Friday, January 09, 2015

One Genuine Inauthentic Awesome Viking Tent

In my research for this {most anticipated post} I discovered an early account of Viking history, told here at Chickenblog, in 2007. Apparently our affinity for Viking culture goes back a bit further than our visit to the Viking Festival, last September. Anyway, today I am going to share the full scoop on our very own, still in development, genuine and inauthentic Van Viking tent. We fell in love with the small village of tents, crafts and trades that we discovered at a local Viking Festival, and by the time we were planning our Solstice party, and thinking about Christmas gifts, and activities, we became even more enamored of the idea of making a tent of our own, and enjoying some of the more festive, and loosely related cultural interests of ancient peoples who explored, built, crafted, ate, slept, and hung out, in and around Viking lands, which as it turns out is a very broad geographic and aesthetic swath of the planet. {Whoa, that was a long sentence. Almost lost my way, there.} So, yeah. We totally got stoked to design, build, and party in our own Viking Van Viking tent!

Our tent is inspired by Alex's extensive research into Viking tents and lodges, and by what we saw at the Festival. Then, Alex and I looked into available resources at the local hardware store, and ran our initial ideas by Geoff. Geoff loves aluminum... he can weld it, and it's strong, and since we were leaning toward something big. Big. We figured that a fifteen foot wood ridge beam would be very, very heavy, and possibly flex too much, so Geoff proposed an aluminum ridge.


Canvas: Two 12' x 15' canvas pieces from the paint department. {These are actually smaller than said "12 x 15", which is something we are trying to trouble shoot, now. Though smaller than advertised, they are still massively heavy and were quite a handful to sew together.} I sewed canvas strips to make ties, and hand sewed those around the tent canvas.

Wood: We employed four 2" x 8" pieces, 14' long, for the A-frame. Geoff and Alex designed dragon wings at the peaks, which will later be carved for detail. At the base sides of the tent floor there are two pieces of 2" x 4".

The pole is 1/8" wall, 6061 aluminum, and 15' long. Geoff made end caps, and added 6" x 1/2" galvanized steel bolts threaded into the caps. These are to attach the wood A-frame pieces.

Rope: 3/4" natural fiber. It's there to maintain tension in the frame to keep it from flexing.

We still need to make and add canvas doors, and this will include extending the length of the canvas, since it's at least six inches shorter than we anticipated. Also, to go with the dragon wings, Alex is carving dragon heads that will fit over the bolts at the peak of the tent... like a figurehead on a ship. And we are also developing a forge, making more wooden swords, and shields, we want to make those sturdy Viking chairs, and a long boat, maybe get some sheep and start spinning wool. Basic stuff like that.

When things didn't go as we had hoped for Solistice, we were disappointed, but not defeated. More slowly, with less pressure to meet a deadline, we rallied to get the tent standing in time for our Christmas celebration. And after exchanging gifts, and enjoying a happy morning around the Christmas tree, we shifted our activities outside... we made waffles outdoors, played games, and raised the Van Viking tent for more holiday fun!

The first night it was up, we had a Swedish-Viking-ish dinner... with meatballs, and veggie-not-meatballs, Irish soda bread, roasted cabbage, salad, steamed potatoes, and lingonberry sauce. Then we hunkered together in the dark, and watched The Hobbit. Outside is such a marvelous place to watch a Tolkien adventure unfold. It was so flippin' awesome, and cold, and dark, and cozy, and awesome. For my birthday, Alex, Max and Maria presented me with my very own shield/serving tray... Alex took Maria's chicken sketch, and used it for inspiration for this gorgeous fat hen. Max helped with chiseling, and Alex finished the dear with paint! We've had naps, games, breakfast, lunches, talks, visits, all in the Van Viking tent, and more ideas and plans keep popping into our heads.

The best thing about a tent, or a fort, a tree house, sandcastle, or an idea... ? Sharing it with friends. I would like to thank Sweet Life Farm, and My Home Among the Hills, and Come Away With Me, blogging friends, all, for kindly taking my hints, and nudging me to share.


warren said...

I am so glad you did share! This was even cooler than I expected! And based on your history, I expect quite a lot! I am also so envious of your being outside in shorts around Christmas! It is going to be 6 degrees out tonight around here...I somewhat feel like a viking...mainly that I need a beard and a fur robe and more blankets on my bed!

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

Wow, that is quite a project and you are all so creative! And it gives one a new appreciation for all those tent dwellers out there who carry their homes about with them, like the Bedouin in the Middle East and those indigenous people who dwell in the frozen northeastern Steppes of Russia in their hide and fur tents. Thank you for sharing your adventure. I love that serving tray they made for you too. Those Viking chairs are awesome, and I look forward to seeing what you all come up with for your own chairs!

nikkipolani said...

A brilliant start to the year! I love it that you all researched and worked together on this impressive project. Happy 2015 to all of you.

Anonymous said...

Oh. My. Goodness!!! That is quite an undertaking. What Warren ^ said, soooo much cooler that I anticipated. I want to eat with you in that tent. I have not one iota of Viking blood in me, but I am quite zaftig, so I think I could totally rock a Viking lady warrior costume. Great choice of movie for your outdoor movie theatre. I got the latest Hobbit movies for the two oldest grandsons for Christmas. If it wasn't currently hovering in the single digits here, I would set up an outdoor theatre. Maybe this summer, near the fire pit.

Wow! I'm just so impressed with your family's ingenuity, and the execution of your plan thus far. I can't imagine sewing those big chunks of canvas. I'm surprised your sewing machine survived it. That would be upsetting to me that the stated measurements were off by so much. Although it might give you a nice air conditioning effect in the summertime.

Please keep us posted on any updates to this wonderful project! I love it!!!

Anonymous said...

This is so great! And I love that I can see it for myself too!

Alicia said...


viking said...

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