In-Depth Post #6: Linking links

I’m going to be honest, I barely spent any time finding a mentor. However, the reason for that is that my supplies finally arrived and my spent all the time I had for in-depth making chainmail. Allow me to show you.


The image above is the supplies. That’s about 12000 rings. The whole thing weighs about 14.5 lbs. Each ring is made of 16g glavinized steel wire and is about 3/8 inches wide.


This is the tools I’m working with. They each have smooth jaws and a curved head to make chainmail linking easy.

This is what I’ve made so far with my left hand for scale. This will be the part of the shirt that goes around my upper chest area. Once I make it loop around my upper chest, I’ll make two shoulder straps to keep it there. From that point it doesn’t really matter what order I work in.

What are the Key Components to Creating a Country in a Peaceful Manner?


Background
For this document of learning I was originally going to ask “Does peaceful formation of government actually benefit a country within the first 50 years of existence. I wanted to look at countries around the world and what caused the peace or conflict when their country was formed and generalize those factors to compare and contrast countries. However, I discovered that there aren’t really any other countries that formed peacefully and furthermore, no is writing about the subject which makes citing sources frankly impossible. Instead, I decided it would be more beneficial to look at how Canada was formed, what were the key components to it’s peaceful formation and then generalize those key components so that they can apply to other countries.

Research

One of the biggest factors contributing to the easy and peaceful formation of Canada was the sense of urgency created by the danger in the south. During this period Americans believed in something called Manifest Destiny. This meant they believed is was their right to take over all of North American. According to the Canadian Encyclopedia, “Manifest Destiny contributed to a growing sense of National Identity, which culminated in the Charlotte Conference of 1864, and political efforts to unify British colonies in North America.” The British Empire was losing both it’s ability to protect it’s colonies in North America and willingness to do so as well. With this in mind, the Canadians realized that they would have to unify as quickly as possible to keep themselves safe from the southern threat. The Canadian Encyclopedia also says, “The Province of Canada delegation was interested in creating a federal union with the Maritimes, mainly because of external threats. The creation of a huge United States army during the American Civil War, combined with Britain’s desire to reduce its financial and military obligations to its colonies in North America, had boosted fears in Canada of American annexation.”

Secondly, while this may not be as important, everyone in the conferences were white men who all understood the threat I previously mentioned. When everyone in a room shares pretty much the same viewpoint, it is easy to agree. This however, is not nearly as important as the first point as a think an urgency created by a threat could easily unite a group of people from a bunch of different races.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the most important factor contributing to the peaceful formation of Canada seems to be the existence of an external threat. In this case, it’s the United States of America and their Manifest Destiny. There was a second factor in the form of everyone being very similar in terms of race and wealth. It probably also helps that there was no country in the place of Canada before it was there. This is a big difference between Europe and the Americas in terms of making a country. Also, the fact that America had already fought a war with Britian made the British less willing to fight for control of Canada. However, this is more of an external factor that I wouldn’t really include.

In conclusion of the conclusion, the biggest different between most other countries and Canada is that Canada had an external threat to create a sense of urgency and that threat never actually came knocking on Canada’s​ door. This is mainly due to infighting within the United States. To put it simply, danger posed by Manifest Destiny combined with America’s issues dealing with their southern states and Britain’s unwillingness to fight for control of the Canadian colonies ended with the peaceful formation of the country we live in.

Sources

http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/m/article/manifest-destiny/

http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/m/article/charlottetown-conference/

In-Depth Post #5: After a Break, Some Leads

Here we go again, back to school after a nice relaxing break. I spent most of my time either practicing for basketball, hiking or preparing for the adventure trip this may by going on runs and working on my cardio. In between all that, I spent time searching for my mentor. I decided to do as much communication as possible with potential mentors over the phone. I was a little bit dissuaded from using email after the lack of responses from earlier in the project. Call, leave a message and no need to wait for very long for a response. Even though I used phone calls, I found that a lot of blacksmiths and medieval enthusiasts weren’t in British Columbia right now and more importantly, why that was.

