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Odd Stuff

An early kilt

Posted by on Mar 31, 2017 in Blog, Featured, Odd Stuff | 0 comments

An early kilt

As I prepare to portray a bagpiper of the NorthWest Co., I decided that I needed a correct kilt (fèileadh beag in Gàidhlig or anglicized to philabeg).  Although I have a number of really nice, traditional kilts, they are not correct to the 1790s and early 1800s.   Much has been written about the historic fèileadh beag by great folks such as Bob Martin, Matthew Newsome, and Peter MacDonald, and there are even a few extant kilts from this period.  Because of this, I will not go into length on the evolution of the kilt...

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Bagpipe Banners

Posted by on Mar 22, 2017 in Blog, Featured, Odd Stuff | 0 comments

Bagpipe Banners

For quite a while, I have had an interest in bagpipe banners.  Maybe it is my love of bagpipes.  Perhaps it is my interest in heraldry.  Maybe I am just odd.  Anyway, as a historical event recently contacted me, asking for me to portray a historic piper for the NorthWest Co., I decided to make a couple conjectural banners to use as interpretive tools.   We know that there were bagpipers present in North America, working for the NWC0 and/or its owners.  My good friend, historian, and piper, Jeremy Kingsbury has done considerable...

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A Highland Dirk – Trial by Fire

Posted by on Feb 22, 2017 in Blog, Featured, Odd Stuff | 2 comments

A Highland Dirk – Trial by Fire

Perhaps I am a bit crazy and over ambitious, but I recently decided that I want to try making a Scottish Highland Dirk (biodag in Gaelic/Gàidhlig).  I am only just starting blacksmithing, and my tools are a bit simple, small, and crude.  Between the forging, the artistry needed to build the handle, and the leatherworking for the sheath, this was far more involved and difficult than I am truly capable of.  In spite of this, I struggled on and ended up with a dirk that I will happily use at reenactment (and when not, let it rest on...

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Some bigger thoughts on moccasins

Posted by on Feb 21, 2017 in Blog, Featured | 2 comments

Some bigger thoughts on moccasins

This past year at the NAVC (North American Voyageur Council) Fall Gathering, I did a lecture on “The Hidden Language of Moccasins.” It was a two-fold presentation that first looked at the universal design of moccasins as a simple shoe from around the world, and then looked at a bigger idea of how moccasins actually affected biomechanics, changing the way humans wearing them walked. Here is the first part of the talk.  I will let the images do the talking, but basically this style of “shoe” is ancient as...

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Vintage Victorian

Posted by on Feb 16, 2017 in Featured, Odd Stuff | 0 comments

Vintage Victorian

With a full winter beard about to be shaven, I decided that I would leave some hair at first and have some historical fun. Having some large mutton chops, I then pulled a random selection of clothing to create a Victorian look as a Scottish bagpiper. Using my bellows-blown smallpipes, I then took some photos and a brief video. The playing in the video shows my newbie status at piping, my struggle with maintaining constant air pressure with the bellows, and the issues caused by wind and cold. Anyway, it was a fun look and a fun history...

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Old Year Reflection and a New Year’s Goals

Posted by on Jan 1, 2017 in Blog, Featured, Odd Stuff | 0 comments

Old Year Reflection and a New Year’s Goals

  It is January 1st, and we have made it through another year.  As I sit here, I would like to review some of my historical highlights from 2016 as well as officially set forth some goals for 2017. Highlights from the past year (in no particular order)… I built my forge and am now blacksmithing a bit Progressed from practice chanter to full bagpipes Noelle (eldest daughter) shaved a minute off her winning fire-starting time from last year at Grand Portage (although it took 2nd place this year in spite of that). Noelle...

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Merry Christmas

Posted by on Dec 24, 2016 in Featured, Odd Stuff | 1 comment

Merry Christmas

  It is Christmas Eve and I figured I would share a couple of videos of some Christmas bagpiping to share the season’s cheer. This first video is of a medley of Christmas tunes that I transcribed and put together.  Forgive my lack of musical arranging skills as well as my beginner bagpiping… This video is a small clip of just one Christmas tune.  The fun of it is that it is being played on my new set of bellows-blown Scottish smallpipes.  They just arrived a couple days ago from Wayne Fisher of Ontario.  It is...

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Hammer While it is Hot!

Posted by on Oct 24, 2016 in Blog, Featured, Odd Stuff | 4 comments

Hammer While it is Hot!

  I have wanted to get a forge up and running for a very long time.  My biggest hold off has been the fact that I have not had a great spot to have and locate it permanently.  Now that we finally have the shed built, I now have a spot for a forge. Not so long story even shorter… the forge is now done and running.  I have had a chance to mess around a bit, and have made a small, early medieval knife blade (that now needs a handle) and a couple of fire steels, one of which has been promised to my little fire starting...

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A French Hunting Pouch

Posted by on Oct 8, 2016 in Blog, Featured | 2 comments

A French Hunting Pouch

  The topic of these French hunting bags recently came up elsewhere on the internet, and it reminded me that I have been planning on posting this article written by Eric Bizet.  Eric is a reenactor in France that follows (or at least did) my blog.  Since, we have chatted numerous times via email.  In 2014, Eric sent me the following write up he did on a particular type of bag.  I am posting his quick English translation of the article here verbatim.  The images in the bottom are also those he sent me with it.  Thanks to Eric...

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Bagpipe Fever

Posted by on Sep 29, 2016 in Featured, Odd Stuff | 1 comment

Bagpipe Fever

  It has now been almost a year since I started learning the bagpipes.  I went from Oct. to June with lessons and then, due to a very busy summer schedule and new job, stopped lessons and am hoping to start back up this Fall.  Meanwhile, I played and practiced almost every day this summer.  I have wanted to play the pipes since I was a small child, and I am excited that it is happening, even if late in my life. While at Grand Portage National Monument this August, I was gifted a set of 1950s R.G. Hardie bagpipes by a good...

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