One of the most impressive Viking Age finds to date is the Mästermyr tool chest, an oak sea chest containing woodworking tools, blacksmithing tools, some unused stock and some finished products. This chest, discovered on the isle of Gotland in 1936, had belonged to a 10th century Swedish craftsman, who apparently was a skilled wood joiner as well as blacksmith. I will examine the chest’s contents in the future, but for now, let us begin with a closer look at the chest itself.
The chest is made of oak, joined with wooden pegs and featuring a pair of iron strap hinges and an iron hasp with a long lock plate along the upper portion of the front. The chest measures approximately 86cm long at the top and 88.5cm long at the base. Both the sides and the ends are slanted about 5°, making the base slightly larger than the top. The floor panel is joined to each end with a blind dado and a narrow through-tenon. The sides are fitted to the floor with a rabbeted bottom edge and attached to the ends with rabbet joints, overlapping the ends and reinforced with wooden pegs. I have not yet attempted to reconstruct this chest, but when I do, I will post a new article about my experiences with it. Meanwhile, I hope you will find some valuable information in the following linked articles:
- “A Replica Chest, Based on the Mästermyr Find” by Stephen Wyley
- “The Mästermyr Chest: First Hand Tool Project” by Wild Rose Woodcraft
- “The Mästermyr Chest: The Final Chapter” by Wild Rose Woodcraft