Winter 2017 Now Available!

MiddleEarthRangers.org has graciously provided this space for the Middle Earth Reenactment Society for purposes of archiving/presenting their newsletter, and to keep our community informed on Society-specific happenings.

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Iodo
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Re: Winter 2017 Now Available!

Postby Iodo » Sat Dec 09, 2017 8:29 am

Elleth wrote:Ultimately though it's a game. It's for fun.

Taurinor wrote:HOWEVER, if someone had told me I couldn't be a Ranger because I was too short and blind as a bat, I probably would have abandoned ME reenacting entirely and missed out on connecting with some really great folks! I think that's why the standards focus on kit accuracy and persona research, rather than dictating who can play what.

Greg wrote:In the past (a long, long time ago) standards were discussed on this forum, and were wholly rejected on the premise that this forum is for everyone, and not in any way meant to be exclusive.
Hear this now: nothing has changed.

I honestly couldn't agree more, such great and true words :P
Greg wrote:Now get out there and get some snow under your soles.

And that I think I will be doeing today, a few inches fell here over night :mrgreen:
Gimli: It's true you don't see many Dwarf-women. And in fact, they are so alike in voice and appearance, that they are often mistaken for Dwarf-men.
Aragorn: It's the beards.
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SierraStrider
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Re: Winter 2017 Now Available!

Postby SierraStrider » Fri Sep 20, 2019 4:00 am

I just found these newsletters and I'm absolutely loving them--especially since they contain a lot of detailed images which, in the instances when they have been posted to the forum, have often disappeared due to an end of support from the hosting services.

I have to confess, you guys got me. I started out wanting to make a workable costume for a nerdy athletic challenge. A rayon tunic and a goretex cape ought to do, right?

Now I find myself putting serious thought into a MERS-level kit...for a nerdy athletic challenge. Just bought a bunch of veg-tan leather that I'm looking forward to learning to work with.

In that vein, a couple of things stood out to me in the MERS standards that I wonder if someone else could shed some light on--specifically, rivets and metals.

The document says,

No two-piece rivets, or extraneous studs or rivets in clothing or leather ‘armor’


What exactly constitutes a 2-piece rivet? Obviously pop rivets and D&D "studded leather" wouldn't fit, but the only one-piece rivets I know of are used in metalworking--a metal pin slipped through two pieces of metal and then pounded out to deform and make a friction-fit. This doesn't seem viable for leather. Metal washers on either side seem like a bare minimum to grip leather properly.

Can anybody shed light on the historical usage of rivets in leather or cloth goods? Would a copper nail peened to a copper washer on the back be plausible? If not, are any rivets acceptable outside of metalworking, or is stitching just the best bet?

Secondly,

Acceptable Metals: Iron, Steel, Tin, Copper, Bronze, and referenced precious metals.


Leave the mithril spork at home, sure, but brass seems rather conspicuously absent. It's hardly a modern alloy, and as near as I can tell was used a fair bit at least as far back as the Roman period in Europe. Is this an oversight, or is there a reason for eschewing it?
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Elleth
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Re: Winter 2017 Now Available!

Postby Elleth » Fri Sep 20, 2019 11:29 am

Awesome! Welcome! :mrgreen:

I think the rivet question is mostly to quard against the ren-faire biker look. Generally speaking, I think rivets as closures on things like knife sheaths, belts, etc are a 19th century industrial era innovation that look wildly out of place on medieval period gear. I don't think that general principle applies to (for instance) cast belt mounts.

Regarding brass vs bronze: it's my understanding the distinction itself is comparatively modern, at least to the degree of consistency and standardization we expect to today. The Museum of London "Dress Accessories" book has tons of items (buckles, tack, brooches, etc) that it describes as "latten." Latten in this context basically means "a muddy alloy somewhere in the brass to bronze continuum." If anyone likes, I can dig out my copy for a better quote.

All of which is to say - I think brass would pass muster. It's possible there may be a textual quote in either the books or Tolkien's letters that preclude that, but I don't think so.


All that said, I didn't write the standards, so please don't take my answers as gospel. :)
Persona: Aerlinneth, Dúnedain of Amon Lendel c. TA 3010.
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Iodo
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Re: Winter 2017 Now Available!

Postby Iodo » Fri Sep 20, 2019 4:44 pm

SierraStrider wrote:
No two-piece rivets, or extraneous studs or rivets in clothing or leather ‘armor’


What exactly constitutes a 2-piece rivet? Obviously pop rivets and D&D "studded leather" wouldn't fit, but the only one-piece rivets I know of are used in metalworking--a metal pin slipped through two pieces of metal and then pounded out to deform and make a friction-fit. This doesn't seem viable for leather. Metal washers on either side seem like a bare minimum to grip leather properly.

I think this means not to use this sort of rivet: https://www.artisanleather.co.uk/antiqu ... ivets.html , and that this sort: https://www.artisanleather.co.uk/10-gau ... -of-8.html is OK, the washer is put on the back then the metal is peened to trap it in place (just my interpretation of the difference, I'm sure someone else is better qualified to answer :mrgreen: )

and I can't deny that I use both sorts anyway, from just looking at one side (if it's not been set using a forming tool) it's difficult to tell and the first sort is much cheaper (the second sort is stronger though), but my kit's not close to MERS level
Gimli: It's true you don't see many Dwarf-women. And in fact, they are so alike in voice and appearance, that they are often mistaken for Dwarf-men.
Aragorn: It's the beards.
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Peter Remling
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Re: Winter 2017 Now Available!

