Thursday, November 24, 2011

Architectural Details

click on this image to enlarge. This was one of the pictures that Pierre brought back from his tour of Prague Castle. Again, I nothing of the provenance, but they are too good not to put up here!

Okay, so its not armour. But it IS medieval!
And not a bad starting point for anybody who seriously wants to build their own castle.
(Or cottage, whatever.)

ip-location map zoom

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

turning steel

from Dick Holdstock. It is on his CD, Winter in the Woods
For information go to:

Below are the lyrics.


You wake up in the morning,
The dawn's as black as night.
Your father's shouting down the hall
And you know she's winning the fight.
Well you best venture out of bed me lad
For the time is getting late.
Then down the stairs and up the street
And through the factory gate.

Turning steel how do you feel,
As in the chuck you spin?
If you felt like me,
You'd go right out right
And never turn again.

Wet and bleak the morning,
As you squeeze through the gate,
As the clock in the bell will ring,
Eight hours is your fate.
Off comes your coat all wet and damp
And "Right lads" is the cry.
With an eye on the lathe,
And the other on the clock,
You'll wish that time would fly.


The Gaffer's walking down the shop
And so it's work you must.
The dizzy, grinding, groaning metal,
The hot air and the dust.
But I'm often thinking of my girl
While walking through the park
While gazing at the blooming steel
And a million flying sparks.


Old Tom Black last Friday
His final bell did ring.
With his hair as white as his face beneath,
his oily sunken skin.
Well he's made a speech
And he's bid farewell
To a lifetime working here
As I shook his hand I knew that he
Had labored fifty years.


And when at last me time it comes,
And I can leave this place,
I'll walk out past the charge hand's desk
And I'll never turn me face.
Out through the gates into the sun,
I'll leave this place behind
With but one regret For the lads I've left
To carry on the ground.


ip-location map zoom

Monday, November 21, 2011

Doug Sneyd

How many people remember Doug Sneyd? Ah well. I remember him fondly. A Canadian, an illustrator he practically single handedly made Playboy into the classy magazine of my youth.
Here he is with me on Artist Alley at Fan Expo, admiring the lightly armoured and charming Mab.
A charming man, and a delight to be around. This is Doug Sneyd's home page for anyone who is trying to place his name....grin!

ip-location map zoom

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Red Dawn visited South Tower

A wallpaper.

photo manipulation

A black and white wallpaper for you.

Its so nice to see lovely ladies come by.

ip-location map zoom

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Prague Armour

Looks like the South Tower Armouring Guild lineup! Pierre took these in Prague a couple of years ago. I am not sure why they are in their museum at all! Its not like they date back farther than, say, 1990. But hey...they are nice armours, and worth checking out their details. Click on the above image to see details.

Starting from the top...that cool flip up visor face with the framed oculars! Very well done! Plus about two hundred holes for the chain mail. Good chain mail too. The four lame spadlers look nice, but four lames make it too long for my taste, when the owner lifts up his arm, the bottom lame will bite into the inside of his elbow. I would have made a longer rere brace.

The elbows are quite straight forward. I rather like the figure eight wings...they look like two big testicles driving a sword towards your tenders. Interesting design detail. The articulation is limited, the owner will not be able to bend his arm past about 90 degrees before it locks up. You need at least two more lames to get full mobility with elbows like that. On the other hand, most armour that has the wings throated to go around the inside limits your swing to a right angle anyway, so no doubt the training takes this into account.

The rolled edges are not like mine...these roll to the outside. A design detail which I used to think dated an armour to before 1460, but that little trick of dating an armour is really suspect, and must be used in conjunction with other evidentury details. It does its job though, and is really hard to do neatly.

The commercial hinges on the vambrace and cuisse are a glaring touch of modern that I don't like. If I use modern hinges (which I do all the time!) I hide the hinge inside, and leave a little slot for the barrel.

I love the gauntlets! Very tough looking! I especially like that the roll on the top of the gauntlet matches the roll at the top of the vambrace. Good detail.

