Donnerstag, 17. Januar 2013

A winterday´s ride with tea and a sunset

 It had snowed the other day, and I figured I make the best out of the situation, so I dressed up in warm clothing and got my new bike out. I built it myself out of new and old parts, but the frame is courtesy of Dennis from metal motion bikeshop, and boy, I can´t thank them enough. It simply rides great, long, but not too long, with a nimble and light feel in spite of being a sturdy construction. Even under the circumstances, technical trail riding was a cinch and a lot of fun. I must get accustomed to the feel when hopping around, but that´s only because the whole geometry is very different to my old bike, the trusty Norco many of my readers are still accustomed to.
 When I arrived at my favourite oak tree atop the hill, the sun was beginning to sink below the horizon. All was silent, and cold, and the tree was fast asleep. It is somewhat remarkeable, how silent things become in winter. Everything gets so much slower, and just we modern-day over-civilized humans forget that winter is an altogether different challenge. The running and buying and racing around Chrismas time we do is outright ridiculous. But I won´t change the world. Myself I can change, and I do.
 For there I sat down and had a cuppa tea. I would say I contemplated, or meditated, but I just sat there and breathed in the cold and brisk winter air and sipped my tea. It was really nothing I thought of, and I enjoyed it.

 Slowly the sun sank, going from a pale snow-laden yellow to darker orange, gildening the heath I sat on, and painting pictures into the forest.
 The oak leaves glowed orange, then in a fiery red; this is the fairies gold, and only a fool would have a greed to possess it in any other way than just sitting on a stump;-) enjoying it. The light is born, the dark is fading!

At the root of the oak tree with the tree stems there grows this little fir. I find this beautiful.

 Oh, and Asrun insisted to see a really lousy Gotland sheath. here it is. Now you know why I hadn´t posted it;-). But honesty lives longest, and here it is:

When the sun was setting and twilight started to cover the world, I looked into the sky, and there they were-the havens of twilight;-) where the grey elven ships sail towards a forlorn west;-). I took out my head lamp and rode home, my heart filled with the deep and secretive peace of winter.

Some smithing tutorial with Pam and René at the Bethaus

 On Saturday, I had an appointment with Pamela and her boyfriend, René. René is one of my oldest friends, and Pamela, his girlfriend, is a goldsmith. On a recent party, she addressed me if I could teach her how to forge some real material;-). Now it is somewhat funny - I always shunned her a bit, for when we met each other for the first time, she sneered at me. But when we got to actually talk, it happened, that thing that always happens when two smiths meet, may they forge iron, steel, or gold and and silver. The others on the party did not understand much anymore, and we had a great time. And she wanted to make a knife bad;-), and we even talked about making some damascus. When the two came by, she even brought some Borax! When she had her first go at pounding steel, however we consulted again and came to the clue, that plain spring steel woulöd suit her fine;-). I am kidding, of course, for she did extremely well. Volker had a children´s birthday party going on at the time, and we arranged ourselves.
 We used the manual forge. I normally am very fond of it, but it proved less than ideal that time. The transmission belt had shortened due to the cold, and the fan did not work properly, so we took Viktor´s forge instead.
 René looking on and commenting on Pamela´s work. It´s funny that couples who really love each other tend to get mad at each other all the time;-)... but they are both friendly people, and so it was no problem at all... just interesting to see.
 The kids apparently had a lot of fun, too, forging snails and hearts and snakes and mini horseshoes...
 When my psychotic clients*ggg* got too mad with each other, I gave René the sledge to remove some excess energy*ggg*. Just kidding again, that guy does not look the part, but he is a brute. We went felling trees at one time a lot, working in landscaping together. I remember him calling me one Friday evening and saying "Hey, bro, got anything to do on Saturday? Got an easy job, nothing really difficult, some ten trees no larger than 30 cm diameter, and they can all fall freely..." Having worked with him at that time for some time already, I was alert and packed ten times the food and water I would have normally had, and went to bed five hours earlier. The culprit is, it were one of those jobs I just so survived. There were 18 trees, most were rotten, one had a hornet´s nest in it, and none of them could fall freely, so we had to cut them off in tiny slices. We raced each other delimbing the fallen slices, him with a chainsaw, me with two Khukhuris, and, when they were too dull to work anymore (!), with two hatchets. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done - and one of the funnest things along the way. When I told another friend of mine, no stranger to hard work, too, and doing lumberjack work himself, he asked me about our tractor and what model it was, for he was fond of tractors. The face he made when I asked "What tractor?" was worth it;-). There are not many people with whom you can do that and still be friends afterwards. René is someone I trusted my life to and would do so again, and he does the same. We lost a bit of a contact, and I am really glad that seems to change again, with a bit of negotiation by Pamela. I really look forward to what will happen and to learn from each other. René is a industrial design engineer, Pamela with her goldsmithing background, and myself as the ironpounding brute might influence each other, and that´s a good thing I hope for.
 Also, I have to thank Volker once again, for providing a smithy, which is not self-evident. He also provided us with a constant flow of coffee, and had his own work going on all the while.

