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General => General Discussion => Off Topic Discussions => Topic started by: Boingo the Clown on January 19, 2013, 05:31:26 PM

Title: 52 Weeks, 52 Medieval Projects
Post by: Boingo the Clown on January 19, 2013, 05:31:26 PM
It is my idea for Ealdormere's Kingdom Arts and Sciences competition coming up this fall.

I call it "52 Weeks, 52 Projects", wherein I attempt to construct 52 projects with varying complexity in the course of a year.

Unfortunately, mainly due to mys having worked like crazy over up until Christmas, and being lazy for the last three weeks, I am now starting a full nine weeks late.  That means I am actually going to have to do 52 projects in 43 weeks.


For the fun of it, I am going to post my progress here.

Project 1:

This one is a cheat, because I actually made it last spring (although I plan on making a better one to submit for the competition.

The project was to recreate a medieval hanging pendant lamp.  What that means is an oil lamp that hangs from the ceiling by a set of chains. A few examples of them can be seen in the following pictures:


(The lamps are hanging in a row across the top of the picture.)

(Upper right hand corner over the ladies praying.)

(Hanging over the altar.)

The first thing that needed to be created was the glass bowl.

This PDF shows examples of actual period lamp bowls.

I decided it was too difficult to recreate a glass bowl like that myself, but I was able to find a reasonable substitute. As it turns out a margarita glass with its stem detached bears a striking similarity, albeit not exactly, to a hanging lamp bowl.


So the first thing I did was pick up a bunch of margarita glasses from the local Salvation army thrift store.

The next thing I needed to do was make a flat metal ring. I was working with cold metal, so it was going to be difficult.

The best way to make a metal ring is to wrap the metal around a mandrel, but the size of the ring was about 2 1/2 inches, so I simply did not have a mandrel to use.

What I ended up doing was  filling an empty soup can with water and  clamping a C-clamp to the side, then putting the whole thing into the freezer. When the water froze, the ice became a hard cylinder I could use as a mandrel, and the C-clamp was trapped in the ice so I was able to use it to clamp the metal down against the side of the can, and then use the clamp itself as a handle to turn the can and wrap the metal around it.

So I ended up with a metal ring.

I then attached three metal arms around the edge of the ring using rivets I made using nails.

Finally, I attached a plant hanger chain I bought from the dollar store. I know it is a bit of a cheat. I will have to make my own chains for future versions.

Anyway, this is what I ended up with:


It does indeed resemble the lamps in the old drawings, and it works quite well. Depending on what I have available, I can use either vegetable oil or bacon grease (Is there anything bacon can't do?) as the fuel.

I made the wick myself by buying cotton clothesline from the dollar store and boiling it in water with salt and borax. The wick float via a ring of cork.

Project 2:

I carved a couple of wooden spoons out of crab apple wood.

This is another pre-project project, but with time wasting, I am not going to quibble, since I really need to catch up.

It is likely I will carve some other spoons to actually submit, now that I have had practice on the first two.
Title: Re: 52 Weeks, 52 Medieval Projects
Post by: Kuwabara on January 19, 2013, 06:02:29 PM
That's some pretty cool stuff right there!  Good luck with the rest of them.
Title: Re: 52 Weeks, 52 Medieval Projects
Post by: MajorSlime on January 19, 2013, 10:48:00 PM
Nice.... making another giant trebuchet?
Title: Re: 52 Weeks, 52 Medieval Projects
Post by: Allen Walker on January 20, 2013, 03:55:28 PM
Good luck! Seems pretty cool.
Title: Re: 52 Weeks, 52 Medieval Projects
Post by: xbolt on January 20, 2013, 11:27:28 PM
Is it literally impossible for Boingo to not make cool stuff?
Title: Re: 52 Weeks, 52 Medieval Projects
Post by: Boingo the Clown on January 26, 2013, 01:31:04 PM
Project 3

Ice skates.  For more than 5000 years ice skates were not metal blades, but were basically small skis made of bone. You could not skate as one thinks of it today, but you would push yourself along with poles, just as you would with skis. Bones were used instead of wood, presumably because bone wears much better on ice that wood does.

( (

Here is a 16th century woocut of men (on the right) using bone skates.


It comes from this web site ( ( showing some experimentation in making ice skates.

Yesterday I obtained a couple of deer lower legs from a friend of mine. (Photo hidden for squeamish readers)

Sorry but you are not allowed to view spoiler contents.

I will try to remove the skin from the metapoidal bones, which will then become my skates.

I will have to be quick about it. The temperature is supposed to warm up around here to 4C (39F) by the middle of the week, and I will miss my chance to try my skates if I wait too long.
Title: Re: 52 Weeks, 52 Medieval Projects
Post by: Allen Walker on January 26, 2013, 06:16:34 PM
Good luck on it! Hopefully you can skate in time.
Title: Re: 52 Weeks, 52 Medieval Projects
Post by: chekovrules on January 26, 2013, 07:23:15 PM
So jealous that you know someone who hunts! I would love to be able to get venison, but I don't know any hunters... I want to make stock from the bones. XD