Mittwoch, 24. Juni 2015

Some more thoughts on "skóggángr"

I write this while sitting in a café near a highly frequented road. The sheer noise is overwhelming, cars driving by with blaring subwoofers with drivers who might as well use the bass reflexes to propel them forward. Just over the square I could see junkies and drunks dozing their lives away murmuring to themselves. On my way to the café I had seen five mentally challenges persons screaming at no one in particular. Each and every person I have seen on my way wore a drastic frown that would have been an indication of a serious mental illness just five years ago. Three guys with ragged clothes had an argument and whacked the shit out of each other until the police came by.
Hell, one  might say. Hell on earth, everywhere.
But as I passed by the railway station, I saw a girl with well-worn Salwar pants of green colour, with a shaggy mane of dreadlocks walking barefoot and happily eating an ice lolly. Her feet were ...
?muddy? She ?smiled? the whole time? She bid me a nice day? And meant it (I guess)?
I did not ask her where she´d come from.   

But I like to think that she came from a place that makes me happy, too. The still vibrant, living, lovely woods, where I can walk with dirty feet and feel the mud between my toes. Where I can smell the strong earth and the rich scent of soil and the bark of trees and the perfume of blossom and, yes, decay. A place where all still makes sense. A place not far in kilometres from the hell we have made, but that cannot be farther in actual. These days I tend to flee my fellow humans more and more. I cannot help them, for they want their life that way, and while I often crawl to the silence and go to hidden places, I do this as I always did. I know the magic sword from the lake is not offered just like a muffin at the baker´s, and while the grey rock will not open to grant me access to the realm of dwarves, where they will provide me with magical weapons to fight the world, I still have gained  treasures beyond description there.

The art of stealth and stalking for the joy of it. Laughing deep and full of joy. Lust and dance and death. Moving in and out the branches of a tree, more nimble than I could before. Some people say there´s a light in my eyes they cannot explain and a star upon my brow. I don´t tell them. But it is the forest in my heart.

Now you have read about this on my blog, and chance is, you get this impression that I rant about the same thing over and over. If I do, I do this, because it is constantly filling me with awe. It is constantly growing, and I am becoming something very different to man. Nothing special, either.
There´s nothing mysterious about the things I do there, and some of you might find this childish at best. I walk. I sit on tree stumps and sip my tea. I climb over fallen trees and try to outrun deer. I do try handstands at a tree and tumbles down a slope. I thread through the thicket and drink from the sunlight. I shoot my sling or my arrows at rotten trees (and fail to hit still;-)) and hit the soil with my hands and fists. I do my pushups and situps and "yoga" positions and do them for the fun and joy of it. I run until I am exhausted and simply lie on my back to watch the leaves dance in the sun. It makes me strangely happy. None of this I do for any purpose, and I concentrate on the joy that fills me when I do a movement according to, well, what feels right, you know? I could draw this in a whiplash line, but only because the fern grows that way, the spring flows that way and the cat jumps that way.
I do this all in a feeling that... well... cannot be intelligently described, but that simply feels the way. I watch the owl at dawn hunting and the buzzard kill its prey. I watch the deer running and the hare exploding from the thicket, jumping farther than any human would expect for such a small and harmless creature. I watch the adder in its camouflage and the spider weave its web. They all teach me an art that is far removed from just being "martial", that has no name any human could pronounce, no positions or lectures given.
I still write this blog. This is presumeably the only reason I feel the urge to call it anything. And I want to create a myth for myself, and give hope to others. One drop of filth can poison a million gallons of clear water. And there is a lot of filth in our world.

I have decided that I do not want the filth that much. Most everything is rotten. We eat shit and chemicals, wear special waste as clothing and tie our body down with strange clothes like to webbing load restraint assemblies. Most of the work we do is ridiculous and futile. Ah yes, I have to bend to those circumstances, too.

But I asked the forest. If you are gentle and polite, you are welcome there. He waits for you to shut up and be happy and fierce.

Donnerstag, 18. Juni 2015

Clipper sheath for a bushcraft knife I made some time ago

This knife you might be aquainted to-it´s the bushcraft proto I made and tested some months ago.

Since I seldom wear belts these days, I decided to make a clipper sheath. I had  some old cellphone cases lying around and salvaged the clips from them. The sheath is top-grain naturally tanned leather, wet-formed and hot-waxed around the knife.

Dangler sheath for the new puukko style knife

 Since there´s no smithing to date, I have time to do other projects.
This is a dangler clip sheath. Wet formed, hot waxed with a mixture of violin finish and beeswax. I use natural tanned leather.

Dienstag, 9. Juni 2015

Those twilight realms I tread

 It is funny. No really, it is.

