My red hot balls

I got a bunch of "cannon balls" on Ebay a while back and have been having some trouble doing much with them. I built a ball holder with a half inch shank and the intention of drilling half inch holes into them. It seemed like a decent plan until I tried drilling holes in them. For some reason these balls are pretty darn hard, and the drill bits tended to just dance on the surface. I tried to get a machine shop to make the holes for me, but the ones I've been able to get in touch with haven't returned my calls. Apparently the economy's not so bad that they're eager to do any job that comes their way. So I annealed (softened by heating red hot then cooling slowly) the balls:

The almost white hot one is the smallest. I'm not sure how I'll be using that one, but I've clamped ball peins into the vice enough times that I'm sure it will come in handy. The shot put I got didn't fare so well in the anneal, as it has some crumbling spots. Because of the paint on the outside it was hard to tell when that one got hot enough.
It still takes some time to drill into them, but they're drilling MUCH more easily now. If anyone runs out of things to do in the shop they'll get to do this.
I had a different crew come out for armouring Tuesday night. Al, Aedinius (my squire) and Clif (left to right behind a beautiful glass of Belgian ale). Al worked on some elbow cops which are pretty much done except for firing, and Clif made a gorget that should help protect his collar bone.

Aedinius repairing his leg harness:

Clif working on his gorget while his friend checks out the armour books:

Al working on his cops, which will become part of a Japanese kit:

I got a final pic of the knee cops before I mailed them:

Master Peter (Max) and I taught a class at King's College last weekend that went well. We had four students and the occasional observer. They all walked away with completed elbow cops and a deeper understanding of dishing, planishing and how to work the tools. My only complaint is that I didn't get to take more classes, since a number being offered sounded really good. Brian Price took some time between his Chivalry and Fiore classes to talk shop a bit, and I did get to attend a Roman vinting class and a mead making class. My class notes are stuck down stairs with my sleeping wife and the web site is down so I can't figure out who the teacher was, but she was quite good.
Reading: I picked up a couple Creative Anachronists on mead which aren't bad. I've been reading "Metalsmithing for the artist-craftsman" by Richard Thomas. Jeff Hedgecock recommended it, and it's been a very good read. "Ulrich von Lichtenstein's Service of Ladies" by J. W. Thomas arrived today, so that's in the queue next.


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