Thursday, August 20, 2015

Greetings all.
I'd like you to meet Fingal - I've started a mentoring relationship with him in blacksmithing over this past year. Truth be told, I haven't been able to do much work with him so far - he lives in Acton and I live in Hamilton and I don't have a home shop setup yet, so the only time we have had to work together is at SCA camping events when I bring my travel forge. But I try to support his interest in smithing the best I can until I'm able to do more. We just finished a 3-day get together to sort of hang out and talk about smithing plans.
My prime motive for our get together was to give Fin his birthday/Yule/graduation present for last year ... my old riveter's forge. I bought it at an auction 8 years ago but never got around to using it once I made my SCA travel forge. It definitely needed some work ... the pan had a few holes rusted through it but the blower was in good shape and over all the forge still had some good bones to her. So we took it apart, cleaned and wire brushed the pan and fashioned a sheet steel patch for the area with the holes. We replaced the worn and rusted bolts and bolted the whole forge back together - good as new.The last thing we did was give the pan a good lining with furnace cement.

I figure, since I don't have the facilities to work with Fin on a more regular basis, I want to be able to get him started exploring some of the skills we have worked on at SCA events - and I think a forge is a good place to start. We met up with his mom at Ikea on Wednesday afternoon and I gave her her boy back along with his new forge. I also gave Fin this year's early Yule gift ... my copy of Lorelei Sims' The Backyard Blacksmith and a hammer I picked up for him at Pennsic ... I know ... I can't help myself.  It was a good visit.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Last Saturday, my wife and I got back from our yearly 2-week vacation to Pennsic. My SCA friends will know what Pennsic is - for everyone else, Pennsic is an annual 2 week SCA camping event held in Slippery Rock Pennsylvania that brings over 10,000 SCA members from around the world together onto a campground called Cooper's Lake. For 2 weeks, a medieval city materializes complete with markets, a university, walled encampments and a host of martial and battle fields - it's pure magic. 
In the past, Pennsic meant for me nights of wandering from camp to camp, singing songs, telling stories, watching the belly dancers and fire dancers and getting pissed drunk with my friends. Now Pennsic means spending everyday in front of a blazing forge, blacksmithing everyday for 2 solid weeks (except for one day I take off to be with my wife on our anniversary). At night, I come home to our camp tired and sore ... and happy ... and spend my nights with my beautiful wife. We still visit friends in other camps sometimes, but my days of drinking and partying are long past. We're often quite happy to be in bed by 11:00. 
Pennsic has become my creative pilgrimage instead of my booze-soaked playground. I spend my days smithing with good friends, creating beautiful and useful things with steel and hammer and fire - and my beautiful wife is happy to let me play, even though I don't spend nearly enough time with her during the days as I should (... I know, I am very blessed). 
Pennsic has become a time of contentment instead of craziness. Maybe it means I'm getting old ... but I'm okay with that ... so long as I have my beautiful girl to grow old with me ... I'm okay with that.