Preparing for a New Blacksmithing Class

Hello everyone! I won’t be able to do an in-depth post this week due to lack of time (see below), but I thought I’d tell you what’s possibly in store for everyone in the coming weeks, at least on my end.

==New Blacksmithing Class==

The biggest news for me is the joy of a new blacksmithing class. Once again I’ll be going to Peter’s Valley School of Craft in Layton, NJ for a five day intensive blacksmithing class, but instead of trying to make a sword, I’ll be learning about pattern-welded steel.

A Damascus knife by James Viste, the instructor for my class.

Yes, pattern-welded steel is also known as Damascus Steel. It’s not exactly the Damascus Steel of old (we still don’t know if it was a forging technique, the metal available, or some combination thereof; we will probably never know, sadly), but it’s sure as hell pretty.

My class will run until next Tuesday night. If time permits, I’ll try to snap a number of photos again and write out a number of posts like I did with my sword class last month. This one may not look nearly as cool at first, but if I do it right, I should have some beautiful things to share.

==Other Blacksmithing Projects==

I have only had the time to fire up the forge once this month. My friends over at Sinclair Jewelry have been working on engraving and additional crazy stone-cutting projects, and asked if I could provide a knife for them to do these things. As these are close friends (seriously; they let me crash with them for weeks on end for classes and conventions), how could I say no?

One of my first projects in January was a simple knife. After MANY changes (i.e. lots of grinding), I finally finished it, only to learn that it warped during the heat treat process back in May/June.

This month, I ran it through another heat treat process. Due to how thin the knife is, I had to do all of the cleanup by hand, which is a VERY time consuming process. Five hours and a pack of sandpaper later, I had it done enough to be workable for their goals. I feel bad that it’s not my best work, blade or cleanup wise, but they did specifically request a blunt knife for display.

Not perfect, but so few things are.
Not perfect, but so few things are.

Sadly, my friends are at Pennsic, so this project is currently on hold. I am hoping to get photos of the finished product once they give it a handle/etching!

==Recent Gaming==

After returning from the madness was was visiting my inlaws, I’ve been dabbling in a few games in between cleaning, organizing, and preparing.

The one taking up the most of my time has been Splatoon. Nintendo must have heard my plea, as the week after my post, we saw new reskinned weapons (same weapon with new sub and special weapons), a new stage, and there’s supposedly a massive update coming up on the 5th (next Wednesday). If I can find time to play it, I’ll gladly write about it for my weekly post in the 12th!

Following Splatoon is the 3DS game Fantasy Life. While visiting my inlaws, I was able to sneak out and visit a few friends over dinner. They told me how addictive the game is, and equated it to Harvest Moon meeting Secret of Mana. That combination alone was enough to catch my attention, and I’ve been playing it during my meal breaks at work and other sporadic free time (like sitting in the lobby while my wife gets a tattoo).

Can you guess which one I started with? It just might surprise you. . .
Can you guess which one I started with?
It just might surprise you. . .

Currently, I have about eight hours in the game, and I haven’t left the first town yet. Amusingly enough, I’m not even bored with it after that much time in the same area. I’m projecting another six hours or so depending on how much skill grinding I plan on doing, and then I’ll be ready for the rest of the world. Maybe that’ll be a review after I’m (finally) out of town. . .

In tabletop news, I’m anxiously awaiting the final copy of FFG’s Star Wars: Force and Destiny. I snagged a Beta copy last year and did another playtest for them this fall (which is now “On the Boat,” so should be out in another 1-3 months), so I’m really curious to see how much has changed from the complaints we filed.
The core book should be in stores within the week; once it’s readily available, I’m putting in an order and getting my hands on it, pronto. Maybe that’ll be another review. . .


When I say I’ve been busy, I really do mean it. When not gaming, cleaning, cooking, blacksmithing, running across state lines, levelling up, working, interviewing, running an ebay store, or designing plots and ploys to destroy hapless PCs providing reasons to explore the world for PCs, I’m reading.

Outside of the RPGs (finishing up Dungeon World now), I’ve been slicing through my sci-fi collection and the graphic novels at work. The sci-fi collection was something built up over the past decade of random gifts and book sales, consisting of a number of old-school sci-fi titles. My goal was to read a bunch of these and get rid of them; I’ve removed more from the collection than I’ve kept, and there are more on the chopping block.

On the fun side, though, the graphic novel collection at work has been getting some updates thanks to my pushing and pleading. I’ve recently read Thor: Goddess of Thunder, Ms. Marvel, the new X-Factor, and the new Guardians of the Galaxy. I’ve thankfully gotten the confirmation that we are getting the new Iron Man, Captain Marvel, Captain America, Atomic Robo, & East of West v.4 due to my suggestions. I love it when people take my advice on collection development, especially when I want to read it.


I mentioned in a prior post that I was picking up some bootleg/offbrand LEGO. Thanks to a bunch of research and a love of Iron Man (as well as other heroes, but growing up with the Marvel cartoons of the 90s, Iron Man became a fast favorite), I’ve learned that some Chinese companies make some knockoffs of LEGO products and, more importantly, have a line of their own figures and sets that LEGO doesn’t create.

Thanks to ebay sales and splitting figure lots with a friend who collects various superhero merchandise, I’ve added to my collection of Iron Man minifigures. I’m waiting on one more bootleg set to arrive before comparing the two bootlegs to the original, and then talking about the various bootleg/off brand minifigures and sets.

The first of many LEGO bootlegs/offbrands that have arrived recently.  Can you pick which side is the bootleg?
The first of many LEGO bootlegs/offbrands that have arrived recently.
Can you pick which side is the bootleg?

At the moment, I have over thirty different Iron Man minifigures that are offbrands, the majority of which were not produced by LEGO (and most of them only appearing in Iron Man 3, as well as eight of them not being actual Iron Man marks), as well as two more coming in that LEGO hasn’t created. There’ll be a number of photos eventually; whether or not they make it to this blog is a whole different kettle of fish.

==Madness, Engage!==

That’s the madness that’s occurred and what will be coming up: possible video game, RPG, comic, and off-brand LEGO reviews, as well as the insanity of my class. Stay tuned, and I’ll see you all next Wednesday!

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