Jump to content
Christopher Price

Knifemaker Interview Series, a biography workshop

Recommended Posts

12 hours ago, Joshua States said:

Well then Sir Longmire, has anyone interviewed you yet?

On page one, actually.  But if you want to know more, go for it.  That was what, ten years ago now?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/25/2008 at 9:37 AM, Alan Longmire said:

made my first non-kit longrifle

Do you have any pictures. You shared picture of all your other firsts but this one. You have me curious now.

Edited by Jeremy Blohm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They're not very good, and I have one more that was never scanned, but here you go from 1999...

#1finished.jpg

#1finished2.jpg

It's an early Christian's Springs, PA style rifle, 35" barrel, .58 caliber.  It would date to around 1765 or so.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow....now that is impressive!!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What's your favorite archeological site in America and why?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's impossible to say, there are so many.  My two favorites because they were occupied by my direct ancestors were pretty cool in terms of material culture and location (the earlier one from 1786 you had to arrive by boat); my favorite for preservation was a Mississippian period village that had burned around 1541 in which the posts for the houses remained intact below the plowzone, along with the charcoal from the rivercane matting the walls were made from.  I was in the cave where the oldest datable rock art in North America was discovered at the time of the discovery, but didn't bother to climb into the side passage it's in because the guy who found it thought it looked fake (it does, but it isn't).  :wacko:

Jamestown is pretty darned cool.  There a string of Native American sites along a river valley not far from here where contact-period trade goods are starting to show up.  Things like Spanish beads from the mid 1500s, English brass from ca. 1640, that kind of thing.  And nobody has done much with it because we didn't know until last year or so.  

I don't much care for outhouse pits, especially when someone who had used it back in the day walks up and says "Young men, do you know what we used to do there?":huh:

There's just so much out there, and I tend to be fairly self-centered about which ones I like, but I'm ethically required to treat them all equally, so I do.  Being from Tennessee and employed by the state, I get caught in thinking only of Tennessee sites.  Being interested in historic archaeology, which is defined as the archaeology of European expansion, it amuses Europeans when I tell them the historic period in Tennessee started in earnest in 1769 with the first permanent Euro-American settlement.  In graduate school I was friends with the daughter of an archaeologist from England who ran the York Archaeological Trust (she was into forensic anthropology), and she laughed about that date because her house in York was built in 1550. The core room of Owen Bush's house outside London was built in the 1400s.  It's all relative.  :lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So how did you get such an awesome job working for the state of Tennessee? Archaeology was my first love.

I can only dream of a job like that. :lol: 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, Randy Griffin said:

such an awesome job working for the state of Tennessee?

Um, I remember Alan telling us once that 90% of his time was spent behind a desk, and that every archaeologist spent time at this horrendous site in Texas that was littered with unexploded military ordinance, and now he talks about :

48 minutes ago, Alan Longmire said:

I don't much care for outhouse pits,

So what part of "awesome" am I missing? :P

Sorry to interrupt the interview. Please carry on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't know why he doesn't care for outhouse pits. They have some interesting stuff in them. :wacko: 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
58 minutes ago, Randy Griffin said:

Don't know why he doesn't care for outhouse pits. They have some interesting stuff in them. :wacko: 

They have the best stuff, but not if they're too recent.  You really don't want to be in one that was used in living memory.  The smell alone is bad enough, but there's other stuff that lasts forever like TB, Meningitis, E.coli, and so on.  

 

1 hour ago, Joshua States said:

Um, I remember Alan telling us once that 90% of his time was spent behind a desk, and that every archaeologist spent time at this horrendous site in Texas that was littered with unexploded military ordinance, and now he talks about :

 

Fort Polk, Louisiana, actually, and yeah, that was interesting.  Due to some recent bureaucratic changes with the Federal Highway Administration regarding proper notification of Federally Recognized Native American Tribes combined with a staff shortage and hiring freeze, now something like 99% of my time is behind a desk.  Sigh... :(

But to answer your question, you go to school, get a job as a slave-wage laborer working in terrible conditions far from home, learn enough about what you're finding to be able to write about it, go to grad school to at least the master's degree level, go back to work (but now you're the slavedriver, yay!), and do this until you realize you're tired of never being home and your hip is about to quit on you (for most of us the knees or rotator cuff goes first), and then you get lucky because the lead archaeologist for the state likes you and manages to get the hiring freeze lifted.  

