And there was me hoping to emerge next season with a new tunic (with tablet woven cuffs and hem), a new pair of braccae, a new shield, and a new spear (based on aforementioned evidence that has come to light recently - see previous post.)
Well, I finally managed to find a Sunday when our good friend and smith Dave Budd was available (having been busy with events and teaching courses of his own lately), and I wasn't too hungover to get out to his woods at a decent time. A few months ago, while helping Dave clear some land we set aside a large alder log and a few smaller birch logs, with the aim of splitting them down to get shield boards out of them. Well, we got to work on the alder one!
Unfortunately, attempts (by myself, Dave would have got it right!) to split it down further didn't end up as well as hoped, so it was decided the rest would be done with adze and carving axe.
Alder is a wood frequently cited as being a traditional wood (certainly in Irish tradition) for shields, and certainly some of the Hjortspring shields were of alder. As a fairly lightweight wood comparable in stability and elasticity to lime wood, it certainly sounds ideal for the purpose!