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Stefan's Florilegium


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weapons-msg - 2/24/92

Period weapons other than the sword.

NOTE: See also the files: slings-msg, swords-msg, pottery-wepns-msg, axes-msg,
quarterstaff-msg, knife-throwing-msg, firearms-msg, crossbows-msg.


This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that
I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some
messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.

This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium.
These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org

I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with
seperate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes
extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were
removed to save space and remove clutter.

The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I
make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the
individual authors.

Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these
messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this
time. If information is published from these messages, please give
credit to the orignator(s).

Thank you,
Mark S. Harris AKA: Lord Stefan li Rous
mark.s.harris@motorola.com stefan@florilegium.org

Lothar The Wanderer
Spears and shafts
20 Feb 92

A common material for the shafts is ash. The same material used for baseball
bats. Many lumber yards will carry this, but it may require a lathe to turn it
down. As far as preparing the wood, I would suggest soaking it in a tung oil or
something similar and letting the wood soften a bit (thus increasing flexability
and lifespan). Once this is done, dry the outside of the shaft and finish with
an artificial varnish to take on the hues you want. Ash is a clear, white wood
and takes to staining fairly well, but only if the oil has been dried from the
I would like to note that I am not familiar with the spear, but am adapting
what I know of the bo/quarter staff to cover this...

Spears and shafts
24 Feb 92
From: whheydt@pbhya.PacBell.COM (Wilson Heydt)
Newsgroups: rec.org.sca
Organization: Pacific * Bell, San Ramon, CA

Lothar The Wanderer writes:

>A common material for the shafts is ash. The same material used for
>baseball bats. Many lumber yards will carry this, but it may require
>a lathe to turn it down.

That's going to be *some* lathe . . . (Not only will it be hard to
find one long enough, but turning a long, thin, *springy* object is
going to be really tough!) I would suggest that a spokeshave for the
cautious or a drawknife for the brave would be more appropriate tools.
They're also a whole bunch cheaper than buying a lathe.


Hal Ravn, Province of the Mists, West Kingdom
Wilson H. Heydt, Jr., Albany, CA 94706, 510/524-8321 (home)

Spears and shafts
24 Feb 92
From: tip@lead.aichem.arizona.edu (Tom Perigrin)
Newsgroups: rec.org.sca
Organization: University of Arizona UNIX Users Group

Unto Lothar the Wanderer, doth Thomas Ignatius Perigrinus send his
humble greetings,

My Lord, thou speaks most truely when thou doest say that ash is a goodly
wood for to use in hafting a spear. An it would'st please thee, may I
add a few points to thy message?

First, thou dids't mention a lathe as to the rounding of the shaft. May
I suggest that this may not be the method of choice for several reasons:

Imprimus; turning a shaft of 2 fingers thickness but more than 6 cubits
length woulds't be most difficult. The wood would tend to flex most
severly, and would retreat from the tool, leading to an action that turners
do call "whip". I'faith, were the shaft long enough, I would fear me that
the shaft would whip itself free of the centers, and strike thee a sharp blow
as it did fly from the layth.

Secundus; Even my largest lathe be but 5 cubits in length, and longer are
most difficult to find.

Thus, an it doth please My Lord, may I suggest the following in it's stead?

First, hie thee to a goodly wood cutters, and beg to examine all their
stock. Find thee a board of goodly thickness, such as 8 quarters or 10
quarters. Cant it up upon the ground, and site thee the length, and proove
that there be no cup, nor wind, nor other deviations from good straightness.
Then, lay down the board, and look thee at the grain.... Assure thyself
that the grain be good and straight, with little or no wave or cant.

Then buy thee this board, and take it to one who has a goodly rip saw (a
bandsaw shall function most excellently) Now cut thee a strip but 1/4
inch in thickness from the edge, running the full length of thy board.
Take up this strip, and grabbing it firmly between thy hands about 1
cubit apart, see an thou mayst bend it unto the half part of a right angle.
An it doth hold, then move thy hands a lngth, and test again, and so forth,
until thou hast proven the whole length.

