Cooking Fire

One of the most important things is the camp fire. As well as being a source of heat and light in the evenings it is also the only means we have to cook our meals.

When ever possible we dig a fire pit, however some sites don’t want us to damage their ground so we also have a small raised fire tray


For cooking we have 2 riveted iron pots, a pottery skillet, a large ceramic pot and a kettle.


We have a crane for hanging the pots from. The whole arm of the crane can be adjusted and we also have S hooks for adjusting the height of individual pots

We also have a hanger for keeping spoons, the fire poker, pot hooks and the S hooks on when they are not in use.

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In the past we have used fairly modern looking lanterns with tea lights or small votive candles. While these have worked well enough they don’t look right anymore and are slowly being replaced by more period looking lamps.

Originally we were going to replace them with horn lanterns. This posed a couple of problems. Firstly trying to buy them in NZ is proving difficult so we would have to order in from overseas, this has implication with NZ MAF as there is animal product involved. Secondly making our own meant sourcing horn and learning to split it down and flatten it. We have been able to get 1 horn lantern while we were at the re-enactors market in the UK.

While we were at the Abbey event we saw lots of wooden lanterns with cloth covers. We have decided to make some of these up as they are fairly simple, and more importantly within our abilities. We will probably still get some horn ones at some stage as well.

The basic premise for the wooden ones is straightforward. make a frame that consists of a top and bottom piece, join them with round dowel and wrap cloth around them. So that you can access the candle you cut a hole in the top and make a platform that can be raised.

We are making them so they will take a votive candle. For safety, we are also looking at getting electric candles but the design will also be used with normal candles.


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Leather Box

In this project, I am making a leather box for a friend of mine.

The box design I decided to use has a joined lid so was to be made out of a single piece of leather. The final dimensions were to be 8″”x5″”x2″”. The pattern for it looks like this


I cut the basic shape out but left the corners in for the places that would be stitched together, the grey areas on the pattern. These I cut with V gouge instead of a knife so that I had a mitred edge to work with.


I also used the V gouge to cut the hinged lines so the box would fold. I decided to leave the final cutting of the lid until after I had made the bottom of the box so I could adjust if needed.

Once I had the piece ready to be sown I cut stitching groves and marked where the stitches should go.

For the actual sewing, I used 2 curved needles and waxed linen thread. I pierced the leather with a straight awl but did this at an angle so that it came through the leather on the mitred edge instead of the back of the leather.


This meant that once I had sewn the piece up there would be no stitches visible on the inside.


After I had completed the bottom of the box I then cut the pieces for the top. These were cut, pierced and sewn in the same manner as the base.


After the box was complete I decided that the sides of the lid needed attention as they weren’t sitting as I liked.


These will be reshaped to a curve.

The box is going to be used to hold so modern medical gear so needs to be securely closed. I have two options for this. One is to add a buckle the other is to add ties by punching 2 holes through the front of both the bottom bit of the box and the lid and passing some cord through. I need to check to see what the person I am making it for would prefer.


The final touch will be decoration. I am thinking of carving the top with the Rod of Asclepius.

This is the symbol of the greek god associated with medicine and is a single snake coiled around a rod.

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Waikato Waldorf Festival 2014 – Review

The Waikato Waldorf Festival is a 1-day event at the Waikato Waldorf school. It is one of the main fund raisers and is always themed medieval. For the past few years we have attended as part of the living history village.

This year the village was organised in a timeline from Roman to Renaissance. we were part of the high medieval area. As usual we had the space trades setup, unfortunately this year the weather didn’t play nicely so we move the stall inside the tent for protection. Along side this I was making a leather box for a friend of ours.

Despite the weather there were still a lot of people attending and we had quite a few come though and talk to us about the spices and what I was making.

It was also nice to see James the Blacksmith in attendance. James has made a umber of bits for us and we haven’t had a chance to catch up with him since the last Taupo event in 2010. We had a small shopping list and picked up some more S-hooks, pole hooks and a pair of lantern hooks.

It was also good to catch up with Nic, who used to organise Taupo and made our current tent, Ben, a very talented tailor and Renaissance period re-enactor, Wolf and Gareth from the SCA, Graham from the Sable Hart and to see John Milnes Roman group in action.

We didn’t get many pictures but those we did are in the gallery

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One of the goals with our encampment has been to have no clearly modern things lying around.

to help with this, and to make life easier when packing for camp we have a number of different boxes that things get stored in. This is an every changing situation as we acquire new kit, retire old items etc.

The basic set of boxes at the moment are made up of 8 different boxes, these are

Kitchen Box
This has some of our kitchen gear in it, it used to contain all cooking gear but recent additions have meant there isn’t space for some of the metal work.

Cool Box
This has a modern insulated cool box in it, used for keeping things like cheese in to prolong its life on camp.

Painted Box
This is full of clothing and related gear

Large Round Topped Box
Current this has all Ian’s tools and leather working gear in it.

Medium Round Topped Box
Mostly Sewing kit and small personal kit

Small Round Topped box
Cooking spices

Traders Box
Various bits for the Spice Traders setup

Modern Box
This has a modern first aid kit, Wendy’s contact lense kit etc in it.

Candle box

Spare candles and lighting related gear

There is a plan to add several new boxes for various things.

Sewing Box
For keeping all the sewing gear in one place

New Kitchen Box
Given some recent acquisitions our cooking pots no longer fit the kitchen box so a second one is in order.
Archery Box
For keeping arrows and other archery related equipment in
Projects Box
For keeping any ongoing projects in so bits don’t get lost

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Battle of Poitiers

The “Hundred Years’ War” between France and England (1337-1453) was an episodic struggle lasting well over a hundred years, for much of the time without any conflict. The battles were both violent, but also occasions when ideals of “chivalry” were … Continue reading

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The Battle of Crecy

The “Hundred Years’ War” between France and England (1337-1453) was an episodic struggle lasting well over a hundred years, for much of the time without any conflict. The battles were both violent, but also occasions when ideals of “chivalry” were … Continue reading

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In the 14th century there were four main forms of bow, the longbow, the English bow, as used by the English, the short bow, as used by the southern Europeans, and the crossbow. Each weapon was used in different ways … Continue reading

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