Apparantly, there medieval and blacksmiths themed events that occur in North America during the winter/spring. However, due to the wet climate of British Columbia the nearest events is in southern Oregon. Unfortunately for me, everyone who is qualified and/or willing to be my mentor in this subject follows these events and, like birds, go south for the winter. A spoke to a couple of different people over the phone, most of them were in either Washington or on Vancouver island. All of them said no unfortunately, because they felt like they weren’t really qualified or they said they were too busy. However, one of them in Washington, told me he had done a similar project, but instead of chainmail he had bow and crossbow building. He had to find a mentor as well and he told me to look at Oregon and California for a Skype mentor. I’ve been digging for a while now and I think I may be hitting the bottom soon. This should be the last post without a mentor.

I know this one is a little short, but I don’t have much else to add. I had a couple of short discussions with the other people who I called, but the only leads they had were dead ends I had already been to. I’ll make up for the short post with a big one next time. By the next post I should also have a product to show, so it should be pretty lengthy.

In-Depth Post #4: The Struggle Goes On

Before anything else, an update on the mentor situation. To begin, I still don’t have a mentor. I knew from the beginning that one in this particular field would be more difficult to find that others. However, I didn’t anticipate that most of the scarce amount of people wouldn’t be avaliable. All the relevant blacksmiths in the area are either not in the area at this time of year, on vacation or too busy with other non-blacksmith work. Non of the local reenactment groups are currently responding to emails which is most likely due to them not reenacting anything during the winter. Today, as Ms. Mulder suggested, I visited Mr. Findley at school, but he didn’t have any relevant experience and wouldn’t have any time anyway. After all this I still need a mentor so I gotta expand my search area outward. Unless one of the reenactment groups suddenly responds, I’m probably going to have all my mentor interactions through Skype which is better than nothing. Over the next week I’ll begin searching outward from the area I was previously searching. In particular I’ll probably be looking mainly toward Vancouver Island and the Seattle area. Also, the rings should be here before the next post so I have that to look forward to.

Since my in-depth has been riddled with issues so far some people have been questioning why I chose to make Chainmail. I just want to quickly address these questions and explain why I chose to do this unique topic. I don’t have much else to for this post anyway. Firstly, ever since I was very young I’ve been fascinated with medieval society. Whenever I visit Europe I make it a big point to visit castles. Every interaction I can get with medieval society I take. One of my favourite aspects of medieval society is armour. The idea of being able to make even a simple type of armour brings me closer to the world of medieval Europe and makes me quite excited. Secondly, making Chainmail is a very inexpensive topic to do which makes it ideal for my family’s current financial position as we don’t have very much spending room right now.
Lastly, armouring is a very profitable industry. Armouring is quite labour intensive, but also quite cheap in terms of materials. The armouring skill allows me to make extra money by doing I already enjoy and not spending much money. It’s a really cool situation.

For the next post I plan to have some pictures of some actual chainmail I make and have the whole mentor situation resolved.

Edward Cardwell: March 31, 1855

Today, my term as president of the board of trade ends. It wasn’t a particularly exciting position, but it was still a good three years in office. Full of good work that improved a variety of broken systems. Most importantly, my railway bill finally stopped the railway companies from being a cut throat business. The previous state of the railway system was quite poor. Sabotage was becoming far too common and was putting countless people in danger. This is only the first of what they will one day call the Cardwell Reforms, but enough speculation. Unfortunatly, my party, the Peelites, is falling out of power and is beginning to crumble. I had a lot of confidence in the party, but I guess everything must come to an end eventually. Fortunately, I have some contacts within the Liberal party and will be able to get a higher position should the Peelites part ways. As an expert in trade, I would wager that I’ll either be the Chancellor of Lancastor or the Secretary of the State of the Colonies or perhaps both. If I was the Secretary of the State of the Colonies I would certainly ensure that the sun never sets on the British Empire. To the Liberals, I am a very attractive candidate for those positions as I’m known for increasing effiency and reducing corruption. Both of those positions are in dire need of someone like me. Either way, the upcoming years look like they’ll be full of opportunity and progress for the British Empire.