 René having his own go at Pamela´s knife.
 Here he forges the blade already. Note how he stands at an angle, looking towards the horn of the anvil. That way he does not interfere with his own tongs and can quite easily access the piece he is forging with controlled hammer blows.
Pamela, however, making a mistake. See how she cramps using the tongs in front of her? To be fair, it was a tong not quite suited for the task, and we had no time to make another, so it is obvious she could encounter some difficulties;-). She made a leaf-handled kitchen knife with a Nessmuk-shape blade. Since you know the type, I spare you another photo. I really look forward to see how it will look when finished! René announced he wanted a knife, too, and we will make damascus, and the next project will be a knife with a horn handle. Both had fun forging, and will return to the smithy sometime soon after their holiday. I look forward to it!

Mittwoch, 16. Januar 2013

Damascus Iscian knife with a dangler neck sheath

I made this knife after a ritual knife pattern I found attractive. It follows the lines of an Athamen / iscian knife. The blade is forged from Zwissler damascus out of 15N20 and 1.2842. The handle is made from bog oak that lay submerged under the mud of an old coalmine in the Muttental, resulting in a very rare bloodred colour. Mounted with copper and brass, the blade is 90 mm long and 2,5 mm thick, resulting in a very slicey feel. The bevel is convex, the tempering selective, as usual. I like it and use it as an EDC and as a knife that means something...;-).

Santa´s brought me a nice gift!;-)

A new bike frame, that is, a 17" Orange crush allmountain frame. A big thanks goes to Metal Motion bikeshop, the friendly folks there, especially Dennis and Ralf Scheffer, who gave it to me at an almost obscene bargain and contributed a lot to me really wanting to ride again. I was being a bit tired lately and could not see the point as to move my lazy butt just for the sake of sports, but hey, often you don´t know what you missed until you do it again!

It is utterly pointless, it does not serve any purpose, but fun riding does something for my soul I did not know that I missed it, but I did!

Other than that,  a bike is my only means of individual transport... and it gets me places...;-) but  that´s only rational blubbering. The truth is, I really want to ride!

Current projects[edit]

 Birka knife blade [edit: This is not a Birka find, but a Scandinavian iron age design], spring steel, selectively tempered.65x4mm blade.
 Birka knife blade  [edit: This is not a Birka find, but a Scandinavian iron age design], , crucible steel from the woods, selectively tempered, with a countertorsion on the handle, 100x3mm blade.
 Torsion work on the small knife. In the back there is another blade I made as an experiment to incorporate the lines of a sgian dhú into a stury bushcraft knife. I would prefer to call it an "Iscian".
 And the one on the big knife.
 Spine on the iscian knife.
 And the lanyard loop.
No stock removal, when it´s done it will see less than 3 % of it.... I´ll keep you informed!;-)

A walking cane for my mother

 This is a walking cane for my mother. She´s getting older, and has some severe arthrosis in her knees, and, even though she would never admit it, she could use a kind of support. She never would use an orthopaedic cane, so I tricked her into using one by making her something she´d rather use instead.
 I put a stag antler handle on it set with a blood agate.
The wood is vine-infested alder buckthorn, and I put a stainless steel tip on it. I really like the colour of the wood.

I hope this stick will prove itself helpful for her. I owe her a lot, and since I cannot always lend an arm, I hope this can support her when she needs it. She has done it for me, too, when I was a kid, after all.

Doomsday forging party;-)

 Everyone was raving about that big event going on, staged for 21st December, wait, what was it now, that Maya thing;-), knowharramean?*ggg* So we figured we´d do our own thing and start a party for ourselves. Willi, Volker and I met at the smithy to pound some iron, and just in case die the way we´d think most agreeable;-).
 Willi had dressed up like Quetzalcoatl his self, but no cocoa, Volker was not in the mood. So we had a lot of coffee instead.
 Volker proudly presenting the Chrismas tree. I asked him if it were not better to put it in the living room, for he really arranged it nicely, but he replied "Naay, I don´t want to have that indoors!" Weird.;-) His cats, however, had a lot of fun with the tree.
 I made some knives and these chandeliers, easily done, and fun to make!
The Quetzalcoatl cat of doom!

Galore!;-) Two sgian dhú blades, a birka knife, a prybar knife tool for Fritz, and a leaf handle blade. The blades are all spring steel.

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