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The Tools of Runecrafting

Updated: Nov 11, 2023

To make and carve a rune set or other runic artifact the old way, you really don’t need too much in the way of tools and supplies. Here we’ll go over the ones you do need and how you use them. I’ll also try to give you some idea where you can purchase them

The Seax

The Seax was the typical belt knife of the Norse people and was adopted by several other peoples as well. It was usually a rather large blade, too large for any kind of carving except roll-carving, the kind you would use carving a stick or staff. The design of it however, specifically the design of the point, is quite useful in carving on a flat object as long as it isn’t too large a knife and this design is used for many knives made for wood-carving.

woodcarving knife

For most carving, however, a more common woodcarving knife is better. These come in various size blades and handle styles. This type of knife fits nicely in the hand and the point of the blade projects directly into the object being carved. They are available at any woodworking website or hobby/art store and will cost between $15.00 and $25.00. If you are carving on a small object, I recommend that you use a clamp, vise grip pliers or other device to be certain that your hands don't get in the way.

The Ristir

There are times when you'll find it better to cut or carve your runes with a ristir, rather than try to carve them with the seax or woodcarving knife. Antler, bone, ceramics and such are quite hard to carve. A scratch awl makes a fine tool for this and runs about $4.00 or so. Get some medium grade sandpaper to remove the brand stamp. I prefer a wooden handled ristir to a plastic one, but it's your choice.

The Glodhker

Also known as a Fire Pot, this is a simple vessel to burn things, incense, offerings etc. A small iron cauldron works well, or you can use a ceramic vessel. Just make certain that it has a handle you can use once it gets hot. My friends over at Points of Light can hook you up with a choice of such vessels. If you don’t see one you like, give them a call and they can help you. You’ll also need some charcoal bricks (small round charcoals safe to burn indoors) for any incense you want to burn.

Adding a layer of cat litter, clean sand or dirt to the bottom of the Fire Pot will insulate the Pot from the coal and keep the Pot from either getting very hot or perhaps putting the coal out by absorbing all the heat from it. It would depend on the size of the Pot and how much heat it can hold.


The Galderstaffr is a tool used to load energy and purpose into your tool, as well as coloring it. It's often made from a piece of veneer wood or something like that. In loading, it isn't used as much like a brush but more like placing glue in a desired place. The illustration here shows a Galderstaffer with a series of kenaz runes. Traditionally, the coloring agent is red and was usually some form of blood. Today you can use a red paint instead, and if you want, add a drop of your blood to the paint. You simply scoop some of the paint up by the point of the galderstaffr and push it into the carved runes.

The Kelta

This is your ritual cup. Many choose to use an old-style drinking horn but I find that there is always the "how do I put this down and not spill everything" problem.

However, you can cut them down so that they will act as a regular cup, with a wooden disk in the bottom and sealed with beeswax (the old way) or 1 hour epoxy (my recommendation).

Or you can choose to use a more typical cup, as long as you can do some rune work on it. For those of you with an artistic bent, or just more ambitious, there's a company called "Color Me Mine" where you can pick out a greenware cup, paint and decorate as desired, and then they'll fire it for you. No doubt there are many ceramic shops that do this sort of thing and it would let you unleash all of your creativity on this tool.

The Gandr

This is your rune wand, the most versatile and most used tool in this path. It can be almost any type or size of wood, either dowel or cut branch. It is used to project power, load energy, direct energy, and about anything else of this nature. Birch, ash or oak are often used for this. Just remember that the wood you use will influence the temperament of the wand.

The possibilities are limitless.

This rune script is a very good one to carve on your gandr. It says: Ek Vitki Rist Runar followed by 8 Ansuz runes. Translated it means “I, the magician, carved the runes” with the 8 runes calling for the power and wisdom of Odhinn from the other 8 worlds. Of course, you can compose your own script as you like!

The Lagabok

This is your magical journal, the record of your dreams, your rituals, your experiences, your orlog and wyrd. A three-ring binder might do the basic job, but I'd like to encourage you to reach a little farther. Cover the notebook with a fabric or leather, use long Chicago type screws to make a Lagabok out of wood, make it unique and truly yours. Stretch out your creativity a bit, make it truly yours.

The Taufir

This is a pendent of your personal design, hung on a cord and worn around the neck at ritual. It is a symbol of the connection between the magician and the runes, and of course, the gods. It can be made from any natural material, most commonly wood or antler. You need to design it yourself, as it will be a symbol of only you. It’s common, but not necessary, to enclose this symbol in a rune ring like the one below.

These are the eight basic tools of the rune magician. Of course there are often others used in ritual or as part of an altar set. These may be a set of candle sticks, statuary or anything else you wish to use that is symbolic and magical to you. A good rule of thumb is “Does it make you feel magical?”

Thanks so much for reading this post, I hope you found it interesting. Please leave me a comment in the comment section if you have a question, an opinion, an observation or just wanted to say “Hi!” Remember, this is a community and we need input from as many as possible!

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Blessed Be

Sterling Knight


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