How to Process Flax into Linen

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Flax has been grown and processed by man for at least two thousand years.  As a material, the complete plant can be used, whether its using the fibers to spin into linen, the seed for food supplements or oils, or the chaff to be pressed into fiberboard.  These videos portray the processing of the plant […]

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How to Comb Wool

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Combing (not to be confused with carding) as a means of aligning wool fibers for worsted spinning is an essential skill for the serious hand spinner throughout the centuries. Though lacking some of the “fluffy” characteristics of woolen spun wool, worsted fibers can generally be drawn into longer thinner yarns with less elastic bounce. There […]

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Traditional Rush Work in Ireland

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Rush has been used throughout history to make a variety of items.  Whether it be a sleeping mat, rope, or just a  common or uncommon basket, this material has lent itself to a variety of uses throughout many periods in locations in history.  This video, produced as part of the “Hands” series in Ireland in […]

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How to Make a Hurdle Fence

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The use of coppiced materials like willow and hazel were common through many periods throughout Europe, especially Britain.  This video illustrates the construction of how to make a hazel hurdle which would be used as portable fencing for bringing sheep to fold.  A similar method would be employed to make stationary fencing for garden walls  […]

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How to Make Ash Splints for Baskets

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Native Americans have used the method of pounding ash logs for centuries to produce fine splints used in making baskets of all shapes and forms.  Once a suitable tree is located and felled the task of removing the outer bark is followed by a labor intensive period of pounding the cut log with a heavy […]

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12th – 13th Century Champleve Enameling

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This is a great overview video about Medieval enameling. It’s a very detailed process, but you can watch all the steps in this overview from the Victoria and Albert museum in London. Enameling is the process of fusing glass to metal using different designs. According to the V&A, this particular form of enameling was primarily […]

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Wind Yarn with a Niddy Noddy

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Whether you’re a handspinner, knitter, dyer or any kind of fiber artist, you’ll likely need to wind yarn into a skein or hank with a niddy noddy at some point. You can skein directly after spinning a single, plying or at any point that you want to keep the yarn neatly organized or stored. When […]

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How to Make a Bone Needle for Nalbinding

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Nalbinding is a looped textile technique that uses a single bone needle and one to three yard pieces of yarn. It’s generally associated with the Vikings and Scandinavian cultures. But it actually dates back much further than that. Surviving examples have been found in the Tarim Basin in China estimated at 3000 years old. And […]

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How to Make a Copper Rivet

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Rivets are useful creatures, but they’re not always around when you need them. Here’s an interesting video on how to make a hollow rivet out of a tiny kite-shaped piece of flat copper. I’m guessing the same technique could be used with brass and steel. Can anyone date this technique in history? It certainly looks […]

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How to Set a Copper Rivet

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Rivets hold things together, leather and metal mostly. If you don’t make your own rivets, but feel the double cap “jiffy” rivets are too modern looking, you other option is to use solid-core copper or steel rivets. These take more muscle to use than the jiffy rivets, but the result is a much stronger bond […]

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How to Set a Double Cap or Jiffy Rivet

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Double cap or “jiffy” rivets have lots of applications in historic arts and crafts. You can use them anytime you need to secure two pieces of leather together. I sometimes use them for paper and other materials, too. But how do you know what size to use? And what’s the right way to set them? […]

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How to Forge a Twist – Blacksmithing

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Here’s a simple decorative blacksmithing technique that takes a piece of square stock and puts a lovely twist in the middle. Blacksmiths use twists for all sorts of historical projects like candlesticks, gates, lantern hangers, door latches and more. This video shows how to work the twist by clamping the heated metal into a post […]

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Handmade Nails-Blacksmithing Video

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Handmade broadhead nails add a wonderful authentic touch to any woodworking project. Historically speaking, they’ve been around since at least Biblical times. These early nails were little more than spikes with flattened heads. When sawyers began to make different types of lumber available, nail shapes evolved to meet the needs of the builder. Later on […]

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How to Make a Medieval Square Drum

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This Medieval drum is also called an Adufe or a Pandero Cuadrado. The video is not in English, but it’s easy to follow along. If you want to try making your own drum, give this one a try.

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How to Make a Simple Cheese

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Here’s a very simple way to make soft cheese at home. You won’t need rennet or any special ingredients. If you have trouble finding fresh local milk, try your local natural foods store, or ask your grocer if they know any dairy farms nearby. 1 quart fresh, local whole milk 1 cup active-culture buttermilk 2 […]

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How to Embroider a Braided Edge

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I love this technique! Braided edges were often used to sew two pieces of fabric together and finish the seam at the same time. It’s a beautiful technique that can be done with tablet weaving, but this is an easier method. All you need is embroidery floss or thick colored cord (cotton, linen or silk […]

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How to Turn Lace Bobbins on a Bow Lathe

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Here’s an interesting video on using a hand-powered bow lathe. It’s much smaller than a foot-powered pole version, so it’s great for small apartments or bringing to demonstrations. The creator is turning bone lace bobbins, but also does small wood turnings on it. Further information on how to make the lathe are here: bow lathe

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How to Fill a Calligraphy Pen Nib

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Calligraphy is an art that takes time and patience. And when something goes wrong, like dripping ink, it’s enough to make you scream (or kick something really hard.) Want to avoid those splotches and dripping pens? Don’t dip straight into the ink bottle! If you don’t know where the bottom is, you can get too […]

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How Calligraphy Pens Work

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Calligraphy is a fine art these days, but throughout history it was just common everyday writing. Ever wonder how calligraphy pens work? This video shows you how to prepare the nibs for the first time and how the nibs work. Also, how to tell when your nibs are worn out.

