Sun Pony Ranch

Diary of novice (clueless) ranch owners

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Gettin Crafty

I really didn't think that joining the SCA would immediately put me into crafts mode nearly so deeply! Shortly after attending my first practice I came home and fashioned two swords out of 1x2s and some dowels. It took me several weeks to actually complete them -- and they are still awaiting paint even now. But it turns out that you can get a heck of a proto-sword by just cutting a tip into one side and necking down the handle end. Sure works to smack those heads off of their stands, at least.

The next challenge was to make a ring lance. The broomstick I'd been practicing with was just too pathetic. So I got Dave to get me an 8' closet rod.

Now, point of fact, a pine closet rod is probably not the best material to start with. The reason being, as the medieval dude in Oxford explained to me in great detail, is that when pine and most other woods break, they give you really long splintered shards. So were you to dig that lance into the ground, for instance, it could break off leaving rather nasty spikes sticking out of the ground for your horse to run into. This is why Bamboo is favored I guess, because it shatters, not splinters. That and the fact that Bamboo is light.

But... Bamboo poles are not nearly as easy to come by. So, given I know the limitations of said lance, I'm not going to aim it at the ground!

So there I was with an 8' rod, 1-1/4" in diameter.

The smallest rings we have to be able to spear (for the most points) are 1" in diameter.


I needed a way to taper the end down to 1/2" diameter. How to do this? (without an 8' lathe, that is) I had no clue. But it seemed like a fun challenge. Much of the plane ride home from the UK I was noodling on an approach. You'll have to excuse all the geeky in-process photos - I wanted to be sure I could do this again when I need to! ;-D

Taking a stab in the dark I decided I needed a way to shave off slivers from the end of the rod - 1/4" over 2 feet. 2 feet back from the tip the lance would be full diameter. So I made up an angled jig. But I knew the jig had to be a lot longer than 2 feet - because I was going to need something to align the rod to after I'd started making cuts to the end. So I made a 4 foot jig that tapered 1/2".

And then clamped it to the table saw... I could push the rod at the correct angle to the sawblade....


Realizing that wouldn't work I finally figured out I had to clamp the rod to the jig, so that the combination could be slid parallel to the blade. Yeah - that was going to be way more successful!!

And Voila! First cut:

Several more:

And this is where things started getting tricky. Once I'd had to rotate the rod far enough that a cut-edge was facing the jig, I found that the tip of the lance kept being pushed aside by the sawblade, so it didn't make as deep of slices as it should have been, and the tip was looking decidedly unsymmetrical. Waah!

So I took the first slice I cut off, and taped it back to the jig to support the tip properly. Worked like a charm!

Soon after that took it off the table saw and started filing.

Got the tip down to what I needed

Then sanded it!

I am so pleased with the results!!! It's really nice and even, a consistent taper from tip back to the rod. I feel like making 10 more now. LOL.

I now need to get some leather to make a cone-shaped hand guard. I was pi-shawing the need for a hand guard. They seemed to be more in the way than anything else, it's not like those rings are going to hurt you.

Then I tried using my lance in practice and I quickly discovered that without a guard, the larger rings (5-6" diameter ones) fall all the way down and ring your wrist TO the lance. Ohhhh - not a good idea if you need to get rid of the lance in a hurry. OK, OK -- I need to fashion a hand guard.

But first - tonight I hope - I have to try my hand at sewing Costumes. For both me and Jordan. I haven't sewn anything since home-ec in Jr. High! Stay tuned, that little adventure is bound to generate some posts...



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