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Pensc-Caltrop-art - 5/8/11


"Making a caltrop at Pennsic 24" by Wilelm the Smith.


NOTE: See also the files: P-tale-MWIFO-art, Pennsic-101-art, Quest-f-Scotch-art, P-stories-msg, P-history-msg, New-2-Pennsic-msg, Pennsic-Prep-art, Eatng-Pennsic-art.





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 separate 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 originator(s).


Thank you,

   Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                         Stefan at florilegium.org



From: powers at skink.cis.ohio-state.edu (william thomas powers)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: PENNSIC: Don't just stand there; Do Something!

Date: 15 Jul 1996 21:48:56 -0400

Organization: The Ohio State University, Department of Computer and Information Science


It was Pennsic XXIIII and it was hot; so hot that the idea of working with the 9 pound sledge over a yellow hot piece of iron lacked it's customary savor during the day and night fell quickly after dusk cooled us off. Yet we still did manage to work in some forging, pattern welding, bronze casting, iron smelting,...just not as much as we would have liked and a lot more sweat dripping from our facial features than we did like!


Be that as it may, one evening a lady came into our camp and professed a desire to forge a caltrop--just because she liked the word and had need of one for a special purpose.  Now a caltrop is an  anti-personnel/anti-equine item basically composed of four iron points arranged so that no matter how it landed 1 point was always up and available for stepping on. (She also mentioned being bothered by folk from the camp behind hers cutting through her camp disturbing her repose...) But we wouldn't suspect so charming and gracious a lady of even envisioning such a medieval method of dealing with a modern problem....Well we're smiths; so we did suspect and even offered advice on empirical methods of checking a caltrop out...

Well the first one did not fare too well due to a 3 smith mixed scrap pile---who would have thought that that strap stock would be high carbon? When the smith-on-duty cooled off part of the proto-caltrop to allow our guest to work on another section, the first hammer blow resulted in the dreaded *plink* of a piece of hardened steel becoming 2 or more pieces.  It now being some time past full dark we regretfully called it quits.


Another blazing day went by and in the gloaming the Caltroptressr once again found our camp and asked the two tired smiths on hand, (we had been working during the hot hours), for another go.  We were hot and tired and dryed out so we had to say "Of Course!"; but this time would be real, this would be proper no more mild steel and coal and a London pattern anvil. This time it would be wrought iron and charcoal and a stake anvil!


And so the epic began, (the Kaltropschmidtenlied). Our guest quickly mastered the basics of forging wrought iron, (work it *HOT* especially in the lower grades such as we were using), and we could relax and talk and offer suggestions.  The difficulty she ran into was her training as a silversmith had fostered the habit of choking way up on a hammer and being gentle with the metal.  This has a tendency to result in the lack of hair on the knuckles due to close proximity with glowing iron and an almost infinite number of heats required to shape a more Recalcitrant material.  Working by the light of the forge fire and the glowing metal itself adds another complication to the process.


The heats occurred but I remembered to forget asking about knuckle hair. *Never* rile the person with the glowing iron and the hammer!  


All went well and the lady and her caltrop were escorted to her camp around 12:45 am.  In daylight we discovered that the web had been a bit too long and a bit too cold, (work it *hot*, you want the iron silicates semi-molten!), when the twist had been done and the caltrop had a tear in the web; but caltrops were supposed to be quick and dirty and cheap since to use them you threw them away! This caltrop was quite within the usable, (though my chiergeon friends didn't mention any caltrop calamities amongst the myriad of foot failures at the war...) and fit well with her special purpose of entering the open A&S category of Metal--Martial.


wilelm the smith


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org