Making things with leather
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My Weekend

Made one of two new gaiters this weekend. The other one gets done Tuesday.

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Just in time for tomorrow's practice

Just a test piece, but it turned out pretty well.

I say test because I have now learned not to spend 20+ hours tooling something whose fit pattern hasn't been stress tested.

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Possible Kidney Belt Decoration

Kidney Belt

Definitely not set. This piece of leather has some mars on it that I need to hide with the metal bits.

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Time for New Gear

I'm very interested in getting back to a pair of vambraces that look more like these, which are one set back.

I stopped using them because they didn't fit quite right. They weren't protective enough around the points of the elbow, especially on the inside. So I made the ones I have now.

Sadly, these are not as pretty, especially now that they have aged and darkened. I really like the light yellowish tan color that I get from using Fiebing's  yellow, but it just does not stay that color over time. It gets darker and darker as it absorbs sweat. For example, here is my current gorget when new.

It currently looks almost black. This reminds me that I also need to make a new gorget. And, while I'm at it, I might as well make it all match and do up a new pair of gaiters. The current ones are still perfectly serviceable, which is amazing since I'm damn certain they were made around 1994, if not earlier. I recall the original motivation for making them was that Kyle had a tendency to hit low when we practiced back at Holliday Elementary!

Here they are at Thorbrandr's coronation, 1994, looking very new.
Time to design! And get into the shop.

One of my other problems with the pretty vambraces is that the octofoil washers seen here were painted gold, not brass, so they scuffed and then rusted. They also had the alarming tendency, if hit just right, to bend up, presenting my opponents with a nice little steel cutting edge. Bad.

So if anyone knows of a reasonable source for pretty, durable brass or bronze stud decorations please let me know. This more or less leaves out every SCA merchant source, because a buck or two each is not reasonable. I probably need 60 of them, if I'm going to use them on my gorget, half gauntlet, gauntlet cuffs, vambraces and gaiters.

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Leatherwork Resource on Google Books

Just found this and thought it useful for anyone interested in leather decoration and the peculiar instructional styles of the early 20th century in in England.

A curious sample:
Of this work, as indeed of all kinds, it may be said that it may be to the last degree trashy, or else nobly artistic, according to the skill and taste bestowed on it. One of the greatest and best known artists in England once expressed to me the opinion that owing to the tremendous production by machinery of cheap decorative art work, that which is made by hand must necessarily be confined to a comparatively few amateurs or artists who love the work for its own sake. But I believe that if these amateurs would pay proper attention to design, and think more of original invention, they would keep continually in advance of the machines. For the workman who is a clever designer can give a new design with every work. 
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Seattle Vacation

We're having a lovely time out here in Seattle, but why is it that when I'm on vacation, I start to get antsy to work on SCA projects that I didn't bring?

I find myself thinking about Caleb's portmanteau, new vambraces, repairs to current gear, and Pennsic prep.
Hopefully that won't fade by the time we get back!
Here's a shot of the trail near Snoqualmie Falls, which we toured Wednesday.
Hoh Rain Forest
Oh, and wakeboarding is harder than hitting a duke.
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Why Should the Fun be Hidden on the Armor Archive?

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Brother Can You Spare a Dime on New Year's?

As for the last several years, we're hosting a New Year's Eve Party at Two Dog Hill. And as with most things at our place, it will probably be more than a party: armor making, book research, dancing, cider racking, wine tasting, fight practicing and general craftiness are all on tap. I know for certain that siobhan_sca intends to attend for several days so we can hang a shield for her, do some instruction, figure out armor and perhaps make some gear for her. She is leaning toward Roman with lamellar. I've been thinking of the latter myself for a while. Maybe we should buy some plates ahead of that week.

I'm casting about for a party theme, as I think we have probably used up the novelty of the last two years' "Hats" theme. At the moment, I'm thinking of "Welcome to the Second Great Depression." Instead of soup kitchens, it is nursing a single cup of coffee and a worn out laptop sucking down free wifi at Panera to cruise Linkedin for job prospects. You get the idea.

Ok, not compelling. Help a guy out here!

If you have been before, you're invited again. If you think you would be welcome this time, you almost certainly are. Just let us know you would like to attend so we know how to plan. Bedrooms are first come first serve, as are the sofas.

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Free Thursdays

Tonight is the last fight practice at UVa for the year. Between weather, exams and the holidays, attendance gets pretty dicey after this.

But now that I have 3 weeks or so of free Thursdays, if there is anyone local who wants to fill one of them up with projects over at my place, just let me know. We can get some gear done! I'm particularly looking at Danny, Jonathan, Landi and anyone else who will be around over the break.

Other dates are possible to. Talk to me.

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Pennsic Packing Starts...Tonight!

How's that for getting a jump on things?

Really, the packing is because of the complicated relationship between Roland & Theo's trailer, its storage on our back 4 acres, our truck's small engine and Thjora's desire to attend Tuesday practice in NoVA tomorrow. I'll leave it at that.

What it means though, is that tonight I must decide which parts of my armor I can pack into the trailer, not to be seen again until setting up camp at the War. So I've got to decide what repairs and refurbishments absolutely require my shop and which can wait for the Sunday after land grab. Also, a few thing really really ought to go up even if they require my shop, so, for example, along with packing it I have to polish my helm tonight.

Tonight also qualifies as the first "free" night I've had since Sunday the 8th, making the past week the busiest SCA week I've had, and the most fighting I've done since last Pennsic. Thjora and I are both tired, but it was a fun week and a great weekend at Novice Tourney. Watch this site for some video of a few fights from the Unbelted Semis and Finals.

Since at least some of my gear won't be home after tomorrow, I won't be fighting at the UVa practice this week. Next week every sane person will be busy packing for the war, so no practice then anyway.

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