Tuesday, February 26, 2008


This past weekend, I spent two days at Moore's Creek Bridge N.B. just outside of Wilmington NC. This is a Revolutionary War site that I have worked with for many years. I took down my sailor kit and demonstrated a bit of Marlinspike knot work for the public as well as talking about the weapons of the age of fighting sail. I joined my friends in the Johnson County Militia as well as my shipmates Chris Grimes from the Ship's Company on Saturday and my pard John Moseley from my hospital for both days.

On many levels, it was a very relaxing weekend. One of the best things about reenactments and reenactors is that to a degree we are (as I posted earlier) like an extended family. Any time we get together it is just like "old home week" as if we just saw someone yesterday when in reality we haven't seen them in months. My well worn knees were giving me fits all weekend but I still managed to stay focused doing what needed to be done. I pitched in on Cannon and musket demonstrations (firing blanks for the public) but mostly talked to visitors while tying knots.

Marlinspike knot work is a term for decorative knot tying which goes back for hundreds of years. It was (and still is to a degree) one of the art forms done by sailors on shipboard. The art of macrame, is descended from this kind of knot work. I don't know why, but hopefully without sounding too egotistical I have found that I have slight talent for knot tying. Members of the public love this kind of stuff. I guess that the average person doesn't have the time or talents required so they look at the act of creation of something useful from a few hanks of rope as totally amazing. These days, rope work seems to have my urge to create under control, so I am a happy camper. (Anyone who knows me will tell you that I have to be doing something with my hands all the time, leather work, horn work, rope work, all have taken their place in keeping my hands occupied)

Before the weekend was done, I had turned out two cat-o-nine tails and three monkey fist (to be turned into sailor's life preservers, or more properly blackjacks) As far as I know, I am the only person who hand ties cat-o-nine tails anywhere around here and there are at least 17 that I have made floating around the world, (including one in England and one in Afghanistan) Folks are drawn to the cat. It is a lot like someone looking at a cobra in a zoo, repelled but also fascinated. Well, maybe..... I did have a very attractive lady approach me at a event to buy a cat, and she wanted to know if I made leather masks also. The scary thing was that I have the skills and knowledge to do so if I wanted to. GRIN

As I said, my shipmate Chris was at Moore's Creek and he did his Siren imitation again. (damn his eyes) GRIN He brought out two toys that I just gotta have, a speed log and sounding lead. So now I need to start figuring out how to copy them. The public loved seeing how they worked. So they would be handy as another tool to "entice" the public to come up and talk to us. Something else to add to the growing collection.

Speaking of collections, I used two weapons in the firing demonstrations this weekend, My sea service musket, (which I am just about to put up on blocks and do some more modifications on) and my blunderbuss. As I expected, the blunderbuss was the hit of the weekend. Everyone wanted to ask about it, look at it and fondle it. It is a handy little weapon, with it's shiny brass barrel it gets people's attention. A little tough to go to "order arms" with since it is so short, but nothing that couldn't be overcome.

Now I need to quit posting and clean those firearms that I dirtied up.


Chris Grimes said...

I love being the evil "siren". Let's see if we can't get a good price on 800 ft of hemp cord. I really want to re-do mine without using sisal cord. I have the manilla to do it but hemp would travel backward in time much better. Wait 'til you see my octant!

Andrew Duppstadt said...

Yes, we all have our toys (some more than others). And the damn thing about those guns is that you can have all the fun in the world with them, but then you gotta clean them. Its like one of the guys said at the NPS course, you cringe firing the first round out of it because you know you're going to have to clean it after that; from that point on its fun.