A MATTER OF PRACTICALITY
The Vikings were a practical sorts and used items that were readily available at the time in an immediate area. So when someone asks, what is the most appropriate wood to be used in Viking-Age projects—and how large should the artefacts be—one must respond, whatever he could get his hands on. Truthfully, the Vikings—in fact, all the Norse and virtually anyone else from the time—would use any wood that was available and make the object as large or as small as the wood would permit.
It obviously depends on what you are trying to do. Make an exact, museum-quality reproduction means that you are trying to duplicate the size, the composition and, yes, even the laws of the original. However, making a copy of an artefact, duplicating the spirit and the lines of the original but not making an exact copy is another matter. Certainly, making a six-inch Þorr’s hammer or a five-inch belt is out of line, but there is a wriggle room when you consider the size of various artefacts that have been found!
As long as the wood is not obviously something that was not obtainable, any wood used should be acceptable. After all, it is known that at the beginning of the Viking Age, drakkars were being constructed of oak, but several centauries later when oak was not as easily available, ships were made from pine, which was more readily available. Extant objects have been found to be constructed out of more than a single wood. This, I think, indicates that more than anything else, that making all of an artefact only of the one wood would be inappropriate unless you were making an extract museum-quality reproduction.
We do have a list of woods that were obtainable—and woods that were seen in extant artefacts—in the December 2011 installment of The Anglo-Scandinavian Chronicle. //
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