I don't know about you all but my 2017 was pretty busy and 2018 hasn't let up much. Last year I graduated with my degree, took an internship in Peru and got a job as a professional archaeologist. I had other big happenings in my family too but I'll leave that for another post. What I want to say with this post is that I am still around, I am open for business, I have new projects on mind and I have new products out right now!
Three of my newest listings include leather notebooks, and and one-of-a-kind handmade machetes.
Aren't they all so pretty? :)
I also have a few events that that I have been invited to demonstrate at coming up in the month of May.
I hope to see you there!
P.S. I've received a few requests concerning custom orders, usually concerning swords, so let me share with you a few of the things that will help you get your custom orders to you faster:
1, what kind of item do you want (picture reference is great, I can take drawings too)
2, what dimensions
3, what is the intended use
4, do you need accessories or cases (like specialty scabbards)
5, when do you need it by.
I usually respond within a day to all inquiries so if you do not hear back from me within 18 hours of sending your message, please try contacting me again by email or through Etsy. This is especially important since the contact page on this website does not automatically ensure that your email address is correct when you input it in the form.
The wait is over! I finally published my newest listing.
Before I introduce it to you, let me give you a little backstory on why I designed this product.
For years cosplayers around the world have been trying to figure out how to carry their favorite character's shields around while at conventions, fairs and other events. Some use shoulder straps but these often let the shield hang at odd angles. Some simply carry their shields on their arm for the entire event, but this can be tiring. Others still simply have a decorative shield permanently attached to their back or simply attached in a way that takes a long time to remove in order to use it. Sadly, because of the difficulty in carrying a large shield, many folks simply forgo their shield.
For many people the inspiration for trying to solve this dilemma is Nintendo's Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Those of you who grew up in the 90s may remember this game and others in the series with its epic music, memorable sound effects, and the legendary equipment the hero, Link, uses. This game was my introduction to the topic as well. I grew up wondering if there was a way to be able to carry a sword and shield like that, along with the rest of the equipment. As I got older and gained access to the interwebs I searched to see if anyone else had ever effectively accomplished this. While some talented people came close, like some being able to draw a sword from their back, no one I found could draw a shield from their back without the use of magnets, a shoulder strap, velcro, or nylon side locking clips.
I was not satisfied with these solutions for my own costume so I took it as a challenge to overcome.
What I wanted was a way to efficiently and comfortably carry a shield on your back, and be able to pull it from your back quickly, while standing.
After years of pondering over it I finally figured it out just before I myself had to go to an event in costume.
The shield clip can work independently from my harness system by attaching the shield to a belt at one's waist or even to a strap on a backpack.
When used with my harnesses, it is a durable gear retention system that even allows the user to perform a forward roll with their shield on their back without losing their equipment.
The harness is designed to accommodate a customizable combination of a shield, swords, axes, knives, hammers, pouches, a quiver, a bow, and even camping equipment.
For those wondering, I can attach the Shield Clip to many shields by other makers however I cannot promise that all of them would be safe to roll with.
In order to roll safely with this equipment one must first be able to roll safely without any equipment. If this is not possible for you to do safely do not attempt it. Likewise, not all equipment you attach to the system will allow for rolling. Loose arrows in a quiver or a long spear on your back might be examples of this.
I'm making more things with leather so be on a lookout for some more things I have coming up. I think I'll be doing some pouches here soon.
I also made a large shield and sword in the time since I last posted. I was really waiting on the shield to be complete so I could test the harness with a heavier load.
I must admit that the sword is simply a prop I made. I did hand forge the hand guard but the blade and handle are welded to it.
As for the shield, that thing weighs about 13 pounds. It does work well with the AEHS but it is a bit slower to pull out due to the weight. The colors may look a little funky but this was what I came up with after weeks of not being able to decide what I wanted so went with this because I thought it was fun. I will likely repaint it again but for now it is as it is. Except I poked a few holes in it. I wanted to see how well it fared against my Adventure Bow and a homemade arrow. I am pleased to say it did very well. It took a few shots from 4 feet away at full draw and all the arrow did was make deep pockmarks and bounce off. The was no evidence of damage on the other side of the shield. Next time I should try to make a warbow and a heavier arrow and see how it does. Like I said, I will likely repaint the shield at some point.
