Gotland Knife Sheath

The goal of this project was to create a reconstruction of a knife based on the grave finds in Gotland Sweden. These decorated knives were used in the 7th-8th century Vendel period and were transitioning out of use by the Viking age.

Gotland Knife Sheath

I did not produce the blade of this knife but I built the knife handle and sheath from scratch.

The handle itself was created by fitting alternating rings of bronze, oak, and leather to create an oval grip around the tang. This is consistent with the existing grave finds and there is speculation that these techniques were used for aesthetic reasons since many sheathes did not cover the full handle.

Handle Rough Cut Fitting and Gluing Finished Handle
Rough Handle Fitting and Gluing Finished Handle

The sheath itself was made by wet forming the leather around the finished blade/handle and then creating punched bronze decorations. The bronze is thin enough to bend with light tools and a pair of pliers. The punches were made by filing and drilling a set of existing tools to match the geometric shapes found in some of the grave finds. The punches were then used to stamp patterns into the bronze sheets which were then attached to the sheath using copper rivets.

Making Bronze Stamps Bronze Shaping Sample Bronze Decorations
Making Stamps Bronze Shaping Sample Bronze


  • Vlasaty T. (2020). The Evolution of Scandinavian Long Knives Project Furlog
  • Carlsson D. (2003). Viking Knives from the island of Gotland, Sweden (link to Article on