2024-05-13 – Mastermyr Chest Build – Three Class Series



  • Part 1: Constructing the Chest with Viking Age Woodworking Techniques,
         May 13-15 (9:00 am-5:00 pm CT)
  • Part 2: Forging Straps, Hinges, Hasps, and Nails, May 16-19 (9:00 am-5:00 pm CT)
  • Part 3: Making the Lock, May 20-24 (9:00 am-5:00 pm CT)


Derek Olson, Paul Nyborg, Tom Latané


This is an in-person class held off-site at Tunnel Mill Forge in Spring Valley, MN. 


This three-part class (with three instructors) will concentrate as much as possible on material manipulation practices appropriate to the Viking age. The first session will be three days constructing the wooden chest with Derek Olson. Students will plane boards from oak pieces rived from the log. Joinery will be mortise and tenon and lap joints, secured with rived and whittled pegs. The crowned lid will be carved on the underside to form a hollow to reduce weight and create a pleasing form. The chest will not be permanently assembled until the hardware is done.

Hardware will be sized to fit the woodwork, the form of which will depend on the log and the skill of each student. This approach is in the spirit of early work, which is our goal, more than creating an exact reproduction of a single archaeological find.

The next session, four days with Paul Nyborg, will involve forging the hinges and hasps that are joined to the top strap fitted to the chest lid. Nails for securing the hardware will also be forged. Though the material used will be mild steel, it will be treated as though it were wrought iron – holes near the ends of the straps will be formed by welding the material back upon itself. All sections will be fully hammered to size.

The lock and key will be forged over the last five days with Tom Latane. To be sure that all material is hand hammered, the starting stock for the lock plate will be too thick and too narrow. The bow of the key will be formed by turning the worked piece back upon itself and welding near the bit. The spring will be forged, hardened, and tempered. Openings for the hasp staples will be determined by the fit of the hasps on the chest. Nails made in the previous session will be used to fasten the lock plate to the front of the chest (which will be carved out to receive the lock parts on the back of the plate). Some details of the lock will be the result of conjecture, because of damage to the original and lack of the lock's key.

Any students wishing to use wrought iron to make some, or all of the parts, are welcome to bring material to try. Some experience with forge welding would be helpful. Though an historic approach will be demonstrated, students may substitute modern methods where time or lack of experience make substitution appealing.

Priority will be given to the registration of students taking all three sessions. Those wishing to take one or two sessions may sign up and wait to see if there is space remaining shortly before the class is held.


Level of Experience:

Some experience with woodworking and forge welding would be helpful. Students with advanced woodworking skills but no prior experience forging are also welcomed.


Click here to view the list of tools and materials needed for the forging straps, hinges, hasps, and nails portion of class.

Click here to view the list of tools and materials needed for the lock portion of the class.

A list of supplies and tools for the woodworking section will be provided to participants prior to the start of class.

There will be a materials fee paid directly to the instructors, and the cost of coal paid directly to Tunnel Mill. For students who are interested in providing their own wood or metal, the materials fee will be lower. Information about the requirements for wood and metal will be shared along with the supply list.

Housing and Meals:

Low cost on-site housing and meals can be arranged directly through Tunnel Mill. Please email folkartschool@vesterheim.org for contact information.

Enrollment Deadline: 

Enrollment for the three-class series closes on April 15, 2024. Remaining spaces will be made available to students interested in registering for individual sessions.


Click here to learn more about instructor Derek Olson.

Click here to learn more about instructor Paul Nyborg.

Click here to learn more about instructor Tom Latané.



Please read our COVID-19 Policies here.

Tuition :
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