The Hárbarðr / Hrafn Casket


Feb 10, 2016
Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
Archeology tells us they had sheep, goats, cows, horses, all these produce milk suitable for good cheeses.

In Norway they still do a cheese called Gammel Ost (’old cheese’ ) that is said to go back to Norse times.
Crumbly, dryish, slightly acidic / ammoniac-ey ( if aged a bit longer in the pantry, which I do)

As good customs die slowly, if the Norse habits were similar to the 1300-1400 habits, yes, they had cheese.
Dry bread, dry cod, dry meat, salted, insalted, smoked, water, maybe mead, butter. Apples.
They could fish for fresh fish. I am not aware of cooking posdibilitirs on their ships, but everything above can be eaten without cooking.

Fish is nice raw.
Dry codfish is superb beaten soft. Still eaten today as a snack.
The visiting German Armed Forces tourists called the dry cod ’ Lofoten Kaugummi’, translated Lofoten Chewing gum.

See Creamed Cod Roe similar to Marmite. Disgusting unless you tasted it first through the breastmilk!

I am sure they also had a food made by boiling fresh Cods Roe in salt water, boiling/ melting Cods Livers and mixing it. Stores very well, nutritious.

Still eaten. Wife had it for the first time this March. She is a fussy eater, like all women seems to be these times, and loved it.


I used to enjoy Lofoten Kaugummi, haven't the teeth for it anymore though. Our dog would do anything for it.

It seem that only the very old and the very young drank milk, the rest of it was used for butter, cheese and perhaps yogurt. Butter churns and cheese moulds have been found in the archaeology of the time.


Full Member
Jan 10, 2006
I have had Bombay duck which is very stinky and an Aqquired Taste....If stockfish was a bit milder no doubt it would be quite enticing.

(Our nations love afair with Cod goes a long way back, We discovered the Grand Banks long before Cabot, who came from Bristol where the fishermen were, ever did).



Well after more delays and distractions than I can shake a stick at, I finally got around to starting the carving work.

The background was roughed out with a router before beginning the manual sculpting of the ravens with a chisel. The other end is more or less the same at this point.

There is still a lot of work to do of course but it will have to fit in between school bookings which are picking up again after a quiet start to the year.



A fair bit still to do but nearer to finished than started now I reckon.

All properly pegged with oak pins now, the ironwork is riveted on and I'm starting to get my head back to where it needs to be for carving the details.

I've just been given a long holiday by the government closing all the schools because of the Corona virus.

Not really unexpected but falling at an unfortunate time for us as the next couple of months are the time we usually build up some funds to see us over the long summer holidays.

Still, we are a lot better placed to weather this storm than many so no complaints and time to finish some of the projects I've had on the back boiler for a while.
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Jan 21, 2005
S. Lanarkshire
That looks superb :) It looks real, it looks right :cool: and as it ages it's just going to get better and even more 'authentic' too.

Your work is always inspirational, Gary, and this piece is another one that gives folks ideas.

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I will give it a dose of oil and tar like I did on the Wayland Kista when it's all done. That certainly weathers it in.

I'm giving it a good coat of Lookinat before I do much more carving. I'm trying to decide how to treat the wings and tail feathers.
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Almost done now.

After a few experiments, I found a combination of stains and waxes that produces a similar finish to the tar and oil I used for the Wayland Kista.

The advantage is that it is a lot faster and quite a bit cleaner to use. ( The tar remained sticky for a considerable period of time. )

This is the casket after its first coat of stain ( Walnut )
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