Saturday, September 27, 2008

New knives for 2008-2009

We just bought a whole new batch of costume daggers, suitable for medieval feast cutlery. They are "in stock" and "in the showroom". You can forget about buying one from my showroom or sales booth if you are under 18 though.

These are not knives I have made....they are actually all made in (of all places) Pakistan, however they are inexpensive, pretty, reasonably useful, and all under twenty bucks. How can I beat that?

Integral slab handled dagger, the blade is all one piece, the handle is made from coloured, resin impregnated compressed laminated pine. After the hydraulic machine is finished, the pine is half the thickness, and as hard as maple.
The result is not such a bad material. The blade...well, what do you expect for fifteen bucks...its stainless steel. That means that when you use it, it will "stain less" than most steel. Best you can expect though. Good enough for opening boxes, and worrying that last sliver of chicken off the carcass.

The very slim line "red" handled dagger. These days, the colour seems to less dark red and more doubt the reaction of the dye to the wood. I still call them "red handled daggers". Tooled leather scabbard. Just under 8 inches long. Made for a small hand. It has a "bigger brother" though. The handle is made on a lathe, and it has one of the dreaded "rat tail" tangs. For some reason, the rat tail tangs are not so bad when used on knives...I have never had one fail, even when I was using a set of them for throwing one summer. A rat tail tang is actually period...I guess they are bad news with a sword, but not so bad for a knife.

The mountain man dagger. No kidding...thats the name they gave it! This remarkably slick little piece is a little industrial seven inches long, it is made from that compressed pine wood and gleaming brass.

A solid little knife...lots of decoration. like all these knives, they are dishwasher safe.

So this is whats new in the showroom. Cute little knives. Go figure!

ip-location map zoom

Mr. Merz' armour, part II

Below is the picture that Mr. Merz sent me...the inspiration for the armour. It is one of the lovely paintings from the Osprey book series....(darn, I can't read the artist's name). This series of books is actually pretty good relies a lot on existing statuary, armours, church brasses, and such to help bring the period under discussion alive. They employ top of the line graphic artists (one of their most prolific artists was (name deleted) of Oh Wicked Wanda fame from the seventies.)
Of course, the result is still one man's interpretation, but in the world of re-enactment, this interpretation is pretty much accepted.
Mr. Merz told me that the armour on the far left is the one he wanted, but in a two piece design. How do you think I did so far?

I didnt bother lacing up the armour for the pictures, and I see that I have to get the scissors out to do a little trim on the leather straps in front.

The armour has been sanded with 100 grit paper, and a lacquer finish has been applied. Any scratches will appear in the lacquer...a moment with a rag (wet with lacquer thinner...thats nail polish remover) will melt the laq, and blend out the scratches. A superior which can be easily fixed.

ip-location map zoom

Monday, September 22, 2008

Mr. Merz' armour

This is the two piece body armour I am making for Mr Merz. The armour is fairly straightforward, however he specified handmade belt buckles and laces. Here you can see the holes for the laces which will attach the faulds. I'll put pics of the faulds up tomorrow....grin....the tassets are a little, um, customized, and need to be finished before I can drill the holes in the faulds to accept them.

Click on the images to enlarge them. Here you can see the handmade buckles really nicely, and you can make out the copper rivets which attach the picadills which will prevent the armour from sliding metal on metal.

And a closeup of the buckle. The ring of the buckle is fairly straightforward steel, and the tongue and keeper are made from hammertone forged steel. They look rough on purpose...grin.