Speaking of colors, If there is a color of leather or specific design you want in a custom order, please don't hesitate to ask. I have access to many different colors and thicknesses of leather as well as stamps, dyes, and tools. I like working with warm colors like dark and light brown but I would really love to work with blues. If that suits anyone's fancy, again, please let me know. I got some ideas I want to try out.
If you are interested in buying a harness, or a shield, sword or the like, please check out my Etsy shop.
Click the buttons! Click all the buttons!
Hey all, I wanted to give an update on what I've been doing lately.
I've been pretty busy lately building some new projects and testing them out.One of which is meant to be a battle ready large wooden shield. It is almost complete. It's pretty heavy, good for blocking ax and sword blows but a little too heavy for what I was planning. That's what testing is for though. Once I have the thing painted I want to do some destructive testing on it, namely take a whack at it with and ax and shoot it with an arrow or two. I'll upload some pictures of that when I do. Let me know in the comments below if any of you might be interested in seeing a video of it.
That project has taken up a good chunk of my time but I have been working on other things, including custom orders. Some of the custom orders include a spear for cosplay which I need to finish before ComiCon, and some home decor for sports fans. The later being a pair sabers and a heater shield for Raiders fans.
The saber is now up on Etsy as a listing of it's own and the Heater shield is now an option under the shield listing.
Another recent custom order was one of my "Powered-up" Adventure Bows. These are like my Adventure Bows but stronger. Normally my bows are ordered with a draw weight between 20 and 35 lbs. This bow was ordered to be 45lbs. It was a bit of a beast to string as I was testing it out. Especially on the first go where I had it at about 57 lbs. What I really liked about this bow was that I got to make a new camo pattern. I have it listed as "Squared finish" in my upgrades on Etsy because it's not limited to camo colors. I was really pleased how well it actually works as camouflage. See how long it takes you to spot it below!
Another thing that has taken up a huge bite out of my time was my brother's bachelor party. As his best man I took it upon myself to plan it out and make the props for it. I sent him and his friends on an epic , an family friendly mind you, "Side Quest" which included arming him with sword and shield and solving puzzles. I'd love to post pictures of what I made but I've been very busy and honestly a bit burnt out for the past two weeks. The wedding is coming up real soon and I hope to be able to be back up and running with more consistent blogging once my duties with that are finished.
Well that's about all I got for today, testing and development is still underway with my other project. It is working pretty well but I need to adjust a few things before I am ready to launch. I know you'll are probably intrigued as to what it might be.
Tell you what, if you find that you can't wait another two or three weeks before you find out (and honestly it's killing me to have to hold off the launch), let me know in the comments below and if enough of you do this I will give ya'll a sneak peek if you promise to to give me some constructive critique and ideas of what could be added, or what it could be used for.
Until next time,
Hey ya'll! Just wanted to give a quick post for today so I can keep you guys informed about some of what I got going on. It'll be quick so I can get back to fulfilling orders and spending time with my family and neighbors.
As many of you know, today is America's traditional birthday. We are now 240 years old as a nation. Happy birthday to us.
Many folks celebrate this day with fireworks, bonfires and BBQs. All stuff that has to do with fire. Gives me an idea for a celebratory art piece for next year but for this year I'll be completing orders and hanging out with my wife, kids and neighbors as we watch fireworks from our backyards. We got a pretty nice place here in that we don't have to go anywhere to get a good view of our local shows.
Anywho, I got some new products coming up that I'll be listing soon. One of which is my brand new PVC Sabers. I don't have a proper name for them yet. Maybe one of my readers would like to help with that?
The other new product that I am excited about and keep hinting at is still undergoing testing. I've been making a new and heavier shield and sword for myself to help with testing but I have not finished those yet.
On another note: Cool news for animal lovers and motivators everywhere (especially in the U.S.).
Army veteran saves an eagle by shooting down the branch it was trapped on.
When I first saw the pictures I was concerned that he has tried to shoot the rope the bird was stuck on but was relieved to find that he shot the whole branch much further from the bird.
The reason I mention this to you is because I find it rather inspiring. The veteran had done the right thing by calling, was given an understandable answer but did not accept the fate of this majestic bird. Instead he took it upon himself to save the bird when no one else would. It is that kind of character trait to draws many young Americans to join the military and it is always great to see in people regardless of whether the are prior, active, or never in the military.
Alright, that's about it for today. I gotta get back to making things, like yummy garlic bread sticks.
Have a happy 4th of July!
