Fork You!!! Event Budgeting 101

This week I am going to take a look at event budgeting. Now I know for many people a collective groan was just heard as you were hoping for a post about swords or other fighty things. The reality is though that budgeting for events is an important skill and a habit any event organiser should get in to. For the purpose of this article, I will use a fictional HEMA event to help illustrate the method I use for preparing to budget. I will use follow up posts to deal with excel spreadsheets and other aspects of budgeting but this post provides the foundation.

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6 Fears for Starting a new HEMA Club

This week I would like to present a short post answering some of the fears people have about starting a HEMA club. As I am moving house at the moment I have recently come across many of my documents from when I started my first club in 2007. Amongst the documents I found a pros and cons list regarding my feelings towards starting a club. Eight years on I would like to answer those cons and hopefully in doing so I will be able to give encouragement to some of you who are considering taking the leap into founding a club.

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Review of Depeeka 13th Century Crusader Sword (Blunt)

This week I thought I would kick off the year with a risk, I decided to purchase a sword from a brand not normally used in the HEMA world and see how it handled then give a review of it. As I am not a longsworder any more I decided to choose one of the arming swords. If you have followed my Scottish sword project you will know I have an affinity towards hexagonal or octagonal pommels and so I selected the 13th Century Crusader sword from Depeeka to be my test subject. With an RRP of 120EUR (£95 or $140), without shipping costs, the sword is very much in the entry-level steel category as such I won’t be judging it on Albion standards but rather in the category with swords such as Hanwei’s practical series.

Read on to see my thoughts on the Depeeka’s 13th Century Crusader Sword from Battlemerchant.

13c Crusader Sword w/ scabbard, octagonal pommel, practical


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Christmas Truce

As it is the week before Christmas I wanted to write about something in the spirit of the festivities. Although I had a few ideas none really excited me until I was in the cinema and an advert for Sainsbury’s and the British Legion played. I am sure many of our British readers know the advert I am referring to but for those who haven’t seen it this is the link:

100 Years ago this coming Wednesday amongst the horrors occurring in Europe an event occurred simultaneously across hundreds of miles of disputed territory and although this phrase is used far too often on the modern internet I feel it is appropriate to say this occurrence truly “restores ones faith in humanity”, the Christmas Truce. Growing up in Scotland like most European children I was taught about the Christmas Truce, on Christmas eve soldiers from both sides met together in No Man’s Land and exchanged gifts, played some football and generally hung out before returning to their trenches and continuing the war. In most classes this was simply taught as a brief sidenote before we continued learning about the war. In my american education I cannot recall the event being mentioned (very little was taught that didn’t involve the americans). My point is I have known the basic story of this event my entire educated life but never before have stopped to properly consider the story. One aspect no  teacher ever mentioned was the fact that someone had to take the first step and quite literally put their head above the parapet. It wasn’t until I saw the above advert that my curiosity was peeked and I decided to look into the situation further.

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Asymmetric Warfare

This week I have had more time than usual in Glasgow University’s fantastic library while I work on my McBane reproduction. I felt like visiting the War Studies annexe and following up on some of my older ideas. I hope you enjoy my study of why asymmetric warfare was only intermittently effective during the Early Modern period. This is a bit heavier than our usual light tone so perhaps save it to read after you have collected piles of Halloween candy to keep you going. On that note Happy Halloween and I hope you all enjoy!!!

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10 pieces of advice for new HEMA clubs!

This week I am going to continue on my series of posts about starting a new HEMA club. I will do my best to keep it generic with suggestions that are non-geographical but please keep in mind every country is different and my experience is with Scotland.

Seven years ago I started the GUCDS, the club from which the Academy of Historical Arts grew. At the time it was not a HEMA club specifically, and over the years much about it has changed and developed as it transitioned through different stages. The other day I was looking through some old paperwork and came across my initial plans for the club and how I was going to set it up. I realised just how naive most of these were, but I fumbled along and with some help from friends the club was started, and went on to become an extremely successful organisation.

With HEMA growing at an incredible rate and getting more and more media attention, I felt there may be some people who really want to start a HEMA club but are afraid to take that first step. This post is for you.

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Editing a Facsimile

Last time I discussed the setup I was using for creating the Roworth 1798 facsimile. This week I will go into detail of the page processing which is done after the pages are photographed. Part of the reason for me writing this post is so that those who contributed to the campaign can understand the process being undertaken to produce facsimiles of a high quality and also so that I have a guide to return to in future the next time I am working on a facsimile project.

For those considering their own facsimile project please understand that it is a massive undertaking to create a photo facsimile (I am also working on a reproduction of a text from the same time period and am finding it quicker, on a page by page basis, to reproduce the type by hand than using the photographic facsimile method). I should also state that there is more than one way to skin a cat. I have been working with photoshop since highschool and am fairly adept with it, this is the method I worked out that worked best for me in the confines of this project.

I did try programmes such as Scan Taylor which would be great if this wasn’t preparing a book for print but just making something for personal research, I have also attempted every method of batch processing I can come up with but unfortunately this project just doesn’t lend itself to automated processes at all.

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Collinge and Clark Review

This week I was asked to review a bookseller whom we were unfortunate enough to have to work with in the process of acquiring the antique books as part of the Roworth fundraising campaign.

In my role at Triquetra, I handle many of the sourcing and purchasing operations and as such I deal with hundreds of suppliers from tiny one man operations to massive multinational corporations. I have seen excellent service and I have seen poor service but this experience was particularly notable for just how poor it was. It was suggested I write this review so that others would understand the risks of dealing with this seller and can avoid them if possible.

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Poor Man Book Scanner

This week I am going to discuss the construction and use of a very primitive book scanner.

As some of you may know we have been running a crowdfunding campaign over the last fortnight to fundraise towards the purchase of two antique texts. As the perks for this campaign involve facsimiles of the items I have found myself in a situation whereby I have to photograph and create high quality facsimiles. Now this does not sound very difficult and at first I just planned to use my trusty digital camera (a 2005 3.2mp Cannon Powershot A510…ah the trappings of wealth for a charity director) the problem with this is that perspective is a nightmare, setting up a shot takes far too long and shaking causes letters to blur no matter how minimal it is.

The solution was to look at what others used and this was when I began to learn about book scanners and the book scanning movement (as with everything on the internet there is a movement of people who take this hobby to quite fantastic extremes). Now normally I would pick a design, make my way to Home Depot or B&Q and build it. At the moment however, we are currently moving premises and I finally have my house as a home and not a workshop/warehouse. As such I have extremely limited access to my tools and no desire to undertake such a project.

They say that necessity is the mother of invention though and as I need to create these facsimiles even with my reduced setup I have had to come up with another method which I will share here.

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