How to Make a Norse A-frame Tent

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The Norse A-frame tent is a re-creation of the type of shelter used by the Vikings on their expeditions. The warriors required something that took up little space on their longships, could be erected and dismantled easily and would offer protection against all kinds of weather. The construction gives a secure shelter that can be put up or taken down in minutes.

Items you will need

  • 1-by-8-inch lumber

  • Wooden pole, 2 inches diameter

  • Tape measure

  • Pencil

  • Saw

  • Drill

  • Bolts

  • 16 yards heavy material, such as canvas

  • Rope

  • Metal stakes

  • Hammer

  • Punch

  • Grommets

  • Twine

Making The Tent

Step 1

Cut the lumber to four 10-foot lengths. At one end of each board measure down 7 ½ inches. Then establish the center of the board width. Mark this point on each board and drill a hole through.

Step 2

Push a bolt through the hole on one board. Add a washer to the thread and push through the second board. Add another washer and then tighten a nut on the end of the bolt. Repeat with another bolt on the other two pieces.

Step 3

Cut two pieces of canvas, each 10 feet 6 inches by 5 feet 6 inches. Sew together on the long side using a sewing machine and making a double seam. Measure down 3 inches from this seam and sew along the length of the fabric with another double seam. Turn the edges of the material in 1/2 inch on all sides and sew to make a hem. Lay the canvas flat. Push holes through the hemmed edges of the canvas at 6-inch intervals along the long sides of the tent and fit metal grommets in place.

Step 4

On another piece of canvas, measure and mark two right-angled triangles. The short side should measure 49 inches and the long side 85 inches. Fold over 1 inch on all sides and sew a hem. Repeat the process to make three more triangles all the same size; these will be the tent flaps.

Step 5

Lay out the triangles so the long edges of each are against the edges of the large piece of canvas where it extends from the center seam. Sew the triangles to the large canvas.

Erecting The Tent

Step 1

Open the bolted pieces of wood to make a triangle with the bottom points 8 feet apart and set the pieces 10 feet away from each other. Cut the wooden pole to 10 feet 6 inches in length and slide through the stitched pocket in the canvas. Lift the pole and tent (with a helper), so each ends of the pole rests in the X created when the bolted poles were opened.

Step 2

Take two 15-foot lengths of rope and knot each end into a small loop. Fold one rope lengthwise and loop over the X of one end of the tent. Extend the rope in a V shape and hammer a stake into the loop on each end. Repeat the process at the other end of the tent with the other rope, adjusting the tension at each end until the tent is secure.

Step 3

Pull on the canvas until it’s taut and hammer stakes through the grommets.

Step 4

Make holes and insert grommets every 6 inches on the straight edge of each end flap. Thread twine through the holes to close the tent.