Hey! Welcome back to another post for some more words of rambling and learning.
Today is a little exciting for me for a few reasons. Yesterday marks my first anniversary as an Etsy seller. This also the last week of June so that means a new month is coming up pretty quick. In July I hope be rolling out some exciting new products that need just a little more testing to be sure they are ready. So hang in there with me, strap in, and I'll try not to keep you in suspense for too long.
Before I get into the a celebratory look back at some of what I've done with my work, I need to give a big shout out to all my Canadian fans. My first international sale was to a Canadian, which is pretty cool, but what is not so cool is that Etsy is telling me that there will likely be delays in shipping future orders to Canada due to a labor strike.
I do not know what has brought this so I will not venture to give a political comment. I will say that I do appreciate being able to ship and receive stuff in this modern age and I hope that this will be resolved justly, sustainably, and quickly.
As I said before, I started selling on Etsy back in June of last year with my first online sale actually taking place in July. Since then I have added new products and completed a number of special requests and orders. Outside of Etsy, I began my business with special orders. Before that I would make things for friends and sometimes they would compensate me for the materials. Some of these earliest items were hand carved wooden swords I made for a friends theatrical skit. I was something like 13 years old at the time and knew very little about what tools were used for what and no one had ever shown me how use a chisel, file, or planer so I use a set of exacto knives that were labeled as a "wood carving kit" and proceeded to shave away the edges of the wood planks I used to make a beveled 2 edged sword. Actually I made a few of them, made a mess of wood shaving in my room and practiced a little first aid on myself… repeatedly…
Looking back at it, I should have really questioned the need to have beveled edges on a wooden prop for kid's play but I enjoyed working hard at something and developing skills that I would use in the years to come, namely whittling and wrapping my fingers in athletic tape and Neosporin. I didn't have access to YouTube at the time and thought that whittling and chisels, and orbital sanders were the only way to shape wood. I blame poor exposure that and the movie A Kid in King Arthur's Court for the whittling bit. In the end of that movie a character is seen whittling away at some wood with a small knife. Just goes to show just how simple images from 90's movies have big impacts on kids. I've gotten better since then.
I also made my first a wooden shield around that time. This was a great practice in the use of wood glue but sadly I had no knowledge of wood stains. The lion turned out pretty good though and so did the strapping system which allowed the user to quickly put it over their shoulder or put it on their arm. This was a practice in making functional carrying systems for shields, while I like how this turned out there are things to improve on, which I have. The suspension on my wood shields is an example of that.
Anyways, I do more than shields, swords, bows, and other weaponry related stuff. An example of this is a charcoal grill that I made. Sadly I can't find pictures of it but it was a metal cage that would get lowered into an upright steel 55gl drum. I think it was for that project that I bought my flux core welding machine.
Anywhos, those are all examples of my early custom work. Since then I have received a few custom orders through Etsy. One of my first was request for sword like Princess Zelda's from Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. When I first received this order I was a little concerned about the riccaso and how I was going to make it but I think it turned out pretty good! So did the buyer.
My most commonly customized items are my Costume PVC Bows. While the same modifications can be made to my Adventure bows, it seems costume bows are more popular.
I've done a few renditions of bows inspired by Merida's bow from Disney-Pixar's Brave. I say this not because I intend to continue to offer it, indeed I was privately commissioned to make them but I mention to them to show off some of what I can do.
Well, that's about it for today. There is one more thing. Actually a few related things. I'm making some new equipment to go with my medieval costume. I haven't finished those spaulders yet. I hit a mental block and couldn't figure out why. It finally occurred to me a few weeks ago as I was about to start working on them again. I need armor that goes under them first! Silly me had forgot that I needed some padding, like a gambeson or arming coat to go under as well as some mail. I'll admit I was forgoing the Gambeson due to me not being able to afford a proper one and I was influenced by a lot of media that showed armor worn without it. I finally snapped out of that but I'm a little stuck until I can afford to make, or get made, a custom gambeson and finish my chainmail. Speaking of which, I will have starter kits on Etsy sometime soon if any of you are interested. (Note: This is not the exciting thing I keep alluding to.)
