Saturday, June 23, 2012

CTC - Quiver mock-up begun

Well, I've been putting this off for a while but the work has finally begun.  I went to a local archery practice and ended up getting bitten by the bug.  I missed shooting and I"m looking forward to practicing more on the stick bow.  I checked out some quivers from some of the folks at the practice.  The quivers ranged from very period looking to very modern looking and I think I may end up with something in the middle.  I know I like the style of the hip quiver where the opening is as the image on the left shows.  Seems like quick drawing from the hip will be easier with a wide opening like that.  I've been toying with some concept sketches of how to make this look period and yet be convertible to a back quiver if I want.  I imagine that there will be days when my hands are full and it might be nice to be able to sling the quiver to the back.  Not sure yet, but still toying with that idea.  I really wanted to mock up the basic shape of the quiver with cardboard so that I could see the balance point and just about how much leather I'll need to buy and tool.  Now that I have a mock-up I'll be able to hit the local Tandy and price this little project out.  Not sure if I will tool the entire thing or just the portion above the horizontal pen line I have sketched on the cardboard.  The arrow in the image is an old aluminum arrow from days long past.  It hasn't been shot in over 20 years.  Measures in at 32 inches and so I thought that it would be a good gauge of the size in the quiver.  I've ordered the makings for a new set of wooden arrows.  They may not arrive for a week or so.  Not sure which will get completed first, the arrows or their home.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Landsknecht sleeves almost done

Not much in the way of a write up on today's post.  Only a couple pictures.  I have finished the construction of the second sleeve for the Landsknecht outfit.  Still have a little more finish work to do on the braid accent and the sleeves have to be lined.  That couldn't stop me from wanting to pin the sleeves to my T-Shirt to see what they will look like.

That's it!  It's 1:30 and almost time for bed.  Will have to finish the trim later. :-(

Thursday, June 14, 2012

CTC - Spindle Whorl finished

With the whorls complete, I only need to add the wooden shafts so I started with this chunk of oak.  This particular chunk of oak has been stored in a garage for about 20 years or so.  I scavenged some scrap wood when I used to work on loading docs at a Big Box hardware store.  This was the scraps of some oak which was used to ship wooden cabinets.  

After cutting off a piece which was about the length that I wanted I proceeded to split the wood.  Rather than simply cut the wood on a saw, which would have been easier, I chose to split it.  As this particular chunk of wood, had a slight twist of grain to it, I wanted to try and follow the grain as much as possible.  I figured that I would be carving this shaft rather thin and I wanted the shaft to be as sturdy as possible, so following the grain was key.  I tried first splitting with a small hand held hatchet.

Here you can see what I mean by following the grain.  This grain had a slight twist in the center of the wood. I found that the hatchet didn't give me the control that I was after and so after this split I switched tools.

I put the hatchet down and proceeded to use my old military K-Bar to split the wood.  Very sharp and much easier to control I was able to split two pieces and rough them out to about the size of a large pencil in only minutes.

Here are the two rough cut pieces after the work with the big blade was complete.  I then proceeded to move onto slightly smaller tools to finish the job.

Here is the carving knife I used, one rough cut piece and the second slightly trimmed piece.

Oops.  Well, when dealing with crap would you scavenge for free, you get what you pay for.  There were a couple wholes in both pieces of wood and therefore I had to cut about 1.5 inches off the end.  The wholes appear to have been made by the staples used construct the protective pallet.  Oh well, I could start over right?  Nah.  The length looks just fine.

Here is the rough cut piece and the whorl that it is for together.  You can see the size of the wood is slightly larger than the whole.  I didn't want to carve off all the wood to fit because I knew that sanding and burnishing would also reduce the size a bit.  

To clean up and smooth out the piece I wanted to use a scraper.  Since this tool would be used with very thin fibers I didn't want any sort of snagging splinters possible.  I used a small piece of scrap copper which I had lying around.  Everyone has scrap copper lying about right?  I hammer the edge just slightly to sharpen it a bit and then used it as a scraper.  That process cleaned up all rough edges.   

