Peter Brett’s Warded Man is really good. Really dark, almost horror, and really good.
In the books, weapons with wards painted on them have magical powers. So, I made one for Worldbuilders 2013-14!
I even got some input from Peter Brett on which ward to use and how to describe it – he was great to work with!
Here are a couple of brass hammers – one with a brass handle, the other with a stainless steel handle.
They were made from square brass stock – I milled a hole for the handle and drove the handle in. I cross-drilled the head through the handle, and ran a brass rod through. After pinning and sanding down the rod, I ended up with some sturdy little hammers.
Brass is non-marring on steel (at least when used gently), and non-sparking.
I made a batch of 12: I kept one for my workshop, gave one to my dad, and several to various friends with workshops.
They struck me (no pun intended) as the sort of thing one might find in the workshop described in Name of the Wind, so these last two are off to Worldbuilders.
For a little blast from the past, here is a set of marking knives I made for a friend who is a woodworker.
They are chisel-ground, so they mark flush with the edge of the knife – I understand this makes it a quick way to cut and then sand to precise length, (they are mirror images).
Image courtesy of Gerry Winslow.
Last time I read The Name of the Wind, I realized I wanted to make a knife like Denna’s.
It’s described in Chapter Seventy-Three, “Pegs”:
“She reached deep into her pocket and brought out a long, slender piece of metal, glittering all along one edge…. Her knife wasn’t much larger than mine, but her’s wasn’t a folding knife. It was a straight piece of metal, with thin leather wrapping the grip. It clearly wasn’t designed for eating or performing odd jobs around the campfire. It looked more like one of those razor-sharp surgical knives from the Medica.” (p. 528 in the Trade Paperback).
I decided to try making one. After about 5 sketches, I cut a blank out of steel and ground it to shape. After a dozen iterations or so, we agreed it matched the description from the book as well as we could envision.
Heat treatment of this particular steel (S35VN) requires baking it at 1990 degrees F for 30-40 minutes, then, once removed from the oven, cooling to below 150 degrees in less than a minute. Once cooled, the knife steel is brittle (like glass) and must be tempered by re-heating. This particular knife was tempered to about 1050 degrees 2 times. After tempering, the final grind is put on the knife, and then it is rough sharpened.
Wrapping the handle was interesting: Pat wrote “with thin leather wrapping the grip.” What kind of leather? What color? Was it spiral wrapped or some kind of design?
We decided strips of grey pigskin looked cool in a crisscross pattern.
We also decided we really didn’t want anyone trying to carry this knife concealed (illegal in most states), so it is not fully sharpened and there is no sheath for it.
It wasn’t until the next day, looking at it again, that I realized it would make a great letter opener.
So this is a protype and has some warts, but we thought it might be fun for someone to use as a letter opener, or perhaps display, so we are including it with our other Worldbuilder donations.
Image provided by Worldbuilders.
From the Worldbuilder’s auction:
There’s just something about copper. Some people say it resists sympathy. Some people say it’s a good block against malfeasance. Still others insist it’s powerful enough to resist naming. But one thing is undeniable: copper is special enough that having a knife made of the stuff might be a good idea for travelers, sympathists, and bookworms.
This knife was handmade by Tait Stevens (ed: and Loren!) over at Esoteric Garage from 1.5 pounds of pure copper, and it looks like something Kvothe would have bought off a tinker for a couple jots. Deliberately roughed-up & patinated, this pure copper knife will start showing much more character as it ages and the copper ages. It even comes with a scrap of burlap, perfect for squirrelling away behind a chimney somewhere. As it is, this is the perfect addition to your Kingkiller costume, mantle, desk drawer, wall, or anywhere else you might need a little something that maybe can’t be renamed. But first, you’re going to want to hold it for a while. It just feels neat.
This is a lovely piece of memorabilia from the Kingkiller Chronicle.
Image provided by Worldbuilders.
Copper dice designed and manufactured in a manner consistent with technology available in Kvothe’s world. They are made from a 1/2″ x 1/2″ rod of 99.9% pure copper. After cutting, all surfaces were sanded down for a consistent finish, so the size varies slightly from die to die. Bevels were created on the edges. The dice are not rounded.
The spots on the dice were manually drilled using a drill press with a milling vise. There is some variation in spot location and depth due to the handmade nature. The dice were subsequently heated in our forge to create a red-brown patina, then tumbled for several days to simulate age and wear. Over the course of years, we anticipate the dice will darken as the oxide deepens.
Image courtesy of Worldbuilders.
The theme of Esoteric Garage this year seems to be speculative items
from Kvothe’s world, with emphasis on copper.
So we also made some copper rings. Do they fit into the story? It
doesn’t really matter. They’re cool.
These rings were turned out of solid, 99.9% pure copper, finished
using a Scotch-brite wheel, then polished with a buffer.
For polished rings: copper is amazingly beautiful when freshly
polished – and it starts tarnishing within a day or so. The rings were waxed to slow the tarnishing.
For aged rings: after polishing, the ring was heated to a glowing
orange (1,200 degrees F) then quenched in water for an aged effect.
We made 5 in different sizes. Some were polished, and some were heat treated like this one.
They sold out from The Tinker’s Packs before they were even mentioned on the blog.
Image kindly provided by Worldbuilders.
We like envisioning the worlds that authors create in their novels.
Pat Rothfuss has mentioned that it’s impossible and pointless to mention every single detail in the character’s lives – the author selects the parts relevant to the story and leaves out the rest.
Similarly, no author can fully describe every object in the world in detail – as readers, we have to assume there are some things that exist, but are not described in explicit detail. For example, copper knives make sense in Name of the Wind, but are only mentioned in passing. Copper dice also make sense, but are not specifically mentioned.
We have a lot fun imagining how these things would look and making them. We try to create them as authentically as we can.
We don’t sell our work directly, so we hope the pieces find homes where they are appreciated as mementos of donations to help fight hunger and poverty. We hope to help other people – through the act of creation – to get the supplies, skills, and support they need to create their own worlds.
Tait and Loren
We’ve been dying to write up a couple of the things we did this summer, but they’re still secret.
We can say that we are proud to be sponsors of Worldbuilders 2012.
We donated a couple of things to Worldbuilders this year. So, keep your eyes open for a few Esoteric Garage items as they pop up – we’ll link to the auctions from here as well.
Tait and Loren
p.s. If you are an author and have an idea for something you’d like made from your world, please don’t be shy – we’d love to chat.