How to Build an Early Smelting Furnace

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The man who understood and controlled the means and materials to make iron in early times may well have been a chief. Such was the strength, skill, and understanding that it took to deliver iron from ore. Ore deposits can be found in a number of natural sources such as hematite, goethite, or laterite. Traditionally, [...]

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Basic Hand Sewing Skills – Running Stitch, Whip Stitch, Seam Finishing

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Basic sewing skills provide the basis for a multitude of projects, from making a simple cloth pouch to a fitted cotehardie. In this video, friends Mathilde Haðebyr, Kaðlin in Stórráða, and Gersvinda Gaeslingr of http://totalwingnut.blogspot.com provide some useful sewing tips on how to do a simple running stitch and a whip or hem stitch and [...]

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How to Make Cloth Buttons

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Buttons have been documented in Europe starting back to the first half of the 13th century gradually supplanting the brooch. Cloth buttons are one of those dress features that can make a well made garment look all the better and can be used on the sleeves as well as main body. Besides, they help you [...]

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How to Make a Sulphur Match or Spunk

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Prior to the early 1800′s, if you were to need a match, you might well have had a sulphur match known as a spunk on hand. Unlike the matches of today, these devices were not self igniting and required a primary ignition source such as an ember to which the spunk was touched and fanned [...]

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How to Start a Fire without Charcloth

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The Forme of Cury – Fritter of Herbs & Ryschewys of Fruit

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In this video, Mathilde Haðebyr, Kaðlin in Stórráða, and Gersvinda Gaeslingr give us their redactions of two fritter recipes from The Forme of Cury. The first is Fritter of Herbs and the second is Ryschewys of Fruit. Ryschewys of Fruit are a deep fried desert made with fresh and dried fruits. Additional details about these [...]

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Top Ten Medieval Embroidery Stitches- #10 Pattern Darning

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Our friend Susan O’Dee (Mistress Briony, as she is known in the Society for Creative Anachronism) is a talented embroidery expert from New York State. Recently, we asked her what the top ten most useful embroidery stitches were, specifically for pre-1600 AD projects. She came out with a great list and graciously offered to film [...]

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How to Sew a Gore

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Whether you are working on a cotehardie, an apron dress, or just a fuller skirt; your costuming efforts may need an extra something to add that deeper dimension to the appearance and drape of the material. Adding a fabric insert known as a gore to increase and redirect the drape of the garment fabric may [...]

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Top Ten Medieval Embroidery Stitches- #9 Long-Armed Cross Stitch

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Our friend Susan O’Dee (Mistress Briony, as she is known in the Society for Creative Anachronism) is a talented embroidery expert from New York State. Recently, we asked her what the top ten most useful embroidery stitches were, specifically for pre-1600 AD projects. She came out with a great list and graciously offered to film [...]

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Top Ten Medieval Embroidery Stitches- #7 Detached Button Hole Stitch

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Our friend Susan O’Dee (Mistress Briony, as she is known in the Society for Creative Anachronism) is a talented embroidery expert from New York State. Recently, we asked her what the top ten most useful embroidery stitches were, specifically for pre-1600 AD projects. She came out with a great list and graciously offered to film [...]

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Top Ten Medieval Embroidery Stitches- #8 Double Running Stitch

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Our friend Susan O’Dee (Mistress Briony, as she is known in the Society for Creative Anachronism) is a talented embroidery expert from New York State. Recently, we asked her what the top ten most useful embroidery stitches were, specifically for pre-1600 AD projects. She came out with a great list and graciously offered to film [...]

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Top Ten Medieval Embroidery Stitches- #6 Tent Stitch

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Our friend Susan O’Dee (Mistress Briony, as she is known in the Society for Creative Anachronism) is a talented embroidery expert from New York State. Recently, we asked her what the top ten most useful embroidery stitches were, specifically for pre-1600 AD projects. She came out with a great list and graciously offered to film [...]

