Welding, 30th year and misc improvements

So 30th year, a few sessions in the shop, and a fun new purchase have passed since I posted a substantial update. Time to get cracking.
First, 30th year. Baron Ihon and Mistress Hannah asked me to conduct the 30th year ball, and I had a hard time saying no. Really it was an honor to be asked. I worked with the dance side folks to get the music they needed for their sets ironed out, practiced the pieces with my guild and made the sheet music available to folks from other groups to rehearse, conducted and did a couple of the intro/solos. Fortunately I had the support of folks from as far away as Oklahoma, a number of folks from Dallas and Houston and my own music guild. It turned out great. I even got to play some sackbut (we had two sackbuts there! Probably a kingdom first!) and did a couple tunes on my new bagpipes. In case my thanks didn't reach all the players, I'd like to repeat them here- thank you for making the Pearl Ball work so well.
I'm the one in the black hat conducting:
(Photo credit: Katy Thompson)

On that Saturday there was another ransom melee which I fielded a small lance for. It was tough for most of the regulars to make this event, but those who did had a good time. For ransoms Zacharia made more glass pieces for us, including a number of rings I thought were spiffy. I picked up four of Gaston Phoebus' Book of the Hunt from Peder for a total steal, and some beer to fill in the gaps. Our lance allied with Daffyd, and totally bludgeoned the opposition. Duke Ulstead chose me as a champion for the final phase, but I lost the ensuing pole axe bout to my evil twin Jean-Paul (great guy, but has pretty much the same degree as me, is an Ansteorran knight, Burgundian, working in spring stainless, and even has a dog named Zoe). Next time I'll have to bring some extra death and destruction for him. Thanks to the lance for fighting hard in the record breaking heat.

I fought in crown on Sunday. It was nice having Zoe and the wife out for a tournament. Just wish I'd lasted longer, but I suppose that's pretty good incentive to practice harder.
Getting ready for the big weekend meant some extra time in the shop. I'd been experimenting with a different way to crease when I made my current legs, they were done in 0.032 4130 (pretty thin) and I've been fighting on a hard tennis court for a couple years. As a result, the crease in the knee cracked like this:

There's so much I want to change about them, and the new pattern is in progress. Anyway, this was before I got the welder so I just ground the rivets out, made a new cop with the same pattern and swapped it in. Voila! Man I hate those lames...

I've been fighting with a really out dated, worn out and ugly glove for, um, eight years or so. It was well past time to replace it. Here's before:

Here's after, inspired by some of the gauntlets in Schloss Churburg. Mine is way simpler and only took about 45 minutes.

Master Jovian has been a stalwart supporter of the ransom melees, for which I am very grateful. He fought in one of my old helms in the last melee and the hat really needed some work. So we got together to replace the avantail and pound out some dents.

The old avantail was slowly dieing, so we cannibalized a coif I've had for about 6 years to make a new one. Above is Jovian helping to fit it on, and below is the faceplate with most of the dents pounded out.

I'm pretty frugal, so this approach to welding has really appealed to me. The up front costs of oxy-acetylene are relatively low, and it's pretty useful for a range of tasks. Plus that's what Master Peter's been using and he's been generous with his time showing me the ropes. He came over to pick up a stake that Master Godwin made for him, and he showed me some stuff while we were waiting for the forge to heat up. I fired a bunch of gauntlets, some legs, and some misc bits and pieces for his table stock for Pennsic. Anyway, here's my new rig:

I need to rearrange the garage so the hoses are in a safer spot and the tanks are chained to something solid.
Some things I've been welding on. A few months ago I managed to fuse those pliers with some bronze I was trying to cast and didn't have a straightforward way to get it out until now. A few minutes with the torch and they were moving freely. I've been winging about the forge tongs I built pretty much since I built them. Tonight I welded some extra stock onto the reins so I won't burn my hands so often. The weld turned out great. I also made a portable hole from some angle iron I cut with the torch and some rod I welded to it.

It's been very fun to learn to use. I'm a little concerned about how well it will work on stainless. I've had some success with a low carbon series stainless, but I'm curious how well I'll do with this rig on 410.


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