In-Depth Post #3: The Search Nears it’s End

Before I talk about my current lack of a mentor. I want to focus on the positives and talk about what’s actually gotten done. I’ve ordered pre-made rings for what will probably make up my entire project. However, the manufacturer isn’t located nearby so I haven’t recieved the rings at the moment of writing this blog post. Hopefully, they arrive before the next post so I can get started with weaving. In the meantime, I’ve been doing some reading about armouring and watching some YouTube videos about the subject to increase the extent of my knowledge on armouring. While I’ve been waiting I’ve also been searching for a mentor.

Since the start of the project I made some phonecalls, sent some emails and talked to some people in person, but I haven’t been very lucky in terms of availability. I was in a pretty bad situation to begin with as most blacksmiths/armourers work during the summer, meaning that most are on vacation or are working other jobs right now. Every blacksmith I’ve contacted wouldn’t be in Canada for most of the project. I’ve also tried emailing local reenactment societies, but I only get silence in return so it seems like they’re probably not operating during the winter. The reenactment society mentor would’ve been ideal as I saw a variety of pictures on the reenactment society website featuring members wearing chainmail. Since that is my ideal route I’m going to wait until the end of this weekend for a response. If silence is all I get then I’m going to contact Mr. Findley who, according to Ms. Mulder, was doing a lot of cosplay stuff a while ago. Cosplay is not quite as related to armouring as I would’ve liked, but it is better than nothing. I should mention that I’m not really surprised that finding a mentor is hard for this particular subject area. The unique topics are always a bit more challenging.

One good thing that has come out of this is that I am now an expert in European armouring knowledge. Soon, I’ll be able to fill the skill part too. However, when I finally meet with my mentor (whoever that ends up being) I’ll at least know a lot about the topic.

To summarize, the rings are comjng, I should have a mentor by Monday afternoon, finding a mentor is hard, but that process should be over soon.

Disruption of Cultural Transmission Before the Colonial Era

For the beginning of socials studies we looked at the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commision and separated into groups revolving around a question about reconciliation or cultural transmission/genocide. Our group’s guiding questions was “Why is Cultural Transmission so important and why is disrupting it so terrible?”. From there we separated again to research individual topics. Personally, I wanted to look at other cases of the disruption of cultural transmission around the world. In grade seven, I did a very in-depth project on Norway where I actually contacted their nearest embassy and got them to send me souvenirs. For the research portion of that project I became very familiar with Norway’s history. Thus, as we discussed the cultural genocide attempted in Canada I was reminded of how other European nations slowly eradicated the Norse culture and replaced it with Christianity. As Christianity forced it’s way in, the Nordic writing method, runes, faded away and their Nordic Gods were forgotten. The only surviving parts of their culture were their language, because replacing an entire language in a large area proved very difficult to do and their history survived due to the fact that they actually had writing. Back to the question, after remembering the disruption of Nordic culture I decided I wanted to research examples of disruption of cultural transmission in and around Europe (including North Africa, Greenland, Eastern Asia, etc.) before and after the age of colonization. For example, the Gaulish cultures being disrupted by the Romans (not going to cover this one as it’s much further back in time than I would prefer and most people already known about this) and the Sami (known by English speakers as Laplanders) cultural was disrupted by the Christianized scandinavian nations.

After rereading about Norwegian history I found out that Norway was Christianization was done by mainly one king known as Olaf I of Norway. He took a very violent route of eliminating paganism and Norse culture by destroying temples and torturing and killing pagan resisters. He effectively forces most of his country to convert to Christianity and destroyed a large part of Nordic culture in the process. As the editors at world encyclopedia say “laf did not hesitate to resort to extreme coercive measures to convert his new realm; Norwegians who refused Christianity were killed, banished, or mutilated. Various sources affirm Olaf’s energetic approach to convert not just Norwegians, but Icelanders and Greenlanders as well.”

