Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Quest of the Wooden Dagger

wooden dagger
For the first project I wanted to jump straight in and build one of Geralts silver swords from The Witcher 3 LOL, crazy I know, so I thought I should do a bit of research first.
Looking into building a forge and the tools I would need, I came across one piece of very useful advice . "Everyone wants to jump right in and make a sword but this is one of the most advanced things you can do with metal"  hmm sounds about right.
I found a large amount of info on Anvil Fire which recommends starting with a simple wooden dagger, only after assessing the reason you want to make a sword in the first place.

wooden dagger layoutIn the early days of Skyrim you smith quite a few basic daggers so this is a perfect place to start.
I had a day off work so decided to get to it. I had limited tools scattered about the place and the only wood available was this off-cut from the new deck, which I measured and marked a rough shape of the basic dagger.

Halving the block
The decking board was a tad too thick so had to split it in half using the old hand saw.

Halved decking board

Successfully halved. Time for shaping

Cutting the basic shape with a hand saw
I used the hand saw to roughly cut the shape.

Shaping the blade edges with a file
And old rusty files for the blade  (need to get some new ones asap)

Fine tuning the blade and guardLooking more like a dagger, I also cut a guard out of a piece of scrap, which I totally mangled, but its a learning process. Better to mangle the wooden ones before moving into steel. Also made sure I had nice rounded corners where the tang meets the blade for strength.

Despite the mangled guard, it still fits nicely, just not ultra tight.

Cutting a fuller into the bladeI originally wanted to add a fuller down the centre of the blade but really didn't know how. I would like to avoid the use of power tools but for this I had to resort to using a grinder to cut the basic scoop then sand the rest by hand.

Shaping the dagger handleNow for the hilt. I was never intending on making a separate pommel for this basic piece so I made the hilt as one. For this I used a piece of pine kindling from our wood fire pile. Rough as guts and I dont have a lathe. So hand carving it is.

Fine tuning the dagger handleOnce I drilled the hole (again with a power drill) I began the blind task of carving . Note. I've never carved wood before. Ever. Its very relaxing, as I didn't notice the 2 hours pass as I shaped the piece.

Just making sure it fits.. Nice and tight, and ready for more accurate shaping.

Almost finished the wooden dagger
I just couldn't work with those old rusty blunt files any longer so went off to the hardware for some new ones. I had a limited budget so just grabbed a cheap pack which contained a few various large files and about 5 or 6 little ones. After 2 hours of cutting and filing its starting to look more like a dagger.

A finished basic wooden dagger
After another hour or so worth of sanding and left to dry over night after being glued together. I applied a final coat of oil and there's the final product. I'm quite happy for a first attempt. I've used techniques I've never used before which took a lot of forethought and patience. I mangled a few things but I'm now aware of the process for next time. The blade is nice and straight which was probably the hardest part. And its sharp enough to slice paper.

Quest of the Wooden Dagger: Achievement unlocked.

Total Time: about 12 hours over 3 days. 

Friday, 24 July 2015


Skyrim Breezehome

Many years ago, I had an idea.

"How awesome would it be to have a real life RPG experience?"

The original thought was to develop a real life gaming system in the form of a theme park. Kind of like a skirmish (paint ball) set up with team based game play. Some of my friends may remember discussing the ideas and finding that when you think about it, the whole concept just can't be done.

It's the little things like , I don't know. say, sword battles!  This wont work without years of experience not to mention dangerous. Sending a group of peasant folk onto a battlefield armed to the teeth with live steel blades couldn't end well. Plus liability insurance would never cover such an exercise.

Then there's Magic? Fire, lightning, teleportation and mind control, well yeah, strike that from the playing field.

And when you look at this further. Almost all fantasy books and role playing games are set in times of war and chaos, and war in real life isn't exactly pleasant. In fact its absolutely horrible! Disease, famine, the smell of corpses in the air and everyone and everything out to kill you for starters.

Fantasy games and Novels that imbue a sense of wondrous realism,  just can't work in real life.

That's what makes it Fantasy! Fiction. Stories in which we immerse ourselves without suffering the harsh realities of war.

Skyrim Sabre Cat

I played Skyrim for about 3 years, being the only game I played during that time. After around 500 hours game play, I'd became powerful to the point of tedium. I would casually take down a dragon within a few seconds, using a multitude of weapons in which I'd ample training.
I'd finished the main storyline, left roaming the wilderness hunting foxes with no intention of contributing to the land grabbing war between Jarls.

I played Skyrim right up until a few weeks ago when I received The Witcher 3 for my birthday.
I immediately selected the second hardest difficulty as I longed for a new challenge. I subsequently died 32 times in the first few hours of play. Perfect!

The Witcher 3 is so well developed its rekindled my imagination , and re-inspired the idea of a real life RPG, which brings with it all the impossible real life limitations. Damn it!

The Witcher 3

So I pose this question. What CAN be done?

In Skyrim, certain skills can be obtained and increased like Smithing weapons and armour, learn archery and swordplay both single handed and two handed weapons. Hunt animals for food and skins for leather. In the Witcher, Geralts fighting style, such as his jump spin attacks for example, are very similar to kung fu fighting styles. In both games your character can ride various horses, even compete in horse races. All of these things improve with experience. The more you do, the more you learn, the better you get. Just like in real life. Now we are onto something.

There are many real things that can be achieved all of which I have little to no experience at all.

So here in lies the challenge .

I have never fired an arrow from a bow. I have never smithed a sword or built armour. I have very little training with swords and weapons. I've never hunted animals with traditional weapons for food and fur, and so forth.

I've never ridden a horse into the wilderness wearing the armour I built, with the weapons I smithed, to hunt animals for food and skins and returned to cook the meat, to tan leather for use in building improved weapons and armour.

All of these things I would like to experience.

Over the next few years I will need study books about blacksmithing, leather craft, meet with knife makers and join the local archery club. Learn sword play from a fencing master and continue my training in Shaolin Kung Fu. Converse with Cosplayers and medievil reenactment groups and maybe even learn a bit about our real history in which the fantasy worlds are often based upon.

All progress will be documented here at The Temple of the Arcane Arts as my experience points increase with every achievement.

Thus turning my reality into an real life RPG.