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The Wayland Casket.
Making a Reliquary / Treasure chest
for the Beowulf Codex
4th May 2021
I have been thinking for a while about how to transport and store the Beowulf Codex. It needs to be looked after and throwing it in and out of chests and boxes will inevitably lead to damage and decline.
I decided to combine that thought with another project idea that has been rattling around in the back of my mind. Making a reliquary style casket.
I had some oak lying around in the workshop that is just right for the carcass and I went for a simple construction method using pinned tabs that was widely used in the early medieval period.
The top section will lift off to reveal the Codex
When the Codex is removed it reveals compartments below that I can store and transport a few other little treasures like the Whitby Brooch that I made a while back.
I haven’t decided on the decoration I will add to the outside of the box yet. It will probably be a combination of carving and metalwork but this will be my next project for living history demonstrations.
I’ve added a few edge straps and a coat or two of oil to give it a more finished look.
There is still a lot more to do but it makes it into a usable box for the time being.
Time to get on with this as the Codex is nearing completion.
I decided that as it was usually going to be transported in the Wayland Kista, it made sense to continue with the same theme.
There is a gilded bronze winged figure that was found at Uppåkra which is thought to be Wayland in his winged form escaping from his enemy.
I have for some time thought that would make an interesting subject for a wood carving so I decided to try my hand here.
I started by adding an oak plate, roughly cut to shape and then pegged and glued to the lid of the box.
Once the main shape had been laid out the next job was to mark out the crossover points so that they would not get confused when the deeper carving started.
Then I added some stop cuts around key details that needed to remain high before doing some basic modelling to bring out the form a bit better.
29th June 2022
I’ve been adding some of the priciple lines this morning and the sun has comeout after a shower of rain so I thought I’d put up a progress picture while the light is good.
Sometimes it is important to know when to stop and I think I’ve reached that point this afternoon.
I’ve not included all the detail from the original find because I think it risks making the figure more confusing. As it is I think the separation between the figure and the flying apparatus is clearer.
I’ll give it a few coats of “lookinat” before I stain and wax it but I think it’s pretty well there now.
2nd July 2022
Here is the carving oiled and waxed.
The wax does help pick out the carving a bit and gives it a bit more of a worn in look.
This is the whole Casket then. I may do more to it later but I want to live with it for a while before I decide what it needs.
As you may be able to see, I’ve lined the inside with some rich red wool. The Beowulf Codex will sit safely on the top, under the lid, when it is finished.