Oyez! Oyez! Recent Posts

The Lady and Her Dow’ry – A Song

I wrote a song based on period scripts in the 14th c. Using existing meter I created this song to use in a Bawdy Bardic competition in Adiantum, An Tir.

Now the contest is over, I can share!


Just outside of Florence, among the grassy knolls
There lived a handsome maiden, who story must be told.

all her friends were married off to husband, and with child,
her age was catching up with her, her instincts running wild.

Her father raised a dowry, to marry her away
his stable though was barren, save the donkey in the hay

the air was dank, the beast he stank, desperate for a ride
resolved herself and jumped on back his patchy mangy hide

The lord spied the lady coming down the dusty road,
Bade the doorman turn away the donkey and its load.

For when it comes to dowries, tell ev’ry lovely lass,
You never will get pregnant if you take it in the ass.

Making a Quiver – Combat Archery

Hip Quiver Full of Bolts
Hip Quiver Full of Bolts

Greeting friends, a question often asked, ‘what is a good quiver to use’, or, ‘how can you make one’? As with anything this can be a very big subject, but let’s go into some basics of not only construction, but of some of the use cases related to quivers as well.

How many bolts do you have? What kind? In this case the head/APD type is more important. There are several shaft types. So when it comes to choosing the quiver to use and construction methods, it will partially depend on your ammo. If you have a sewing machine (and know how to use it) this will be fairly easy regardless of your method. I hand-stitched mine where necessary and used other simple means of assembly such as glue, and simply running1/4″ leather straps through punched holes. Crude but effective.

Your construction methods may also depend on the type of combatant you are. Are you explosive, running around dodging and weaving? Are you stationary like a turret and meticulously picking off the opposing teams? The type of archer you are can also dictate the type of ammo you use, but that’s another post.

One need not use canvas,  but use a material that is sturdy. Canvas and leather are great, but anything you have available or easily attainable should work. If all else fails, literally use a pillowcase (in your heraldic colors of course ;p). Material should be able to stand up to stepping, dragging, storing, and general wear and tear.

Bolts – Baldar and fiberglass:

Many people love the Harbor Freight canvas bags (fig.1). With a slight modification they can be used right out of the shipping box. Grab a few carabiner clips and some rope or tape. or grommets if you have them.

You can remove the handles so they are not in your way, or remove one and use the other as an attachment point. Or remove both handles, then you can punch holes just under the ring (optionally grommet) then run loops, or carabiners (fig.4).

Keep in mind the tubes will accept the bolts or arrows either end: APD, or Baldar. but the UMHW or padded heads.

Arrows – Baldar, UMHW, or Siloflex

Due to the larger size and bulk of these, something the size of the Harbor Freight bags work great. However they are too short. I have seen everything from pillow case style loose bags with a belt loop, to cutting a HF bag in half horizontally and inserting 12-16″ of fabric, canvas, etc (fig.2). For arrows I recommend making several quivers and not ‘over-crowding’ them. The bags are deep enough one needn’t worry about ammo spilling everywhere. Organization is less important. By not over-crowding, you will spend less time ‘untangling’ ammo as it comes out of the quiver.

If you wish to use the tubes for organization, you only need about 4″ at the bottom to put the ends into.

Make a hip and a back quiver? This greatly depends on your context, perhaps you sling a quiver over your back so you don’t have to go far away to reload. If you have a ‘pillow case’ quiver with a generous strap, this can be easily done. A good reason to have an optional strap with length is for flexibility.

General tips:

Make a few quivers! Either to share or make reloading easier. Also during the construction process you may find better ways of achieving the same goals. Plan your project!

I would really suggest carabiners as attach points (fig.4). Easy to take on and off. And if you have several quivers, and need to reload at a larger battle, you can do it quickly.

Leg straps work really well (fig.4). Aside from belt attach points, have a strap, leather cording or similar that attaches at the bottom of the bolt quiver and ties loosely around your leg to keep the quiver vertical. For arrows this is less important, but one could add an attach point midway so it ties around the thigh. If you run around a lot, this keeps the ammo from falling out

The tubes cut and honeycombed
The clear tubes

If using tubes (fig.3), you can attach them several ways or not at all. In my personal quiver they started off glued but separated over time. They all fit so snugly however that they don’t need to be glued, the tension of the bag holds them in place. There are several option for keeping them together.

  • Fill the quiver with tubes, retain the shape and lift them out, then run duct tape around the outside
  • Staple them together
  • Apply glue in the voids between the tubes while in bag
  • Apply glue to the bottom of the bag, then lower the tubes into place

If you are using a bag with no shape, you can use a plastic Ikea cutting board (or similar) (fig.5) that you trim into the shape of your quiver, and stitch, glue, or simply put into place.

