Monthly Archives: August 2013

Forging up a Karambit Knife

A karambit is a peculiar type of knife with its own fighting style. It is a very curved knife with no point for sticking. So it is a wholly slashing weapon. Pretty nasty yet pretty beautiful. And it is made to hold in more than one way. The ring on the end of it is for either your index finger or your pinky finger. Thus you hold it either  up or down.

I will be finishing this knife soon and posting a video and more about the process. Here is a look at it pre-forging and pre polishing:

karambit-2

Winnekenni Castle – Castles and Yachts

This blogpost is about Winnekenni Castle, but visiting this castle did evoke a feeling in me. I call the feeling Castles and Yachts or why nobody builds castles anymore.

If you were a follower of my other blog, or are a fan of my website you know I am a fanatic about castles. Love  them in all their iterations. Well, I have hit a lot of them here in New England and today I managed to get to another onewinnikenni-castle-1

It is Winnekenni Castle in Haverhill Massachusetts.

It was about a two hour drive for me and being a Sunday the drive was nice. I have been wanting to get to it for the past couple of weeks and finally went. It was worth the drive. They were having a little event, which was nice. It was like a 50’s doo-wop thing with 50’s music and a whole lot of nice classic cars.  Everything free too.

She’s a wonderful little Castle. I would guess around 60 feet by 35 feet. But that’s just a guess. And just like all these old castles she has a history including burnings.  It is being kept by a foundation now but it was originally built and owned by a physician, (Dr. James R. Nichols). He was inspired to build it after a trip to England.  They started construction in 1873 and it was completed in 1875.

The building can be rented out for events like weddings. And you can learn more about it on their website here: Winnikenni Castle

I will be adding more pics and info about this on my website here, but give me a day: Medieval castles

Now, about Castles and Yachts.

I was just kind of lamenting about the fact that nobody builds castles anymore. They are fading further into the past, and as each day goes the remaining ones get a day older and a day closer to their eventual razing.  Nowadays the super powerful build yachts. Interesting though that while the castles provided stone as protection now the yachts actually have anti-aircraft defenses.   The need for security is still there its just from a different type of attack.

 

 

 

Review of The White Queen

the-white-queenI had the opportunity to watch the first episode of the new Starz series “The White Queen”. My cable provider (comcast) offered it free. Let me get you to it right away. Overall it was pretty good. I would give it a B+. And in comparison I would give “Game of Thrones” an A+. It is only natural to make this kind of comparison.  Part of this rating is budget. They clearly didn’t have the money that was spent on Game of Thrones. Part of it is writing and acting. We just don’t have that indescribable thing that makes GoT what it is.

It takes place during the end of the War of the Roses, which was a battle between house Lancaster and house York. It was a struggle for the throne. One family wore a white rose and the other bore a red rose, thus the war of the roses.

I was really struck by the strong archetypes in the show though. The White Queen herself is stunningly beautiful, fair haired, strong and driven almost solely by visions and the love of her sons and a man. Her mother (another wonderful archetype) is wise, strong and adept at manipulating the world.   One third woman of note is Margaret Beaufort , head of the house of Lancaster, once ally and now enemy to the queen. She has religious visions that her young son will one day be king.

It does take a different look at that earth shattering struggle. It focuses more on the woman and what they endured or created in their struggles. And while there is less sword-play there is no less danger or maneuvering. 

I don’t know how accurately the story stays to the actual war of the roses but I have a hunch they did a lot of research because the dates, names and overall story is accurate.

This first episode was good and it kept my interest, but it seemed like they tried to pack an awful lot into it! Common with the first reel of a series. They give you a lot because they want to get you hooked!

I am a big fan of all things medieval and I liked this show.  And the White Queen herself is an astonishingly beautiful woman, which is nice. But, I probably won’t subscribe and watch more.

You can check it out on Starz right here, you can watch the first episode free.

If you want to check out the series on amazon it is here: The White Queen DVD

 

 

 

 

 

The Stradivarius Names

It is actually an amazing thing, the story of Stradivarius, his instruments and his life.  Undeniably he made the most exquisite violins, violas and cellos that have ever been made.  He lived between the 17th and the 18th centuries and made around 1,000 instruments. Today about 650 of them still exist and every one of them has a name. Isn’t that spectacular?  Names like Sleeping Beauty, and Lady Blunt. My favorite is Ole Bull.

Well, that is all spectacular but the most spectacular story is  the story of the last one he made. When he died at 92 there was one violin remaining. It had been made earlier but it remained in his shop until he did.  And the thing about this one is that is has almost never been played, and for sure it has never been in a performance. it is literally in mint condition.  And it is often considered to be the most valuable of all the Stradivarius instruments.  Wow, how some things just rise to starry levels.

You know, Stradivarius made two guitars (ten stringed). Boy I would love to get one of them!

 

Richard the III and Medieval Music

I got an email from a UK group that has composed some medieval music in the form of a CD called “The Last Plantagenet”. They have asked me if I want a copy so I can review it. I told them yes! I love medieval music and I will let you know what I think about it.

They used melodies from the time and instruments appropriate for the time.  Kind of a fun project no?

Well, if you want to learn more about it you can check out their website here

Interesting too how the music is inspired by the actual last Plantagenet Richard III. Interesting story there. I believe he was killed in the battle that ended the Middle Ages (The Battle of Bosworth Field). They are going to be re-interring him next year and that is going to be a big thing.

 

Making a Throwing Knife

Making a throwing knife has been a project I have wanted to do for a long time now. I finally made the time to make one.

And the whole knife throwing thing is very interesting. There are different styles of throwing and different knives suited to each type. So, I wanted to make a knife that is good for no-rotation throwing. It should be big, front heavy and smooth on the sides so you can run your finger on it as you throw it. Once I finished it I had a whole lot of fun throwing it around.

I have a tutorial on my youtube channel (right here) and a web based tutorial  on my website with the template if you want to make the exact same one. (here)

throwing-knife