This all happens because of the national Historic Preservation Act of 1966, which has two major sections that resulted in an industry of contract archaeology.  Section 110 is the one that sent me to Fort Polk in 1993, had me walking the entire shoreline of Watts Bar Reservoir in 1994, and cutting transit sightlines through seriously nasty second-growth timber at Arnold Air Force Base in 1995 (at there was no UXO or live-fire exercises at Arnold), and it states that all federal agencies who who control land are required to do an inventory of their properties to determine if there is anything historic under their control.   

The other, larger section that is why I have this job is Section 106, which, simply stated, says that any undertaking that involves funding or permits from any federal agency must be checked for cultural resources before the undertaking can happen.  When you realize that almost every single highway project, from repaving to adding turn lanes to repairing bridges, has a little federal money involved and often requires a permit from the Corps of Engineers or the EPA, suddenly my life as an archaeological bureaucrat jumps into focus.  Then there's the National Environmental Policy Act of 1972 that requires a survey if we make any changes to the environment, and Executive Order 11593 by Richard Nixon (!) that made the Preservation Act of 1966 have teeth.  All that on top of the Antiquities Act of 1907, the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979.  Throw in the American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1979 and the Native American Graves Protection Act of 1996 and you have a huge pile of legislation that requires archaeology to be done and, in some cases because of the last law mentioned, not done, and there is a substantial industry called Cultural Resource Management, or CRM for short.

I'm the one who contracts with the CRM companies who do the actual fieldwork.  Well, I'm one of three.  I am in charge of all transportation-related archaeology for 48 counties, basically the eastern third of Tennessee, which has 96 counties.  Since a lot of the projects we do are tiny, I do hit the road about once a month and dig a few holes here and there.  And I do field visits on the larger projects that get contracted out.  

There have been a more than a few questions about all this, so I looked up a couple of the old threads.  Note the video Wayne mentioned is thankfully no longer with us.  Here's the TDOT in-house version

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I never thought about the bugs living in there. :ph34r: 

 

Thanks for the explanation of what you do for the state. I know we can't stop progress but it's a shame what is covered up by technology every day. And some of it can never be recovered.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I finally have a face and a voice to attach to these posts of Alan's. It's amazing how much he actually looks like his FB Avatar.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Joshua States said:

I finally have a face and a voice to attach to these posts of Alan's. It's amazing how much he actually looks like his FB Avatar.

Well, add five years of gray to the beard...the center is almost white now. B)  And my new hard hat is a full-brim version. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I still need to try to break into the local archeology scene.  I think I would like it.

I'm not saying it's aliens, but it's aliens :ph34r:

Ok, I know that's all BS, but I love watching those ancient aliens folks because they make me feel smart...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, Brian Dougherty said:

I still need to try to break into the local archeology scene

Pretty sure that is a federal offence :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, we digress. We need a pair of people, one to interview the other one. After looking through the list again, it seems that there are two people who are missing from the ranks of deserved subjects: Christopher Price (he interviewed Alan and Niko) and Jeroen Zuiderwijk.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Quite true about Jeroen.  Chris was interviewed by John Page in 2012, but I've been meaning to email Chris anyway, he's been AWOL for a while and I'm a terrible friend when it comes to communicating.  :(  Why don't you ask Jeroen?  The usual format is one interviewer per subject, but I suspect there will be a few questions from others...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i tried sending a PM to Jeroen, but I get a message saying he cannot receive messages....:blink:

Maybe if I post it on his Public Feed? How about I try this:

Hey there @Jeroen Zuiderwijk are you up for an interview?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, Joshua States said:

i tried sending a PM to Jeroen, but I get a message saying he cannot receive messages....:blink:

Maybe if I post it on his Public Feed? How about I try this:

Hey there @Jeroen Zuiderwijk are you up for an interview?

