a side axe (2nd from right), again used to give a smooth finish to timber. This allows very thin shavings of wood to be taken, the sort of final dressing that would now be done with a plane.



Figure 1: Reproduction tools. Left to right: a spoon bit, small adze, 2 T-axes, a side axe and a felling axe.


Fig 2. Illustration showing bill-hooks from 'Labours of the months' MS (BL Cotton Julius A. vi - February)

Fig 3. Illustration showing sickles from 'Labours of the months' MS (BL Cotton Julius A. vi - August)

Where it is not possible to use exact copies because no archaeological finds have been made, but where the tools are known to have existed through other evidence such as depictions in manuscripts, vintage tools are used. These include bills, sickles.

The tools used for the ground work were spades and mattocks. Evidence for both of these comes from manuscripts and archaeological finds, particularly from York (see Wood and Woodworking in Anglo-Scandinavian and Medieval York by Carole Morris). The spades could also have an iron 'shoe' on the cutting edge, although they work well without it even in our heavy clay soil.

Manuscript evidence for spades

Manuscript evidence for spades and mattocks - 'Labours of the months' MS (BL Cotton Tiberius B. v - March)



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