Marshals in the SCA use black-and-yellow staffs when supervising combat activities. The staff allows people to recognize the marshal, and may be used to signal the beginning of the fight, to call attention to the edge of the field, or to keep fighters from crashing into spectators.
You can make your own youth-marshal staff with a length of PVC/PEX and some black and yellow duct tape.
My preferred technique is to pull off a piece of each color of tape that is almost two times the length of the staff, stick them together with an overlap of half their width, then set them at a 60° angle to the pipe and wrap in a spiral.
(Depending on the size of your core, you might need to fiddle with the angle by a couple of degrees one way or the other, but that should give you even-sized stripes of both colors.)
When you reach the other end, cut the excess tape and fold the edges over.
It’s not beautiful, but it’s simple and cheap and it uses the same materials you already have on hand for weapon construction.
Thrown weapons are not a core element of SCA youth combat, but they do have some novelty/amusement value.
Here in the East, there are basically two styles: javelins made from 3/4″ PEX with a thrusting-tip point and either fins or a pommel on the other end, or else hammers/axes made of all foam.
The rules say that weapons with a core (javelins) may not be gleaned and re-thrown, while those that are all foam may be scooped up and tossed back, which means that javelins are mostly of use in the initial few moments as the lines close, rather than being a factor throughout the engagement. Continue reading Youth Throwing Hammer
This apple-and-cheese pie comes from a 16th C. German cookbook.
While apples and cheese are a classic snack pairing, their combination in this pie is pleasantly surprising. Continue reading Tortta von Epffel
This apple-and-pear pie comes from a royal cookbook of 14th C. England.
The use of saffron gives an interesting orange tint to the fruit. Continue reading Tartys In Applis
This spinach quiche comes from 14th C. France, where it was included in a book instructing housewives how to maintain their residence and carry out their wifely duties. While the marital advice is no longer relevant, many of the recipes are still quite useful. Continue reading Tourte Verte
This sweet onion quiche comes from 14th C. England.
(Ember days were three days of penance in each quarter of the liturgical calendar during which Catholics were instructed to abstain from eating meat and devote themselves to prayer.) Continue reading Tart in Ymbre Day
List poles provide a support for ropes used to enclose an area for medieval combat or other activities.
I expected I’d find existing plans I could copy for this purpose, but ended up designing my own because I couldn’t find any that fit our needs.
- Self-supporting. In some places you can simply pound stakes into the ground, but here in New York City, a design with legs will allows us to hold events on asphalt, or in public parks where we’re not allowed to make holes in the lawn.
- Compact and portable. When we’re not at events, these are going to sit in a crate in our small apartment, and then be ferried around in a van packed full of passengers, so they need to collapse down to a reasonable size.
- Simple. I built six of these one a weekend in my home office with a couple of hand-held power tools.
- Affordable. I spent around $40 on materials for the six poles ($30 lumber, $10 paint), plus $30 for 100′ of rope.
Continue reading List Poles
This stand is designed to hold SCA youth combat “boffer” swords and similar foam-padded weapons.
I looked at a number of racks for steel and rattan weapons and then came up with a custom design that combined several elements with the following criteria.
- Support an assortment of SCA-approved youth swords and pole arms, which are typically between 2″ and 3” in diameter, and anywhere from 15″ to 72″ in length.
- Pack down compactly to an easy-to-carry unit that can be loaded into the van along with other youth combat gear, carried to the site, and then set up quickly.
- Simple to build using stock dimensional lumber and basic hand-held power tools.
Continue reading Youth Weapons Stand
Editor’s Note: This writeup was originally posted to LiveJournal in 2014, and then migrated here when I set up this site. I’ve since added a few more notes and pictures.
Building A Bender for Pennsic: A DIY Tent Using a Timeless Design
This summer we built a simple but spacious tent for use at Pennsic, an SCA medieval camping event held annually in late July near Pittsburgh.
Below I outline the historical and contemporary sources we used for the tent design, detail the materials we used, and describe the construction process we followed, with photographs of the finished result.
Our tent design choice followed from several criteria:
- We wanted something we could build ourselves with only a few days of preparation, put up for two weeks at Pennsic, then store for 50 weeks of each year before being set up again.
- We wanted something distinctive, not one of the pavilions and wall tents that are pervasive at Pennsic.
- We wanted it to suggest a family of villagers camping at the annual fair, not a noble household or a military encampment.
- It should be reasonably period in appearance, meaning that we would use modern tools and materials, but hoped to not stray too far from the forms that might plausibly have been found in a Welsh village a thousand years ago.
- We needed a large space for use by two people for two weeks, to serve both as our bedroom/dressing room and also as a sitting room on rainy days, with lots of headroom so that we could both walk around inside comfortably without ducking down.
We settled on a “bender” design, using poles bent into an arch and half-dome, with canvas draped over them.
Although not common at SCA events, this type of tent has both an ancient history and a modern DIY tradition, outlined below. Continue reading A Bender Tent