Sign in to follow this  
Daswulf

What to demo forge at SCA.

Recommended Posts

What would be good quicker things to forge at an SCA event? If it wouldn't cut into your business any good quicker things to demo forge? I know people's attention spans tend to be short. I'm just looking for a couple extra ideas, and ideas that fit the SCA like a penannular, spoon/fork, ourobouros or ? Just simple stuff I guess. Always looking for more ideas since this will be my second time forging for a weekend in northern Michigan at an SCA event. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Flint strikers are fast and popular, especially if you can include a piece of flint. Strikers are one of the ONLY $10.00 demo items I make. Spread crosses go well as do items with twists. Twists are always a crowd pleaser. Thor's Hammer pendants are good. 

The secrets I discovered worked well is keep the demos under 15 minutes start to finish. Products that will fit in a pocket for $19.95 are popular. 

Have plenty of preforms, things like split crosses are popular to watch IF they don't have to stand around while you cut it with a hack saw or chisel. Fast and showy is a good thing.

Frosty The Lucky.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bodkins are always good as a quick demo item, especially if you can get them down to two heats. I use 10mm stock and once I get into the rhythm can get most of it made in the first heat, second one to tidy it up. Plus you can always tell the story of King Arthur rolling up at the smithy and saying "I've got a battle at Agincourt next Friday and I need a hundred thousand by then". (or words to that effect)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Never heard of a bodkin. Google images had pics of arrow heads. I guess they would be marketable. Most kids at my demos ask about knives and swords so arrow heads would do well.

Das, don't underestimate the attention span of people. If you make your commentary interesting and the piece you are doing has a variety of techniques, people will stay. I do a LOT of longhorn bull billy lifters and they take about 50 minutes from 10mm square bar to finished product (short of polish/finish). Many visitors stay for the whole time. I had one family today with four kids who were fascinated. After the demo the mother came and told me she was amazed that the kids were quiet for that long.

As Frosty said, twists are always a crowd pleaser. Just set up a 12mm bar twist in the vice, start the movement and take a quick glance at the crowd. Not one person will be watching you ... all eyes are transfixed on that hot steel. Kids love watching the scale shed off and you can explain how to make the pitch of the twist consistent etc. I always find that people like to know how things happen, and after a while you will get to predict the questions they ask. It's very important to answer the questions as truthfully as you can and never be afraid to admit you don't know. Last week I had one fellow in a tour group who told me after the demo  he had been a metallurgist for 40 years. I was able to ask him a few questions!

Of course there are the quick demo items you can do.  An S-hook from 250mm of 6mm square bar demonstrates drawing out, scrolling, and bending. Add a twist in the middle and brass burnish it and you have a 5-minute very saleable little item. A letter opener can be done in a similar way (half an S hook for the handle), although I do like to tidy up the blade part with a file before they go on sale.

Kids really like small snakes made from a length of all-thread (NO ZINC!) or even from an old bolt. You could do a few nails as give-aways as well, but they are boring.

And take a few of your recycled sculptures along too, Das. Folks just love recycled stuff and they will get lots of attention. Make sure you put a NFS tag on if you don't want to sell them, because you will be asked.

Please let us know how your demos go. Have fun!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't have pics, but I helped a friend out with a demo and we made mini horseshoe game sets.  We used 1/8" rod, mostly from political yard signs, flattened and bent it, cut it off and punched in the crease and "nail holes".  The shoes were less than 1 inch.  Two more short pieces of rod set into wooden blocks as stakes and 4 horseshoes and you've got a tabletop horseshoe game for $10.  Not really SCA, unless you want to pitch the shoes as being from leprechaun steeds or fairy unicorns or something...

I always thought it would be fun to do "bodice dragons" at a ren fest.  Forge the head, keeping up a patter with some old blacksmith legends or something.  The tail fits in the bodice of a young lady, the whole beastie guarding her assets.  Find a lovely assistant and explain that you need to keep "checking the fit" and making adjustments, working up to eventually just taking the dragon out, taping the hammer on the anvil without even touching the piece, putting it back in, etc.

Steel torcs or wristbands - a lot like flint strikers.  A while ago I experimented with 1/2" x 1/8" bar stock, wrapped around a rod in a long, tight spiral, then flattened out.  Makes an interesting pattern.

Where is there a SCA event in Michigan?  I've always wanted to check one out.  Maybe I'll see you there!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the great ideas and advice. 

Frosty, I'm always forgetting about flint strikers. I haven't even made one yet haha. I need to get on that and get some flints. I know what you mean about having stuff prepared and the slow boring stuff done ahead of time to make it go quicker. 

Farmweld, I'll look into making those. Are you welding the socket or just wrapping them?

