Tuesday, August 23, 2011
The Good, the Bad & the Ugly
I am striving as I write this account of my reentry into chivalric combat in the SCA to be as honest as possible about my progress. And so I give you The Good, the Bad & the Ugly:
I have had back-to-back great fighter practices; the first at Stargate practice on August 14, and the second at Gate's Edge practice last Sunday, August 21.
I had the opportunity to meet Duke Ulstead, Sir Alexis and Sir Ysfael at the Stargate practice, and Ulstead and Ysfael gave me practice [beat me like a rug]. Hopefully, I learned something.
Sir Godwin was also there with the Baronial loaner armor and he kindly allowed me to take [foisted it off on me] it home. My assignment is to clean and repair what can be made useful and get rid of what is past its useful life. The upside is that I have something to fight in until I can finish my own stuff.
At the Gate's Edge Fighter Practice this last Sunday, I was able to spar with Ld. George de Breton (Sir Ulstead's squire), Squire Gregor Mac Beathain and Ld. Orin Ketilsson (upcoming Stargate Knight's Marshal). It was freaking hot, but I didn't pass out and hopefully some more learning will sink in. (I'm old, but I'm trainable -- I hope).
I have a lot to re-learn and a lot to un-learn. For one, I am no longer an average-to-above-average size fighter! Losing 60 pounds has changed what I can (and hopefully could not) do on the field.
So, I have to (1) work on my footwork, (2) work on my hip snap (thinking Count Sir Simonn of Amber Isle) and (3) start thinking about fighter as a smaller than average fighter (see #2). A lot to work on, but it should be fun.
One of my faults is that I sometimes get impatient. Not as bad as somebody at the King's Castle, but it happens. It happened Sunday, in fact.
I went to Lowe's and bought a half sheet of Birch plywood and some Titebond glue and came home and bent a shield blank. I don' t have a press (yet) but I used the 30 gallon plastic barrel I got Saturday from a client and some racketing straps I had lying around the garage. The result was not as good as I hoped (or as good as my last curved shield, back in the Dark Ages), but usable.
The first problem was that the Lowe's work who cut my half sheet in half apparently had the grain going the wrong direction. The result was that the face cracked in two spots. :-(
Second, because I was impatient and didn't wait until I had two barrels to use as forms, the lower (unsupported) part of the shield is shallower than the upper part.
Third, there were some voids in the glue on the edges because I did not have any C clamps to press them together (as in days of yore). However, I applied glue to those spots and used wood screws to draw the layers together, so that should not be a major issue.
Also, I used wood screws and glue to mend the cracked spots the best I could.
But what the heck, I was impatient!
My next try should be much better as I will either (1) wait until I get clamps and another 30 gallon barrel; or (2) wait until my oldest son's girlfriend's dad can help me build a proper shield press.
Did I mention that I sometimes get impatient???