I did a lot of work. My goal here was to get the rest of the entire castle done in two years. Then I bought a glass blowing workshop and set it up out back and threw that idea out. Then, I discovered how hard glass was on my back and wallet. Two years it is.
I am starting at the bottom and working up. Really, if it wasn’t for kids’ books, I would be lost. Descriptions of mundane less exciting places like storerooms don’t make interesting reading, but a picture does wonders. First, the room must be full, because the castle is not at war and is prosperous. So, a lot of it is just bulk. Boxes and trunks were easy. These were made out of wood with leather and dollhouse nails for detail. The hinges of one of them are actually made of paper repeatedly coated in hammered paint to look like metal. I think it’s pretty convincing.
The barrels were a bear. I looked up how to make barrels (The invention of the internet means that if you don’t find out how to do something, well, then you just aren’t trying hard. Finding references when I first started this was so much harder.) So, after learning how they did it, this is how I did it. First, experiment with sizes. I made polymer clay blanks, kind of barrel shaped objects, since you really need to push the wood against something (found that out the hard way) in three sizes. Cut out wood pieces with divots out of each end, not unlike a very thick two sided comb. Soak in water. Wrap around blanks. Using, lots of rubber bands, hold them in place. Dry. Stain. Dry. Remove from blanks. Glue. Dry. Cut rings out of paper painted with hammered paint. I did experiment with rings made out of metal. It looked too new and bright. Not good for a storeroom.
Next, I made a box of candles. Translucent polymer clay around threads and fired in the oven. I rolled up really thin goatskin to look like rolls of leather. Lots of bags made out of muslin. I tea dyed a bunch to give varying colors then filled them with sand. Some got tied. Others got sewn up.
I have some rolls of leather. Will add more stuff, like food etc. later
I started on the armory last week. I was really annoyed to find out that I needed to make more barrels. They are really frustrating and take so many steps. Sigh. Still, that was the main method for arrow storage and such. At present, I have about ten projects in various places of my house for this room. I will add more when finished, but there’s times when it seems rather advantageous that I live alone. I cannot imagine inflicting all these piles on other people for weeks at a time. It’s the only way I know I could have done this castle, though. So many of the projects require a lot of waiting/drying/curing/time that I don’t think I would have bothered otherwise since it would have been boring, tedious and taken an attention span longer than that of a gnat.
The Armory Continued – February 2010-02-22
Well, there’s been a stall. Again. I had to have surgery on my foot and that has made mobility difficult. This may not seem like a problem for a project done with your hands, but much of this castle requires getting something from here and there and when you are on a scooter, that is hard to do.
Arrows. I have used both toothpicks and dowels sanded down for the shafts. I then take tiny feathers and cut them in half. They need to be small feathers so the shaft isn’t too thick. I glue the feathers on the end and then trim when dry. Most don’t need tips since they are stuck in barrels with only the end showing.
Bows. Well, I soaked wood for a couple of weeks in the intention of bending the wood. Snapped the first set completely. Then my SCA friends gave me the idea of taking thin strips of wood and pushing into a wood jig cut into the right shape, gluing them together and then sanding and shaping them down. While this required that I make a jig or two, it saved tons of time and frustration. Excellent.
The Armory Continued – April 25, 2010
Okay. I was out of commission for a while. About two months. Back on my feet for the most part. So, here’s where we’re at.
Armory. Tried lots of stuff. Armory has lots of metal in it. Don’t want it to look all shiny like white metal. Don’t want it to just be painted since there’s so much of it.
And then God gave us Bronzclay. It’s a precious metal clay that makes you feel like an alchemist. You take something that looks and mostly acts like clay. You fire it and it’s real bronze, only slightly smaller. So, I have spent the better part of the last month’s free time – not that much of it – learning this stuff. The learning curve has to be somewhat steep since it’s fairly expensive – 100 grams is 20 bucks. Made some arrowheads. Made lots of spears, pikes and other weapons I can’t remember the names for, but I have pretty pictures from armories in Europe that show them. I made some bowls and some cauldrons. Bowls were good. Cauldrons – not so much. I think they were too thin, but I think those can be made out of polymer clay later. I made a lot of helms and helmets. Most of them worked out. Some blew themselves to pieces. Not sure why that happened. Not sure how to fix it. Still, the good thing about this is there’s a need for it to look crowded, so less classy pieces can go in back.
A table was made for a worker to be repairing arrows. A weapon holder was devised off of one I saw at a medieval war recreation that I attended. I took two discs of wood. The top, larger disc has holes drilled in it for the weapons. Both discs are set on a wood base. A lot of furniture back then was called flying furniture because it could be taken apart, flattened and transported. This was one of those. Pretty cool.