Saturday, February 25, 2012

Friday, February 24, 2012

Sword dance

Sword Dance

stag like....

I also like the shaska work here. Seems very....straightforward. As is this one.

And what this fellow does with a shaska is just amazing.
(He comes into it about thirty seconds in.)

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Click on these admittedly dark pictures to enlarge them. The more you look at this armour, the more you see, and the more "ahh ha!" moments you get. The crinnet of course is the armour which protects the horse's neck. These german crinnets are interesting in that they are nearly "cage like", the horse's mane being allowed to come out through the openings in the cage.

I was quite taken with this armour because it was like...totally unique! No where else have I found a crinnet that looks like that! If you click on the second picture down, you can see the very interesting "hinge" system...the crinnet pieces are actually separate pieces mounted on two fairly heavy belt which runs lengthwise. This would allow the horse to turn his head from side to side.

Now THAT's something you don't see every day!

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Iron in the Weald

One of the nice things about the interwebs is the ability to download some wonderful books. The above are excerpted from Starkey's book about iron working.

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Friday, February 10, 2012

Horses of the AEsir

  • Blóðughófi: "Bloody-hoof";
  • Falhófnir: "Hairy-hoof" or "Hidden-hoof", i.e. whoses hoofs are covered with hair, or "Pale-hoof";
  • Gulltoppr: "Gold-tuft";
  • Gísl: related to "beam", "ray";
  • Glaðr: "Glad" or "Bright";
  • Glær[4]: "Clear", "Glassy";
  • Gullfaxi: "Golden-mane"
  • Gyllir[5]: "Golden";
  • Hófvarpnir : "Hoof-thrower";
  • Léttfeti: "Light-foot";
  • Silfrintoppr: "Silver-tuft";
  • Sinir: "Sinewy";
  • Skeiðbrimir: "the one which snorts as he runs";
  • Sleipnir: "trickster";

Snorri Sturluson paraphrases this stanza in his Gylfaginning:

Each day the Æsir ride thither up over Bifröst, which is also called the Æsir's Bridge. These are the names of the Æsir's steeds: Sleipnir is best, which Odin has; he has eight feet. The second is Gladr, the third Gyllir, the fourth Glenr, the fifth Skeidbrimir, the sixth Silfrintoppr, the seventh Sinir, the eighth Gisl, the ninth Falhófnir, the tenth Gulltoppr, the eleventh Léttfeti. Baldr's horse was burnt with him; and Thor walks to the judgment.
Gylfaginning (15), Brodeur's translation[2]

The viking standing stone shows Slepnier, the one with the eight legs. In fact you see a whole bunch of folk on that stone!

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These are the gauntlets I made for Mr. Plummer (who played Barrymore playing Richard III) back in February. Like many items made for movies, they show signs of unhappy haste. They are oversimplified, but even considering they are rushed, they don't look all that bad. I gave them a quick matt black spray before delivering them...remove some of the "star wars storm trooper" look the white primer paint gave them!

Above is a close up of the roping. Keep in mind that the very worst job in armouring is the dreaded "outside roll". These gauntets had the outside roll, which get this! It needed to be roped as well. This roping was done on the "flat" like all roping, and when it was all done, then it was shaped over the horn of the anvil with a rubber mallet which hopefully would not leave too many dents. The material was sixteen gauge aluminum, which was even more annoying because that stuff dents when you drop it, toss it on the "finished" pile or whatever. And aluminum has the unfortunate habit of once you dent it, you can't fix that dent!

The first part of the job, of course, is to roll a bale into the metal. (a bale is a wire which supports the edge, and prevents it from "kinking".) I used a copper wire as the bale, which worked better than the steel wire I usually use. Once the roll was made, I divided the edge up into several little squares and drew diagonal lines which would correspond to the chisel marks. Then I had to make a chisel with a curved face, not too sharp. I used a railroad spike for that purpose. Each groove is made with four strikes, which progress over the bale. Its okay to give a bit of a backwards curve as you only makes it look more like a twisted rope.