In the meantime, I am making a new shield. This one is going to be a bit bigger than my wooden one and will have some new deluxe features, like steel siding and reinforcement. It's gonna be heavy but as a heater shield it will be able to take some heavy blows. I do need to try to keep I like as I intend I for long distance travel. Think tracking and confronting very large game animals. Hopefully I won't ever have to use it for reals but I am making it functional anyways. Once it is done drying I'll pop it out of the press, fix it up and give it a test. Oh, and this is only part of the exciting new stuff. I need the heavy shield to be able to finish testing. Gonna give it at least another day to dry before I pull the shield out.
So as I said before, hang in there with me.
Last week I finished an ax for my Etsy shop. I had been trying to make something reminiscent of a Viking bearded ax and a boarding ax from the days of sailing.
Well that's about it for today, I'll leave you with a few recent pictures of my products in use by real kids (who may or may not be related to me) at a recent event I attended. The boy isn't mine but the pink one is and her description for today is "Cute B'Goots!"
Bladesmiths are those who make knives, some don't use hammers in their work and use flat bars of steel but some still forge their knives from other stock sizes or steel scraps.
Swordsmiths are those who usually or only make swords, I have made swords in the past but I make more than swords so I don't fall primarily into this category.
There's also industrial blacksmiths who work with large, often huge, equipment rather than hand forging on a hammer.
A sample of an unnamed utility knife made by me.
We also have the artisan blacksmith. These are the ones who forge for the beauty of it. Back in the day, blacksmiths often made only tools or parts and sometimes tried to make the pretty. With the industrial revolution and the invention of mass production machinery blacksmiths often lost out to less expensive tools and parts, leaving many them to repair work or out of a job. But this also opened up many skilled blacksmiths to become artists. Being an artisan blacksmith means making art and tools that are art. I'd like to consider myself in this category as I do have a little bit of my own style in my iron work, I make some ironwork that isn't meant as a tool, weapon, or container, and I am not mass producing my ironwork.
Lastly, I have a category of, well, I'm reluctant to call them blacksmiths. These are the ones you see in many movies, like Conan the Barbarian, Lord of the Rings, and Pirates of the Caribbean. I mention these because it is through movies and media like this that many people first form an impression about blacksmiths. Movie blacksmiths are often sweaty dudes wearing an apron hitting a piece of metal, hot or cold, putting it in a fire, and then dunking it in water. Great for intriguing an audience because of the alluring ring of the anvil, the light of the sparks and flames, and the sound of the water instantly turning to steam. It inspires many a man to become a backyard swordsmith. But please believe me when I say that what they do in the movies would destroy any nice piece they are wanting to make.
If you want to learn how to be blacksmith, don't learn it from the movies. Find a local blacksmith guild or practitioner and study under them. Here's a few resources for those of you who want to get started:
Also, you may have noticed there is a huge gap since the last time I blogged. This was because I picked up an odd job and was working on completing my classes at my local community college. I've been taking classes nonstop since the summer of 2014. I'm finally taking a break this summer.
I will be picking up more classes in the fall but for now I want to grow my business a bit and keep on practicing writing. I will be posting some more information about history and skills and such but I will also be doing a few product highlights. I got some new stuff coming out that I'm really excited about so please stay tuned in the coming weeks.
Keep forging on,
Definition of BLACKSMITH. (2016). Merriam-webster.com. Retrieved 13 June 2016, from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/blacksmith
Iron. (2016). Minerals Education Coalition. Retrieved 13 June 2016, from https://www.mineralseducationcoalition.org/minerals/iron
Iron. (2016). Wikipedia. Retrieved 13 June 2016, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron
Hey everyone. It's been a while since I updated my blog. In the time since my last post, I went through Halloween season, midterms, essays, birthdays, parades and a bunch of other stuff my brain is too full to remember. I even fixed a neighbors glasses with a nail, a thumb tack and a lot of filing. I had to remake a tiny hinge.
This particular PVC Shield is designed for left handed folk, or for people who want to protect their writing hand I suppose. It is a size medium, like the Wooden Ambidextrous Shield I made a while ago. There will be both smaller and lager sizes available and I will give dimensions for them when I make them.
I intend to make a Small or Child's Shield next.
And in case just being able to order a shield isn't awesome enough, I will be creating two complete sets of for the aspiring PVC Warriors Armory.
At this moment these sets will include the following respective lists:
If you have any ideas on what I should call these sets please let me know. I will be posting the listing for these sets sometime before Tuesday of next week. You can contact me via my contacts page or through the comments box below.
