Being bored the summer before last, I decided learning runes would be a pleasant way to waste my time. I had already dabbled a bit in stone carving, so I decided I’d carve a runestone of my own. Finding a good rock took a long while, in the end I decided to use one in the garden. It’s not perfect, but good enough.
I started by marking the basic shape in charcoal, then making it more permanent by way of chiselling. This was quite easy and only took a few hours. Since then, I have been deepening the groves all the way around so they will still be visible a hundred years from now. This is the bit that takes time, and it’s not until this summer I’ve finished (though truth be told, I didn’t work very hard last summer).
Deciding exactly what to write has taken quite a long time, and although I had the basic concept ready in my head over a year ago, the exact words and their order required quite a bit of planning. After all, once they are carved it will be hard to change them, and as I want the stone to look good there should be no empty spaces and the entire text should fit within the lindworm – I’d rather not have to do as some of the ancient rune carvers had to, adding an extra tail or just putting the overflowing runes outside the lindworm. I’m fairly sure of the text now, which is a good thing seeing as I chiselled the first rune on the 19th July!
Since then, I’ve chiselled in a couple of runes every day, marking them in charcoal first, and then comes the process of deepening the grooves… With any luck, I wont have it crack in the wrong place too many times. Progress so far:
I’m using a modified version of the FuÞork (medieval runes) updated slightly to fit modern Swedish. Anyone who can read the unmodified Futhork should have no trouble reading what’s written with my version of it. The main features are:
- Using the Þ-rune for D-sounds in addition to Th and Dh, seeing as the latter two are very rarely used in modern Swedish. It’s a pretty rune and it was already used for Dh in the younger FuÞark, so using it for D is not much of a stretch.
- Using a dotted F-rune for V rather than a U-rune because the sound is closer to F than U (additionally, it looks awesome!). This is not new, but uncommon.
- Use of bindrunes (combined runes) to simulate the Å and Ö sounds. My Å is made up of AU and the Ö is made from EU – far from perfect, but close enough. As far as my AU-bindrune goes, this is not far from how it was originally; the ancient word for ‘and’ is frequently used on runestones and spelled AUK (although to my knowledge not bound together). I spell it the same way on my runestone, because the modern Swedish word for ‘and’ is och (pronounced ÅKK). It saves quite a bit of room, for ‘and’ is as common now as it was then.
- The -rune is used for words ending with ER in place of both runes. Again, it’s a nice-looking rune and that way I can use it occasionally. It does not save much room, however.