I love my forge

Max came over late last night to heat treat a few things he's bringing to Gulf War. He had a helm bolted together which we annealed, then disassembled, and fired. It was insanely cool. I got to wear all my goofy protective gear, like my shiny fire smock and my purple goggles. I'm not sure why, but they make me happy. The helm was 14 gauge, with overlapping plates and a lot of welding, so it's by far the heaviest thing I've fired. The lower half of the helm went in first. It was stout, but not tough to do, since it was like a hollow cylinder. The heavy top half, I got orange hot, grabbed it with both hands on the tongs and scooped it into the water so it wouldn't try to float. There was a loud "sploosh" and lots of steam as it furiously boiled all the water it could touch. It didn't warp at all, and I don't think I even left tong marks on it (at least during that procedure, I may have during annealing, and I fixed them up). We did a rapier hilt and a gauntlet with no mistakes or incidents. The gauntlet articulation was actually better after the heat treating. The forge scale finish on the hilt sounds like exactly what Max's customer wanted too. Honestly I'm amazed that it all went so well.

It did highlight that I really must make a new set of tongs. The ones I made tend to twist, need constant adjustment, are too short, and the hinge rivet is working its way out. Despite all that they did the job, but it could have gone much better.

While we were waiting for the helm to anneal in the forge (slowly cooling it) Max and I looked at pictures on the computer. There are a few that might shed some light on my upper vambrace challenges. Specifically, how did the original pieces get the vambrace to cover up into the crook of the elbow so far without impeding movement or slicing the wearer's arm? There were some great shots of arms in the Met, and Churburg which I'd overlooked before. When we went back to the garage about 20 minutes later the helm was still so hot it singed my gloves. I guess the forge insullates well.

In other news, the alto recorder Mary bought me for Christmas returned from being voiced, and it's much better now. I've been probably playing it a bit more than I should, but it just sounds so nice!


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