Mittwoch, 31. August 2011

Zee Aylienz: HagenerMountainbike Race in Hagen: Pics-a lot of them

On Sunday-as advertised;-)-there was the race of my club in Hagen. I did not help to organize anything, for lack of motivation, but did some security staff work which meant sitting on a stump for 7 hours and watching sweating and grunting people on mountainbikes pass by. Now, they all had quite a reason to sweat and grunt, for I actually DID help with course designing. There were 2, 3 and 6 hour races, and the six-hour racers deserve the greatest of respect for their achievement.

By the way, NO THANKS whatsoever to the city management. The bureau of environmental affairs did a great job-hindering any efforts from the part of our club, that is. We all are environmentally sensitive people. Many of our club´s members do not even own a car and do most of their commuting by bike. They buy regional products and are politically active to achieve a better world. Each year we plant trees and help with trailcaring and forest maintenance work.

But it seems, next year there will be no race. Okay, there are some hundred people racing their bikes around a circuit, which means, there IS erosion. We have offered to repair it with muscle and shovel afterwards, years ago. This effort was not welcomed. Then it was the birds breeding (we are talking a city forest, almost a park, here). Okay, so we chose another time of year. And, finally, the argument led to the grotesque: Mountainbikes (some of them) now use hydraulic disk brakes. What, if one rider gets to fall, the hydraulic line breaks, and the oil is spilled onto the forest floor (some 2 ml)? OILSPILL CATASTROPHE! That the place is surrounded by industry and a highway and several well-travelled city-roads
does not matter a bit. But when a hydraulic brake line breaks (pun intended;-)), and if it belongs to a mountainbike, it´s quite different to a Russian truck bleeding its grease and oil every which way some 200 m uphill away. I understand. So we were ordered to carry a small paper cup with us. Should one rider fall, we were ordered to sprint to him. No first aid here, to catch the brake fluid was first on the list. Let him bleed to death, but clean up afterwards! Most important was that no brake fluid whatsoever, the very essence of evil in itself, spilled on the ground. Unfortunately, it did not stress us out the way it was presumably intended, and we organized the thing nonetheless. More chicanes soon will follow, I´d say, for Hagen is best known for its place in the criminal statistics, and that´s an achievement to be proud of, not some bloody mountainbike event with racers from the Netherlands and even Australia and South Africa coming to start, a race that started a trend among regional events... Bad news, it bothered us, but we did it, and we were well-manered, too, and cleaned up. With the chicanes we had to live.

So we carried a paper cup, and had a chuckle, and fortunately, no rider hurt himself where I was stumpsitting. I made some photos instead. If you were present, I permit you to download it, copy it and do with it whatever you please, provided you give me some nice credit to it;-).

Riders were going uphill on singletrails and a steep fireroad. I was sitting in a bend where the course went uphill.
I was busy taking photos, but also had time to listen to the birds...beautiful setting, and good foraging around the place. Have to get there again for rowan berry and walnut and maroons;-).
There was quite a paraphernalia of different material the riders were using. Glinting carbon frames, aluminum, full-suspension rigs, hardtails, 29ers and every expensive part one could imagine. There were even some Enduro bikes, for the course is reckoned one of the harder ones in the NRW Cup Series. Most bikes, though, were suspended up front and rigid at the rear.
The riders were different, too. Some smiled all along, some had looks that could have killed, some made some black humoured jokes to me. I offered my encouragement, but most suffered alone. Few gave up, and for good reasons. Chains broken, gashes in shins and elbows, one supposedly broken jaw, some got the shivers from dehydration or hunger bonk. Some were most seriously focused, some were just hanging on and having fun. But most of them gritted their teeth and hammered through it.
They all deserve a mention, but I can´t do this, for most of them I do not know.
Also props to Jaykay, who organized the security staff, Maik and Karo and Dirk and all the others from the staff who did a great and arduous job and helped to stick out a sticky finger at the relevant places in the city management by putting out a great atmosphere and making for an event worth remembering.

Cuppa tea while watching....;-) and I carved a wood spirit while stump-sitting there, it was that busy;-).

Montag, 29. August 2011

*φoutanjā-lugra-moros!;-) my kopis: done.

