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Alan Longmire

So you think you want a Fiery Beard?

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In the interest of answering some of the common (and uncommon!) questions we get about the whole Fiery Beard thing, I think it's about time to post a thread on what I think it means. My opinion is not necessarily the same as the rest of us, so I invite all the other brothers of beardliness to add what it means to them.

 

First, here's what the beard is not:

 

1. It is not necessarily a physical beard.

 

2. It is not necessarily a sign of superior skill (or I wouldn't have one!).

 

3. It is not meant to denigrate or to in any way dismiss the skills required to do fine Japanese-style bladesmithing, or any other style of bladesmithing.

 

4. We do not have a leader.

 

As to what it is, well, it all started as a bit of semi-serious tomfoolery on a long-lost thread from "The Way" called A Question of Means in which someone was asking in all seriousness what sort of commitment and investment it takes to be a successful bladesmith. By about page 6 it had devolved into inspired lunacy the like of which I have not seen since, and it's a profound pity that thread got lost in one of the forum crashes. :( Some of it can be found in the Wayback Machine Internet Archives, but not all. The tomfoolery aspect is why Don saw fit to put us in our own subforum, which is of course open to everyone to post silly stuff, for which I am eternally grateful.

 

The original purpose of the beard in the avatars was as a way of showing those individuals who have a deep and consuming interest in the bladework of early iron age civilizations of northern Europe. It's certainly not the only interest we have. In fact, one of the very first beards was given to Tai Goo! Jake Powning is the genius behind the symbol and the movement, and has traditionally been the designated beard-grantor. I am the fifth or sixth beard, behind Jake, Tai, J. Loose, Jesse Frank, Kris Skelton, and Chris Price.

 

Since its birth in 2005, the beard seems to have become a badge of skill and acceptance into a loose confederacy of those of us crazy enough to try to replicate the style and spirit of the migration-era pattern-welded blade. The production of a multicore composite pattern-welded sax/seax or sword, along with a certain twisted sense of humor, seems to have become the de facto method of gaining entrance, although there is not any kind of formalized requirement(s) on how to achieve a beard.

 

I pinned the thread started by Owen Bush titled "Is your beard burning" for everyone to read, because that thread seemed to me to best capture the meaning and soul of the whole Fiery Beard thing.

 

There is no secret council (as far as you know ;) ) that controls entrance. We're not a formal organization. We don't vote on stuff. If you're one of us, we know, and you probably do too. If you deserve one and we haven't bestowed the beard upon you yet, don't worry, we'll get around to it one of these days. As I said, we are not formal about it. And then there's that sense of humor thing again. If you're too serious, the flame can become all-consuming. I recommend watching a lot of Monty Python, but whatever works for you. :P

 

So go brush up on your ancient Norse, Saxon, Celtic, and Finnish mythology; Read the literature of the Merovingians; feel the fire of the ancient smiths sear its way into your soul, study the old blades and metalwork; relax with the beverage of your choice, and be host to divine silliness. We're a tribe of like-minded individuals, nothing more. Unless we are, of course. ;)

 

So: What does the Fiery Beard mean to you? Are we elitist pigs, deluded madmen, adherents of bizarre pagan rituals, just a bunch of silly guys wasting time on the net, all of the above, or something else? Let 'er rip!

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So I am Guessing the accidentally lighting myself on fire doesn't count? :D:P

Edited by WmHorus
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Well to me The Beard, indicates a group of guys you can pretty much count on to:

 

a. produce some really fine Norse/Celtic/Northern European blades.

b. know their stuff when it come to the historic and/or myhtological roots of these pointy objects.

c. always willing to share their knowledge with othere 'inquiring minds'.

d. display a wonderfully warped sense of humor, especially with respect tot he aformentioned blades.

 

Personally, if I see The Beard, I know it's safe to talk of all things mystical, pattern-welded and hack-and-slewable (not neceassarily in that order).

 

Now if I could only get my wife to wear one of those beards our conversations would be oh so much more interesting at home (well, at least for me :lol: )

 

Keep up the good work guys, it wouldn't be the same forum without you.

 

Dan Kaschner

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To me its being part of good company, interested in the same think but not taking self too much serious, while at the same moment producing legendary craft.

 

Owen Bush has a good quote on this - forging soul into steel. I for myself talk about it like about telling stories with hammer and fire. all in ancient european tradition.