Aus, I'll take some of the sculptures. They always seem to catch attention at least. I have some non zinc all thread for some small snakes. I'll have to work on my social skills a bit haha. I've been doing better. 

Chris that mini horseshoe game sounds fun. What a cool idea. Dale Russel told me about the bodice dragons. I still have yet to try it. Maybe this time. Yeah, I couldn't remember the name, Torcs that's them. Someone mentioned those to me once and I forgot the name. 

Google Vikings come home XXVI. It should come right up. I'm meeting Richard there and it's his setup. He is just nice enough to let me help him set up and forge a while.( last year I think I forged about all day Saturday lol.)  It was a blast last year and should only be better this year. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Useful things for SCA are tentstakes and S hooks, cooking tripods and spiders, (like a trivet but with longer legs for supporting a pot over an open fire.) Penannular brooches usually sell well.  It's a good idea to stock a basic armour repair kit with various rivets and a hand operated drill.  Seems like every event I bring a forge to I end up doing a rivet replacement and or a dent amelioration.  Usually take my pay in food or drink for those as for a smith they are trivial.

Been in the SCA 39 years now...longer than I have been forging and it was encouragement from SCA folks that got me started hammering metal! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A bodkin point arrow or bolt are armor piecing heads, usualy forsided points, a bodkin is a small/ slender dagger with a square or diamond profile. Supoably for forcing its way threw mail and armor joints, I doubt that, but like an ice pick it pieces padded and heavy cloth easy enugh.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Thomas, Charles. Tent stakes sound easy enough. Made some of those before I was ever forging, and can make them nicer now. Wish I had more time to forge some more sell items but it's been hectic at my place lately with about no time to forge. This weekend will be great but I'd be even happier being at an event like this for a full week. :) 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Das,

I just wrap the socket as they are pretty much one off giveaway items. If someone wants matched sets to go on arrows you need to be a bit more technical and try to get them identical with the weight of each head the same but I call that a commission and do it at home.

Another source of material for snakes is small reo rod (or big if you want an ongoing project but it can be hard work if you get a high carbon bit). 6-8mm works well for small ones and I went mad and forged some 32mm out to about 1m long, very hard work but they look good when finished.

An SCA member who does some work for me occasionally also makes "portable holes", basically a tent peg with a couple of bits of 25nb pipe welded on to hold standard/flag poles.  He makes them out of 12mm square about 350/400mm long with a point to hammer into the ground, loop on the top to pull them out, and a twist between the two pipe sockets. Sockets are welded on about 100/150mm apart. You need to make them up beforehand but he seems to sell heaps every time he goes.

Andrew

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Andrew. Yeah, something like the flag pole holders are an ahead of time thing but sounds great for next time. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No-one has explained to the uninitiated what an SCA event is. Good ol'Google images reveals all ... something with a medieval theme I assume. Now I understand the reference to arrow heads. :rolleyes:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My son just started making small pendants with Celtic rune symbols on them. An 1-1/4" x 3/4" x 1/8" thick or so piece of whatever kind of steel, slightly rounded top and bottom like a small dog tag. Hammer a rune symbol on it, punch a small hole at the top for a chain jump ring. Hammer marks or texture all around it. I'd think something like that might be popular at an SCA event. Make it from a piece of an old file and a quick heat treat, it can double as a fire striker.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aus, I'll be honest, I don't understand much of it at all. It's really interesting to me since I love Ren fairs and that time period stuff but in understanding it I'm sort of just peeking through a window. Just learning as I go. 

Thats a good idea John. I've made a few of those before. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What is a "celtic rune"?    There are norse runes, saxon runes, etc.  The irish had a linear writing form called Ogham but it wasn't runes. (My wife has told me that she was going to use the large scars on my belly and a surgical marker to inscribe Ogham messages on me before sending me off to a week long hot event...)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The cleavage dragons are fun to watch being made. Tent pegs are easy, quick but a tad boring unless you have a nice design in mind. Sporks are fun too! As has been said strikers are easy, but mind the chit chat with high carbon in the fire ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Writing Latin in the Elder Futhark?  Sounds like a proper punishment for certain school transgressions.  I have a friend who is a Catholic Priest and he talked of learning to do long division using roman numerals...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh Thief, no sporks. I hate those things lol. 

As far as runes there is much on google but I'll stick to commissions unless I get the time to make any set of whatever. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What's a spork?? Had to refer to Google again. Should have recognised the combination of words. Duh! This site is a real learning curve.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are examples of Roman multitool knives that are an eating set.  The more modern ones were called hobo knives according to my 90+ year old grandfather who remembers them from the '30's.

I saw one of the Roman ones at the Deutsches Klingenmuseum in Solingen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this