In other news, I have been studying up on blacksmithing history but not as much as I would like, much less have I been writing about it. This is mostly due to my academic work load. Having to read and write a lot for college leaves me feeling little joy in the acts of reading and writing. I might write on this topic to you before I write about more blacksmithing history. There is so much I want to write about, so much to share but I only have so much energy. Oh, and before anyone suggests it, NO! I will not start drinking energy drinks or coffee. I value my health and my wallet.
Hopefully I'll write to again soon and show you more finished products.
Good morning and welcome to another For the Honor Forge blogpost. I'm your host, Stephen and today I will talk about staying up too late and not being able to focus on what I want to write about.
I'm joking, but seriously I have been staying up way too much these past few weeks. My school schedule keeps me very busy. Anywho, tonight's, or this morning's, adventures in staying awake when it is dark out came about from my earnest desire to fulfil orders from my Etsy shop. Over the past 3 months I have completed 10 online orders. I have 3 more orders to send off as soon as I can. I have already painted them and they are drying. I will need to check the paint job to ensure they look good in the light of course.
This brings me to my next topic: popularity of products. A few months ago I sent out a survey asking what you my dear readers would like see more of. Bows and armor were your answers. I am sorry to say I still have not completed my steel spaulders.
As fun as plastic is to work with, I am a blacksmith, I work with fire and steel. I wan to show this in my product lines. Friday night I finally got back to my forge to practice some basic metal moving techniques to keep from getting rusty. I ended up experimenting with making spearheads. I'll load up some pictures when I can.
If you go to my Etsy store you will notice that I do have one of my steel products for sale, a sword. That blade took almost a year to make. Not because of constant work but because I was too busy to finish it. Well, it is finished now and some brave soul may purchase it.
Besides the sword, I am also adding another new product that I am very pleased with, Wooden Shields. This particular on is the first from the line and I plan on making not only wood shields but plastic ones and, of course, steel. Steel shields will of course be on a custom order basis for now but hopefully soon I will build up a stock of those and wooden shields. I recently picked up materials for the plastic shields. I need to experiment a little in how to efficiently make them but I promise you these will be exciting.
I know it's been a while since I last posted. A lot went on. I went to a family reunion in Colorado, had car trouble while there, had to wait for the car to get fixed, and took a day long detour to a National Monument that was further from my route than I at first thought.
Soon after getting back I watched a bunch of crazy birds and other animals for another half of my family. After getting back from that I had a lot more to do before school started up again.
And then school started, which brings us to today.
My classes started last week and I am getting a handle on my schedule.
Somehow through all this I found time in all of that to work on more prototypes, jigs, and finished products. I hope you will all be pleased to see that I now have a new addition to my PVC line: Bows.
At this point in time I am not offering arrows. I don't know if I ever will so please don't ask for them. Likewise if you purchase these for you children, please note that these can shoot an arrow a good distance with some degree of power. If you don't want arrows punching holes in things you would rather not have resemble a cheese grater, don't allow the aspiring archer access to arrows. I know this is easier said than done.
There's an old saying goes something like, "Whereth there existeth a will to do a deed, forsooth there existeth a way by which to GET-R-DONE".
Or something like that.
There also another saying, "It's all fun in games till somebody gets their eye poked out". A resourceful child can take both of these saying to a whole new level.
Besides all the above I have been working on other things as well to grow my hobby business. I recently spoke with some one about making blacksmith puzzles. It is an interesting prospect and I am already looking into it. Of course I want to do a little historical research and writing on the subject too.
Please stay tuned for more products in the coming weeks.
Oh, and I want thank my wife publicly for all her support, including informing me that I was missing a number in my contacts page.
Speaking of my wife, it has been a while since I did a shout out for her business.
If you are in the SoCal area and need a videographer please do not hesitate to send her a message. You can find her at www.forthehonorproductions.com
If you are interested in purchasing my wares, please check out my Etsy page which is easily accessed by clicking on this convenient button I have placed here for you pleasure:
Stephen Marts is a recent university graduate in the Riverside area and the sole proprietor of For the Honor Forge. When not working, studying, sleeping, taking care of his kids, doing chores or such, he likes to design and make new products for his shop, though he often gets sidetracked with his ongoing research. When writing, he sometimes talks about himself in the third person, sometimes in seemingly randomly in the plural, as if he and his business were separate entities speaking in unison. He is prone to typos as well. We hope this does not offend you.