Hey, yes :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Jeroen Zuiderwijk said:

Hey, yes :)

Just noticed why you might not have been able to send me a PM, mailbox was at 138% capacity :unsure:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Jeroen Zuiderwijk said:

Hey, yes :)

Great! I'll send another PM and we can get started soon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So without further ado, I will get this going. I am please to announce the restart of the Knifemaker Interview Series with Barbarian Metalworking mage, Jeroen Zuiderwijk.

Jeroen: There are many folks on the forum who may not be familiar with you and your work, so as a basic starter, please tell us a little about you, where you live, when you became interested in metal work and blade making, and when you started.

What drew you to blades and metalworking in general. Were there cultural aspects that raised the interest?

(on a side note maybe we could modify post #1 to include this?)

 

Edited by Joshua States

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I'm Jeroen Zuiderwijk, 43 years of age and I live in the Netherlands (that small country in Europe between the UK and Germany). In daily life I'm an engineer in the aerospace industry, or rocket scientist.

My interest is focussed mainly on prehistoric and early medieval metalwork. This interest started with a visit to the former National Army Museum, in Delft, Netherlands when I just started studying. I already had an interest in old weapons, fighter aircraft mostly. When I got to the ancient weapon section, this turned my whole view of the history of mankind upside down. I was standing in front of around 3000 year old bronze swords. I had never thought there was anything technological worth mentioning before the Romans. Yet there were these very finely crafted sword, also in a different metal. 

12140009.jpg

At first this remained just a lingering interest. But as years went by, that interest started to grow. And the more I learned about this generally unknown period by most people, the more it drew me in. The metalwork from the bronze age is absolutely magnificent. Not just the swords, but so many artifacts made back then. But at the same time the way they lived was still so very close to nature, with houses made of the materials found locally: wooden structures, wicker and mud walls, thatched roofs etc., growing their own crops, cattle etc. 

17 years ago I visited a living history center called Archeon, where they have reconstructions of houses from the mesolithic up to the late medieval period. After a year of almost living there as visitor, I found out that I could actually join there as volunteer and get involved in living history of the various periods. At some point I saw demonstrations of bronze age bronze casting, by Erik Schouten. Then it became clear: I MUST do that! :) I started to put together my own equipment, making bellows, crucibles moulds etc. I was warned by the previous caster, that it would take at least 1 or 2 years before I could expect to get any decent result. That really helped a lot, as he was spot on. Doing it in the way it was done 3000 years ago is really really hard! There were so many factors that would either lead to bronze not melting, crucible failure, mould failure, bronze spilling (getting a 1100C crucible with metal out of a fire that burns your hands as you try to get close and pouring it into a small opening with no metal tongs is a bit of a challenge). But the real challenge was the moulds. Making heat resistent moulds that would not give all kinds of bad reactions, made from locally dug clay was, and still is a big challenge. And the castings had to be of sublime quality, because grinding away metal on natural stones take ages. 

This is me back in the day casting bronze the bronze age way in Archeon :

casting_an_axe_in_the_bronze_age.jpg

Examples of some bronze age (socketed) axeheads that I made back then:

houten_socketed_axes_21_feb_2006.jpg

And one hafted:

houten_socketed_axe_15_march_2006_1b.jpg

The nice thing is, tools like these axes were used on a frequent basis. So they were tested thoroughly as well. 

As time went by, my interest diverged into the iron age and early medieval metalwork as well. So I started forging besides bronze casting. Also in the same level historical setting, charcoal forge, bag bellows, small iron anvil etc (here in the iron age):

859279_188390928034311_1749592959_o.jpg

Forging was a lot easier to get started with. When beating a bit of iron, it may not at first end up in exactly the shape you intended, but it can be a usable knife f.e, whereas with bronze casting so many attemps resulted in absolutely nothing useable. So that allowed me to do some bladesmithing on the side. I moved back and forwards between bronze and iron, depending on my interest at the time.

As time went by, I moved away from exactly reproducing the entire process accurately, and started focussing on the result rather then the entire proces, allowing modern tools to be used (or as I call it, cheating! ;) ). I simply had spend enough hours grinding metal on a piece of stone, and wanted to spend more time playing with fire and hot metal. And some years ago stopped doing living history alltogether except for some rare occasion, and now have my work place at home, literally on my doorstep in the middle of the city. 

