Mittwoch, 18. März 2015

What I did while Nick was busy;-) and the long way home

 The other day Nick had called if I´d come to go smithing with him;-). Turns out there was a birthday party scheduled that Volker forgot to mention, so surprise, surprise for him... but he put up to the task, for I was being late. He has an altogether different style of working with the kids, but that´s the point of it all- we all have. But in all those years we are working for the smithy, I have just received one negative feedback. Some four thousand customers, however, came and come back for more. The one negative feedback was quickly mended even so, and that customer now is one of our sincerest and oldest friends now. This feels very good, and Nick, working for us for, wait, is that two years now? puts up to the task in a very hearty and friendly way. Of course, there´s always room for improvement when the smithing is concerned, but that is so for anyone of us.
 He addressed the parents politely, but also with a firm stand, and treated the kids with friendliness and respect, but also a strong position. Great!
 I tend to criticize Volker a lot, I must admit, but I must say, he´s  had a hard life and has one still. At 67 years old, he works up to 14 hours a day, 7 days a week, no weekend, for a ridiculous salary. Some of it is all his fault, but even then you have to admire him for his endurance and the friendly manner he has for everyone. He simply loves the kids. He may be absolutely crap for a blacksmith, but he does a great job with the kids. I have rarely seen a kid that did not leave with a sparkle in his or her eyes. I have rarely seen a kid not returning to the smithy. Not necessarily because of the blacksmithing, but because of Volker. He is subject to the city marketing of Witten, and recently opened his mouth and spoke his word that he was not to be treated little better than a slave. Of course, there´s now a right riot going on, with intrigues and a frenzy to modernising the Bethaus smithy and putting a scheme onto it that will not fit. I am currently searching for an alternative location just in case, for I learned this lesson far too well. And of course I will want to provide for my friends also, and this includes Volker.
 Was it a lazy day for me, then? I did four projects with the kids and the parents alike and some tutoring on making Damascus, and that was all of it. Then I retired myself to the murky boundaries of the shop;-) and did some filing and fitting and filing and fitting some more... and this is what came out:
 Viking age friction folder. Stag, brass rivet, and Zwissler seven-bar Damascus steel from tank cannon and tank bearing steel.
 Crude, of course, but that´s how it goes when you try to forge as much in shape as you can...

 I am a bit proud of the swan´s neck. The lever is a bit longer resulting in a very secure hold when opened, and I offset the slot a tiny bit to aid in keeping it in when closed.
 The blade´s spine is going from 3 - 1 mm resulting in a slicer. The blade is selectively tempered with the quench line including the rivet hole to add durability. It has a convex bevel, and the blade is 80 mm long.
 I admit I just forsake my principles with this Kopis knife after the Novgorod find. The handle is reindeer antler like the original. But, rummaging in my attic, I had come across this meander design bronze bolster. Now those meandrous design features are not authentical, neither to the Novgorod, Kiev or Birka finds. The culprit is, I am making this just for myself, and I just liked it. So I put it on.
 The file steel and crucible steel show a beautifully rustic pattern and, having done a superficial test already, I can say they can take a beating. I guess I will do a video test about it soon.
 The spine´s 4 mm thick, the bevels a mild convex one. The blade is exactly 120mm long, making it a legal carry.
 I did five projects that day...
Top to bottom: A mysterious little something for the lovely magic troll, may her beard grow ever longer;-D, the aforementioned Kopis knife, a blade from ancient spring steel with a stag antler handle, the aforementioned friction folder, and another Rus replica with deliciously smelling Corse juniper wood (smells like exotic pepper!) and reindeer antler (not so deliciously smelling...) for a handle, Damascus blade from 1.2842 and crucible steel I found in the woods, 100x4mm.

It was simply great to have some time for projects like these... and I need this from time to time.

After work we had some delicious meatballs and potato salad and a sip of beer with Volker, Sylvia and Uwe. All too soon time had passed chatting and I was on my way home.

My heart was filled with warmth and content, as I rode home through the night. But as it turns out, the story is not yet at an end:

When I passed the Nachtigall mine, my rear tire went flat. As I opened my rucksack, I realized I must have had lost my spare tube and repair kit. And my rucksack, loaded with some 50 kg of tools and steel and knifemaking projects, tore. So, out in the cold, I took out my sewing kit and fixed the bloody thing, muttering curses and insults to myself until I realized this was not taking me anywhere. So, I took the pack, strapped my helmet to it, and started to walk. It was a journey of 13 km through the dark, pushing a bike with a flat tire and a pack that weighed me down with every step. My working shoes chafed me raw, until I got enough of that and walked the last 5 km barefooted. Even so, I had developed some blisters soon that made a funny popping sound, exploding from time to time;-), weird;-). Knowing that to cry would not get me anywhere, I took out the Balistol from my pack to disinfect them and went on my not-so-merry way.

And guess what? I would not have thought this during the toiling along, but I arrived home two hours later. I was still breathing. The blisters subsided in one day. I opened a bottle of black beer, called my love, had a chat and a good night´s sleep. Message: Nothing is as bad as it seems.

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