I have had people tell me that scaled fingers are not period. I wonder what source they are referencing! They are certainly easier to make than the articulated fingers. Below is a Milanese gauntlet with scaled fingers and a bell cuff with a nice roll to it. The rivets would have attached a leather inside cuff which would probably flare out over the vambrace...both protecting the metal of the vambrace and giving a punch of colour to the harness.

Below is a German "gothic" armour with articulated fingers. They should not be any harder to make than the scales, however, I find that if you don't get the articulation joints in 'exactly' the right place, they have to be redone until you do. In that respect, they are much more fiddly than the scaled fingers, and consequently much more difficult to get right

And below is a close up of the stunning "gold armour" which was actually used in the joust. This incredibly complex armour is more pretty than useful, but because it shows signs of having been used in the joust, I think we can presume that it was useful as well. Not just a pretty statue. As you can see, this wonderous armour has scale'd fingers.

All these armours are on display in Leeds at the Tower of London Armoury.

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Sunday, February 5, 2012

5. If exceedingly large weights are to be raised, they must not be trusted to a mere axle; but the axle being retained by the gudgeons, a large drum should be fixed on it, which some call a drum-wheel (tympanum): the Greeks name it ἀμφίρευσις, or περίτροχος.

6. In these machines the blocks are constructed differently from those already described. Having, at top and bottom, two ranks of pulleys, the rope passes through a hole in the lower block, so that each end of the rope is equal in length when extended. It is there bound and made fast to the lower block, and both parts of the ropes so retained, that neither of them may swerve either to the right or the left. The ends of the rope are then returned to the outside of the upper block, and carried over its lower pulleys; whence they descend to the lower block, and passing round its pulleys on the inner side, are carried up right and left over the tops of the higher pulleys of the upper block;

7. whence descending on the outer sides, they are secured to the axle on the right and left of the drum-wheel, about which another rope is now wound, and carried to the capstan. On the turning of the capstan, the drum-wheel and axle, and consequently the ropes fastened to it, are set in action, and raise the weights gently and without danger. But if a larger drum-wheel be affixed, either in the middle or on one of the sides, of such dimensions that men may walk therein, a more effectual power is obtained than the capstan will afford.

8. There is another species of machine, ingenious in respect of its contrivance, and of ready application in practice; but it should not be used except by experienced persons. A pole or log of timber is raised, and kept in its situation by means of four guy ropes in opposite directions. Under the place where the guy ropes at top are made fast to the pole, two cheeks are fixed, above which the block is tied with ropes. Under the block, a piece of timber about two feet long, six inches wide, and four inches thick, is placed. The blocks have three ranks of pulleys latitudinally, so that it is necessary to conduct three leading ropes from the upper part of the machine; these are brought down to the lower block, passing from the outer sides of the lower pulleys to the inner sides of the lower pulleys of the upper block.

9. Descending once more to the inferior block, they pass round the second rank of pulleys from the inner to the outer side, and are then returned to the second rank of pulleys in the higher block, over which they pass and return to the lowest, whence they are again carried upwards, and passing round the uppermost pulley, return to the lower part of the machine. A third block is fixed near the bottom of the pole, whose Greek name is ἐπάγων, but with us it is called Artemo. This block, which is made fast to the pole at a small distance from the ground, has three pulleys through which the ropes are passed, for the men to work them. Thus, three sets of men, working without the intervention of a capstan, quickly raise the weight to its required height.

10. This species of machine is called Polyspaston, because the facility and dispatch in working it, is obtained by means of many pulleys. One convenience in using a single pole is, that the situation of the weight in relation to the pole, whether before it or to the right or left of it, is of no consequence. All the machines above described, are not only adapted to the purposes mentioned, but are also useful in loading and unloading ships, some upright, others horizontal, with a rotatory motion. On the ground, however, without the aid of the poles, ships are drawn on shore by the mere application of blocks and ropes.


Marcus Vitruvius Pollio:
de Architectura, Book X

Translated by Bill Thayer

Click on the picture to see its true magnificence....

