So last December I decided I needed a new project, since I obviously didn’t have enough to keep me busy. Given my interest in bushcraft and history, specifically Scandinavian history, I decided to build a Viking knife.

First stop was research, which led me to Helle Knives, a company in Norway that has been making knives since 1932. They also sell kits with the component parts that allow you to craft your own, including the leather for making a sheath.

I tracked down a distributor in Canada, Canadian Outdoor Equipment, located in Port Credit, and placed an order for the Helle Harding Kit.

I was pleasantly surprised when the kit arrived within a couple of days, nicely packaged in a cardboard tube reminiscent of a high-end bottle of scotch. I eagerly opened the kit to examine the contents.

Kit

They included everything I would need for my build; the rat-tailed tang blade, hardware, leather for the sheath, and a nice block of curly birch for the handle.

This last was the most daunting part of the kit because my previous experiences with woodworking date back to junior high shop class and a not very inspiring chunk of pine with holes drilled in it that I convinced people was a pencil holder.

First job was to mark up the block and start drilling and filing to fit the tang to the wood block, with room for epoxy to secure the blade.

The drilling and filing literally took hours, spread over many weekends, as I was extremely paranoid about making the slot too big and having too much slop around the tang. But finally it was done.

One small trick I learned online was to grind small notches into the tang in order to give the epoxy some extra grip.

Notched Tang

Finally time for gluing. I mixed up the epoxy and filled the cavity in the block of birch, placed the blade and clamped it, using a small chunk of wood to protect the tip of the blade (and my clamp).

Clamped

After allowing the epoxy to cure for a week I started shaping the handle today.

More to follow!

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