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Basic Hand Sewing Stitches

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Hand sewing stitches are–well, handy! Whether you want to be more authentic in recreating historic clothing, or you just don’t have access to a sewing machine, these quick video tutorials will teach you the basic stitches you’ll need to sew just about anything. These 4 videos are lined up in a playlist. You can view […]

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How to Prepare Waxed Ends for Hand Sewing Leather

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To properly sew leather by hand, you need to use what’s called a “waxed end.” Basically, you’ve got a long piece of linen thread with frayed ends. You’re going to put a needle on each end of the thread for most leather stitching. And there’s a trick to getting those ends secured properly so the […]

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How to Make a Leather Belt

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Learning how to make a leather belt is a great way to get started with leathercrafting. It requires a few tools, but they’re not expensive. You can buy a belt blank already cut, or you can make a larger investment in a side of leather. Notice in the video Jim is using a rawhide mallet […]

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How to Hand Stitch Leather

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Hand stitching leather is a lot easier (and cheaper!) than using a bulky industrial leather machine. Besides, you’ll produce more authentic looking boots, pouches, belts and accessories when you hand sew them. This video shows you the easiest stitch to use for joining two pieces of leather. You’ll also learn how to bevel and edge […]

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How to Sharpen a Leather Awl

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I’ve always wanted to know how to sharpen a leather awl. That sounds kind of dumb, but I’m serious. The curves and double sided bevels make it a tricky tool to hone. Important safety tips here! Well-conditioned tools are your best friends, but respect the sharp. Awls are one of the basic tools in leathercrafting, […]

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How to Make a Leather Skiver or Splitter

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Skiving leather is the process of thinning out or splitting a piece of hide into thinner pieces. Sometimes you need to thin out the edges of a piece so you can glue and sew them together easier. And sometimes you just need a thinner piece than you have on hand. Skiving machines can cost thousands […]

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How to Sew a French Seam

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Learn how to sew a French seam in this short, but clear, video tutorial. French seams are useful whenever you have raw edges of fabric that need to be hidden or secured. This technique works the same way whether you’re hand sewing or machine sewing. Enjoy! Shop for sewing patterns and supplies Shop for period […]

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How to Make Arrows for a Medieval English Longbow

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Here’s a nice overview of how to make arrows for an English longbow. The broad heads were hand forged, but not by the video creator. The video shows how to make the shaft, how to attach the point and add the fletching. Very nice! (not too sure about the music choice, though)

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Nalbinding: How to Work a York Stitch from the Middle

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Nalbinding is a precursor to knitting, thousands of years old. Unlike knitting, however, it does not unravel if you pull on a loose end. You’re basically tying lots and lots of knots. So you could cut the fabric in half, and it wouldn’t unravel. (Don’t try that with your knitting or crochet!) All you need […]

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How to Make a Lucet Braided Cord

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This video shows how to make a lucet cord. A lucet looks like a “U” on a stick and you use the prongs to help braid the cord. There are lots of different designs you can make. You can use any colorful string or yarn, but sturdy linen or silk is best. The benefit of […]

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How to Make Buckles from Nails

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This is a good comprehensive video detailing the steps in creating a steel buckle using house nails. Although the video shows using power tools like a metal bandsaw and grinder, everything could be done with hand tools provided you have a reasonable heat source to soften the metal. Supplies needed will include a small piece […]

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How to Splice Yarn for Nalbinding

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Nalbinding uses short pieces of yarn to create beautiful objects. One problem with the technique; however, is that it requires the artisan to either leave loose ends to be tucked in or a means of splicing the yarn. For single ply natural fibers like wool, a simple splice can be created using a drop spindle […]

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How to Make a Medieval Leather Pouch

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If you think leatherwork takes too much time, too much money or too many tools, this 2-part video is for you. Learn how to make a 15th century pouch, in about an hour, with tools you can find around the house, and materials you can get locally. This pouch is a nice size to hang […]

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How to do a Pivot in Nalbinding

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Nalbinding is an ancient precursor to knitting. It uses long lengths of yarn which are knotted into shapes using a thick bone needle. A pivot is used in Nalbinding when you have a length of stitches and then work around them in a spiral. This is useful for socks, bags, mittens, etc. This video shows […]

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How to Make Brass Bezants

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Bezant is a Medieval word for a gold coin. Originally dating back to Byzantium coinage, the word later became used as a heraldic item (gold circles on a coat of arms). Bezants later became ornamental decorations sewn onto clothing of the wealthy, kind of like large metal sequins or spangles. They were cut into a […]

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How to Forge a Pilum Shank-Blacksmithing Video

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A pilum was a heavy javelin commonly used by the Roman army in ancient times. Basically just an iron shank with a pyramid-shaped head, it was about a foot long. The shank could have a socket, but most of them had a wide flat tang which was secured to a wooden shaft. A pilum usually […]

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