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Montag, 27. Juni 2011

The works of Viktor Paukow

 I had the privilege to meet Viktor at the Bethaus again and even do some forging with him. This guy is just amazing. I cannot express how much knowledge and experience he has, in one sentence there are so many informations I could write a book on. He is a very admirable man, and I do admire him a lot. Not all of his opinions are mine, too, and we have room for discussion, but, as one of my readers whose opinion I value a lot, suggested, I will treasure him. For his life and experience, for his shortcomings and humanity as well as his knowledge.
 This is a sickle he made while still in Kazakhstan. made from leaf spring steel, and with a very interesting handle mounting, a crossover between a rattail tang, an integral bolster and a flat tang. The handle is made from hardwood. That thing is a beast that literally swings itself and has some heft to it. This, when pared with a razor edge (we tried it), makes for a frightening cutting prowess.
I find it is in little things where true mastery shows through, too. These are miniature horseshoes (for pixie horses;-)) I have yet to learn how to accomplish a big one, let alone making one of those teenie weenie things. hats off!!!!

Three more knives, one old and two new ones...;-)

 This is another example of my lack of patience. Fitted the scales raw to file down to tang size when mounted. Hacksawed the remaining scale off and cut deep into the tang. I was close to a fit of hysteria! So, okay, I thought, it´s a sign, why not try something new. So I filed the whole mess down to a kind of rattail tang at the end and fitted a kind of bolster from reindeer antler. The blade is leaf spring steel with a razor convex grind. It bites like your little sister, but I have to warm up to it, what with all the mess going on.

This once was a Puma skinmaster blade from 1.4116 steel (Cold Steel uses this steel on some of their blades also). The blade was a bit off temper when I found it in the garage of Rudolph Broch at Solingen. On this guy I have to do a little feature sometime soon. He is the former owner of the last smithy in Solingen still working, and it has been producing knives, spears and hatchets for Hirschkrone, Hubertus knives, Puma, Anton Wingen, even Martiini puukkos were made there, and I even found some Iisakki Järvenpää blades there! Rudolph Broch himselfhelped me with tempering the stainless steel. The handle is birchwood burl with a red dragon carving Celtic style. The red dragon of fury swims through the golden light of poetry. This refers to the "dragon´s tale" I wrote some years ago. The carving was inspired by the animal on a Celtic chalice find at Dürrnberg, Hallein.

This one is the one where I messed up the drilling, so the hollow copper
pins are a bit off center. No harm done, really.It´s one of my faves these days. It´s made from leaf spring steel, 83 mm long in the blade, edge quenched, and there must have  gone something right with the heat treatment, for  I have used it very hard for some time now. It can carve a Roselli hunter blade and stood up to the bending test. And, there´s the culprit, it´s tempered in chicken soup. Had no oil at the smithy, so Jochen, the cook, provided us with an excellent chicken soup (had a bowl beforehand to reduce the water content). Lots of fat on top, and smelled great when tempering. I know you propably think I am horsing around, or am now completely gone off my rocker, but it really was!;-)

Can´t sign in to blogger properly

Just a little note for all you guys (and gals!!!!) out there being a bit taken aback because I have not replied to your comments nor commented on your posts.

Can´t sign into blogger properly, and I have yet to find out why. I will try to keep on posting, if I manage. I also will relate to your commentsas soon as I find out why this is so.

Thanks for your empathy;-)!

Donnerstag, 16. Juni 2011

Crafts fair at the Bethaus

 Last weekend we worked for Volker at a crafts fair he organized. We didn´t get any payment, but a lot of great food and even more fun out of it and a chance to actually play around a bit again;-). A small utility with runes on, reading:

(I defend against Evil, after an actual find) and
(I bring magic)

I hit my fingers two times while engraving, so, mind you, the runes are baptized in blood!;-)

 Made this hot punch for Volker. Punch is file steel, handle is iron.
 Daniel had a go at this kitchen knife from a BIG file. Great spiral, one of the first he managed. He´s always getting better, and I like that fact very much.

 We put ourselves to the challenge to make a fire with wet tinder;-) we found in the woods nearby.
We worked with children both days, making handprints in  airdrying clay. Was a bit messy, for we had no tools. So we had to whittle them;-).
Kids were coming continuously, but sparsely, so no stress at all, and we had fun, as had the kids apparently.
Fuzz stick to light a fire with wet tinder;-).
And we got the fire going! Had several tries, though, but we would not go hungry and cold in the woods;-).
Degasing wood on top of the fire.

New Forge by Kai

 Kai was being sick (even more so than usual;-)), so I dropped by. Of course, he could not keep his feet still, so he showed me his new forge, and we did some burrrrnning;-). It´s made from Ytong material with firebricks and  apipe tuyère system.
 That´s an air blower from a camping shop, usually in use to inflate matresses!
Now this is sweet: The valve to regulate the airflow. Works like a cinch, and a great idea, if you ask me...