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Top Ten Medieval Embroidery Stitches- #3 Split, #4 Chain, #5 Stem

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Our friend Susan O’Dee (Mistress Briony, as she is known in the Society for Creative Anachronism) is a talented embroidery expert from New York State. Recently, we asked her what the top ten most useful embroidery stitches were, specifically for pre-1600 AD projects. She came out with a great list and graciously offered to film [...]

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Top Ten Medieval Embroidery Stitches- #2 Button Hole Stitch

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Our friend Susan O’Dee (Mistress Briony, as she is known in the Society for Creative Anachronism) is a talented embroidery expert from New York State. Recently, we asked her what the top ten most useful embroidery stitches were, specifically for pre-1600 AD projects. She came out with a great list and graciously offered to film [...]

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Top Ten Medieval Embroidery Stitches- #1 Couching

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Our friend Susan O’Dee (Mistress Briony, as she is known in the Society for Creative Anachronism) is a talented embroidery expert from New York State. Recently, we asked her what the top ten most useful embroidery stitches were, specifically for pre-1600 AD projects. She came out with a great list and graciously offered to film [...]

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How to Do the Mammen Stitch

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The Mammen stitch (sometimes referred to as the Korgen stitch) has it’s name derived from lavish nalbinding works found from a high status man’s grave (ca 960-970 AD) discovered in 1868 in burial mound Mammen, Denmark. The stitch is a relatively basic but will easily help to expand the beginning nalbinder’s depth to their stitch [...]

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How to Forge an Early Period Broad Axe

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If you ask a group of woodworkers which tool they’d have if they were limited to just one, you will often get the answer, “an axe”. A skilled axeman can do an amazing variety of tasks from felling to hewing to fine shaping with the right axe. The broad axe, frequently misrepresented today as a [...]

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Introduction to the Bone Flute

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Bone flutes and whistles are ancient instruments that can produce a remarkable range of sounds. Recent finds have placed various forms of these instruments dating back to almost 40,000 years in Europe. One common form of flute consists of a hollow piece of bone with a fipple block inserted on one end fitted adjacent to [...]

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How to Modify 3-2 Finger Loop Square Braid with Splits

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The accompanying video builds off the previous “How to Do a Square 3-2 Finger Loop Braid” video and adds a revised pass to create a split in the braid which can be rejoined and split over and over in the braid. Why split and rejoin? We’ll leave that one to you. Once again, SFHndymn (http://www.youtube.com/ [...]

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How to Forge a Pair of Bolt Head Tongs

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There are few things more exciting when working at a forge than having a white hot piece of steel escape your grip and go landing in some remote and hard to get to corner of the shop. Invariably, this will likely be near some combustible material. That said, a good pair of tongs goes a [...]

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Making a Celtic Spearhead

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You acquire the basic skills and eventually put them all together. In this video, brought to us by Thijs van de Manakker (www.thijsvandemanakker.com), we can see demonstrated a combination of skills from the forge weld, to drawing out a taper, to forming the socket. Combined with the experience and skills of the smith, these techniques, [...]

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Some Tips on Harnessing Horses

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Neil Dimmock with Hitch Masters Percherons (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ebRQssKTig) has been kind enough to grant us permission to share some of his tips on the essentials of harnessing a team of horses. Although these skills have seen a resurgence of interest in recent years in the form of low impact farming and forestry, the working relationship of [...]

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How to Begin Laying Out a Multi-piece Forge Project

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Okay, so you’ve come up with your uber-cool design for that Victorian iron gate you’re wife wants or maybe it’s a decorative window grate for your study or workshop. Either way, you’ll need to think about the mechanics of going from the design on paper to the product in the forge. The following videos provided [...]

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The Warp Weighted Loom

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The warp weighted loom is a vertical loom that uses various forms of weights to create tension in the warp threads of the piece being worked.  As a weaving form, it spans a variety  of cultures and time periods and was even documented in use by the researcher Marta Hoffman in the mid 20th century [...]

