People who follow along on the project’s Facebook page get timely updates, additional progress photos, research trips, discussions, links, and even construction tips such as this one: Put an old rolling pin inside your leather jack to keep from impaling your hand as you sew.
It’s a bit like getting to see the DVD extras before the movie comes out!
Projects Currently Under Way
- Hornwork cup & spoon
- Leather bottel
- Coopered tankard (still trying to make the !@#$ thing water-tight)
- Knitted Monmouth cap
- A cob bread oven
- Brick “hob” (a wood-fired cooktop)
Research in progress
- Advanced toolmaking
- Elizabethan/Jacobean joinery
- Harvesting wild yeast for bread and beer
- Cooking & Baking
- The Brewing of Ale and Beer
A Craftsman’s Curriculum
You may look at the list of research projects above and rightly wonder how I’m organizing this project. As we’ve progressed, I confess that I have become somewhat obsessed with tracing the way that the companies and guilds lean one upon the other for their very existence, and from that study I have evolved a curriculum of sorts.
The central idea is that each project should, ideally, feed the next project in terms of tools made and acquired or skills learned or improved. In the current kitty of completed projects, we have thimbling, pinning and thanks to my cat figuring out how to operate Amazon’s one-click ordering, needle making*. Also about to go on the shelf are coopering, wiredrawing, and girdling.
The stave tankard gave me additional shaping tools and practice with a shaving horse. That will play into the wood forms for the next phase of the bottellers, bowyers, and lastmakers. Of course, the leatherwork will naturally lend itself to shoemaking as well. Pinmaking brought me experience with bone, and thimblemaking (failure though it was) introduced me to brasswork.
Peppered in there are projects that I have going in the background such as knitting and spinning, which I will string together (so to speak) when the time comes, but presently lend themselves to the sort of rainy and blustery conditions that are winter in the great northwest.
Once old Sol starts to stay in the sky for more than a few hours at a stretch, the tilers and bricklayers will emerge blinking into the sun, and build us an oven and cooktop that will do justice to the efforts of the cook and baker.
And so on and on through the end of the year.
*True story. It used to be that thumbs were our major advantage in the race to stay at the top of the heap and then some brilliant idiot went and invented touchscreen technology.