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Saturday, February 4, 2012

William Marshal


which has the rest of it.....

Translated from Gregory of Tours

One could do a lot worse than to spend an evening reading through Steve's blogs.
(The pic? Oh that fellow lived a whole lot later on than the Marshal did! I just liked the armour.)

there were no weaklings on that field.

The count of Saint-Pol was taken there

by the bridle of his horse,

but the worthy Marshal,

like the valiant knight he was, rescued him

from the hands of seven and more who were striving

to do him injury and were leading him away.

On that field the cowards stayed behind.

There you would have seen many a banner

soiled in the mud and trampled on,

and many a knight trampled on too

when they were knocked to the ground.

But the saying used to go that

the brave and the valiant are to be sought

often between the hooves of horses,

for never will cowards fall down there,

never will they so hate their lives

as to be willing to join the fray;

they take care not to do themselves injury,

they have no wish to get involved in that.

There you would have seen knights taken and horses won and lost.

Any man who was able to take another man's bridle

strove with might and main to hold on to him,

and the other did just as much to stave him off,

to join battle with him and defend himself.

At that point, any man wishing to separate the two

by negotiation would have had little success,

for words would have been no use whatever.

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Friday, February 3, 2012

Fan Expo (guest post)

FanExpo Canada 2011

By Jorge Figueiredo - August 28th, 2011

Other Friends

At FanExpo, there are a lot of retailer booths dealing with comic books and related goods; there are also the larger, glitzy general show booths for the larger companies. While I love all of those booths, there are some smaller ones that I really enjoyed visiting. Some of these are run by very cool friends of mine, while others are run by people who I would love to hang out with (due to the fact that they are also very cool).

South Tower Armouring Guild

Bill and Brenda Fedun will -and this is a quote from their web site- “personally make you a real battle armour that fits perfectly! It will allow you to perform so well that they will write songs about you!”

While that may sound kind of funny, it is probably true. The South Tower Armouring Guild, based out of Metcalfe, Ontario, is a family-owned medieval armour crafting shop. They make quality goods for a reasonable price; not only that, but the finished pieces look fantastic.

It would be a reasonable assumption to think that Bill enjoys his job. Brenda thinks that he might enjoy it a little too much.

On top of the creation of armour (seriously, they have a real forge; how cool is that?), they are also Canadian agents for other weapon-making outfits outside of Canada. Bill also teaches broadsword handling, armour and chain mail making, and Kenjuitsu.

Above all else, the two of them are some of the nicest people you will ever meet. With ready smiles, warm hearts and friendly banter always at the ready, it is always a good time around their booth.

Click here to see a few more pictures of the South Tower Armouring Guild booth. »

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Brent S. three piece cuirass

Above is the way Brent's armour looked when it was in my shop.
Below is how it looked on him.

This was the three piece suit with the sliding front rivet that I made for Brent S. I am pleased to see that he is long enough in the body to wear this armour. Those shoulders with the cute outside machine made bead rolls is not mine! I do have to admit that the rondel style elbow aillettes are a nice touch, but again, not mine.

He seems to have the mobility, but that back top plate is flipping up a little too much for my liking. That has always been a problem with a mobile back. But just because it is "period" does not make it comfortable on the eye. The single and two piece backs are just impossible to hunch over like Brent is doing in this picture so yeah, he clearly has the mobility he wanted. That being said, I think if Brent were to tighten that top strap up a notch or two that would drag the back into place. But would it limit his mobility? Or maybe just bend the top tabs in a bit. Would not take much. Hmmm. I'll have to ask him. Wish I there to mess with it. I think if he just cinches that top strap in a bit, it will all fall neatly into place.

Compare to the top picture.

And the portrait. I think he looks good. And the armour looks pretty spiffy. Note that Brent has laced the tassets on. Later on, when he gets a spare forty bucks burning a hole in his wallet, he can get some buckles installed. (Or better yet, install them himself!)

I wonder where he got the gambeson with the left half red and the right half white?
Looks really comfortable.