After the scraping was complete I took a scrap piece of oak and burnished the shaft.  Rubbing very fast and pressing very hard compresses the wood fibers and brings the surface to a very nice sheen.  I didn't want to coat the wood with any sort of finish as I am not sure if that would affect the tools use.  Again, I have never used one of these before and until a week ago I never even knew what one was.  After I'm instructed on the proper use, perhaps some sort of oil finish will be in order?

Here are the two pieces about to be married together.

Voila!  The finished piece!

Couple close up photos before I begin on the next shaft.  You may noticed that there is no device to hold the two pieces together.  The wood is tapered ever so slightly so as to provide a nice compression fit.  After I snugged it up a bit the pieces were joined happily.

Beginning the same procedure with the second piece.  Less narrating this time.  BTW, this is the second of two knives used for this project.  This knife was made from an old barber's straight razor some years back, by my father. 

Different size whorl and slightly different shaped shaft this time.  I found various examples and so i experimented a bit.  Wondering how these two items will work in the hands of one who knows how to use them.

The final pair placed next to a modern American quarter for size reference.

My first Challenge the Champion task complete!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

CTC - Spindle Whorl

I recently received a new challenge as part of the “Ayerton Challenge the Champion” project I initiated.  (See for more details).  While sitting around a campfire at a recent SCA Event I was pleased to have a conversation with a small handful of folks, one being the current MOAS of Ayerton.  Kelli Vandegrift, AKA Kara Atladottir ( is currently holding that esteemed position and had not yet thought of any sort of challenge.  After a bit of amusing banter and trash talking she came up with an idea.  She asked that I make a Spindle Whorl out of soapstone.  I said something along the lines of WTF!?  A brief discussion ensued where she explained what the item was and what it was used for.  I agreed to make one such item and here is the path.

My research started as most of my research does, on Google.  I found a ton of images of extant whorls and chose a few to use as a model.  It appeared that most of the whorls were either made of stone or lead.  My challenge specifically stated stone.  (I think that perhaps I may make a lead one in the future as well, just for the fun of it.)  I noticed that most of the stone whorls had little or no embellishments on them.  Only a few had simple designs cut into them.  I chose to do an unembellished one as my first attempt would be focused on making a well-balanced usable item.
Here is a few images of extant whorls which I based my design on:

I started out with a small block of soap stone which I happened to have lying around the house from another recent project.  I believe I purchased the soapstone at Blick's.  I used a hand held wood cross cut saw to trim the block down.

After rouging out the shape of the whorl, I  found that there were a few inclusions in the stone and it easily cracked.  Crap!  Well, that forced me to rethink my design.  I started by taking the three large pieces and dropping them a few times to make sure they wouldn’t crack again easily.  My design was now slightly smaller as limited by the size of the remains of the cracking.

After rough shaping with the saw, I used a few wood carving tools to do the shaping of the stone.  When the stone was about the form which I was happy with, I used some metal files and sand paper to smooth and balance it.  As my design was cut out using a saw and only eyeballing the shape there are some small abnormalities to the shape of my stone.


I used a small screwdriver to make the whole in the center.  Odd right?!  I know.  I was lazy.  Couldn’t find my drill bits and soapstone was soft enough.  Spinning a small screw driver actually bored a whole rather easily anyway.  Not many tools needed for this project so far!

After the whole was “drilled” through the stone I then used a small round file to clean it up and enlarge the whole to about the ratio that matched the picture I was using as a reference.  I went through this process twice.  Why?  Because I had a few pieces after the cracking incident.  One stone is about the size of an American penny and the other one is slightly larger which seemed to match the size of the extant stones I had seen.

To finish the stones I used some very fine grit sandpaper and my pants.  What!?  Your pants?  Yup.  I was sitting watching TV at about 3:00 in the morning and I simply used the texture of my cotton pajama pants to polish the stone.  Yup.  Just pants.  I just kept rubbing them up and down my thigh while I watched some bizarre middle of the night TV movie.

Next step is to cut some slivers of wood to be used as the shaft for the spindle.  Not sure exactly how to use these things.  I’ve watched a few videos on YouTube to try and figure it out.  I’m hoping that after I finish the Spindle Whorls the challenger will show me how to use them.