After constructing Bucket I, we were determined that a second attempt would have to be made using sturdier materials. Even though we started the second round of buckets using sheet brass for hoops and uprights, we abandoned the idea and switched over to copper as it was stronger and able to take the heat better than the brass. Power tools made the process much faster and a little more enjoyable. Having a friend join us made the process even more fun.
The buckets are based on this amazing book: Early Anglo-Saxon Buckets by Jean M. Cook ISBN 0-947816-64-X. Penda busied himself in the workshop cutting up an ash plank to make the staves and bottoms of the buckets producing bucket “kits.” The plainer came in quite handy for getting the staves and bucket bottoms to a relatively uniform thickness. A close-up of the bucket staves and bottom. Have to say that it was really great not to have to angle the staves individually as we did for the first bucket. Penda ripped the pieces on the table saw first before cutting them to length. Next, Penda made up the rivets, according to the description given in “Early Anglo-Saxon Buckets” by Jean M Cook. The rivet heads were easily dished using a piece of scrap spruce, some sheet copper, and a punch. Next, Penda soldered the copper wire, bent to form the split pins, to the hammered heads of the rivets. This photo better shows the process and some of the finished split pin rivets. Some of the rivets needing tigying up. Lots and lots of rivets… Here, as you can see, we used duct tape to hold the pieces together tight around the bottom of the bucket. What isn’t shown is the narrow groove, probably about 7mm wide and only 2 to 3mm deep for the bucket bottom to fit into. Also shown is the bucket book open to the page we used to figure out how to put the buckets together. Here we are enjoying how quickly the buckets can be put together using the duct tape to hold things all together to prepare for the next step. After experimenting with some very thin brass pieces, we decided that for a more sturdy bucket, we would flatten out some copper pipe. After cutting the copper pipe down one side of the middle, Penda pulled the copper as close to flat as he could. Pulling the pipe apart was a little time consuming but worth the effort. He then hammered the pipe flat. We all took our sections of copper and hammered them flat, ready to make the copper hoops and upright supports for each of our buckets. The hoops were heated in the woodstove, expanding the metal, allowing us room to wiggle the band onto the bucket, starting with the bottom band. This hoop in this photo is brass, however, after some experimenting, we replaced the brass with copper hoops. Much stronger and took the heat better. Some persuasion with gloves and a hammer got the bands on nice and tight. We had to be careful not to heat the bands so much that they would end up burning the wood. We used a power drill to put holes in through the copper hoops, uprights and staves. The rivets would then be pushed through and bent to ultimately hold the bucket together. This photo shows Mjoll carefully drilling through all of the layers of the bucket. Once the rivets were in place, we used needle nose pliers to turn the copper pins in a way that tightened the rivets, holding all of the bucket pieces together. This photo shows how we tightened the copper wire rivets. Penda cut a piece of copper wide enough to wrap over the top of the bucket which better held the bucket staves in place. Penda measuring the length of the copper handle before riveting it in place. Here we can see how the pins of the rivets are curled to hold the hoops and uprights tight to the staves. This photo shows the bottom of the bucket, roughly 16mm in diameter, and about 7mm in depth from the base of the staves. The solid bottom of the bucket is tucked into the 2 to 3mm grove carved into the staves. Penda’s bucket finished with a folded copper handle. Mjoll, Penda, and me, Sibylla. Our stack of buckets. Mjoll and I (Sibylla) added our handles at a later date. My bucket finished with contents. Some of the buckets found in graves held items such as glass beads, needles, spun thread and bits of wool, small metal rings, pins, brooches needing repairs, personal items and so on. Here I have a knife, spoon, an unfinished spindle whorl, antler needle, wooden bed peg, some trinkets, and the linen polishing cloth I used to rub some beeswax and olive oil into the wood.