top of page

The Bearded Bone Carver

Hello my name is Úlfr, It is an Old Norse name meaning the Wolf.  
I seek to portray in my reenactment, a trader who travelled and settled in England, whose profession was bone, antler, and horn work. Comb making is my main interest. Like the comb I made in this photo, it is an exact copy of one found at Hedeby, a Norse trading town in Old Denmark.
The average comb takes about a week and a half to produce so it's quite an investment. But I do whatever I can to keep the wolves from the door, so you will find an assortment of things, made by me, on show at #BoyneValleyVikingExperience.
Since I was a little boy, I have always enjoyed history. Anything to do with Castles, pirates and Vikings was a certain hit with me. As a teenager I was a keen coin collector.
I seek to do historically correct copies wherever possible, or things that are inspired by historical finds, like this 'viking era' Runic healing charm pendant which I made for myself and is based upon the actual pendant that was found in Sigtuna Uppland Sweden.
I try to keep some of the original rune carvers’ mistakes, like the first ᛋ sól rune, which is carved backwards by mistake! I have used the current academic thinking to reproduce parts of it where it is not possible to say for certain what the original runes were.
The original has a mixture of runic letters, and space saving 'short twig' runic letters, because the person carving it was running out of space. Fortunately, I was able to do the whole thing, more or less, without having to resort to using short twig. If you are intrigued to know what this healing charm says why not look for me and ask when you visit #BoyneValleyVikingExperience
This love of historical research and my love of coins led me to an interesting link between Dublin and York. We can learn a lot of history from the coins they made. One such coin is the silver penny minted by King Amlaíb Cuarán (Olaf Sigtryggsson) in York, during his first reign, c. 941-944/5. Amlaíb Cuarán was both King of Dublin and also King of York.

What is interesting about this coin is the detail on it. It has a triquetra on one side and a triangular banner with a cross on the other side. There seems to have been a link between a banner, and a weather vane, seeing as they both have a the same shape and design. Interestingly the gold plated weather vane on a dragon ship was seen as the property of the owner of the ship. Was a banner just a different way of showing that the warriors were at the behest of the ship owner, in other words some rich jarl that was financing this raid?
Metal detecting, for better or worse, has thrown up a lot of interesting finds. One such find, made in Randers region Jutland, Denmark in 2022 was a cloak pin head that is almost identical to the banner on the silver penny.
So, some Jarl had this as a status symbol on his cloak. Effectually saying, 'I am so important I own my own Dragon warship and pay for the private army on it as well!' So, you had better not mess around with me or you will end up with an axe in your forehead!
Metal was more expensive, not all cloak pins were made of metal, in fact a great majority of weather vane cloak pins that have been found are also made from bone. I made for myself a bone cloak pin in the stye of the Jutland find.

If you are interested in finding out more about how I made this cloak pin from bone, or anything else that I have made please do come and ask at #BoyneValleyVikingExperience. I have all sorts of other interesting things from Antler, garden tools, to bone ice skates, and many things in between. Looking forward to seeing you at #BoyneValleyVikingExperience

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page