Thursday, January 26, 2017

More Pewter!

So I'm not ACTUALLY looking to specialize in this stuff, but I can knock out a wax master quickly, mold making is an interesting exercise in geometry and materials science, and being the master of molten metal is just FUN.

Since my last post, I revisited my hnefatafl pieces in travel-sized pewter, did site tokens for our Yule event, a step-up baronial token for some friends, and a principality award.  ...  Oops, my last pewter post was further back than I thought. I've ALSO done a populace badge for a neighbor kingdom and MoD medallion in soapstone, and I'm currently working on a token for the new Princess, plus a few designs for pin heads.  Future projects I have in my head but haven't started yet include-but-are-not-limited-to two more populace badges, a consort token, more jewelery and a few different awards.

But for real, though. I'm not a pewterer.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Misc catch up (metal)

Well, I'm pretty far behind! I've done some metalwork, nearly finished the bone needle cases, some woodwork, and dabbled in wire wrap rings.  I'll do the bone stuff as its own post here soon (really!) and the wooden stools will probably merit their own post as well. In the mean time, here's a few different types of metal!

Friday, March 11, 2016


Success! Though I didn't remember to take a final picture.  The molds came out perfectly, and I learned that the silicone is softer than I thought it would be. I poured a dozen casts in each, and there's really no appreciable wear on the molds.  Yay durability! 

I took this before I started really cleaning up the sprues and flashing. You can see upper left has a lot of flashing where some pewter snuck through the edge of the mold. Happily, this is easy to clean up, and some file work was all it took. 

I wanted to do a dark chemical deposit on the metal, that I would then polish off the easy-to-reach areas.  My experience is with liver of sulfur, which immediately darkens copper, brass, nickle and silver. You'll notice tin isn't on that list? Yeah.  Over the course of an evening I got a "maybe kiiiiiind of aged?" look.  I may try gun bluing compound next, but I didn't find anything definitive about that.  At least some work with 000 steel wool got a slight bit of contrast, and the design itself didn't DEPEND on two tones.

Overall, a success. I have some ideas on how to incorporate a pendant-hanging hole in the sprue of my next work, and we'll see if it turns out.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Back Blogging: Bone Belt Buckle

Last summer I carved myself a belt buckle out of a beef bone originally packaged as a dog chew toy. I was inspired by a few different finds, but mostly this one from York.

Nice, simple, strong and not covered with more typical anglo saxon or viking era carvings (which are nice, don't get me wrong. I just didn't have the right tools at the time to replicate them, but a graver should be coming in soon...).

Monday, January 11, 2016


I've had my eye on attempting a recreation of the Gokstad backpack for a while now. is a great summation of the archaeological find, and if you look on pinterest there are a lot of modern recreations, either of wicker or leather.  I felt like doing something a little different, and started a model size one in coil basketry.  I've been wanting to give coil baskets a shot for a while now and this is as good a way to practice as any. My materials are very much modern, I'm using the twisted brown paper you use to make rush seats and some artificial sinew (nobody sane would use actual sinew in this project, unless they somehow had a T-Rex worth of the stuff).

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Hnefatafl final

As of my last update, pieces had been stained and I needed a bag and a board, which I had planned to combine.  It turned out that the goat hide I had for the bag was a bit too dark, so I took an evening to embroider a scrap of linen.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Pewter adventures: prelude

So, this last summer I was asked by the then-new Princess to make her some.... No, that's wrong. See, she'd already figured out that I can go a little bit mad with crafting at not much provocation.  So instead of giving me an assignment or request, she delineated a space about the size of a nickel and said to me, "sea goats".

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Hnefatafl update 2

Not only did I get all 37 pieces carved in a weekend craft bender, but I also have a new craft table! My assistant helped with both putting it together and with modeling.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Vault baby

Fallout 4 came out yesterday! Also some friends of mine who like the franchise were considerate enough to have a tiny person join their family!  It's currently a bit too big, but she's growing like crazy so it shouldn't be long now!

front and


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Bone needle cases

 Needle cases seemed to be a pretty important piece of kit for Viking Age ladies.  There are finds in lots of mediums, from bone to precious metals.  I've got a link to one here but google and pinterest have loads more. While metal tubing is easily available and ships prime, I'm going to go with bone as it'll make for a more unique and definitely not mass produced gift.

The bones of large birds seems to be the material of choice as they're a good size and, conveniently, pre-hollowed.  Large birds in Scandinavia would have been geese, swans and maybe raptors.  I've no plans on being THAT authentic, so I'm going with clearance turkey drumsticks!

Hnefatafl update!

I settled on a design for the attacking team and at current count have seven and two defenders. Practice has me being more confident with my cuts, and thus faster.  So far I've stuck to design and haven't started adding any extras - a good thing, I still have a due date on these.

My goat hides showed up today, too! Part of one is earmarked for a circular drawstring pouch/game board and I'm quite happy with the color and texture.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


So, hnefatafl is a viking age board game that is interesting for asymmetry. There look to be a lot of variations on number of pieces and size of the board, but basically a king + X defenders start in the center of the board and 2X attackers start on the edges. Attackers attack and defenders try to hustle the king to the edge and escape. Capture can only happen when surrounded, and pieces move orthogonally (up/down/right/left).

Have I played it? Nope. Am I gonna make a board and pieces anyways? Yup. I'm aiming for 12 defenders and 24 attackers out of 5/8" dowel and the king from probably 3/4".  I'm planning on the board being drawn on the drawstring bag the whole mess comes in, I should really order a goatskin soon for that.  Oh yeah, there's a due date. Judging for this A&S competition is Dec 5, so I'm going to have to do a few pieces a day (saving carving projects until the last minute is a great way to develop hand piercings).