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Mittwoch, 19. Dezember 2012

Chrismas fair mayhem;-) in Langenberg and Schwelm


 You my dedicated readers might have noticed it was a bit silent the last two weeks, and that had a reason, two, in fact. We had to work on the Chrismas fairs in Velbert-Langenberg and Schwelm. In Langenberg the weather was all crap, but the market was situated at a great place and there were lots of friendly people around and we made a lot of connections. It was raining hard the whole time, and the snow was melting, making for a gooey mess. On Sunday, we had to try five times to even start a decent fire!

The smithy was built on a patch of grass, not quite the favourite, but we got it working. Volker moved his anvil around for about an hour, which resulted in a swamphole;-) and slippery it was.

 That´s an ugly fire, but all was wet through. We had an early start, and took it easy, sipping a coffee after the fire was going and having a chat.
 There were no visitors that early, but the site was located in a park near an old villa, which is used as a school these days.
 Preparing for battle...;-)
 After several futile attempts at getting a decent fire going with wet wood and wet tinder I simply stole some embers.
 Et voilá les enfants:;-)
 In spite of the weather the kids kept coming steadily. And in spite of the weather, we all had fun and made do.
 ...
 The site was beautiful, but the weather was so foul it became a total mess.
 It´s funny, but we could not complain about a lack of kids and customers. Having a smithy seems to attract people even under the worst circumstances.
 I made these little viking knives. I had the order to make them from mild steel. So I coldforged the edge and made it work. They can even cut a bit and take and keep something similar to an edge. I was fond of this one we made...
 ...like this heart...
 ...together with this happy family. They really enjoyed themselves.
 The medical rescue squad was present, too, and they (adults and kids alike) had a lot of fun working with fire and steel.
 ...and memories were conserved.
 Volker forging a heart of steel.
 When the day drew to a close, the steady drizzle of visitors slowly faded, and I made this leaf handled design knife. We packed our things and drove home.
In Schwelm, we actually were so busy I was not able to make any photos, but my boss did. Here they come:


 The place was thrumming with visitors, and the fair was beautifully built with colourful huts and a load of interesting booths with good food.

 We were working both days without so much of a looking up. Craig dropped by with his family and I gave him the Sgian Dhú I made for him, with an extra belt sheath. He seemed to like it;-). Then Nick and his girlfriend came along and I made him a tool for carving and opening walnuts, out of spring steel. I will make another, I guess, and keep you posted! Jürgen from Clan macLaren came by, too, and we had a chat,
I like this photo, for it well transports the spirit and the magic of blacksmithing with children. Here is an article about the fair.

It was a very busy weekend, and I was so exhausted I slept through the next day and the night, and awoke with back aches. But it was also a great experience to boot! The back aches have subsided, but the memory will stay.

Mittwoch, 5. Dezember 2012

New bushcraft knife


 I made a new bushcraft knife. Ilkka Seikku has inspired me a lot, but I did not simply want to copy, but wanted a knife as rugged as his with the look of my own style. I am quite fond of a slight recurve and added a finger hold. It is made from selectively tempered spring steel with less than 1 % stock removal.
 I also made a sheath with a wooden (oak) inlay. Here it is not tanned yet and I also added some stitches.
The blade is 115 mm long and has a 6mm spine. The handle is elk antler. I tried out to do some balancing and thusly drilled out the hind part of the tang with 8mm holes. The centre of balance is on the first hollow rivet, on the index finger notch. It feels light and nimble for that. The blade has no secondary edge bevel.

I tested it already, and it does the job. I will document that with some photos, no worries;-). It is not as hard as Ilkka´s knives, some 58 HRC or so, but flexible enough. Chopping mild steel rods inflicted some dents on the blade, carving was a cinch, and it even stropped a Mora Triflex blade. Guess it will accompagny me personally, and I will work on perfecting the design.

Sling[edit]

 It had been brooding for some time now;-). Willi had made himself a táthlum-style sling, so I decided I wanted one, too...*ggg*. This is the cut... I made it from 2 mm leather. The seams are all on the outside, and the smooth side of the leather is inside. I made a simple finger loop and a quick sling release strap.
All in all, a quick and dirty version that took me 15 minutes to make.

What can I say... it is a fierce weapon, and I certainly would not at all have wanted to be an infantery legionary in the Roman - Celtic wars.... I have to practice a lot still, but the one time I accomplished a fast overhand shot I hit an old tree stump, which exploded as if hit with a .45 bullet.

Donnerstag, 29. November 2012

Looking for a dress Sgian Dhú? Being my own worst enemy;-)...

Now this might be a bit counterproductive, but if you are looking for a dress sgían dhú, there is also another knifemaker in my periphery, whose knives are not as tribal as mine. It is Thomas Pludra, who also is a member of Clan McLaren Friends Of Germany. He makes knives like this one below.
His knives are of some great quality. He uses spring steel mostly. They come, for the most part, with a rattail tang halfway up the handle. His dirks are peened over a buttcap.

Now, what am I up to? Do I want to sell MY works or that of others?*ggg*I have no business license, so I don´t sell professionally in the first place.

Let me shed some light into that: My knives are different. They are ugly bastards, but each and every one is tested to the extreme. But there are times when you do not want an ugly bastard that looks like it has been made with a hole in the ground and a plastic bag for a bellows and on a stone as an anvil, (which in fact, comes quite close to the truth.;-))

Thomas is a great guy, and his works are great also, and much more refined. He uses power tools to a much higher degree and has learned his trade in Solingen, where there are the best craftsmen around.

