New Tent Part 2

So we have had the new tent for a while now so I thought it was finally time to put some pictures up.

The tent is the same basic design as our older one only on a larger scale.

New Tent 2

The awning attaches to the top of the tent and has additional side flaps that allow for better sun/rain coverage

New Tent 1

The awning can also be pegged to the ground in bad weather and gives extra cover over the door. The pegging for the awning is about 75cm from the tent so there is a bit of space to get in an out.

So this will be our camp for the foreseeable future.

New Tent 3

I’ll post up some more pictures of it and the inside at some point

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Ladies Chemise

A medieval lady’s outfit would always begin with a white undergarment. In 14th century England, linen was cheaper than cotton, and therefore was the more commonly used fabric for clothing – especially clothing that was required to be more hard-wearing. Ironically, in modern day New Zealand, linen is substantially more costly than cotton, and to begin with my soft kit was largely made of pure cotton.

Now I am constantly in the process of revising my historical wardrobe, replacing less accurate cotton garments with the more authentic equivalent in linen.

This garment is possibly the simplest around; or at least, it is the way I’m making it.
To be continued…

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Tables is both a family of games that all use the same board and a specific game. Today the most common tables game is backgammon, and the medieval game of Irish is the direct precursor of Backgammon.

As Tables games were very popular we have made a leather tables set.

We also have a painted wooden board that has a circular layout. This is mainly for playing a tables game called El Mundo

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As part of our living history setup Wendy and I decided we needed better seating as often we would end up dragging logs from the wood pile or sitting on the floor. As with all things camp related it needs to fit into the camp setting nicely, be easy to transport and store and ideally shouldn’t cost the earth.

We opted for two different types of seat, one bench and a pair of seats.

The seats are a very simple design consisting of a a pair of upright panels, that form a cross when viewed from the top, with a lid. These have then been painted to help protect them from the elements and to allow us to work out which bits belong together when putting them together.


The bench is also a simple design. It consists of two legs that slot into the bench top. To give it extra support a bar runs under the bench top and though a slot in each leg and is then secured with a wedge. The bench will be oiled to protect it.

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Camp Fires

Within our camp environment fire is one of the most import things. It is used for cooking on, top help keep us warm, to dry wet clothing, to provide light and as a communal gathering place.

When ever possible we have a cooking fire of some sort. If we are allowed we dig a fire pit, where we aren’t we have a raised fire tray. Typically the fire is kept going though out the camp and chopping wood, checking, raking and stoking the fire is a continous thing.

One of the things we have been working on is being able to start a fire without the use of modern tools. Traditionally everyone would have known how to build and start a fire and anyone that was traveling would have had the basic tools required to start a fire. This would be a flint and steel. The other items that would have been carried are charcolth, some tinder and possibly some sulphur spunks.

In order to start a fire you would gather your fuel and have a starting stack ready. this would be a mixture of larger pieces of wood and some form of kindling. Dried grass, bark, moss or pine cones all make good kindling and if prepared correctly should burn for long enough that the larger pieces of wood will catch fire. To light the kindling itself you would use your flint and steel to create a spark, this would be ‘caught’ on the tinder, or more often on the charcoth which would be added to the tinder. once the tinder is smouldering you add it to the kindling and encourage a flame. If you have sulphur spunks these are also added to help get a flame going.

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New Tent

The first and possibly most important bit of the camp is the tent. This is home while on site. While it needs to be big enough to live in it also needs to pack down small enough that it is easy to transport and store.

Our living history tent is a bell ended wedge tent.

Old Tent 5

This is a great little tent. It is 5 metres end to end, 3 metres front to back and around 2 metres tall at the ridge. It needs no guy lines to hold up the main tent so the only guy lines are on the awning.

Old tent 6
Old Tent 7

We are looking at replacing the tent in the near future. After much discussion we are currently planning on sticking with the bell ended design. A few things will change based on how we are using the tent and to add to the camp. Fortunately the current tent was made by a friend of ours and he is going to make the new one as well so the alterations we want are fairly easy to include.

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Cooking Fire

One of the most important things is the camp fire. As well as being a source of heat and light in the evenings it is also the only means we have to cook our meals.

