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Making the Runes

Since I use the 24 set of Elder Futhark runes, I will deal with measurements relating to this set. If you use any of the other forms adjust the measurements accordingly. Also, if you are using bone, remember that it may be hard to get exact widths and thicknesses and you may have to use smaller sizes.

My personal rune set is made from oak, and they measure 1 1/2" long, 1" wide, 1/2" thick. You would need to get some moulding strips that are at least 42" long as I always like to have some extra in case I make a mistake. With a 42" strip you would have 28 pieces.

Click here to see my personal rune set.

Measure 1 1/2" long pieces and mark straight lines across the wood with a pencil.

Using a hacksaw cut across these lines as straight as possible to keep the ends even.

When you have all your pieces cut, then you will want to even the ends if neccessary by laying a piece of 150 grit sandpaper on a flat surface and rub the ends back and forth, following the grain of the wood, until the ends are even.

After the ends are even I like to round off the ends slightly on the edges to give it a smooth feel, using either sandpaper or a needle file. I also do this on the long edges of the rune so it doesn't feel too sharp.

Sand smooth the pieces on all the flat sides starting with 150 grit, then 400 grit, 600 grit, and last using the 1500 grit. Remember sand in the direction of the grain.

After you are done sanding, you can now carve or burn the rune symbols on the wood. Use a pencil to draw the rune on the wood, then you can carve using a knife or a pointed needle file. Work slowly and carefully to avoid slipping and gouging outside the symbol or on your flesh. If you use a woodburner, again work slowly and carefully.

When you have the runes on the wood, sand using 1500 grit again being careful to not sand the symbol out.

Now you are ready to stain or color the wood.

I prefer to use an oil wood stain as it leaves a nice silky finish and is easy to use. these stains come in a variety of colors. Follow the manufacturers directions in using oil stains. If you don't want to stain them you can use a varnish to protect the wood. After I stain the wood or even if I don't stain I like to take a cake of bees wax and rub it on the wood and work it in with my fingers. I like the feel this gives the wood.

If you made your runes from bone you can use a wood oil stain or soak them in coffee or tea which gives them some interesting finishes.

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