Again, life found it in itself to give me a right kicking up the spine. Again I relied on human beings. Again I was going awry. Again I felt like an old rag doll kicked into the corner. Nothing new, business as usual. Again I thought friends would be friends. Again I packed my things and went away, not willing to become the monster within.

This time something was different, however. It took quite a long time until I found my way to the woods again. To me it is a sign I have to be vigilant. A sign that my energy is running out.

But there is a grain of light in my soul, of adamantine countenance. It is not my own, but that above all human beings. Call it as you like, but it gave me a kicking in its own right, and so I packed my gear and went out into the one place where the deceiver does not reign. Where there is war, and peace, and love and fury... and the light is dim and calm. There´s no paradise in the woods. There is fighting, and fierce fights that lead to death. There is love also, and everything fits into each other like key to keyhole.
 The woods were filled with the vibrant light I love so well. I trod carefully, silently breathing. I encountered wild rams and Sika deer and red deer. Two hares chased each other down the hillside and almost ran full-tilt into me. A buzzard bore down upon an old tree stump and looked into my eyes, just some five to ten metres away from me.
 Fierce. Savage. And...small.
 And oh so great the trees still grow shadowy leaves that danced in a gentle wind.
 Strong and gnarled are their roots and work their way even through the grey stone.
 Crushing, smashing rock and stone by year after year of forceful growing.
 These halls have an answer not given, a lock without a key.

 The place beside the well where I can hide away and sink my roots into the ground, drinking thirstily from the green fire that feeds my soul...
 That place has never changed, for it has never been or will ever-and yet, it is there. he who has to ask, will get no answer from a lock without a key, he who knows, need not ask.

And thus I drank deep from the cauldron of green fire.

The joke about it all is that those who want to rid of me will never succeed. And still they try and exhaust their life upon a wall of rock.

Even if they would lay low all the forests in the world (what they certainly would like to do), these pictures I will keep within my heart of hearts and they will never be lost.

But also funny is that I nearly forgot. Let that be a warning to you:

Never forget the woods. If they bear hard down upon you with the weight of their desire, smile.

And remember what is your right and heirloom: To run with the wolves and crush the rocks with gnarled and scarred roots. To drink deep from the green cauldron of the force beyond the yoke.


New knife for beating around the bush;-)

 This one is for all those fuckers who want the better of me... eat dirt! You won´t stop me doing what I love.

This is a new knife from very old steel I found in the woods, leaf spring steel from an old carriage or something, selective temper, high convex bevel, copper ferrule, stag antler from the flea market and a citrate fit into the pommel.
 The spine gradually tapers towards the tip.
The pommel.

The works of Lukas Mästle-Goer

On Solingen knife expo I had the privilege to meet with Lukas Mästle - Goer, a tutor in Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA), working mainly with the long sword, student of medicine and part- time sword- and knifemaker. He gave me valuable insight into his method of swordmaking. Since his instruction work is mostly based on renaissance and late medieval manuscripts, he concentrates on the renaissance and late medieval sword types also.
He makes his blades from billet by stock removal, which is not my piece of cake actually, but, to be honest, modern spring and tool steel is, for the most part hot- or cold rolled blank which actually imposes no harm to the durability of a blade. In this photo he had laid out the design on the billet.
 He cuts it with an angle grinder.
 The edge takes shape by grinding. Here you can see he uses a sketch for construction.
 The fuller is then marked out.

 The last steps are accomplished by hand. The blade is filed, sanded and polished to a high lustre.
 What intrigues me most is that he achieves a great work of art with relatively simple tools.
He also makes his own knives:
I especially liked this small beauty that also would make for a great bush companion.

This is his workshop... I´d love to have one, too;-).

All those photos  and the basic information are by Lukas himself. The best part is, this is in no way all! You can follow him on

I hope to tell you news soon and wish Lukas good progress. The swordmaking scene is alive and well and this is good to behold.

Dienstag, 2. Juni 2015

Magic beads by the magic troll

Hot from the factory still:D I have these lovely Viking knit lanyard beads lying around. They are nice on a lanyard on knife and lamp, and add a classy touch even to your tactical bushcraft blade. If you want one, contact her on! They are made from glass, brass, copper and silver wire and cost from 12€-18€ (silver).

On the bench these days

 At the recent crafts event I had the opportunity to forge a bit for myself. Top to bottom: Damascus Seax blade from monster Damascus by Matthias Zwissler, a shape that will hopefully become a decent sword from spring steel, two Damascus blades out of Andreas Hendrichs - Damascus, a monster Damascus stock, an awl or shish kebap spit and a BBQ fork, plus a spoon
 The spoon. I consider doing some carving to the rear end, which is a bit sturdy, so to say.
 The spit and fork.
 Amulets and a caplifter. Left to right: Birka amulets (sickle and fire striker), which were worn in combination with a Thor´s hammer (miolnir) pendant. Small Miolnir pendant, a larger one and the aforementioned caplifter which will be great for a key ring.
 And an iron age interpretation of a knife. I used a Hofi-twist to the handle, which is finished with a brass brush. The knife is made from spring steel and, as usual, has a selective temper. The bevel is a high convex one along the lines of a Solingen "Dünnschliff", which will be seeing some work still.