Reference Links:

Northstar Archery

Canvas Bags

White – 4 count

Black – 2 count

Canvas Bag – Harbor Freight

Tubes for Baldar arrow or bolt

Standard clear tube guards

Tube guards in colors!
purpleredgreenlight blueblueyellowambercanarypink

Additional photos by Jonathan Lockwood

Internalizing Your Art and Show and Tell!

When it comes to learning new things we all have methods. When it comes to music, its drilling it into my body over and over again until I can’t stand it any longer.

I recently sorted all the songs in my playlist “SCA Songs to Learn” and was wondering: is 418 plays a lot? I added Rocky Road to Dublin Nov. 2014. As opposed to Queen of Argyll which was added Aug. 2018 with 199 plays. I find the data telling, and interesting.

A snapshot in time of my playlist
A temporal snapshot of my playlist as of Sept. 2019

What are your favorite performance pieces? Do you have recordings that you listen to? What are your numbers? Care to share your list?

Using the voice as an instrument, how do you best learn a song? Do you get the lyrics and reread them? Listen to the song repeatedly? Tap rhythms as you listen? Learn the music?  A mixture of these and/or more?

Screen shot or share your playlists!

So many other questions! For bonus points, read on…

This goes in to other areas fairly quickly. Do you only learn songs you love? Songs that you can stand listening to over and over? Stories or songs that are technically easier? Pieces that are popular? Curious about others thoughts all along the spectrum from professional bards, to people who just love to sing one song or tell one story.

Reach Out and Touch Someone – Pole Arm Construction

As a combat archer, there are times when there simply isn’t any combat archery, or there are alternating scenarios, whatever the case may be… So I thought to myself, ‘Self, you should take up pole arm!’

Im no stranger to rattan having made made throwing daggers, and other things out of it. So I sought the help of the community and got some great assistance from Vlad Iliescu, and John Hutchings. Vlad was kind enough to send me some videos, I won’t repost without permission, but I will document what resulted from the assist!

Using the image below as a reference…

Materials Used:

  • 12′ rattan or lengths fit to use
  • fiberglass strapping tape
  • duct tape (colors of choice)
  • leather cording
  • cell foam (the kind used for padding armor or similar)
  • saw or other method for cutting rattan
  • sander, planer or other method for shaving rattan
Step by step construction of a polearm for use in SCA armored combat
Step by step construction of a polearm for use in SCA armored combat

Let’s dive in!

Cut the total length yo your Kingdom maximum length, take away 6″ which we will make up later. The remaining piece cut to 18″ (or to suit, see below).

  1. Cut a notch about 1/3 total diameter depth as long as you like for the blade length. Make sure to leave enough for strength. In this case as I recall the length was about 18 (as noted above).
  2. Fit the additional piece in place. The tighter the fit, the better.
  3. Notice the grading on the top part of the laminated piece. This helps decrease the sharp edging as looking more like a period weapon.
  4. I tend to overdo this part. Ya know, safety… Wrap it up and down with (fiberglass strapping) tape. Pay extra attention to the joined ends and ensure a tight, secure taping job.
  5. Now for the thrusting tips. Check your Kingdom rules, but mine are a full 3″ of padding. I start by cutting a series of discs that are the same diameter as the pole. Stack them up. You can additionally create two long strips about 1″ wide and about 8-10″ long, cross them over the end. After assembly side wrap top to overlap onto the pole by at least 3″. Cross tape over the top. Side wrap again even deeper down the shaft.
  6. Repeat for the other end.
  7. Now for the rondel. You can employ several methods for this part, in my case I used leather. Using 3/16″ leather I cut three discs, and center punched to as tightly fit the shaft as possible.
  8. Laminate the pieces together using strapping tape. Use as much as you like to make it safe and ensure it stays together.
  9. In my case I used purple duct tape to mask the ugly fiber tape.
  10. Here I use leather cording (stripped from the same leather used in rondel). these are about 12″ long. One small piece of tape to hold one end down. Tightly wrap and secure with tape.
  11. Place rondel and then repeat step 10 on the other side to secure the rondel in place.
  12. Here I tape the shaft all up to ensure its all as secure as possible. Continuous taping ensures strength. Many little piece can fail more easily.
  13. Taping with my base colors to make it puurrrty.
  14. More puurrrrty and adding red tape for the striking edges.
  15. Red for the thrusting points
  16. (Not pictured) I used a sander and planer for indexing the handle. This is so that no matter what I know which way my blade is facing.

Thats about it folks, not much to this. In my case I needed a few friends to help me get started. Access to tools always helps. Lean on your community for tools, advice, space, whatever you need.

Happy Hunting!