Progress on my Shillelagh

I have worked on my Shillelagh, and this is how it goes: In a creativity and artist´s shop I came across a little bronze disc (presumably for amulets;-)) with a complete Old runenordic Futhark inscribed and got it to fit it in the knob of the handle. Drilled it with a Forstner drill, fixed it with dual compound glue and an upholstery nail. The Futhark serves as a functional rune-energy;-)-item, as was presumably a custom in historical times, too, if you follow the magical theory. It could also have been in use as a mnemnonic device to help remember the staves of the runes. This left aside, I find it attractive.

Then I removed the bark and carved out an oval with a frame. The rune you can see is a so - called "bind-rune". Bind runes were found at Rök (Rune Stone) and on many artifacts. It might be that they were simply used to save space, such as abbreviations in our modern times, but also to express semiotic ideas, for runes always were ideograms, too. Of course, one could go as far as to postulate a magical use, too.

It´s very cool, for since I do not study runeology any more officially, I can do the heck what I goddamn please and state it´s for magical uses;-) and no teacher telling me otherwise;8-).

Hey, it´s artwork;-)! And it tells: Thurisaz, the thorn (of the blackthorn), the black giant, gives the twilight under the Yew´s (eihwaz) branches and leaves. The giant´s axe (or sword) of blackthorn´s needles fends off Evil and keeps the (runes) secrets (Straif) of the staff.

I made fun of my teacher, Prof. Dr. (em.) Else Ebel, "but I don´t mean it mean", for  I owe  her a lot actually. I recommend anyone interested in runelore reading a decent book beforehand before delving deep into the magical side of the art. I would recommend KLaus Düwel: Runes, Frankfurt a.M. 2001-2005, which gives an exact, academically correct overview on the topic.

Donnerstag, 9. Juni 2011

Working on my blackthorn Shillelagh

 In winter I got myself two blackthorn shanks for a quarterstaff and a shillelagh. I really like the symbolism of the wood, and of the Shillelagh. To me it is a symbol of stubornness in the face of desaster, of rebellion against injustice and tyranny. To those not familiar with the concept: A Shillelagh is a traditional Irish weapon, typically made from oak, blackthorn or holly. It´s got its name from the Shillelagh village, where once there were dense oak forests. The forests were cut down by the English, so the inhabitants used blackthorn instead, as was commonly  used beforehand, too. Blackthorn grows in very hostile conditions,
and blackthorn hedges make for a very enduring brush landscape;-) and an effective means of keeping someone out. It also makes for a very effective wood to whack someone with, too. Shillelaghs were even "loaded" by hollowing out the top knob (made either from a piece of branch or rootwood) and filling it with lead. In modern Irish martial arts, stickfighting (Bataireacht) is taught again. When Ireland was occupied by the English, the Irish people were forbidden to carry weapons. Even the shorter original Shillelagh, which is now called a "shamrock" (Seamróg), was forbidden to carry. So it got a bit longer and just became a walking stick (which was not forbidden). Traditionally the wood was cut in December, smeared with butter, manure or resin to keep the wood from cracking, and hung up, tip up, with a copper ferrule fitted to prevent splitting, in the chimney for three weeks, therefore gaining the black appearance.

In my opinion, the blackthorn in itself has a lot to do with the Irish (and Scottish) and maybe Celtic psyche in general.It´s hard, enduring, yet shows a lovely blossom. The fruit are sour and bitter when not treated properly, but delicious if you know how to handle them ;-).

The Ogham meaning (Straif: begining of secrets, death, winter tree), and the modern Runic connotation, i.e. Thorn, thurisaz goes hand in hand with this fascination. I just wanted to make a Shillelagh, and to treat it with the respect it deserves. Not primarily as a weapon, but as a walking stick and as a mythological inspiration.

It has dried out nicely, but showing one crack along the knob. I filled it with some dual-compound glue. I left the bark on, and heated it with a hairdryer, applying a mixture of beeswax, resin, and boiled linseed oil. gave it a good burning with the hairdryer again. Then I polished it with some 1000 grit sanding paper and steel wool (0,000). I will forge a tempered tool steel tip for it and maybe make a bronze cap. I will carve some runes into it I have yet to find, and this Shillelagh´s name I have to find still, too.

Another funny day at the smithy

Last Sunday it was a forging session at the Industriemuseum again. Willi and Daniel showed up, to pound some metal and have some serious fun. Mr. Rothenberg came up, too, and I finished his knife. Might be he was a bit afraid of it afterwards, it was getting SHARP!!! Seems something went well with the heat treatment finally!;-) Daniel threatened Willi a bit, and they whacked each other with some red - hot tongs ... seems to be their kind of humour, I guess;-).
 Finished my Celt-Tac bush knife. The scales are pink ivory, as I found out, the hollow pins are copper tube from the plumber´s shop. I really like it, it´s a cutter, being thin and with aconvex razor edge to it. Situated around it are the well known axes made by Willi.
 A halfway decent photo of Willi´s left-handed foraging sickle. All silver steel.