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How to Make Bramble Bindings

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The process of compressing straw through a funnel to form loose coils which can be bound to form objects from chairs to baskets to bee skeps is known as lip work.  One of the best materials for this work is considered to be winter wheat straw.  To bind those coils, you’ll need a tough flexible [...]

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How to Anneal Copper

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Copper is one of those materials we find used for a wide range of projects.  As workable metals go, it is available in a wide variety of ready to use forms from wire and rod to sheet and plate.  It can be worked with with basic tools to manipulated to a variety of shapes and [...]

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How to Sharpen Plane Irons and Chisels

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If you’re like us, getting a good working edge on tools is a challenge.   Maybe you’ve purchased a second plane or chisel or maybe you’ve just used your new ones to the point where they just don’t do the work they used to.  Either way, a properly sharpened tool not only saves work and effort [...]

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How to Do a Square 3-2 Finger Loop Braid

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This video is a continuation of technique introduced in the earlier “How to do a Simple 3-2 Finger Loop Braid” clip. The braid illustrated builds off the 3-2 braid technique but with a revised pass which creates a square braid. In these videos, SFHndymn (www.youtube.com/user/SFHndymn) illustrates the revised pass technique.  The first video shows a [...]

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How to Forge Tapers

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Crafts, trades, and skills which traditionally depend on muscle power demand that the artisans maximize their output while minimizing effort.  Nowhere is that more important than smithing, where often swinging a heavy hammer with accuracy gains the most advantage in the limited time afforded to the smith before the work has to be reheated.  A [...]

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How to do the Åsle Stitch

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The Åsle Mitten Stitch is named for a left-handed mitten discovered in 1918 in a peat bog by Frithiof Svensson in  Åsle  parish, West Götland , Sweden.  The mitten was initially thought to be early Viking (4th century) but the date was revised in the 1990′s as a result of C-14 re-dating the find to [...]

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How to Use and Maintain Saws

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Whether it’s a two man cross cut, the rip saw you just picked up at the flea market, or your favorite dovetail saw, good technique and a nice sharp blade make the difference between exhaustion with a ragged cut and mild exertion with a good crisp cut.  How often you sharpen your saw will vary [...]

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How to Make a Braided Flemish Twist Bow String

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If you have been performing your proper duties and attending weekly practices at the archery butts, it might be about time to replace that string. Traditionally European strings were made of either linen or hemp or even sinew in either a simple string form, reverse twisted form, or looped form.  The Flemish string accomplishes the [...]

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How to Do a Simple 3-2 Finger Loop Braid

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Popularized in recent years by research done on the early 15th century English manuscript “Astrological treatises and treatise on lace-making, imperfect.’ also known as  British Library Manuscript Harley 2320, finger loop braiding has seen a rebirth in recent years.  This art, uses variable numbers of paired strings braided on two hands to create a variety [...]

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How to Sharpen a Drawknife

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Whether you are looking at a copy of Agricola’s De Re Metallica or a skobel from the Mastermyr chest find, the drawknife is a common but useful tool found throughout Europe and the Americas. Its applications are varied, from finishing shingles to rounding up stock for turning to making spokes for carriages. One of the [...]

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How to Nalbind with Two Colors Using the Pivot

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Working nalbinding with one color can be fun but for a little variety, why not add a second color? Better yet, why not make a spiral using two colors? If you’ve figured out the pivot, here’s your chance. The technique works well with hats and socks or pretty much any project you want to create [...]

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How to Operate a Tinderlighter

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The tinderlighter or “tinder pistol” originated in the mid 17th century. Early models were likely built out of broken pistols. The operation is akin to using a striker to generate sparks on tinder to start a fire. The introduction of the sulphur match negates the need to produce a flame before being able to light [...]