The interesting thing is that to the North of all this another culture was forming. The Sami people lived in the North part of Scandinavia and their culture lasted a lot longer compared to their Nordic neighbors. Before I explain what happened to them, some background information is needed. The Sami are an indigenous group that originates from Northern Scandinavia. Most of them live in Sweden. The Sami people are currently trying to get the Scandinavian countries to create a truth and reconciliation commission very similar to ours, but have not succeeded yet. The crimes against the Sami are far more recent, mainly occurring in the 19th and 20th centuries, but I quickly wanted to mention it in relation to the previous topic. The Sami dealt with a very similar situation as the North American aboriginals. They had land stolen, were forced into boarding schools, had their language banned and were basically hit by all the parts that make up cultural genocide. However, they are a far smaller group compared to the indigenous groups in North America which means it makes their cause very hard to hear. An unnamed historian from the North Norwegian museum wrote this about the matter of Sami boarding schools when asked by Politico about a possible truth and reconciliation commission, “As a result, Sámi children were forced to go to boarding schools. Now if you’re from Canada or Australia you know exactly what I’m talking about: these schools were an ideological factory where you put indigenous kids at the beginning and either got ´Typical Norwegians´ or broken down teens at the end. These schools were however much less violent and deadly than their counterparts from CA and AU but still worked in a similar way: kids were forbidden to speak their languages and all education only took place in Norwegian. This was very traumatic for these kids and many never got an actual education because of this. This also forced upon them the belief that their language and culture was worthless, so when they came back home after school often they would refuse or have forgotten how to speak their mother tongue. This program also impacted the local Finnish-speaking minority, the Kvens.” I also want to mention that there were once Sami in Russia as well, but they disappeared during the USSR’s sovietization of indigenous peoples in the 1940s to 1970s.

After doing a lot of research it seems quite apparant that the most important disruptions of cultural transmission occured in Scandinavia with the most notable and important one being of the Sami people. After reading about the Sami, I realized that there are indigenous groups around the world that are still going through what Canadian aboringals went through. It’s important that people around the world know about the Sami and their struggle. The more people who know about it, the more people that can help do something about it and hopefully push the Scandinavian governments to create a truth and reconciliation commission. Lastly, before I finish off the blog post I want to mention that there’s a lot more to know about the struggle of the Sami. Many of the haven’t told their stories or aren’t able to get them out due to the the lack of attention. Hopefully, over the next few years their story is heard and people start taking action.

In-depth Post #2: My Plans for the Next Week

Since the last time I posted I haven’t gotten quite as much done as I wanted. I’ve found some sources for the materials I need and will purchase them when I get the chance this week. However, in the area of mentorship I haven’t progressd very far. Last time I posted I said I found a person I can contact regarding my project. Since then, I’ve found two others from the same organization, but from different divisions. I would’ve already sent an email to the first person, but the last two weeks have been absolutely hectic with the semester ending, doubled up basketball games, work, and volunteering. I didn’t want to write the email in a bunch 5 minute chunks. I want to write a thoughtful email with the same train of thought from start to finish. Whenever I write an assignment in too many chunks I tend to forget things which I don’t want to do with something as important as this. Tomorrow, I’m not doing anything so I got all the time I need to write the email in one sitting.

Now we get to the “How to have a Beautiful Mind” thing about agreeing, differing and disagreeing. For me at least, I think I already apply this part of the book into my life. I don’t think I’ve ever had a mentor in anything (basketball, sailing, refereeing, etc.) where I agreed or disagreed with everything they said. There have been tons of times where we differed on an opinion. I think this naturally occurs for me as I’m a person who looks at what other people say critically while staying respectful.