 And the same in a right handed version: White paper steel, Mammoth ivory, and Bubinga wood.
That´s a wardrobe hook Daniel made. The pidgeon´s ever getting better at the trade!
 That´s a viking style kitchen and utility knife made by Jens Nettlich, three layers of spring and file steel, with the cutting layer "shoed on", meaning, a v-shaped layer of file steel is forge-welded over a centre of spring steel.
 Some ancient axes we got as a donation from visitors. The first in the row is a three-layer laminate in an ancient Westfalian form.
 Can´t see why people keep calling us weirdos...
 Willi forging a miniature axe from 6x6 mm stock. Insane!
 Daniel repairing some tongs he managed to bend... his nickname is "Beché" for a reason... man, that guy hits like a rock, and I don´t ever want to cross him any!
Besides pounding steel so hard he bent the tongs, he made these wall hooks.
 This is another knife by Willi I really like a lot. It´s a Hubertus blade made from 440C. the handle is yew, cut across the grain. The rivets are copper, and it features a sunk lanyard hole. The sheath is made by Willi, too, and meticulously finished!
 That´s a Hungarian cane axe Willi made. In Poland it´s common, too, and it´s called a Poszanka (don´t have a clue if the spelling is correct). I really like the design and the idea, and I´d like to make one myself, if it were not so haphazard to explain to the police. Willi is a bushhead, too, and a little less concerned about those things, what with living on the countryside and such.
 FLLLLAAAAAIIIIIIIISSSSSCCCHHHHH!!!!! SCHNAAAAAPPPPSSSS!!!!!;-) Had one smoky mess of a BBQ for food, and a whole lotta fun all the while!
 If you see this guy approach......

 Forged a "viking" style loop tang that went quite well. Someone will get it to some special occasion;-). Made from spring steel.
 And the final touch to my little bush full tang. Did I mention I messed up the drilling? I completely messed up thedrilling. No, really, I messed it up. The drilling, that is. I messed up the drilling.
 Willi gave this "belgischer Brocken" EDC sharpening stone to me, and I am very fond of it. Thanks a lot, my friend, it is very appreciated!:-)
 That´s Willi´s interpretation of the viking style loop tang. By the way, it´s not quite correct to call it a viking knife, for the design is much much older, and there are no actual find from the viking age, but the one example from a women´s grave in Birka dates to the Vendel age. This one is silver steel.

 I rode home by bike, and it was raining hard. So I decided I´d ride through the forest, because there I´d get less of a soaking;-)
Those beloved hills of home.

And my beloved mud beast. I actually owe this bike a lot. It gets me places, it is a great and fun alternative to a car, it gets me airborne and gets me earthed back to my spiritual roots. It makes me feel alive. Riding bikes and blacksmithing has always been a part of my life, and I hope it will continue to be this way.

Another Foraging Hike near my home

 I recently set out for another walk to bring in some holly blossom primarily, and to just smell the roses.

First, I went to the bank;-). Same place, same tin cans, 2,00 € for free.
 I spare you the details, for it was the same old trail I have unnerved you with so many times;-). Brought in this bag of holly blossom (Sambucus Nigra, Holunder in German). I really love to make syrup from them. This year I have the notion they are even more aromatic than the years before.

Take the holly blossom, remove the leaves and clean them thoroughly. Put them in a wide glass, and cover with white refined sugar. Add slices of one lemon with the peel on (must be non-toxic;-)). Add another layer of holly, cover with sugar, cover with orange slices, cover with sugar, add holly blossom and so on. The last layer should be sugar, and thicker as usual for as to keep the oxygene off.
Let it rest for three days. Strain the mass and warm to 75 degrees Celsius.
Thoroughly desinfect a vacuum glass and warm it by pouring boiling water in. (Remove the water;-)). Put the syrup in while it´s still hot, put the lid on and fill it up to the brim. Put the glass upside down to cool.
 You can also add one layer of sweet woodruff, tastes even more delicious. Drink it with soda and ice in summer, it makes for a great delicious drink!

If you use pectinous sugar, you can make a gelée from it, which is absolutely great on white bread with butter.

You can add one handful of raisins to the strained syrup, heat it to 75 degrees, let it cool ´til 37 degrees, and add brewery yarm to it. Put it in bottles with a fermentation valve on (you can use a childrens balloon or even a condom, too, fix it with a zip - tie around the bottle´s neck). Let it rest for three weeks in a dark place, put the bottles in sand while the mead ferments. Then fill the mead in clean bottles, and put a cork in, which you can seal with beeswax. The dried blossoms are good against the cold and bronchitis, when drank in a tea mixture, too.

And, good against witches, I am afraid...;-)

Came across this plant, too. It´s achillea millefolium, common yarrow (Schafgarbe in German). It´s good against digestive problems and colics, and menstrual problems too.

Oh yes, and I have heard it tell, it might be good against witches. Did not help against me, somehow...;-). Got some for tea and a Theriak herbal tonicum.
The sun was sinking, as I went home, and it was quite the otherworldly experience.... It was all misty, for it had rained beforehand.

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