ah, but they DO do it alone.  textile people are a little more nuts than we are.  And while it is nice to have many people, one person can do all this. They just have to have time.

On Wed, Oct 2, 2013 at 8:17 PM, Stefan li Rous <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Franz replied to me with:

On Oct 2, 2013, at 5:12 PM, john heitman <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

you know the thing about a hobby is that you have time to do things.  There isn't any rush on any of this. Which is why it is fun.

Correct. My concern would be to be able to make sure each step was done well enough, before going on to the next.  I'd hate to see everyone get weeks into the project and find out it failed because the charcoal made in step one wasn't completely dry enough or whatever and ruined step four or whatever. 

But by making sure each step is done sufficiently before moving on, and by spreading this over multiple weeks, that helps keep you from rushing on and "hoping this will do". You can redo a step or go buy charcoal in this case.

If you enjoy making the raw materials or tools needed for your later "main" experiment, than by all means, do so!

locate the wood as waste wood.  have a lumber mill across the river who GAVE us massive amounts of edge bark cuts for the William Marshal event. All we had to do was come get it.  We got three trailers full. That would make a quality Friday to Sunday char of quality hardwood.

That is the kind of wood scraps that my household has often got for Pennsic, by the pickup truck load.  I'm not sure what the effect, if any, is of the high amount of bark.

Depending upon the size of the wood pile, I'm not sure you can construct it, cover it with dirt and burn it in two days.  The article I showed, also built a rock oven around the wood pieces.  The medieval charcoallers took much longer, but there piles of wood were larger.

A second weekend or so would be the construction of the oven. Two day job max.  There is another weekend.

The Pennsic folks seem to build their oven in less than a day. You do need to find some good clay, also.

A day trip to Ironton to get the ore. make that a third saturday.

A Great Smelt Weekend after all things have been assembled and gathered in one place.

And a fifth weekend to actually work the resulting iron on the anvil.

I think this is where the Pennsic efforts have usually fallen short of time. Bring in newbie blacksmiths. :-) Lots of simple pounding and switch off as folks get tired.  THIS is why they started developing water-driven hammers when they could. :-)

And if it takes a year to get everybody and everything together, who cares?  those who are truly desirous will be involved over several years if need be. Those who expect to get it all done in a day aren't fully vested in the total experience. 

Gerald is STILL working on the Great Machine how many years later?   I am in year one of a five year orchard/vinyard/garden project. 

And unfortunately, I've not seen it. :-( Only sparse descriptions.  He declares he isn't a good writer.  Someone please work with him and create an article or series of articles on it. With pictures, preferably.  I'd really like to have this in the Florilegium!

 We joke about sheep to shawl projects, but it takes nine months to grow the wool, another day to wash and comb it. Another two days to dye and dry.  Two to three days MINIMUM to spin, and another week to warp the loom.  Add at least a week to weave and a day to sew. 

I think the bigger point is that no one person did all of this themselves. It was done by a series of craftsmen.

If you do all this in your spare time, it adds up to several months at least.  Which is why the result is so impressive. True craftsmen recognize the amount of effort that goes into the total project.

And sometimes they give up, first. I thought it would be great to make coopered barrels. Then I researched how they had to be cut (radially, not saw cut) and how they have to be carved to curve in all three dimensions. And fit together very tightly if you want a container for liquids. And gave up. For now.

iow, IF we started gathering everything in the next couple weeks, we would be ready to actually work the homemade iron at Metal and Glass next September.  It would be a nice comparison between "periodesque" iron and modern steel.

This would be wonderful. Please write things down and take photos, so those of us who can't attend can enjoy some of the fun also. Even if we can't swing a hammer from Ansteorra.



On Wed, Oct 2, 2013 at 4:28 PM, Stefan li Rous <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Alban declared:
<<< Make charcoal? I've never seen anyone make it outside of professionals
and long-time re-enactors of the sort who work full-time at Williamsburg.
I suspect it'd take more than one or two days to make the stuff. >>>

You know, some of those SCA guys do the weirdest things. . .

In the CRAFTS section of the Florilegium:
Mkng-Charcoal-art (20K) 1/ 2/10 "Making Charcoal" by Viscount Sir Corin Anderson (KSCA, OP).

Still, this need not be a sheep-to-shawl type thing. I would find a source of good hardwood charcoal and buy that for your iron smelting experiment(s).  Then at another time, do a charcoal making experiment and write it up for the Florilegium, so we have two to compare against. :-)

THLord Stefan li Rous    Barony of Bryn Gwlad    Kingdom of Ansteorra
   Mark S. Harris           Austin, Texas          [log in to unmask]
**** See Stefan's Florilegium files at:  http://www.florilegium.org ****