When ever possible we dig a fire pit, however some sites don’t want us to damage their ground so we also have a small raised fire tray


For cooking we have 2 riveted iron pots, a pottery skillet, a large ceramic pot and a kettle.


We have a crane for hanging the pots from. The whole arm of the crane can be adjusted and we also have S hooks for adjusting the height of individual pots

We also have a hanger for keeping spoons, the fire poker, pot hooks and the S hooks on when they are not in use.

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In the past we have used fairly modern looking lanterns with tea lights or small votive candles. While these have worked well enough they don’t look right anymore and are slowly being replaced by more period looking lamps.

Originally we were going to replace them with horn lanterns. This posed a couple of problems. Firstly trying to buy them in NZ is proving difficult so we would have to order in from overseas, this has implication with NZ MAF as there is animal product involved. Secondly making our own meant sourcing horn and learning to split it down and flatten it. We have been able to get 1 horn lantern while we were at the re-enactors market in the UK.

While we were at the Abbey event we saw lots of wooden lanterns with cloth covers. We have decided to make some of these up as they are fairly simple, and more importantly within our abilities. We will probably still get some horn ones at some stage as well.

The basic premise for the wooden ones is straightforward. make a frame that consists of a top and bottom piece, join them with round dowel and wrap cloth around them. So that you can access the candle you cut a hole in the top and make a platform that can be raised.

We are making them so they will take a votive candle. For safety, we are also looking at getting electric candles but the design will also be used with normal candles.


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Leather Box

In this project, I am making a leather box for a friend of mine.

The box design I decided to use has a joined lid so was to be made out of a single piece of leather. The final dimensions were to be 8″”x5″”x2″”. The pattern for it looks like this

Box Pattern

I cut the basic shape out but left the corners in for the places that would be stitched together, the grey areas on the pattern. These I cut with V gouge instead of a knife so that I had a mitred edge to work with.


I also used the V gouge to cut the hinged lines so the box would fold. I decided to leave the final cutting of the lid until after I had made the bottom of the box so I could adjust if needed.

Once I had the piece ready to be sown I cut stitching groves and marked where the stitches should go.

For the actual sewing, I used 2 curved needles and waxed linen thread. I pierced the leather with a straight awl but did this at an angle so that it came through the leather on the mitred edge instead of the back of the leather.


This meant that once I had sewn the piece up there would be no stitches visible on the inside.


After I had completed the bottom of the box I then cut the pieces for the top. These were cut, pierced and sewn in the same manner as the base.


After the box was complete I decided that the sides of the lid needed attention as they weren’t sitting as I liked.


These will be reshaped to a curve.

The box is going to be used to hold so modern medical gear so needs to be securely closed. I have two options for this. One is to add a buckle the other is to add ties by punching 2 holes through the front of both the bottom bit of the box and the lid and passing some cord through. I need to check to see what the person I am making it for would prefer.


The final touch will be decoration. I am thinking of carving the top with the Rod of Asclepius.

This is the symbol of the greek god associated with medicine and is a single snake coiled around a rod.

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Waikato Waldorf Festival 2014 – Review

The Waikato Waldorf Festival is a 1-day event at the Waikato Waldorf school. It is one of the main fund raisers and is always themed medieval. For the past few years we have attended as part of the living history village.

This year the village was organised in a timeline from Roman to Renaissance. we were part of the high medieval area. As usual we had the space trades setup, unfortunately this year the weather didn’t play nicely so we move the stall inside the tent for protection. Along side this I was making a leather box for a friend of ours.

Despite the weather there were still a lot of people attending and we had quite a few come though and talk to us about the spices and what I was making.

It was also nice to see James the Blacksmith in attendance. James has made a umber of bits for us and we haven’t had a chance to catch up with him since the last Taupo event in 2010. We had a small shopping list and picked up some more S-hooks, pole hooks and a pair of lantern hooks.

It was also good to catch up with Nic, who used to organise Taupo and made our current tent, Ben, a very talented tailor and Renaissance period re-enactor, Wolf and Gareth from the SCA, Graham from the Sable Hart and to see John Milnes Roman group in action.

We didn’t get many pictures but those we did are in the gallery

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