Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Norse Lock - Construction

From the earlier post on this project, I had mentioned the problem with using internet sources as references.
The illustration sent me does not actually show an actual artifact, but is merely a drawing showing the working mechanism.
How were the artifacts actually constructed?

Remember the source artifact that I have detailed information on is one from Coppergate at York :
Click on image to see it as life sized

Clearing away the decorative elements, I made a direct tracing of the 'working' construction:
Click on image to see it as life sized
There is reference in the written description of this lock of bronze braising being used in the construction. This most certainly applies to the method that the various small forged iron wire decorative elements were attached to the outside of the case.
The combination of wall thickness and smaller circular diameters of both the main case body and the upper shackle tube would mean that these would not basically require any solid joint along their seams. These could of course also be bronze braised - but from the description if this was originally done is not clear. (A colour photo might show this - and examination of the actual artifact certainly would indicate it!)
It appears from the cross section that there is a short flat plate that links the shackle tube and the main case body. I would guess that this would be placed into the seam of the tube and case (although this is not indicated in the cross section drawing).

More importantly, the method of joining the end plates to the case body is seen as a cage made from a series of small square rods, basically working as long rivets along the side of the case.
Another possibility would be to braise the two end plates on to the case and tube. It would certainly be a lot easier to fix all those separate decorative elements in place using the bar/rivet method. (A Norse smith would have to heat the entire case in a fire to melt the bronze to braise attach those elements. Heating for one element might easily loosen some pieces already attached.)

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February 15 - May 15, 2012 : Supported by a Crafts Projects - Creation and Development Grant

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