About me

Photography by Abjet - abjet.netPhotography by abjet - abjet.net

I’ve been a member of the SCA for more than 20 years and I’m interested in a bunch of things;

This blog is the documentation people have been hassling me to write for years.

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The nice sized bell becomes a double bell

This gallery contains 36 photos.

The nice sized bell has had a 2m wide rectangle added to make it into a double bell. We tested it last night, but it just wouldn’t work – the walls seemed to have too much fabric.  When we measured … Continue reading

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Tudor monastery farm – lots of bread

Lots of good stuff:  lovely bread oven and brewhouse combo – I want one!

Making bread in a monastery bakehouse and the the baker refers to a book I need to find The brewer’s book – 1469



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In almost all of the tent pictures where you can see the guy ropes, the guys have what we call crow’s feet.  Crow’s feet are the three (less often two) ropes coming off the eave of the tent that are knotted (it seems) into just one rope that is pegged to the ground.  Like this:

We’ve always struggled with the crow’s feet.  They’re difficult to adjust, we’re not sure of how to do the knot and mostly we’ve just put them in the too hard basket and gotten quite a good shape to our eaves anyway;

A few days ago, I discovered this picture.  It’s out of period, but it’s suggesting an alternative construction technique for the guys:

Maybe the guys go up to the centre pole and are sewn to the roof canvas, maybe the crow’s feet are then tied on to the main guy to hold out the eave?

What do you think?

European tent in cross section showing arrangement of supporting ropes and hanging walls. c. 1641.

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window shutters

When working out the design for the shutters, I need to remember the form and typical usage of the hinges.



Watch Field Gate Hinges on PBS. See more from pbs.

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Roof options – slate or sandstone?


Sandstone appears to be a roofing material used mainly for castles and churches.


Lots of floor tiles are available second hand.  They tend to be much thicker than the commercial roof tiles.  We wondered what thickness traditional roof slates are:

I found these two articles on english restoration of slate roofs.


the second suggests that english slates are traditionally 5mm or so.  OTOH, the thicker the slate, the stronger the tiles are.

This article is about the excavation of a medieval hospital in sussex – http://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/catalogue/adsdata/arch-285-1/dissemination/pdf/vol_148/05Barber&Sibun_ADS.pdf.  They found stone fragments that appear to be roof tiles and have “thickness varying between 6 and 11mm”

This article is about the slate industry and in 1923 2nd quality slates were “3/8 inch or more thick”. (9mm)

Great video of slate roofing – it looks like we can avoid drilling into slates if we use the hook fixing method – a european method.
http://www.spanishslateuk.com/hook_fixing.asp  Of course, then we we need to work out how to organise hooks suitable for tiles “10-15mm” thick.








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Tent canvas width

Just doing some quick searching online for what width of fabric would be likely for tent canvas.  Here’s what I’ve got so far;

Google book result about the Greenland dress.  Medieval Clothing and Textiles 4,  edited by Robin Netherton, Gale R. Owen-Crocker p.168
Robin Netherton says that dress was made from fabric 40-41cm.

Silk Damask 68cm in width. Satin Damasks of Renaissance Europeby Krystal Morgan
Medieval textiles Issue 37 September 2003,

this needs further investigation: On-Line Digital Archive of Documents on Weaving and Related Topics

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A different way to cut out.

We’ve been making round tents for a while now.  When I look at the eave lines of the tents in manuscripts I can see that they’re very round.

leopold alterpiece 1492 detailfoglian5a

I’ve always cut the wall pieces with an arc at the top and bottom and get a very round looking tent.

cutting detail from the family double bell showing the wall and roof pieces

cutting detail from the family double bell showing the wall and roof pieces

single bell

single bell

Note the wavy shape at the eaves?  I think that’s because when we peg out the eave guys of these tents we don’t follow the line of the roof and put the pegs too far away from the base.  It’s counter intuitive, but something I’m going to keep an eye on.

You can see that the base is very round.

But many pictures don’t show a round base.

Hausbuch_Wolfegg_53r_53r1_Heerlager round tent detail

So I’m not going to cut the arc at the base of my next tent.It will give me more ventilation too.

I’d also like to use wooden pegs, as described in this great pattern/instructions for a Saxon Geteld.  They have a picture which is what inspired me this morning;

See the shape of the base?  Beautiful!

Aaargh!    I’ve written about this before

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