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Tent Pegs

EvidencePatternPolesPegsSeams

Simple wooden tent pegs

We know of no existing viking or saxon tent pegs so what follows is merely a suggestion for a plausible tent peg that will work and not look out of place. Commercially available wooden tent pegs are usually made by cutting from a plank with a jigsaw, and not only look wrong, but don't tend to work as well as handmade pegs.

Tent Pegs

Start with some logs from a freshly felled tree. We use birch because there is a lot of it locally, birch trees often fall down in high winds, and the landowners are usually more than happy for us to get rid of the wood for them. Your logs should be about 15cm thick and a little longer than the length you wish your peg to be. They will be easier to work if the wood is green - still full of sap. Split the log to get 6 or 8 staves. The outside of the tree will become the back of the peg. Using a small axe or hatchet you should be able to fairly quickly form a point with a sharp edge running up the inside of the peg (the side that was towards the centre of the tree). The hook is again easily formed with the axe. Remove the top corner of the hook so that when the peg is driven in with a mallet you will not strike the hook and split it away from the peg. Finish the peg with a stout knife, and if possible leave to season for at least a few weeks (preferably 3 or 4 months) - If the wood is too green your pegs will take a lot of damage when used - If the wood is well seasoned it will cope with even the worst stony fields. Always use a wooden mallet to drive pegs; metal hammers will damage them.

Pegs should be stored in a strong canvas sack, not a plastic bag, to prevent them rotting. Make some spare pegs, and carry at least one spare mallet.