News from Stark Raven Studios: Dan and Saga's blog about blacksmithing, art, and daily life and  work on their tiny Wisconsin Northwoods homestead.

A Parting Glass



Here's to the year that was,

And all that it made us;

Here's to the year that will be,

And all we will make of it.




Peter Hollens sings "The Parting Glass," the song that was sung at the parting of friends before "Auld Lang Syne" became popular. He starts in a traditional mode, transitions into the version familiar from the movie Waking Ned Divine (highly recommended), then makes it his own. 

Tweaking Out

I continue to tweak my charcoal-making operation. Here's a video detailing my latest tweak-out.

This update to the design focuses on making the process safer and easier -- especially at the end of the burn. In the coming summer, I hope to put some time into designing and building a larger kiln.

Right now, I'd have to move too much snow first ....

Getting a Handle on the Situation

We made some of these simple cabinet door pulls recently for a local building contractor. He'd stopped by one day when we were working on the job to see how we made these, and he'd wanted to get some video of the process. Of course, his battery quit on him!

So we got our camera out and put together this quick little video, just to give an idea of what's involved in making such a piece. It's more an overview for interested folks who are not smiths themselves (or for smiths who are just curious to see how someone else might do it) -- not a technical how-to video.

With this kind of work, we usually have two or three pieces in the fire at a time, to improve efficiency. With a coal or charcoal forge, if we try to do more than that at once, we usually end up finding that some of the iron bars in the forge are too hot, others are too cold, or we just start tripping over ourselves, so to speak -- at that point, we know we've got too many irons in the fire.

So now you know where that saying came from!

Networking and New Friends

At every event we participate in, we make new friends. Some of the events we go to feel like family reunions and we look forward to seeing these folks year after year. 

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Versatility and the Occasional Twist in the Road

Rick's performance on Saturday was extraordinary! He had a very enthusiastic crowd of young adults dancing and singing along as well as shouting out requests. Billy Joel's Piano Man  was a particular favorite as was American Pie. It was great to see that many kids in their 20s who knew every word of these songs that came out a couple decades before they were even born. 

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