Posament Materials Requirements

How much tenntråd do I need to make that?

How much material is needed to create a particular length or size of posament is one of the most common questions asked in posament reconstruction. Below are experimentally determined ratios for calculating the amounts you will need.

Caveats to the calculations:

  • 1) The multiplier works in any unit (centimeters, inches, miles), but the excess recommendation would need to be converted from centimeters.
  • 2) All these experimental example posaments are woven fairly tightly. Variations in weaving density may change the amounts needed. Please refer to the images for an approximation of how tightly to weave the posaments to receive similar results.
  • 3) Because the line that goes around the outside of each knot takes a little bit more material than the inside line, you need an asymmetric amount for each line on the knots. You may want to start with a little extra on the outside line. The braids are an exception; they should be relatively balanced and can be worked with even lengths.
  • 4) These calculations only cover the spiral posaments at present. The drawn wire posaments should be added soon.
  • 5) These calculations are based on using the commercially available tenntråd in the 0.25, 0.3, and 0.35 sizes. Results may differ when using other sizes or handmade tenntråd. These sizes were chosen because they most closely match the diameters of spiral wire seen in the Birka examples. However, if one wanted to expand these calculations to other sizes of spiral wire (commercial or handmade), the percent difference calculations form the Posament Reconstructions page could be cautiously used to provide an estimate.

Key to Data Tables:

  • Posament number: Number assigned in Birka III for this pattern.
  • Tenntråd Size: Gauge of wire used in the experimental example.
  • Amount of Tenntråd: Length of wire used to create the experimental example.
  • Length: Measured length of the experimental example.
  • Height: Measured height of the experimental example.
  • Width: Measured width of the experimental example.
  • Repeat Size: Average width of one unit of the posament pattern. This does not apply to braids.
  • Number of Repeats: Number of posament pattern units in the experimental example. This does not apply to braids.
  • Multiplier: Used to calculate the minimum amount of tenntråd needed to produce the desired length of posament. The desired final length is multiplied by this number.
  • Excess per Piece: the recommended amount of excess to be added to the total to allow for the length to comfortably knot all desired repeats.

Sample Calculation:

Tenntråd Required = (relevant Multiplier x desired length) + Excess

Example:
I want to make 20cm of P10 in 0.25 tenntråd.
From the table: P10 with 0.25 tenntråd = 16.7 multiplier and 8cm excess
(Multiplier x desired length) + Excess = (16.7 x 20cm)+8cm = 342cm
Minimum 342cm for this project!

Find the multipliers and the recommended excess from the data tables below!
Braids (P1, P2, and P3)
Bands (P9, P10, P12, P14, and P15)
Spangles (P16, P17, P18, P19, and P20)
Finials (P21 and P22)
Rings (P23, P24, and P26)

Data Tables

Braids
P1, P2, and P3

NumberTenntråd SizeAmount of Tenntråd (cm)Length (cm)Height (cm)Width (cm)MultiplierExcess
P10.2510013.20.3N/A7.65
P10.310013.70.4N/A7.35
P10.3510013.70.5N/A7.35
P20.251003.40.8N/A29.47
P20.310040.9N/A25.07
P20.351004.21.1N/A23.87
P30.2510014.50.25N/A6.95
P30.3100150.3N/A6.75
P30.3510014.50.4N/A6.95
P2: Amount of tenntråd needed may be overestimated for long pieces, due to the multiple ends. This construction is a correction from Birka III—the piece is SEVEN strands, not six as reported.

Bands
P9, P10, P12, P14, and P15

NumberTenntråd SizeAmount of Tenntråd (cm)Length (cm)Height (cm)Repeat Size (cm)Number of
Repeats
MultiplierExcess
P90.2510080.60.71112.59
P90.31008.50.70.81011.810
P90.351007.70.80.9813.013
P100.2510060.750.51216.78
P100.31005.70.90.551017.510
P100.351005.310.6818.913
P110.251004.51.51.1422.225
P110.31004.31.71.33.523.329
P110.351004.11.81.4324.433
P120.251006.30.70.42015.95
P120.31006.40.80.61815.66
P120.351006.20.90.71516.17
P130.251006.70.750.51414.97
P130.310070.80.61214.38
P130.3510070.90.61114.39
P140.2510050.90.7820.013
P140.3100510.8720.014
P140.351004.81.10.9620.817
P150.251005.50.90.75818.213
P150.31005.51.20.9718.214
P150.351005.51.316.518.215
P12: the core line is 6.5% of the overall tenntråd length.
P15: the core line is 6% of the overall tenntråd length.
P12 & P15: Repeats overlap, amount of overlap will influence amount of tenntråd needed.

Spangles
P17, P18, P19 and P20

NumberTenntråd SizeAmount of Tenntråd (cm)Height (cm)Width (cm)MultiplierExcess
P170.25120.60.8125
P170.313.50.70.913.55
P170.35160.81.1166
P180.25521.41.45221
P180.3571.61.65723
P180.35651.81.86526
P190.25230.91239
P190.3250.951.12510
P190.35271.11.252711
P200.25480.851.84811
P200.35512.55510
P200.35621.12.86212
If multiple spangles are being worked, it is possible to weave the knots so that the excess from one can be re-used in the subsequent spangles and less excess will be required.
P20: Height does not include joining knot, width is measured with the piece laid in a single layer, as displayed.

Finials
P21 and P22

NumberTenntråd SizeAmount of Tenntråd (cm)Height (cm)Width (cm)MultiplierExcessTenntråd in each component (cm)
P210.25300.90.93012Ring 18, Finial 12
P210.3361.21.33614Ring 22, Finial 14
P210.35421.81.64217Ring 26, Finial 16
P220.25461.51.54618Ring 18, Finial 28
P220.3501.71.75020Ring 21, Finial 29
P220.35571.91.85723Ring 26, Finial 31

Rings and Balls
P23, P24, and P26

NumberTenntråd SizeAmount of Tenntråd (cm)Length (cm)Height (cm)Width (cm)MultiplierExcess
P230.25140.50.50.3146
P230.3140.70.70.4146
P230.35150.750.750.6156
P240.25200.50.50.4208
P240.3230.80.80.5239
P240.3524110.62410
P260.25110.40.40.4114
P260.3120.50.50.5125
P260.35150.550.550.55156