Solo [The Knight's Armory] Just a Little Rusty

Steel maintenance and care.

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[The Knight's Armory] Just a Little Rusty

Postby Baelin Holt on October 21st, 2019, 6:40 pm

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12, Fall 519 AV

Vinegar smelt gods-awful. Baelin didn’t care how many uses you could find for it, none of that changed the fact that―to him―it was absolutely rank. Expression pinched in his effort to suppress a grimace, Baelin finished pouring more vinegar into a bucket of sand. The mixture bubbled as he poured, the stink nearly overwhelming.

Nathaniel once teased him for how badly he reacted to vinegar. Said he could barely smell it; that Baelin was overreacting; that the whole revulsion to it was absurd in the first place. But Nathaniel could go shove it, because even just the barest whiff of diluted vinegar was enough to repulse Baelin.

Breathing shallowly, Baelin set down the container of vinegar and grabbed a stick. He held the back of his forearm up against his nose―an attempt to cover the stink with his own scent as he hovered over the vat―and dug the stick into the sand at the bottom. Working quickly, Baelin stirred the sand up, trying to get a bit of a suspended mixture. Eventually satisfied that it was probably as good as he was going to get it, Baelin dropped a rag in the bucket and poked it with his stick. He should probably just reach in there, swirl the rag by hand in the sand and vinegar mix, and then have a good abrasive cloth to work with. But the stench

Nope. This was fine. The stick was a perfectly acceptable solution, and then he wouldn’t have to literally plunge his hand into a vat of vinegar. Even with gloves on, that was just too much. Baelin swirled the rag a bit more in the mix, trying to pick up as much sand as possible, before he finally fished it back out.

Alright, now he had to man up. No more avoiding it because it had that acidic stink to it. Baelin checked one last time that his gloves didn’t have any holes in them, and then plucked the soaked rag off the stick. Entrenched with sand and dripping vinegar, the rag was great for scrubbing rust off. And considering that they all lived off the ocean’s coast, rust was a frequent and never-ending problem.

Several bucklers had been delivered to the Knight’s Armory, in need of rust treatment. And Baelin half-suspected that he was tasked with this job precisely because he hated it so much. Steeling himself, Baelin held the buckler in one gloved hand and the rag in another. The buckler itself wasn’t too far gone; the rust was just beginning to form as little dots sprinkled across the surface. With any luck, Baelin could get it all off quickly and then move to the next.

Baelin folded the rag over so that he’d have more control, and then began scrubbing. He worked quickly, rubbing sand against steel and leaving tracks of vinegar and loose grains in his wake. Some of the spots came off easily, but others remained stubbornly scoured into the surface. Baelin worked on the easy spots first before he really started to dig in.
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Baelin Holt
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[The Knight's Armory] Just a Little Rusty

Postby Baelin Holt on November 8th, 2019, 6:01 pm

He scrubbed and rubbed and dug the edge of the rag in with his fingertips, all in an effort to get the more resilient spots out. After a few chimes of fighting with it, eventually Baelin got most of the rust off of the buckler. Figuring that was as good as he was going to get it, Baelin dropped the rag back into the container of vinegar and sand and took the buckler over to a water trough. Carefully, Baelin peeled off his vinegar-soaked gloves and set them off to the side. He dipped his own hands into the warmed water first, rubbing them together to try and encourage the scent of vinegar to leave. It probably wouldn’t help much, but Baelin couldn’t be blamed for trying to wash his hands as frequently as possible. Something about vinegar…the acidity of it, he thought…he just really didn’t like it.

Once he got his hands as clean as he figured he’d get them, Baelin grabbed the buckler and dipped its edge into the water trough. The buckler was too big to truly be submerged, so Baelin splashed up warm water to get the whole surface. Rotating the shield to try and get an even spread, Baelin used a different rag―this one draped over the edge of the trough and simply for use with the heated water―and rubbed down the shield’s surface. He was careful to get at every nook and cranny; it was important to get any and all vinegar off the steel. While the acid was great for eating away rust, it was terrible for extended exposure on steel.

With the buckler dripping wet after its wash, Baelin brought it over to a shelf to dry. While that dried, he’d begin work on the next buckler. And then the next. And then the next.

So. Much. Vinegar.

It was alright. He had this. Baelin gingerly pulled his wet gloves back on, lips curling at the contact. It was like he could feel the wrongness of it. How was it that no one else was bothered by this? Was it really just him?

After seeing Baelin’s discomfort once back in Syliras, a blacksmith he’d worked with had casually remarked that a buddy of his used vinegar to ward off snakes. But Baelin had brushed off the comparison back then just as he did now. This wasn’t a snake thing. Anyone in their right mind should be able to tell that this stuff was simply foul. It couldn’t just be him.

Again opting to breath shallowly, Baelin grabbed his stick and dug around the vat for the dropped rag. He snagged it, scraped it around in the sand, and then pulled it back out of the noxious mix. Plucking the rag from the stick, Baelin swung it over to the next buckler and dropped it with a plop. He continued to ration his breaths as he began to work this buckler over just as he had done the last. This shield wasn’t so far gone; it had much more minor rust spots. It took considerably less time and elbow grease, and soon Baelin was ready to drop the soaked rag back in the sand and vinegar mix. Shifting away from the vat, Baelin returned to the warm water wash. He repeated the same motions as before: carefully peeling off his contaminated gloves, rinsing off the acid-drenched shield, and then shelving it to dry with the other buckler. Two down.

