Thursday, August 23, 2012

8-16 and 8-24...Shop productivity continues

On August 16th we had a sizeable crew for spaghetti followed by Graine' assembling her first latigo vambrace with aluminum splints, Cameron making splints for his vambraces,Wolf working on his helm liner, Graine's friend whose name I've forgotten discussed armour plans, Deidre added many more rivets to her helm, Wyllow dyed her weaving samples, Belle worked on  documentation for her bardic entry for Laurel's prize, and several others worked on other projects.  I've lost track partly because I didn't ever bring out my camera and get pictures, so I have nothing to jar my memory.

Jackie and Gunna and Evie and Artorius all sang songs well into the evening with various others joining in as other projects allowed.  That was a first for Open Shop night and a very pleasant change of pace.  This was also Artorius' last Open Shop before he returns to UT Arlington for the  fall semester.

On August 23rd I took pictures!

Wylow made a delicious potato-leek-cabbage soup, and Deidre added some cheese biscuits and garlic lumpy bread.  Evie and Gunna and Abby brought cinnamon rolls to bake.

It was Abby's birthday so I gave her a set of pre-cut pieces for aluminum gauntlets and elbow cops.  One of the cops was already dished and she got a start on the second. Later on she and everyone else helped Belle with taste testing some throat-soothing drinks with rosemary, lemon, honey and other ingredients.

Meanwhile Gunna and Evie finished in the kitchen and come out to the livingroom to...plot a coup d'etat? Or maybe just read Facebook.
Colin evaded the camera but he stopped by to get some leather gluing advice and to drop off a generous donation of used and unused armour bits.

Troy came to his fist Open Shop night and completed an armour plan for a late 14th century knightly-class man at arms from southern Germany/northern Italy.  He then cut out several plates for his Wisby-style coat of plates.  I had some donated steel knees and elbows in the shop that would both fit him and be suitable for his portrayal, so I gave them to him.  It was his lucky night!

 Troy's mom dropped in to see what we were up to.  She is originally from Argentina and has childhood memories of carding and spinning wool on her grandfather's ranch.  Wyllow showed her some of the projects she has been working on. Then Wyllow got back to work preparing her display for Laurel's Prize Tourney.
Frosti stopped by to show us his new tunic and visit with folks.

Friday, August 10, 2012

8/9/12 - Irish night at the Open Shop

We started out with barley porridge, asparagus in rice brought by Deirdre and spicy pears in wine sauce made by Gunna and Evie.  (Pears in spicy wine sauce?)  Yummy food!  Jacki and Maelgwyn spent some time geeking out over Y Gododdin and parchment and letters from St. Patrick and other cool discussion topics, but then we all got to work.

First-time visitor Seanan (Shaw-non?) already has his armour together, so he helped out with war shield painting and joined in on the pell-work session later in the evening.

Grain'e made custom patterns for her vambraces and I cut them out for her out of roughly 6 oz. oil tanned leather.  (Note:  Grain'e made a donation to the shop fund for the leather and aluminum.  Yeah!)  These would be way too light if we weren't adding some serious aluminum splints to them.  We patterned and cut out some .125" thick 6061 T6 aluminum splints which will make these plenty rigid enough for spearwork.  Speaking of spearwork, Grain'e came out and worked with the spear while the rest of us were beating on the pell.  Seanan, Grain'e, St. Patrick ...was it Irish night and somebody forgot to tell me?

Dierdre (She's Norse-Irish, so that's...not really different at all)  had recently made some great Mongol-style fighting pants for Wolf and also a nice white under-tunic.  She helped a lot with the shield painting, trained at the pell, and then did some more shield painting.
But Wolf is a Mongol who would never ever have even visited Ireland!  He worked on stuffing the channels in his helm liner, did some pell work, and may have even snuck in some shield painting when I wasn't looking.  In the background Ben is working on his own helm liner, which is nearly finished.  Ben also come outside for pell work.
Wyllow mac Muiredaig is a Scot.  A descendant of the Dal Riada.  Who were basically an Irish tribe that settled in Caledonia and forgot to go home.  She worked on weaving hand-spun wool to make a test piece for experimenting with fulling methods/recipes, and helped others with their projects.
Jacki carded wool and spun some yarn while Evie watched and rested up from her cooking efforts.  In the background Belle was on her computer researching 12th century French music for her upcoming presentation at Laurel's Prize Tourney.
Gunna browsed through one of Wyllow's books on Roman cooking.  Will she get hooked and start putting garum in everything?  Only time will tell...
Frosti came out to visit with folks, do a little shield paining, enjoy some good food, and discuss next steps for his armour plan.  And that was enough for one night!

Friday, August 3, 2012

First Thursday in August - Period Cooking Night!