Involving more modern means takes a lot of the difficulties away, which allows me to do make more challenging reproductions. My available time to do metalwork has dropped to practically zero at the moment, mostly spend being a father of a 1 year old right now. So what time I do have, I want to spend it as efficiently in making cool stuff as possible. Hopefully as my daughter gets older I may get some more free time here and there again.

 

Edited by Jeroen Zuiderwijk
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Those casting are quite intricate, and poured in clay molds? I would have guessed a sand casting of some sort. It seems that introducing more modern tools to your casting process would allow you to branch out into other forms and items. (I seem to remember a full size Star Wars Light Saber at some point). The expansion into the iron age work also must have taken you in different directions. In what ways has your art and blade making grown? 

I also would like to say that I appreciate your devotion to the history and using the original archaic methods. You are one of this forum's recognized authorities on historical works and the sharing of your knowledge has benefitted many of us. What can we all learn from studying the ancients and their methods? How can we apply the "old ways" to our work today?

 

Edited by Joshua States

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/1/2019 at 2:11 PM, Alan Longmire said:

They have the best stuff, but not if they're too recent.  You really don't want to be in one that was used in living memory.  The smell alone is bad enough, but there's other stuff that lasts forever like TB, Meningitis, E.coli, and so on.  

 

Fort Polk, Louisiana, actually, and yeah, that was interesting.  Due to some recent bureaucratic changes with the Federal Highway Administration regarding proper notification of Federally Recognized Native American Tribes combined with a staff shortage and hiring freeze, now something like 99% of my time is behind a desk.  Sigh... :(

But to answer your question, you go to school, get a job as a slave-wage laborer working in terrible conditions far from home, learn enough about what you're finding to be able to write about it, go to grad school to at least the master's degree level, go back to work (but now you're the slavedriver, yay!), and do this until you realize you're tired of never being home and your hip is about to quit on you (for most of us the knees or rotator cuff goes first), and then you get lucky because the lead archaeologist for the state likes you and manages to get the hiring freeze lifted.  

This all happens because of the national Historic Preservation Act of 1966, which has two major sections that resulted in an industry of contract archaeology.  Section 110 is the one that sent me to Fort Polk in 1993, had me walking the entire shoreline of Watts Bar Reservoir in 1994, and cutting transit sightlines through seriously nasty second-growth timber at Arnold Air Force Base in 1995 (at there was no UXO or live-fire exercises at Arnold), and it states that all federal agencies who who control land are required to do an inventory of their properties to determine if there is anything historic under their control.   

The other, larger section that is why I have this job is Section 106, which, simply stated, says that any undertaking that involves funding or permits from any federal agency must be checked for cultural resources before the undertaking can happen.  When you realize that almost every single highway project, from repaving to adding turn lanes to repairing bridges, has a little federal money involved and often requires a permit from the Corps of Engineers or the EPA, suddenly my life as an archaeological bureaucrat jumps into focus.  Then there's the National Environmental Policy Act of 1972 that requires a survey if we make any changes to the environment, and Executive Order 11593 by Richard Nixon (!) that made the Preservation Act of 1966 have teeth.  All that on top of the Antiquities Act of 1907, the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979.  Throw in the American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1979 and the Native American Graves Protection Act of 1996 and you have a huge pile of legislation that requires archaeology to be done and, in some cases because of the last law mentioned, not done, and there is a substantial industry called Cultural Resource Management, or CRM for short.

I'm the one who contracts with the CRM companies who do the actual fieldwork.  Well, I'm one of three.  I am in charge of all transportation-related archaeology for 48 counties, basically the eastern third of Tennessee, which has 96 counties.  Since a lot of the projects we do are tiny, I do hit the road about once a month and dig a few holes here and there.  And I do field visits on the larger projects that get contracted out.  

There have been a more than a few questions about all this, so I looked up a couple of the old threads.  Note the video Wayne mentioned is thankfully no longer with us.  Here's the TDOT in-house version

 

 

that accent tho :p

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...