Postby Peter Remling » Fri Sep 20, 2019 4:54 pm

If you want a single piece rivet that will work well take a short/thick flat headed nails. Cut them down to about 1/2" to 3/4" depending on what the thickness of the material you're riveting. Then using a fine hack saw cut them down the center vertically from the non head end. Leave approximately the last 1/4" uncut. Put them through your materials and spread the split shaft and hammer it down.

Works best with softer nails, so iron or copper. Nothing hardened.

Yes it's a pain in the posterior but it works. Wouldn't recommend it for large projects, too work intensive.
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SierraStrider
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Re: Winter 2017 Now Available!

Postby SierraStrider » Fri Sep 20, 2019 5:20 pm

Thanks for all the feedback. I'll look into those one-piece rivets, Peter, though making a backing washer and peening the nail almost seems like it'd be easier than cutting a nail lengthwise, if historical tools were all you had to work with. I could be wrong.

As for brass...it's been interesting to read about. It's been used for a very long time, but understood for a relatively short time. It looks like the Sumerians had brass, but mostly a very impure brass/bronze hybrid by today's terminology, and they probably thought of it more or less as a different flavor of copper.

The Hellenic Greeks had quite pure brass ("orichalcum"), but viewed it as a precious metal, and probably wouldn't have been using it for belt buckles.

The Romans produced a lot of brass--and actually seemed to understand that it was an alloy of some sort, though they would have used zinc ore or the vapors thereof to make it, rather than metallic zinc. It was still used for coinage, which makes me think it was still rather valuable, but it was also used for hardware.

During the medieval period, 'true' brass seems to have declined in popularity in favor of copper alloys that contained both zinc and tin--to Elleth's point about a 'muddy continuum' of alloys. However, this seems to have been due to economic and geographic factors that may not be applicable in other times or places, such as third-age Middle earth; in the Middle East at the same time, for example, brass was becoming far more common.

I'd say that, unless there's a textual basis for eschewing it that I'm not aware of, it's probably fine. However, if one wanted to be conservative, one could treat it as more of a precious metal, like silver--to be used sparingly and with the understanding that its potential rarity could make its use seem ostentatious.
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Udwin
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Re: Winter 2017 Now Available!

Postby Udwin » Fri Sep 20, 2019 8:39 pm

Hi SierraStrider, we're glad to hear of your appreciation of our newsletters and interest in MERS-standard kit!

Not including brass in our approved-metals list is an oversight; in the very third sentence of The Hobbit, Bag-End's door is stated to have a brass knob. This survived into the 1960 rewrite draft, so I am content to believe that it is what Tolkien actually intended it to be made of. In future versions of the Standards, we'll be sure to include it!

As for rivets, copper, bronze/brass, or iron pins riveted over a washer are perfectly acceptable on items of hard kit, but really shouldn't be necessary on leather items anyway (I can't think of any leather or cloth goods that would need rivets). We are indeed trying to avoid the D&D biker/Hollywood medieval studded leather look. For soft kit items, stitching is really the only way to go.

Any other questions, please don't hesitate to ask!
Personae: Aistan son of Ansteig, common Beorning of Wilderland; Tungo Boffin, Eastfarthing Bounder, 3018 TA
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SierraStrider
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Re: Winter 2017 Now Available!

Postby SierraStrider » Sat Sep 21, 2019 12:38 am

Well, thus die my dreams of a candy-apple red patent leather cuirass studded with chromed spikes...

Thanks for the clarification, Udwin. Your reasoning seems unassailable.

Thinking about metals, I also noticed the absence of pewter. It could probably be understood to fall under the category of 'tin', but might be worth adding for the sake of completeness. Leaded pewter has its drawbacks, of course, but I was surprised to learn how ancient the use of antimony and bismuth are, on their own and in pewter.
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Greg
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Re: Winter 2017 Now Available!

Postby Greg » Sat Sep 21, 2019 2:25 am

Brass doorknobs and brass buttons are listed separately and repeatedly enough within shire culture to warrant inclusion, yes.

So excited to see where you take this!

All that being said...your gore-Tex cloak-tent should find a fine and welcome home in a bug-out bag. Nice piece of engineering, that!
Now the sword shall come from under the cloak.
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Iodo
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Re: Winter 2017 Now Available!

Postby Iodo » Sat Sep 21, 2019 7:21 am

SierraStrider wrote:Thinking about metals, I also noticed the absence of pewter. It could probably be understood to fall under the category of 'tin', but might be worth adding for the sake of completeness. Leaded pewter has its drawbacks, of course, but I was surprised to learn how ancient the use of antimony and bismuth are, on their own and in pewter.

Since it's an old metal potentially dating back to the bronze age I think it's existence in middle earth is likely, although I did try to find it mentioned in the books and failed

I personally don't see a risk in having leaded pewter in certain items (I've used it for a pouch buckle and a few buttons) however if I chose to use a pewter tankard or something I'd make sure it was lead-free for safety
Gimli: It's true you don't see many Dwarf-women. And in fact, they are so alike in voice and appearance, that they are often mistaken for Dwarf-men.
Aragorn: It's the beards.

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