We got off to a great start with a slow-roasted chicken stuffed with venison sausage. As you can see, the photographer did not get there before the ravening horde, I mean, before the first diners started in on the chicken.

For a side dish we had the cabbage that was cooked with the chicken and more sausage, and a Roman sauce with tumeric and laser. On the table we had another Roman sauce with frutum and mustard seed. Both were excellent!

Wyllow managed to get some work done on her gorget earlier in the week:  She dyed all of the roping lines with iron to get a dark brown near-black color.

During Open Shop she added a band of indigo on the outside edges as a test.  If this goes well she will add some red (brasil?) to make it purple and then dye the area inside of the roping the same way.  She plans to use buckthorn on the roping itself to make a golden yellow.  The resulting gorget will have the heraldic colors of Calontir where she first started playing in the SCA and where she learned rapier fighting in the secret rapier underground movement back in the '90s.

Many of Wolf's plans came to fruition this week as he picked up his beautiful "custon Iolo crossbow". For any fans of the Ultima computer games or the Myth Inc. fantasy books, yes, Iolo is real and he really does make crossbows. Verra nice ones! This is his new target bow, but he plans to commission a combat bow as well. 

Notice that Wolf also finished assembling his half-gauntlets.  Here he has borrowed a pair of my deerskin gloves to wear in them.  The supple deerskin is great for swordfighting or shooting or anything else where you want leather protection but you still want to be able to feel what you are doing.

We welcomed first-time visitors Bastian and Tib and Rene'  to Open Shop night.  Tib and Bastian came to work on gorgets while Rene came to provide moral support.  And to read!  As you can tell from the back-drop, this is a good place for reading.  Bastian is making a late-period steel gorget from 18 gauge stainless, while Tib is going for a brigandine-style gorget using pale grey/beige leather and hidden aluminum plates.

Cameron managed to dodge the camera by hanging out in the garage and working on the aluminum splints for his vambraces.  The new (to me) belt sander provided by Duke Hoegarden made this process much faster!  Cameron also showed us his new recurve bow but nobody took pictures of it!

Evie and Gunna and Artorius hung out in the kitchen and baked cookies.  The 3-layer pin~ata cookies with frosting and M&Ms in the middle were awesome.

Ben sewed up all the channels in his new helm liner and began stuffing them with cotton balls.

Dierdre took the night off from peening rivets in her helm to work on a weaving project indoors in the air-conditioning.
Wyllow also did some weaving, finishing up a sampler of several shades of red from her recent dying project.

Tristan and his dad managed to avoid the camera by working in the garage on modifying hid gorget, but we caught his mon doing some hand-sewing on one of Tristan's shirts.  I know I heard their names again last night but I'm afraid I didn't do anything sensible with them like write them down.  Tristan has turned 16 now and is ready to get authorized on the adult field for armoured combat.  I'm looking forward to having him in the War Company with us this fall!

Open Shop 7-26-2012

We had a small but dilligent group on the 26th.  I have made arrangements to work with a pair of visiting Barons from Elfsea (Fort Worth and surrounding communities) on a Saturday in August and I wanted to have some spring-stainless vambrace splints ready to rivet on, so I got an early start.  The 20 gauge (.038 inch thick) 410 alloy is a joy to work with, because it forms so nicely and then it hardens so well when you heat treat it.  I don't have a swage block with the right curve for forming splints, so I cut one end of a wood 2x4 and hammered the metal into that.  My heavy dishing hammer left quite a few tool marks in the metal so I needed to do some planishing to smooth it back out.  If these were not intended for hidden armour I would want to use a different technique, like placing a section of pipe over the splint and then hammering on that to keep the curves smooth and even.  Here are the splints before curving or drilling the rivet holes:

 After curving them I took the splints to Gaston's shop for a little forge action.  Heat treating left forge scale on the splints in an odd, almost damascene pattern.  But after a little brass-wire-wheel work they polished up to a smooth black look.  Getting really aggressive with the wire wheel could get this back to shiny silver metal, but why?  For hidden armour or anywhere you want a blackened metal look these will be fine.

Wyllow was focused on preparations for the Steppes Artisan competition.  Here she has laid out a mock-up of her table arrangement.  How much wool CAN you get on one table, in how many different shades of red?

 Josh worked on strapping and assembling his gorget and half-gauntlets.

Wolf got some instruction and borrowed a leather-sewing needle so he can finish his half-gauntlets at home this week.  We also cut out helm liners for both Wolf and Ben.

 Ben cut and beveled a gorget.  Next he will need to burnish and then harden it with glue and baking.

Evie and Gunna avoided the camera but they made delicious medieval French Toast, with a hint of rosewater.

 ...and that was a night well-spent!