One last thing, I’ve also been putting those 5 minutes vacancies the last two weeks into researching my skill. In particular I learned about making the rings. British Columbia is a huge attraction for medieval reenactments which means there aren’t many ring suppliers in the area. Thus, I may need to create my own rings. It’s actually quite easy. All you need is a metal wire and a wood pool. The thickness of the wire and the pole will affect the chainmail, but are both up to personal preference. All you need to do is drill a hole through the pole at one end, stick the end of the metal wire through the hole and start coiling the wire tightly around the pole. Make sure you don’t overlap and that each loop around the pool is directly next to the last one. Then you use a bolt cutter to cut a line down the coil and you have rings. If I can’t buy pre-made rings, this is what I’ll be doing this week in my free time.

In-Depth Post 1: Some Basics and Finding a Mentor

It’s time for round two of in-depth and I’m very excited. This year I wanted to some more production based, but I also wanted it to be unique. I’ve had a fascination with medieval society for a long time and I thought it would be interesting to go into armouring. Unfortunately, most armouring methods are either too expensive or too dangerous for me to do at this moment. However, the production of chainmail was a good option for beginners as it is both inexpensive and very safe. Also, chainmail is always in demand for reenactments and cosplayers which means it can provide you with the funds necessary to work on other types of armouring.

Before I start making chainmail I need to understand the different linking methods available and why they’re useful. After doing some research I found that there are three main types of chainmail. In order from weakest to strongest, butted, riveted and welded. Butted chainmail means that the rings in the chain had no connection between the two ends of the rings. Riveted chainmail means that the ends of the rings are hammered together. Welded chainmail means that the ends of the rings are welded together. I’ll be using the butted method as it is the least time consuming and I won’t actually use the armour in combat which means that strength doesn’t matter.

Once I figure out the main type I need to know what pattern I’ll be using. There are literally hundreds of types chainmail patterns coming from a large variety of cultures. From what I’ve read online the easiest to start with is European 4-1. In this pattern, each ring is linked to four others around it. However, for the final product I’ll try out some other styles and show those samples in my display. Some other beginner linking methods I plan to try are European 6-1 which means that each ring is linked with 6 other rings around it and European 4-1 Kingsmail which is a version of European 4-1, but you add second rings onto all the links.

I mentioned a little bit of information about my final product, but I haven’t explained exactly what I plan to do. To put it simply, my plan is to produce at least a shirt of chainmail and several different linking method samples. If I can do more such as a making a full set I definetly will. My goal is to make as much chainmail as possible. I’ll might also do some time lapses of me building the final product as well.

One of the major aspects of this project that I’m currently missing is a mentor. As you might expect an expert in the field of armouring may be hard to find. However, I’ve found some potential candidates. Firstly, I spoke to a person from the Burnaby village museum and they told me that thier blacksmiths don’t know much about armouring. However, they told me if I couldn’t find anyone else. Then I could possibly arrange something with one of the blacksmiths. Also, they told me about the Society of Creative Anachronism which is a medieval recreation/reenactment organization based in North America and reccomended contacting the local group. The organization has divided North America into a bunch of small “medieval countries. For example, we live in the kingdom of An Tir in the principality of Tir Righ and I live in Shire of Lionsdale. I’ll contacting the Seneschal of the Shire of Lionsdale and I’ll ask if he can either tell me who within his organization makes the chainmail or where they get it outside the organization. I’ve seen pictures of their Tourneys and some of them wear chainmail. Thus, this should should at least give me a lead to someone who actually makes chainmail. In my opinion, that would be better than a blacksmith from Burnaby village.

Eminent Bibliography

Basic Info on de Ruyter– Info on the man himself.

Raid on Medway – de Ruyter’s most famous battle. Very interesting read.

Amsterdam Maritime Museum – A very cool museum and where I got my inspiration to do this project.

Admiral, a movie/documentary – Very well made, but in Dutch. Also, not 100% accurate and skips some stuff.

Badass, Michiel de Ruyter – A less professional, but fun article about de Ruyter. A fun read and also very accurate.