The keeled breastplate has the keel coming very neatly onto the three lame faulds. Two thumbs up...and the bottom of the back fauld is rolled to protect the saddle from the armour. Most armour makers will have a problem stretching the metal out that far at the bottom...and normally just weld a piece in. I suspect that was done here since I can see no evidence of any hashing (what I call the stretching of the metal with a cross pein hammer) which is what I do. I see that the plaquart and breast plate are riveted together. I don't think that is right...unless there are slots in the breastplate underneath where you can't see them. The little clover leaf detail at the top is cute. The tassets are interesting...the keel ends about three fingerspans from the top to allow a smooth transition to the bottom fauld lame.

The two piece cuisse look really nice with the fairly straightforward ace of spades knee cops. I think they are supposed to articulate, and they may have pounded an extra rivet right at the top for who knows what reason. Lordy, check out the fabulous work on the greaves! This shows the true skill of the armour make greaves that good! (Bill is jealous!) The so neatly fit over the three down one up sabatons with those impossible to form points!
All in all, I think the work that comes out of my shop is this good, but remember, it has taken me some twenty years to get this far.

Now, after all the above description of a good armour, what do you think I would say about this one? I think that I shall just let it go...if I ever made such a bad armour in my shop I would deserve to go bankrupt. This shows the use of several machines which are not really made for a fine art project like this...the beader which puts the beads in the tassets is just the beginning....the single piece-articulated abortion which make up the elbows...this armour was made by a tin smith, not an armourer. There is, like NO comparison to the armour at the top. Pfffui.

Nice blued armour....this is done in a fire, and is difficult to get right. Looks good with brass and gold highlights though. There are enough pictures of knights in black armour to admit that they must have done that!

Well, details. Well, that big fancy grandguard. Now that is pretty cool. But there is something about it that doesn't ring true for me...I think there should be ridges to catch the lance, and the fence which obscures the face should be attached differently. But it may not be unexampled somewhere. And I really don't like the machine finished brass trim, though just possibly, it is hand made, I doubt it. You see more of that trim detail on the elbow cop, and very nicely done it is too! But hey....the rest of the armour is worth clicking on to enlarge and please join me in an enjoyable survey of a well made armour.

The breastplate is really well made...and correctly finished on a surface plate by hammering instead of on a wheel like most of mine is. The nine piece articulated lames match the articulated cuisses...something you don't see every day...and the elbow cops are correctly made with two up and two down lames, and enclosed wings. Nicely done! The gauntlets are mitten gaunts, which is what should be found on a jousting suit. The knee cops are fairly standard run of the mill, but check out the lower legs! Oh my gosh, that fancy articulation at the ankle! And it all blends into the well made sabotons. This armour maker spend more time on those ankles and shoes than he spent on the rest of the armour combined! Two thumbs up!

And a chain mail suit, just to give you a break from the heavy iron!
The helm at the bottom is kind of shows how the cross in the bottom of the barrel helm holds a chain, which in turn is holding a little shield. I have never seen a little shield being held by a chain that way, though of course it was common to attach a sword that way.

A three piece suit. Oh my!
Well, details would include the lovely keel down the front, and for some reason, the pieces are riveted together. Again, I wonder why...are they actually slotted to the piece underneath? I have been known to slot breastplates this way, but never five slots per placquart. They would shift around and jam up! I just have to shrug, and point out some nicer parts of this armour.
The rolls inside the vambrace at the inside of the elbow. Clearly not done by machine! It is done by hand, the same way I do it here in my shop.
I wish the same could be said for the tassetts and the pelvic arch.
The fluted shoulder cops. Now that is nicely done! Those are made over an anvil, not by a machine. And it shows. Wish I could do work that good.


ip-location map zoom

Monday, November 14, 2011


This was the big mirror I did for Tony. I think it looks kind of nice, very frou frou, not like me at all.

But it came out of my shop, and it is all MY work. And though it is not to MY taste, it gets a lot of WOW! when people see it. They are grape leaves, Italian cork oak leaves and those big edible dandelion leaves.

Lots of work. I rather like it.

ip-location map zoom

Friday, November 4, 2011

Summer Grads 2011

Above is the basic class at Algonquin which graduated in October of 2011. And below is the advanced class (or what is left of them after I got finished with them...its not an easy course of study!) Funny, every single one of them signed back up and joined the ones above in another advanced course which should finish just in time for Christmas.

Above is the Plante Rec Centre course which graduated the same week. Natalia, Dmitri, Jason, Trevor and Alex in the back. The usual suspects in the front.

ip-location map zoom