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How to tell what the fiber is: Burn test and Bleach test

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  • Monday, February 18 2008 @ 01:19 AM UTC
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It is recommended that you use 100% natural fiber content – linen, silk, & wool for your and your family’s clothing. Why?

  1. That’s what was used in history
  2. These fibers wear well and will last

What Was Worn Under The Tunic in the 11th Century?

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  • Monday, August 20 2007 @ 06:38 PM UTC
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What Was Worn Under The Tunic in the 11th Century? *
By Steven Lowe
This article appeared in Varangian Voice issue 70

There's VERY little reliable information on 11th century hose – and no surviving artefacts. The earliest hose from the Viking region are, as I understand it, 14th century - way later than Viking times. So we have to use a lot of guesswork.

Certainly, the Bayeux Tapestry seems to indicate people wearing hose, as do several 11th century Anglo-Saxon illustrations. Or maybe they're really tight trousers.

New walls for Kinglake Fort

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  • Sunday, March 18 2007 @ 09:08 AM UTC
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Hi All,

What a lovely day for a working bee.

Along with Johnathon and myself from Vlachernai, we had Michael, Steve, AJ and Gareth from the LaTrobe Historical Re-enactment Society working away on the fort.

We raised four section of wall totally eight metres, one of these sections was adjacent to the entrance (providing a protective position to defend the gate), the other three section are along the eastern face. The wooden walls now stand to a height of my hips (say 1.2 metres). The vertical posts have their lower portions covered in bitchem and the lowest horizontals are sitting on a row of rocks. Which should see the walls last for some time.

The northern embankment was lowered to the same height as the southern embankment, and widened to accommodate the proposed wall and a wider wallwalk.

Large amounts of earth were moved from the pile by the archery target area to the southern and northern flanks of the fort, so the earthern embankment extends around two thirds of the enciente (a small palisade guards the rear section, along with the slope into the billabong, which is currently dry as a ...).

And numerous poles were tarred in preparation for the next working bee.

The plans for the future include: eathern ramparts and palisading for the rear of the fort, a gate tower, a motte with sally port in the southern corner, crenelations for projectile combat and destructo gates for a bit of fun.

While we were there and there were lots of kids there we ran some bear hunts. Thanks to Steve and AJ for being bears and for Johnathon for providing supervision.

Thanks to Michael and AJ for some wonderful lap joints on the timbers.

Thanks to Johnathon and Gareth for supplying the timbers. More timber is required and Johnathon has agreed to collect the timber which would otherwise end up in landfill.

Wayne Conron (site owner) was very impressed with our works.

The next working bee will concentrate on raising the walls on the northern side of the gate.

Bye for now,


Making turned shoes

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  • Saturday, February 24 2007 @ 05:25 PM UTC
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Suitable footwear has been a bit of an issue for Handakas members for quite some time. I don't know about the others, but I'd been looking at patterns on websites for quite some time, and had even gone so far as to buy the leather and waxed thread and try to resize the pattern for the shoe from Parliament St. York, found at http://members.ozemail.com.au/~chrisandpeter/shoe/construction.html to fit my "boxes they came in" sized feet, but I was daunted by the prospect of cutting and stitching and making SHOES. I mean, this is something done by specialists, isn't it? Something that needs specialised skills I don't have...?

We in Adelaide have been blessed by the arrival of Amelia and Jeremy from Victoria. Jeremy kindly offered his experience, assistance, tools and carport to give Handakas members the chance to make some basic turned shoes. Those of us who could make it, gathered on 12 February 2007 and set to with a will making patterns, cutting and marking leather and stitching. Several pairs of shoes were well under way by the end of the afternoon, and the process was no-where near as daunting with Jeremy to nudge us along the way.

I have added to the Handakas website a "photo essay" covering the materials used and the process involved. If other re-enactors are feeling like I did before the workshop, perhaps the photos and description of the process involved will help you get started. Your medieval garb will never look quite right until you have a proper pair of shoes, so it is well worth the effort, and nowhere near as hard as you might think!

If you'd like to give it a try yourself, take a look at Medieval footwear: A contemporary approach to medieval turned shoes on the Handakas website.

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