|The wax for a runic ring I never cast|
Unfortunately, the class ran out of time and I never got to cast any of my waxes. At least I learned to make them!
|Viking-inspired pommel cap, also never cast|
I explored some more with abstract Scandinavian art forms:
I attended many sundown smelts, a few of the more intensive bloom-iron variety at Jim's shop in West Oakland, but usually of the crucible-smelt kind at Jeff's house in North Oakland. This type of smelt is a whole different animal, and I'll go into it in more depth later, but it's much easier to set up, you can basically sit back and crack open a beer or three while it's running, and then really just turn it off and see what you got. The result of a crucible smelt will be what's often called wootz steel, a difficult term to define, but I'll try my best soon enough.
|Jeff and his crucible furnace|
Jeff also took me to my first fancy arms auction in San Francisco, where I learned to keep an eye out for antique shamshirs, tulwars, kards, and Khyber knives forged of wootz steel, as well as intricate gold koftgari in impossible applications. Here I am holding an insanely beautifully inlaid middle-eastern matchlock musket:
|Bein' greasy at a classy auction|
All in all, it was full of adventure, work, and relaxed California-ness. Then, one day in January (more or less), I decided to go to England.