So, if you insist on having a beast, I´ll make you one. 

If you want something more refined to go with a dress kilt, take a look at his works.

Mittwoch, 28. November 2012

A dark day in the smithy and the birth of a bush proto;-)

I went to the smithy on Sunday to prepare some work and to help out smithing. Michael was there, and we did a children´s birthday party that day. The I forged pendants, ear hangers and the like for the upcoming Chrismas fairs we will forge on.
And, feeling very inspired by Ilkka Seikku´s knives, I started myself a bushcraft design. Not wanting to simply copy another knife, I contemplated what was proprietary to my style and what I wanted to achieve with it while sharing some characteristics with the intent in Ilkka´s knives. It shall be long enough to be useable, rugged, but an able cutter. To achieve that, I chose spring steel that I tempered selectively. I am also fond of a slight recurve design and I figured I wanted a finger grove for the index finger and a milder version of the handle shape I have come to like as quite ergonomic.
All the while the forging fest with the kids went on, and I helped out whatever I could.
The forge had been repaired by Viktor. I really love the versatility and the simplicity of a forge with no electricity. It could work just about anywhere, and I like that.
Renate, Volker´s girlfriend, provided us with a steady flow of caffeine... man, I drank like a gallon of the java stuff! Was feeling slightly queasy afterwards...*ggg*
That´s the downside of working with a low-key forge and anthracite coke: If you go for a leak or have to do some filing, you have to build a wood fire to keep it going....
The weather was foul the whole day through. It was very dark, and a bit of a drizzle fell from time to time, but no harm done, really.
As you can see, the knife´s forged into shape with little stock removal required once again.
I also made some copper ferrules for a certain Sgian Dhú ;-). It was some strenuous work, but a very satisfying day.

Craig´s Sgian Dhú is finally done;-)

 This project has cost me quite some nerves... and it has been on the bench for a long time. The handle failed several times. Now it´s finally done, and I like it. I sincerely hope Craig likes it, too, for I value him a lot. No clan crest yet, and a simple rustic finish. The handle is made from extremely rare iron-ore - impregnated bog oak, which lay submerged in an ancient coalmine in the Muttental for some 150 years or so. The ferrules are handforged from copper, and the tang is peened over the buttcap.
 The knife in its sheath and outside of it. The blade is not rusty, but waxed against the moisture of the simple sock-sheath I made. It will get another sheath to go on a belt, that will see some carving. Either sheath is / will be wet-formed and hotwaxed around the knife. The blade is spring steel, selectively tempered with an approximate hardness of 59-61 HRC. 
 The spine is just some 3 mm thick and has some filework on it. The blade measures in at some 100 mm give or take. The fullers are first forged, then ground out.
I already tested it, and although it is no prybar, it can take a beating, and I hope it will serve him well! My apologies to Craig for the long time, but I hope the finished product will make up for it!

Donnerstag, 22. November 2012

A hike with Kai and into the spirits´realm... a strange sighting.

 I met with kai the other day and we decided to have a bimble into the woods. I hiked to his place, and we made for the hills. This is the Eugen - Richter tower we passed by. kai wanted to have a lookout for some suitable Hiking staff for him to carve-and found none.
 But we found a chainsaw sculpture and some cutoff tree discs...
 as a breakfast board or any such like. Kai is currently in some great pain for he suffers from severe back problems. The mad one went for the hike - which was no small one at all - nonetheless, so his facial expression on this pic might be excuseable;-). Get well soon, dude!
 We enjoyed a beautiful hike into the woods and relished in some good - natured  talk and some scenic vistas, clad into the vibrant colours of the dying year. At a local inn in the woods we had a good cuppa coffee and had some blacksmith´s tech talk... the other customers certainly must have had some funny thoughts about us having a coffee and talking in numbers and carbon contents;-)!
 The sun was not exactly out, and the clouds hung low. It was a very strange atmosphere the whole day through.

 When we came down from the hills, we said goodbye, and I went for the trail home. When I was on top of the next hill, I had a very strange feeling of the air humming with energy and vibrating through my very body. It was quite dark already, and I thought - since I am familiar with the feeling - to try and shoot a photo. It was not that misty, but this came out.

It was a weird effect, and I checked my camera, which is prone to do funny things these days, and made another photo with another setup just to be sure I did not get something wrong. Honestly, I do not know what this is, if it´s just some light effect due to the flash in the air´s humidity, but I could not help recognizing that there is some kind of structure in the picture, and if I look at it closely, I get the impression of a bearded face looking at the camera at an angle. Also note the strange diffusion of the light towards the ground, almost as if there were some kind of silhouette. It also reminded me of some hidden cave paintings in France. Also, when meditating in the woods, I have sometimes had a similar visual experience, eeven in the daylight. So, whoa Nellie, what I got here is a picture where presumeably the focus of the camera did go awry and the light diffuses strangely. I do not reject any superstitional theories, but do not buy into them either.

I respect the world of spirits, and, just in case, offered my greetings;-), and we both went on our merry
way;-).








Mountain man style blanket shirt in the making

I currently work on a blanket shirt, made out of new wool with a bit of Elasthane, with a loose fit I have come to appreciate. As is, it needs some sewing the pockets and cleaning up the edges and making a collar, and it will be done. Those are dead easy to make, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. As is, it´s comfy, warm and cozy. I like.;-)

And it teaches me skills I had not before;-)... as are repairing my garments with little ressources.

I will make a paper sheet scheme for it to illustrate - I just stitched away, but guess I can illustrate how I made it.

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