Thursday, April 07, 2005

Medieval Fair


This is the setup I use when doing a demo. The forge is an old Champion portable, I think from nineteen-teens. The anvil's weighs 110 lbs, and the stump it sits on weighs about 80-90. I've got two wood buckets my father helped make, one for coal, one for water, and three rods set up to hold a rope to try and keep some idiot from sticking a hand in or a face over the fire. And yes, that's me hammering away on a long roasting fork.

I like to work on things that are small enough to allow people to watch from beginning to end, and this is one of the best for that. Take a piece of stock, flatten one end. Split that end and spread it apart, then draw each section out to make the tines. Heat the stock just behind the fork and put in a twist. Then go to the other end for a handle. Flatten the very end and curl around, then move in about 4" and bend over, then bend the curl down to touch the shaft. Only takes a few minutes, and people like to see it done. 'Course, it helps that I've made so many of these that I can damn near do it with my eyes closed.

Lots of little stuff you can make while people watch. Screwdrivers(an old pattern I found in an illustration), candleholders, strikers for flint & steel kits, tent stakes, etc. And it's fairly easy to rough out small knife blades, so between it all there's plenty to choose from.

One of the nice things about a fair like this is when someone shows up with "I need this right now, can you make/fix/duplicate it?" Interesting to make a piece, then announce that you have to deliver it, and it gets the point across to kids that this is not just show, you're actually making things people need.

4 comments:

Victor said...

My paternal great-grandfather (IIRC) was a wheelwright, and the family is involved in historic things, so I understand why you love this so much.

In my case, I much prefer using hand tools to power tools...they're not less dangerous, but you don't need the same rapid reflexes for certain things. Plus, they're significantly better exercise, which is something that has been lacking in my life of late.

Firehand said...

I like power tools for two reasons, they save time and they save some wear and tear on my hands.

However, there's nothing like making something with your own hands, with tools you power yourself.

What I told my kids is that if you're not careful, all power tools really do is let you screw things up at a much faster rate...

Firehand said...

I like power tools for two reasons, they save time and they save some wear and tear on my hands.

However, there's nothing like making something with your own hands, with tools you power yourself.

What I told my kids is that if you're not careful, all power tools really do is let you screw things up at a much faster rate...

Slash said...

I heard about your blog at A Nation of Riflemen and I had to come over and see a blogging blacksmith for myself!

I, too, have done some 'smithing at medieval fairs. Nothing big, but your experiences sound familiar. My shop is moth-balled for now, but will soon be back in operation.

I've had a chance to look around and I've enjoyed reading your entries. Well done!