 

Its good for me that while i see some people who dont have Fiery beard but desrve one, i dont see any example of opposite

 

just a bunch of silly elitist madmen of bizarre pagan rituals

:o:rolleyes::D

Edited by Petr Florianek

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Its good for me that while i see some people who dont have Fiery beard but desrve one, i dont see any example of opposite

 

This comment right here Petr, is what makes it so worthwhile in general. I understand that it started as something of a humorous inuendo as to the dedication...and possible lack of mental stability of its membership lol...but to me it has come to represent a group of men I have the utmost respect for.

 

For me...if I were to edit your comment to suit my point of view:

 

'While I respect and admire many people here who do not have a fiery beard...I don't see any with a fiery beard, that I do not respect and admire.'

 

That just about sums it up.

 

And thank you Alan for clarifying the whole thing once and for all lol =D.

 

Cris

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And so it is that I have entered these hallowed halls a scant few moons ago

As I pushed opened the heavy oak and iron door and

breathed the smoke and fire within I saw the guiding lights

'twas not so much the beards aglow that held my gaze

But the beards spirit within burning steady and true

 

Ready to help, encourage, chastise and smite all those in need

So it came to pass that without question I trusted the words uttered by the fiery beards.

 

As for me-The hot blood of the Celtic Kings flows freely in my veins

Dark beers, Dark myths and Dark Pagan Woods dance with me

But the way of Nihonto holds me now and I feel not slighted

For a way- any way is a true path and should stay the course.

 

So I say to you O Men (and women) of the Fiery Beards and Twisted Patterns

Hold thee true to the path and listen not to those such as myself

That forge not the blades of the great northern forests and cold windswept heights

 

However

 

I tell you this

Listen to me well and truly as I speak lest I call upon those of my blood

Both lived and unlived to smite thee all

 

Keep the The Way free of The Word

When The Way becomes The Word-Demons stalk the dark woods

Should a leader arise and seek to create The Word

Cleave him with your wavy blades and look not back

 

Turn to your fires and glowing steel and see again

 

 

 

Okay? :rolleyes:

Edited by Danocon

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While my religious view prevent some things what it means to me is being able to drink so much meade that I still see 5 pieces of steel in front of me and be able to hit the right one and not have it come out looking like a corkscrew :D Oh I also forgot to ad NOT fall into the fire. Besides Im so far from finishing anything :D I am still working on shaping.

Edited by WmHorus

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Can I get one beacause I shaved my entire body in a fireball last week? My hair was on fire until I got a water bucket dumped on me. ^_^

NOTE: small children+lighter fluid+really big fire+me not watching= me having no hair. :lol:

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uh huh ...

sure sure!

 

read between the lines people!

the firey beards are all a front of a far darker plot ..

sure .. he may talk fancy, with all his .. words .. and stuff.

 

but look to the left of the screen!

" Interests: World Domination "

 

aha!!

world domination!

thats the REAL truth behind the firey beards!!

:lol:

 

 

joking aside .. it doesnt matter what part of you keeps catching fire .. just make sure you keep on making, progressing .. and striving.

thats the dedication thats called for.

:)

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That cause sweety you secretly hide your flaming ponytail :P You are Lukes Father! just kidding

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tehehe .. this is indeed a boys only club ..

i dont think any girl is going to want anyone to put a beard on them .. firey or not

^_^

 

,... besides .. i dont know if my plans for world domination will fit in with their plans anyhow .

:P

 

keep watching the ties!

.. i mean skies!

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To those of you who have lit yourself on fire.

 

Congratulations! You have met the requirement to "feel the fire of the ancient smiths sear its way into your soul..." One step has been taken upon the road. By all means, continue the journey!

 

Dee is right, what kind of girl is going to want a beard? Everybody would think she was a Dwarf!

 

~Bruce~

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For some reason I'm reminded of the phrase by Groucho Marx: "I would not join any club that would have someone like me for a member."

 

LOL.

 

In all seriousness: I'm honored to be a member, although I am the most junior and the least skilled/informed when it comes to Norse blades.

 

I believe, however, that now is the time for a nomination! (Since there is no formal process for nomination, I hereby make one up! . . . see Monty Python reference from Alan.)

 

I herby nominate Andy Davis and David DelaGardelle for a (long overdue) flaming beard.

