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Donnerstag, 29. März 2012

Foraging hike into the grove;-)Ants all over the place!

 I went into the grove after work yesterday to get some more birch sap, and there were thousands of red ants (formica rufa) in the place. Red ants play a very important role in forest ecology, and it´s great that they prosper in that intensity again. They get rid of vermin and carrion and serve as food for many different species themselves. 
 Swarming all over the place and enjoying birch sap as much as I do;-).

 I tapped the birch with a new take on the tapping system. I took my blackthorn tap and threaded a piece of plastic tube inside to make for a closed system. this, see...*ggg*?
 Coke bottles are great for that. Simply drilled a hole into the cap. Something to think about: We like to think about plastic as trash. But if you consider it´s made from refined mineral oil, and mineral oil ressources are limited, you get another picture concerning the value of our so-called "junk" plastic. Ever wondered why soft drink bottles get ever so much more flimsy and flexible? This is to save money on the production process, and to enhance the ecological balance. I daresay a coke bottle will be a treasure one day, when oil ressources are even more limited.
 Found this piece of wood from a fallen birch, too, that will make a fine handle for a staff...
 Away I ventured, into the hills;-) and far away... and not a worry on my mind.
...and the loot;-)

On the lash-enchained;-)!

 This is a bracelet the person I love most in this life gave to me. And I daresay it means something...*ggg*
She´s got me on the lash!:-) And do I like it? This is an ancient Byzantine technique she employs in brass and steel wire. Look here for more info!

The finished whittling knife for the magic troll;-)

This is the finished knife I presented to the magic troll;-). I hope she enjoys it, for she can do with some joy at the moment. Laminate steel blade, wrought iron and tank bearing steel. This laminate was made by Matthias Zwissler, my tutor and mentor, and I reforged it. That whittler was made from a leftover piece. The handle is carved blackthorn, and no, MOOSWUZL*g*, I would not be offended if you polish it up a bit, it was made in somewhat of a rush;-).
I etch-burned runes in it. This is *eiwaz (yew, sorcery, death, endurance, magic), traditionally (presumeably, of course) used as a reinforcement of  inscriptions.
The inscription reads: *Gibu Auja (I give happiness), for I sincerely want her to be happy.:-).

The bird´s head. I hope it serves her well, and I look forward to what she does to and with it. Since she is a greatgreatgreatgreat craftswoman, look here for what she does to it;-).

Mittwoch, 28. März 2012

Pimp my blade;-)-Restored an old an trusty knife

 You might be familiar with this knife, for it has served me for some ten years now. Recently the pommel, which was tagua, fell off, and I catched the opportunity to refreshen it a bit. I am relatively pleased with the outcome. I etch-burned the ornaments and made a pommel out of blackthorn with a mosaic pin.
Blade is forged from an old chisel, tempered in a linseed-oil / urine / ash concoction after the "curicus und offenhertzig weinartzt" from 1723, which led to something like a bainite temper, making for a tough and flexible yet very durable blade. I recently sharpened it for the first time! I really love this knife now.

Donnerstag, 22. März 2012

Shelf find- a multitool courtesy of my laid father

 I rummaged through the shelves at my mother´s home recently and found this multitool that sat in the pocket of my laid father wherever he went. Philips head and flat head screwdrivers, awl, rasp, file, and I remember a saw and knifeblade also, but those are lost.
 Stored in the hollow handle... the handle is made from translucent yellow plastic, which is ugly, but that was the style in those days...
This is how the tools are being mounted. A bronze holder with two kinds of slots for different tools. The tools have notches that fit in the slots. Simple as that. I dream of making something like that that is more pleasing to the eye and hand, but as is, this tool will find a place on my crane bag.

One man´s trash...

 ... is another man´s treasure;-). I went for a stroll on Wednesday and found this coil of spring steel by the roadside someone had disposed of... some 120 knives in it, value 35,00-250,00€ per piece. So this coil could have a value of at least 4.200,00 €, for you Mammonist arseholes out there. Get the clue that you could use your crap or get them to be properly recycled and spoiling the countryside a little less? I, for one appreciate your crap, but there are few who would dispose of your waste that way. And I have no use whatsoever for all the plastic shreds littering the roadsides, and the forests, too.
 And a nice piece of bone for carvings I found beside the road, presumeably from a pig stilt or soup beef.
I daresay it will make for some interesting colouring....

Those are my treasures, and my coin. Weird indeed;-).

Another whittling knife...

This is a whittling blade I made only but recently for the magic troll from tank-bearing / wrought iron laminate steel. I am currently still about if I should actually mount that blade, for it is rather soft. I forged it out rather thin, and it seems the soft iron sides were overlapping the steel to an extent that impaired it taking a temper. I will try removing the iron from the edge part more than usual and see what happens. It will be too thin then to re-temper it, so, if in doubt, I´ll rather make a spring steel blade, for there´s no laminate left. Have to make some myself soon, but then there´s no harm in using spring steel. To be honest, I make better knives from spring steel than from some fancy 1.28whatsoever material, for I got the tempering wired I could do it in my sleep.