 I finished the kopis that has been on my bench for some time now... I am currently a bit over the top, for I have to use my kitchen for knifemaking, grinding, polishing wood and antler, glueing, riveting, filing and making jam, drying food, cooking and the like. Certainly not healthy, and my home looks more like a battlefield on a junkyard than a place to live. I will have to get a proper shop. Soon. And completely rebuild this cavern I call home, for that mess has to stop. But for now it will have to do, and it does. I first made the bolster plate from a fitting from Karesuando, lazy bum that I am;-) and gave it a fit and a ball peen finish. The head plate I wanted to do from Mokume Gane Matthias made some years ago, but it was cold-rolled out and came apart when riveting. So, I thought, so what, "all art is a recovery from the first step"(Todd;-)) and made one from brass.
 The handle is reindeer antler. I first drilled three holes into the bolster side of the handle, about 1 mm less in diameter than the tang is thick. Then I drilled one hole from the other side of the handle, about the diameter of the tang´s width. I hacksawed the holes in the bolster side to make a slot and filed it to fit. Then I made the head plate from brass. Here you can see the assembly with the old headplate still fitted. I checked the tolerances between the handle and the bolster plate thoroughly. If you use a leather or birchbark washer between bolster and handle you can be a bit less precise;-). I, for one, can do with some filing practice, and welcomed the opportunity;-). Then I covered the blade with one centimetre of cardboard and gaffa tape for protection.
 I glued the tang in and riveted it with a ball peen hammer against the headplate, which I glued in place first, while the epoxy was still halfway through drying. Then I removed the gaffa and the cardboard and the glue that squeezed through the bolster slot. If you grease that part lightly beforehand, that´s quite a lot easier to do...;-). Then I polished the handle and filed some finger grooves in. Have to rework it some, though.
Tested the blade against mild steel rods and Karesuando blades. I would estimate it to be in the high 50´s HRC, 57-59 approximately.
 This is a detail of the head plate. I just did it and only after riveting I realized two things:

-the tang is bent off center by riveting*grml
-it has kind of a floral appearance;-)

This knife appeals to me, and I gave it a name in Proto-Celtic, since it is loosely modelled after a Dürrnberg and a Cologne knife design I coveted for years. I call it Lugra-Moros for the white handle(that will have to get a knotwork or spiral carving soon;-))
 Then I put a razor edge on it. I scratched the handle by doing so (clamped it in a vice but forgot the leather protection). I then went a bit off my rocker... weird? Me? For I realized the scratches all went of an imaginative centreline and could therefore be read as Ogham signs;-). I am currently writing a poem from the kennings and am quite sure a carving will come out, too.
 Inspiration goes weird ways sometimes, but this is the craftsmanship of a poet, and I haven´t done it for eleven years. Only but recently I came across a reason to be inspired again. Something to do with a harp in the woods and some nymphs involved;-) a BIG thanks for that ;-). It took me ver so far, and it went as it used to go years ago, when I created the "wheel of the Vaivari". Somehow myth has some dynamics to it that cannot but take its own way. I first wrote down the Ogham signs as I saw them. Drew a centreline, and read them from bottom to top, as a tree would grow, towards the blade, and away from it. Ogham letters traditionally had several meanings: First, the simple phonetic value, and then there were connotations to each letter, the so-called Kenningar (borrowed from Old Norse runeology). The Letter B for instance had the name "Beith" or "beth" (The Ogham "alphabet" is no alphabet, for it´s called Beith-Luis-Nion /Nuin), and among others the poetic connotation "highest brow and fine hair". That makes it a cinch to use for inspiration. I know this is not a scientific approach, mind you!;-) I am more than half-mad, a mental outcast and using it for writing poems or carving reindeer antler, so it´s your fault alone if you listen to my jibberings;-). Plus, I use Rober v.Ranke-Graves "The White Goddess" as a guide.Tutututut...;-)
All the Kenningar of this sheet make for a plot of a story. I have yet to find out where it may lead.... and I am fascinated.

Or better said:

Veit ek, at ek hekk
vindga meiði á
nætr allar níu,
geiri undaðr
ok gefinn Óðni,
sjalfr sjalfum mér,
á þeim meiði,
er manngi veit
hvers af rótum renn.

Við hleifi mik sældu
né við hornigi;
nýsta ek niðr,
nam ek upp rúnar,
æpandi nam,
fell ek aftr þaðan.

(Hávamál, Snorra Edda, quoted after: Wikipedia)

One word leads to another, one work leads to another work, and so the runes of life are learnt, from root to root, from stem to branch to leaf to tree to wood to sky. It´s the power of life that runs through all this, and I am fascinated again and full of joy at how everything is linked to each other.

All this will find its way into the creation process of this knife.

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