Brewing, greave hinges, and the sackbut project

I spent around an hour cutting out, filing and fitting a couple hinges today. This is what they look like:

They're in spring stainless, so they'll be quite tough and won't rust. Since they're folded completely over they won't come undone. The pins are longish nails, which I chose because they have a higher carbon content than ordinary wire, yet they're quite cheap and they even have one end already peined. When I get them almost in place I'll snip the excess and pein them. Eventually they'll be fit into slots I'll cut into the sides of the back of the greave to look like this:

In the effigies it's uncommon to see any evidence of a hinge at all, so it's likely that the hinges were inset like this in this era, rather than attached to the outside as they were done in the 15th century. Attaching them to the outside is a lot less work, is more comfortable since you don't have an extra metal edge against your skin, and gives you an opportunity to show off your fancy hinge work. I'll cut the inset rectangle out once the back of the greave has cooled. It desperately needed annealing again, so I tossed it in the forge.
I trimmed the front greave to be a straighter line. Now it's a pretty snug fit without much overlap. I'll have to wear something light weight to make sure everything fits, since it won't fit me over jeans now.
I took some shots of my cider, and the bottling procedure before Bordermarch Autumn Melees. I decanted some carbonated cider from the keg (pictured on the right) to four wine bottles, and corked them with my trusty Portuguese floor corker.

The cider is pretty clear, but it's so cold in the picture that the condensation on the glass makes it look opaque. You can see some of the pretty little bubbles though.
The cider was in high demand at BAM, and I'm regretting not bringing a bit more. Maelgwyn, one of the Bryn Gwlad war company commanders was elevated to the order of the Centurions of the Sable Star at BAM. He's been doing a great job with the war company, helping to command and helping a number of folks make better shields. His own fighting both with sword and shield and pole arm is coming along well too which is a lot of the reason he deserves the award. It's a tradition for folks to bring the drinks to their first circle here, and he asked if I'd make some cider for that, so I started a new cider a few days ago with the same recipe.
Yesterday I started a batch of "Skullsplitter," which is a beer clone of a brew done in the Orkney islands off the coast of Scotland. It's named after the 7th Viking Jarl of the Orkneys. It's pretty dark, like in the porter range of beer, though technically I suppose it's a Scottish ale. It has a light hoppy aroma, with a very rich malty body. There will be a hint of smoke and wood flavor from the smoked barley and the steamed oak chips I'll age it with. Should be interesting. I went a little bit nuts buying brewing ingredients lately, picking up a ton of honey (at a great price, but still) for some mead, and the ingredients for a beer served only in Cistercian monasteries in Belgium. The Cistercians began near Dijon, which is the capital of Burgundy, so I've been very interested in the order in general. There's a good article on them at wikipedia.

So I've started a new project of making a sackbut. Ideally I'd like to make a few. I picked up a used trombone on Ebay, and I'm teaching myself to play it. I'll have to trim the bell substantially and roll the edge to get it to look like a proper sackbut. This is what they look like:

Since I'm just altering an existing trombone the metal work isn't insanely difficult. A lot of the surviving trumpets and sackbuts are ornately engraved, which I might try to do down the line. What I'd really like is for more folks to have viable options for making period music at an affordable price. Used trombones can be pretty cheap since they're not particularly complicated, and since they're metal I already have most of the skills I need to alter them. After investing a little time, lube and TLC the bone I got plays pretty well. It just needs the hacking and rolling, and maybe a some paint on the counterweight to make it look more correct. I've been hesitating to chop this one up since I'm still trying to learn on it and don't want to complicate things, but the time is coming to make like a moil and get snipping.


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