An it doth break, thou hast purchased a brash board, and it is useless
unto thy purpose. Nor can'st thou apprehend a board which is brash by any
simpler examination. I have taken two oak planks that to all outwards
appearances were brothers, yet one was brash and did in all cases break as I
did assay to make the rim of a great wheel of it, yet it's brother was sweet,
and did bend well without the slightest crack or plaint.

Now that thou hast found a sweet board, saw thee a square billet the
length of thy board. Then, find thee a goodly drawknife, or a spokeshave.
I myself do prefer the former since one can cut both thick and thin, and
pare most cunning fine, whereas the the spokeshave is limited in it's bite.
Then affix thy billet ina vice, and begin to shave thy shaft.

The vice that thou woulds't use should not be a common joyners vice, for
that woulds't bite too deeply and mar the wood, an it is not quick to release
the wood. In it's stead thous shoulds't use a shaving horse, or a shaving
bight. The latter is most easy to make, an so I shall describe it thus;

Find thee a beam that doth sit horisontal. The rail of a fence, or a
beam affixzed in a joyners vice shall serve. Then take thee a loop of
rope, neither so short that thou cans't neer pass both beam and shaft
throu't, nor so long that it doth hang so loose, but just such a length
that when thou dost place the shaft and the beam through the loop that they
do lie snugly, but thou can'st turn thy shaft. Then, cant thy shaft around
so that it comes to make an angle with the beam - this shall tighten thy bight,
and thou shalt find that thy shaft is held firm from turning, until
thou does't walk it back unto alignment with the beam.

Then, take thee thy knife or shave, cant thy shaft until it lies snug,
hold the free end of thy shaft under thy arm, and begin to shave thy

With a drawknife, thou shouldst use the flat side, so that thou does not
bite too deeply. Thou shoulds't consider the shape that thous wouldst thy
shaft to have - and it be round, it may notbe so easy to grasp when it
is wet or thy hand is gloved gainst the cold... I would humbly suggest that
thous does't shave it of 8 or 12 sides.

When thou shavest thy shaft, draw it not straight an plane, but consider
the grain in thy wood. Where it doth rise slightly, then leave that
slight proud, so that thou hast not cut cross the grain... this shall
give thee much more strength than thou mightst come to expect, for that
a crack in would doth almost always progress from some point where the
grain has been cut... Avoid thee cutting the grain, and thou shalst have
the greastes strenth of thy wood.

Once thous hast drawn it to thy shape, then consider thee the finishing of
thy wood. My good Lord Lothar did suggest that one should first to oil
their wood, and then to apply some resin or varnish. I might suggest
that therein can lie disaster, for not all resins nor varnishes will adhere
to an oiled bit of wood. It can be repelled so that none may stick, else
it may rise up and crack, or it may form large flakes which dot remind one
of a lepers skin under the noon day sun. An thou woulds't to follow this
advice, first take thee a small amount of thy wood, thy oil, and thy
varnish, and prove it aside afore tthou dost commit thy greater work.

I faith, I myself do favor the following finish, which, although it is
not so hard, nor so glossy as many brews that do abound this day, is
true and tested, and has been in use since antiquity...

Take thee a pound of good beeswax, and warm it gentle until it has melted.
Then take thee a quart of good tung oil, and mix it with a quart of good
turpentine, and then cast these into the wax with rapid stirring. As it
doth cool, it shall give thee a pleasant smelling paste which shall enter the
wood freely, and after a day may be buffed unto a dull warm glow. Tis not
a hard finish, but it doth smell well, an when tis damaged, may it can
be repaired by so simple a means as buffing more on. Thou shoulds't store
that which thou has not used in so tight a can as thou may find, for the
air do cause it to harden.

And thus, in short and in plano, is how I might process to make such a
shaft as to which enquiries were made. I fear me that I have left out
much of the process, for the use of a drawknife is such that may be best
learned at the hand of a master, and not by reading a missive upon the
Rialto. But mayhaps my humble efforts at expostualting my course will
help thee upon thine. And thus, I remain,

thy humble and thankful servant
Thomas Ignatius Perigrinus

<the end>

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