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How to Make a Hot Punch for Blacksmithing from a Hammer

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Today when we want to put a hole through a relatively thick piece of iron, most folks will turn to their electric drill or drill press.   Though augers and braces and bits have existed for centuries (for instance the early 15th century image of St. Joseph from the Merode Altarpiece), these type tools are best [...]

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How to Work the York Stitch using F1 and F2

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Nalbinding is the process of continually sewing a series of loose knots to make a fabric for any number of items from socks and mittens to dresses.  Though many people think of it as a northern European art; as a skill, nalbinding has been dated back at least as early as 4th century Egypt, . [...]

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How to Make a Rabbit Purse Net

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Making nets is a time honored tradition for catching both fish and game. The materials and tools are simple. All that is required is a spool of jute, two iron rings, a netting needle, a mesh stick, and something to cut the jute with. More experienced netters will even skip the mesh stick. We don’t [...]

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How to Grow Willow Coppice for Baskets

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Long before we came to know the term permaculture, there was coppice and pollards. Coppicing is the process of cutting a deciduous tree near ground level during the dormant stage in order to promote the growth of shoots which can be applied to a number of purposes, from simple baskets to crafty coracles. Pollarding is [...]

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How to Work a Flat Piece in Nalbinding

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When working in nalbinding, there are several methods of constructing fabric. The first method is to create a chain and loop it back on itself creating a tube. The second is to pivot around and end and work essentially in a spiral. The third is to work a flat piece going back and forth. This [...]

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How to Forge Decorative Scrolls

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Another video from Dave Robertson at www.artistblacksmith.com. This one demonstrates 3 different scroll forms. These forms can be used on an assortment of projects from gates to candlesticks. We should definitely make some candlesticks. Click once to view video.

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How to Make Mozzarella

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We’ve been asked to post a video on how to make mozzarella cheese. Mozzarella is generally thought to date back at least to the Roman era but alas we couldn’t find any Romans. We did find some crafty Italians but figured some of you may not have picked up the language yet. True mozzarella is [...]

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How to Card Wool for Spinning

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Images of wool being carded go back easily as early as the Luttrell Psalter in the early 14th century. As a do-it-yourself spinner, fiber preparation is not only a basic but and essential skill. In preparing your own wool for spinning, you need to consider the product you are spinning for and the technique you’ll [...]

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How to Build a Coracle

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The coracle is an ancient boat (often used for fishing) dating back to at least the Roman invasion of Britain  Like the currach (or curragh), the coracle is relatively simple in its construction.  These small one person vessels are in essence, a large basket made of either a bent lath or round wood frame covered [...]

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How to Pleach Hazel

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In earlier times, when a family would live in the same general locale from generation to generation, woodland practices such as pleaching, laying hedges, coppicing, and pollarding were common practices. Each tradition was practiced, not with the intent of reaping the rewards within a year or two, but in some cases decades later. In this [...]

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How to Make Charcoal

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When one thinks about many pre-industrial processes, it’s easy to overlook something as basic as the fuel needed to fire them. The production of charcoal was a time consuming, dirty, and hazardous industry, yet without it and the means to produce steady high heats, many basic industries, such as the smelting of iron or running [...]

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How to Use Hold Downs for Blacksmithing

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Occasionally, the blacksmith working alone at his forge, finds himself in dire need of an extra set of hands. Short of calling on a friend, the resourceful smith will find it necessary to devise a means of holding a white hot piece of metal while leaving one hand free to wield his hammer and the [...]

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How to Turn Cards for Tablet Weaving

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Sometimes learning to tablet weave through books can be perplexing.  When tablet or card weaving, the novice weaver finds that turning individual cards can be time consuming and confusing as they begin to lose track of which cards are in the background and which ones are in the pattern.  This video presents a clear and [...]

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How to Forge Split a Piece of Steel

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If you intend to make tools like axes, hammers, and adzes at the forge, learning to split and drift your metal is an essential skill. In this video, David Robertson details the tools and process of creating a proper split which can be used as the basis for creating the eye of many types of [...]

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