 

I submit to the (super secret, inner circle) council (which does not exist) the following Norse inspired works by the aforementioned miscreants:

 

hildeoforfull.jpg

 

And this:

 

grundagfull.jpg

 

And this:

 

Kronulfr.jpg

 

And, perhaps immodestly, this:

 

83215508.jpg

 

May I suggest that the evidence is . . .well, self evident?!

 

Huzah!

 

--Dave

 

PS -- I am humbled by the fact that Jim Hrisoulas indicated that he may entertain sporting a firey beard. That's like a member of the real group asking to be a member of the tribute band!

 

PPS -- Dee, may I say that the beard thing is definitely not a gender specific/sexist icon, but I'm at a loss for an acceptable alternative symbol. Also, thanks for not killing WmHorus for calling you "sweety." (For WmHorus)Dude, seriously? "Sweety"? Really? . . . Have you seen the work she does? Let's leave those pet names for "Mad Men" bro.

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hahaha

nice.

 

Well, I'm honored and humbled to say the least Dave. But I must meagerly and kindly protest for the time being...

I dont think Andy and I have quite yet lit our beards ablaze fully...

a few sparks here and there maybe, and the occasional uncomfortable smoking smoldering goatee at times... But we've had our fair share of major distractions with some crazy projects in the past year or so (big projects yet to be revealed) that have been keeping us away from the truly epic Nordic inspired blades.

 

HOWEVER... We're cooking up a few goodies at the moment, and doing them right. We're taking our time in between custom orders, and hopefully they will send off enough sparks to ignite our meager beard beginnings... ;)

 

So no need yet good sirs. Though we're humbled and honored. We've yet to bring out the good stuff...

 

teaserw.jpg

 

;)

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As I recall the thread that started it all was WAAAAY out of control, in a good way. I'm sure everyone has been part of a message board community in which several people sort of gravitate together and just "click" into a clique. See what I did there :) That's what happened with the original firey beards, though we weren't exclusive- anyone could play. Anyway, the original requirements, as I recall, were that the members were interested in Norse blades, had preferably made one, preferably from pattern welded steel; smoked a pipe; and appreciated good beer and/or brewed their own (I think there was/is a spinoff thread about beer and forging but I haven't seen it in a while). I recall there being some of that healthy competition and it was all very supportive in a "give it your best shot" kind of way. Of all the members, I am seriously at the bottom of the pile in terms of experience and knowledge, but I'm great for comic relief. Every court needs a jester.

 

With all of that said, the beards were mostly a way for Don to keep track of the troublemakers when we escaped from the tomfoolery ward of the asylum :D He could see our faces AND we were brightly colored, making for quick identification.

 

Dee is right that our current long-term plot is world domination, but that's a side project when we're between knife projects. She wasn't supposed to tell, but there it is. What she WON'T tell you is that SHE is the one who came up with the idea to take over the world, and she's our current leader (we are collectively the Pinky to her Brain). She's not on fire so as to not draw attention to herself. She's crafty that way.

 

To jump off from what Alan said, we're not exclusive, we're not a cult or a club (we lack both a central religious figure and a dues structure, so we're not really either, but we kinda are :P ), and anyone can join- because if you think you deserve one, you probably do.

Edited by Kristopher Skelton

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I think it is kind of like a MacArthur award only better.... there is no money involved to muck thing upwink.gif

 

world domination? we smiths have been at the top right from the beginninglaugh.gif starting with Vulcantongue.gif

 

Dick

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(we are collectively the Pinky to her Brain).

 

My name is Legion, for we are many.

;)

 

 

She's crafty that way.

 

i wouldnt be an artist if i wasnt just a little bit ... crafty.

:lol:

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Dee brings up an important point, gentlemen.

 

What to do with the flaming lassies?

 

I look here to those veritable Smiths of lore, the Dwarves. Of them it is said that the Dwarven lady was rare, and indistinguishable from the sperm-donor of the species to the uneducated eye, primarily by virtue of her beard. Thus, as a matter of when and certainly not if we should elect into our Order a Flamme Fatale, indeed one such as Dee herself, I motion that the beard be granted in face-fuzz form, albeit neatly trimmed and as flattering as possible.

 

What say ye?

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uh huh ...

sure sure!

 

read between the lines people!

the firey beards are all a front of a far darker plot ..

sure .. he may talk fancy, with all his .. words .. and stuff.

 

but look to the left of the screen!

" Interests: World Domination "

 

aha!!

world domination!

thats the REAL truth behind the firey beards!!

:lol:

 

 

 

 

 

Shhhhh! thats supposed to be a secret.

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