1st crafts event @#Ahlhauser Hammer - good spirit and catastrophe

 Back from an event that will cost me dearly, but was quite fun no less. We had this event scheduled since 2014, and there was quite the ruckus going on before it, but for the most part I do not want to relate to that in detail. As usual, Volker did not manage to organize a car early, so that it simply was not available. There also was little steel for us, and even less coal. Honi soit qui mal y pense, but we always tend to be on the rascal side of good... So I called Mark, a friend of mine, and he kindly helped us getting our gear to the site with his car, and called Kai if he´d bring some extra coal and steel. Unfortunately, when loading up the car, the rear windows broke. If Volker will not manage to notify his insurance, it´s me standing up for´t.
 Strike! Having no insurance is great when you do an event of 12 hours, coming home with 45 Eur and having to stand up for 300, and have an income of 450 Eur per month. I guess I have to get tougher and quit doing events for other´s profit. At the moment I´m fat, guess that will get much better until next month.;-).

But as we lit up forge and smelled the hot steel and burning coal, all was good. Some kids came by and had some fun, I met some old friends and had a good chat.
 Nick was there making some progress and adding a lot to my comfort,
 as did Kai and Kathrin, who contributed by helping with the kids and keeping an eye on the goods we had for sale. In situations like this it is great to have folks like these friends around you!
At the site there is a historical iron forge, dating back to the late medieval age. Some years ago the smithy quit production, and the roof went down in winter due to snow load breakage.
Now the club for saving the "Ahlhauser Hammer" is desperately searching for funds to restore this important historical site. There are some quarrels in the background, of course, interhuman interferences as we all know so well, but apart from the personal quarrels, what remains is the fact that this is a very, very valuable historical site that deserves to be restored. Of course, I am interested in it, because on site you can argueably find older foundations dating back as far as the early Roman age of  empire, i.e. Saxon times. Later, it can be presumed that the "Brakkersfelders Knopmetz" was born there, too, at least you can find the so - called "Sinnerhoopen" (slag heaps) everywhere in the woods. The woods themselves are even today wearing the stamp of crop-circle agriculture and coaling (Uebing, 1998). So the site is a hotbed and I have the strong suspicion there could also be some archaeological finds to be made dating back to Saxon times.

 We had some goodies on display. Those are Nick´s works above.
 My showcase.
 To me it was an absolute highlight to meet with Ernst, the senior blacksmith, who let me use his power hammer and gave me some valuable hints on its special characteristics.
 Those were the products Ernst produced in his career. We had a good talk, and I got the impression he even was fond of me. I, in turn was enthused to learn a lot just by listening. In general, the folks were very welcoming. We also met with Prof. Dr. em. Döpp, our former head of museum at the industrial museum Ennepetal next door who told us his regrets we had to move out and stated we would be always welcome to return. 
 This is Anne, who offered a load of great products and is a very good-humoured person;-). She does pyroraphy on fir fungus, a fungus related to the tinder conk. She collects them by hand, and while those are not so rare in nature, finding suitable pieces to make for those pieces of art she makes.
 She also did some individualizing on those beautiful pill boxes.
 I was fond of these lovely owls! YOLO! (You obviously love owls;-))

 Greenwood furniture...

 Then it suddenly was all over. We were having some potato fritters by Friedhelm (EIERPUNSCH!!!:D) and some really great steaks and sausage, sipped a tea, and said our goodbyes and packed up.
We are already booked for the autumn festival, and the people went to great lengths to give us the feeling we were welcome. I said that I am grateful for this but also that I did not trust them any, and we made an open-visor agreement of mutual profit. I hope they stand up for it. I would love to do some forging there, not only because the power hammers make for great opportunities when swordsmithing and making Damascus are concerned, but also because of the location and I would love to like the people, if that makes sense to you. But as is, I am somewhat of a "once bitten, twice shy" sort now. It´s not that I got mobbed out once, but with no exception been driven out of any club or institution I partook in my whole life. I do not whine about that and have made my peace  with that, because many of the people that drive me out come back whining themselves afterwards, but that makes me suspicious. I am sorry for that, but can´t help it any, humans in general are not the company I prefer anymore, except for some rare exceptions, but those I chose myself. Culprit is, I WANT to contribute, but I am not sure if people want ME to contribute, if you get my meaning.

Anyway, in general, it was a lousy event when profit is concerned, but really great to work there and meet the people and savour the atmosphere. I loved it no less.

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