 I carved a handle out of blackthorn that will see a bird´s head carving at the end of the handle... I will keep you informed!;-)

Foraging ride, spooncarving, stumpsitting and some thoughts

 On Tuesday I had a lot to contemplate, and what works best for me in these cases, I did. I took out my bike and ventured to the birch grove to do some stumpsitting, tapping birches and doing some foraging.
 On my way there was life sprouting and blossoming everywhere. It was very warm, birds were singing in every tree, and waltzing with each other in the air. Coltsfoot was sprouting, and I got some for tea. I also love this warm and vibrant colour that simply warms my heart. Life is on its violent way, prospering again after the dark nights of winter.
 This little forager did some foraging on its own account;-)... the first bumblebee I saw this year!
 I came to the grove and quickly set out to work...
 I got myself a breast drill for the tapping. It is an old tool I found on a flea market, and I made a tap from blackthorn for multiple use. Also tested my sgian dhú knife.
 The tap. I got some 1,5 litres of birch sap in some four hours. I drank a good pint of it immediately, and I feel as if I could sense an immediate effect. It simply feels good to drink birch sap, and I am right grateful for being able to do so. As for numbers, it´s rich with potassium and vitamin C, but I feel that there´s still more to it. Makes your hair grow (back, NOT!*ggg*).Miruvor?
 Then I sat by the stones, did some forms and a bit of meditation. There was a strange calm coming over me while doing so, as if I froze, and when this occured, a hare came into the grove, looked at me, shat a big pile of dung and went on his way. Of course I fumbled my camera, was too astonished, but who wants a picture of a shitting hare anyway?;-) I laughed a bit, came to life again and draped some flowers on the stone.

I want to wish a person utterly unknown to me a good journey, a journey into the unknown. She came from the unknown and is headed there. May the colours of the sun warm her soul on her way. May the wheel never cease to turn. May the stars smile upon her way. And even if she is not known to me, I want to thank her, for the happiness that has come into my life would not be if not for her.

To my readers: Some of you might understand. Some of you might feel offended by this picture or this cryptic muttering. I do not apologize. But I wish to you the same. May the life that springs forth from the beginning of the year warm your heart. Regardless how you call it, may you find your blessing in life itself and comfort in the cold. May your heart be warmed by the force that warms up this life.

And to the most beloved person in my life, the long lost and finally found friend of my soul: No words, but this picture of a cup of tea.
 Did some carving, too, and there now is a wood spirit outlined at the end of the spoon I made last time;-).
 After all this, I plugged the birch, said a thank you. Please always tap a birch above stock height (about 1,20 m) to help her regenerate. Plug the tree with a piece of clean wood from the same species.
 And cut it flush. If you have it at hand, smear the wound with special gardening healing earth. If you want another round of sap, take another tree. It will be grateful;-) in being alive next year still.
The sun was sinking, when I made for the long way home. I rode down that technical singletrail and had quite a ball, I was full of energy from basking in the sun and the birch sap I drank....drunk on tree sap, imagine;-)!

Gute Reise.

Dienstag, 20. März 2012

New neck knife project on the bench

A new neck knife project I started. A damasteel stainless damascus blade, 80 mm, by Peter Abel, spine thickness 2 mm, roe deer antler handle. I have yet to decide what bolster it will get and I am thinking about bone or buffalo horn or Mammoth ivory... we´ll see. It will see some incrustation at the pommel, too, maybe some amber...

Another day in the smithy-woodworking tools and progress on my rune knife / Sgian Dubh

Had some fun in the smithy yesterday... we had a nice chat, a cuppa coffee and a piece o´cake and talked about the oncoming season, and then we lit the forge.

And it was productive, too. From left to right:
Bigger whittler for the crane bag, two small ones for the magic troll;-), and a spooncarving knife. Except for the latter which is from spring steel, all are wrought iron / tank bearing laminate steel. Spine thicknesses from 0,8 - 2 mm. Got the warping blues when tempering but daresay I got it wired in the end...
And here´s a shot of some progress on my rune knife / sgian dhú knife. I fitted a piece of blackthorn into the handle.

 Like this, see;-)? Could be made more cleanly, I admit it, but I am not one for work that does not incorporate a BIG sledge hammer and a big amount of grunting...*ggg*

 Also started a damascus bush knife from a piece of scrap damascus Matthias Zwissler gave to me.
Carving tools galore;-) coarsely ground. To the right is  a gouge I made a long time ago from 100Cr6 steel and that will get a home in my crane suitcase;-).

Those tools were fun to make, and I look forward to completing them. Oi, there, halt, the two for the magic troll are part of an experiment*ggg*.

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