ip-location map zoom

Weapons from Prague part 1

click on the images to enlarge....
Above is a nice range of swords, actually single handed swords. Some so short they might properly called a "dirk", though of course, a dirk by definition is a broken sword remade into a big old knife. Across the top is a "celtic sword". Characterized by the sweeping anthromorphic hilt, this is of course, a much later period copy... A stylistic variant which does not prevent this from being a very nice battle sword.
Second from the left is a short sword. Can't tell much about it since it is encased in this no doubt modern scabbard. The leather wrapped handle is kind of nice to see....seems like a nice sword to handle, and the wheel pommel balances this sword out to be very quick.
Third and forth from the left....built up sword like objects, unlikely to be actually used in anything other than a play or a pagent.
fifth from the left...a very real sword...with a nice wide "viking" style fuller. The big ring pommel is kind of seems a little reminicient of an "Irish" sword, but I suspect this one has seen service. The sweep of the edge coming into the tip is VERY well done. The Smith was proud of this job. The word that comes to mind is "workmanlike". Short, nasty, and useful.
Second from the right....same design, but not done nearly as well. No nice wide fuller, this sword would handle like a club. That is to say...effectively.
The far right on the top row....a falchion of some sort...looks like a medieval copy of a persian blade. One wonders if this one was used in pagents as well. It isn't an actual persian blade because it is not as well made, and would not qualify as a "collector's item". Though you never know.

Bottom Row.....MUCH more interesting.
far left....a basic short sword with a "Brazil Nut" shaped pommel. Used a lot in Germany and England.
Second from left bottom row...Very well made German design, with nice wide fuller. I bet you can see the "running wolf" marks of the Nurenburg blade makers if you look close!
Third from left, bottom row.....nice fighting sword. Probably standard issue to anybody who guarded the Hansiatic League ports. The blade widening towards the crossguard is kind of would think that would reduce the effectivness of the defence.
Forth from left, bottom row....standard blacksmith work. Looks like a reasonably good job...the quillion looks as though it had seen some rough times. Probably a standard issue sword.
Third from right, bottom row.....A viking sword! Oh my....wonder how old THAT one is! The lobate pommel, short quillions, and almost no room for the hand is SO distinctive. The blade looks to be awfully plain. One wonders if this was supposed to be sold to Denmark or Sweden like most of the short swords made in Germany. (Vikings didn't make their own swords....they bought the blades from Germany...their cousins so to speak)
Second from right....yes, this is most definitely a German sword. The double ring is so distinctive. Of course, "Germany" back in those days tended to mean the "Austrian-Hungarian Empire", so it covered a LOT of ground.
And the far right....the straight wide fuller implies a better sword than the handle gives credit to.

Thank you Pierre for bringing back the pictures of such great weapons which are stored in the castle which overlooks Prague.

ip-location map zoom

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Roman helmet

Antonious Pius asked me if I had ever made any Roman Armour. A little, here and there over the years. This is a helm which I had to make in a real hurry because the commercial "piece of junk" helm the lass had ordered for her hubby was temporarily out of stock. I offered to make her one, and would meet the price of the offshore piece. So this is a little rushed......but as the pic below shows when you click on it to blow it up to a more reasonable siae, the results were not too shabby. First I had to do a little research. It seems that the helms were made from spun bronze bowls. I could not find any examples of spun steel bowls, so right there, the "period-ness" of the piece suffered since I simply did not have any bronze spinnings.

The other problem was the large outside rolled edges. I hate outside rolled edges.

Above is pic of a roman helm from the British Museum (I think) I am not dead sure, but I "think" this shows a steel spun bowl, overlaid with a fair amount of thin bronze. Or maybe seems awfully well preserved for bronze.

After assembling all the disparate pieces, I was left with something like this. The bowl was way too thick for me to even think of doing that "bellows" effect at the back of the was battle grade at about 10 gauge....and 8 gauge near the bottom. Too heavy to even think about wrinkling the metal.

From the front, it looks not too bad. The lion was a sort of after thought.....I suppose I should have put two of them up there, one over each eye. But as I said, I was in a hurry, and only had the one lion.

I kind of like the rings on the cheek pieces. Very spiff.

This shows the little ear guards. They are harder to do than they look, and they look darned hard!

And a fairly fancy carrying handle on the tail drape. Well, it looked okay at the time.

There you go your excellency...a cute little battle helmet.

The emperor Antonious Pius's blog is here....

ip-location map zoom