WC: 576
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Baelin Holt
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[The Knight's Armory] Just a Little Rusty

Postby Baelin Holt on November 11th, 2019, 4:50 pm

Baelin continued with the rest of the bucklers. He’d scrub the shields down with diluted vinegar mixed with sand; the vinegar serving to break down rust and the sand acting as an abrasive. And then rinse them in warm water and leave them to dry. Once he was done with all the bucklers, Baelin fetched the one he had worked on first from the drying rack. It was dry to the touch and seemed ready for the finishing touches. As it was now, the steel wouldn’t take too long to rust back over. But after being sealed by a coat of boiled linseed oil, it’d at least have one workable line of defense.

Previously boiled with litharge (oxide taken from heated, liquid lead), the linseed oil would hopefully dry faster now than if they’d used it raw. And as a finish, it should hold up nicely against rust. But to apply it, the buckler needed to be prepared, and then treated at a black heat. Grabbing a wire brush, Baelin went to work scrubbing off any and all contaminants or scale that was still left on the shield. He spent only a chime or so brushing it clean before he decided it was time to get it hot. Baelin took the buckler over to the forge and pumped the bellows, breathing fresh life into the coals.

He set the buckler on the burning charcoal, and pumped. Fire licked over the edges of the shield as he pushed air, and soon the shield’s outer rim started to sweat. Baelin stopped pumping to grab tongs and readjust the shield. It was getting a touch of a bluish tinge around the edge, but wasn’t anywhere close to uniform. He would need to adjust it periodically to try and get the heat as even as possible.

Baelin set the shield back down and resumed pumping. After another half a chime, Baelin once again lifted and adjusted the buckler, pumped, and then repeated in another half chime. Due to the shape and size of the buckler, it took him a good bit of time to get it all at a relatively blue color. It wasn’t as uniform as he’d like, but it would have to do.

While Isur could get away with just using their one blessed arm to maneuver large pieces like this, Baelin had no such gift. He needed two tongs to pull it out of the fire, and then had to concentrate to ensure he didn’t drop it. Grabbing onto opposite sides of the shield with his tongs, Baelin carefully picked it up and carried it over to a work surface closest to the window. This surface wasn’t quite an anvil, but it was a thick enough sheet of steel to set hot metal on. Which was exactly what Baelin needed. He set the shield aside, put away his tongs, and then fetched the container of their boiled linseed oil.

Baelin pulled on a pair of gloves and then poured some of the oil onto a rag. Once he had it good and damp, Baelin carefully began to run the rag across the buckler’s surface. The steel smoked as he stroked it, linseed oil belching out fumes on contact with the hot steel. Baelin tried to angle it towards the open window While no one else seemed to agree with him that vinegar smelt disgusting, everyone was on board with burnt linseed oil getting aired out as much as possible. Even to the least discerning nose, this stuff was foul. Working carefully, Baelin spread out one thin, even coat across the top of the shield. Then he flipped it over―he was able to maneuver it with gloved hands now that it was out of the fire―and repeated the process on the other side.

WC: 631
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Baelin Holt
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[The Knight's Armory] Just a Little Rusty

Postby Baelin Holt on March 13th, 2020, 11:42 pm

Maybe next time he should try beeswax. Baelin had to wonder if all this extra complication was worth it. But he wasn’t about to question anything here at the Knight’s Armory―he liked being employed, thank you very much―and so he set aside the wet rag and moved on to the next step. He tugged off his soiled gloves and set them close to the rag, mindful of any cloth that’d been soaked in linseed. It tended to spontaneously catch on fire sometimes.

Baelin pulled out another rag and wetted it with water, then laid it flat on the shield, splayed his fingers, and pressed his palm down. Moving in slow yet firm circles, Baelin worked his way around the shield’s surface.

Only a very thin layer of oil could be left on the shield. Baelin had seen what happened when you weren’t careful and left behind a thicker layer: it gummed up and you were left with a film that was a petching pain in the ass to get off.

And so Baelin continued working his hand in circles along the cooling steel. He chased oil around the corner where the shield’s face met its domed center, his fingers less capable of slipping into the crevice than the mobile oil. Maybe that was why oil was desirable; because it was good at getting to those tight-to-reach places. Baelin imagined it would be a sight harder to properly get in there with wax. Or perhaps he’d learn new techniques for getting wax into those corners if only he’d try. Might be worth it to get away from the burning stench of linseed oil.

Baelin pulled in a slow, carefully shallow breath. Whatever the case, he had these shields to finish. He finished buffing the surface, then flipped it over to do the same on the bottom. Switching his grip, Baelin reached into the domed guard and continued his careful rub-down.

With both sides now buffed, Baelin took the shield back to the forge. This next step was optioned by this particular customer, and a good armory always aimed to deliver. Positioning the shield back over the coals, Baelin pumped the bellows and breathed life back to the forge.

Fire licked through the burning charcoal, and Baelin released his grip on the bellows’ handle to pick up the tongs again. Carefully, he maneuvered the shield in the forge, trying to get the heat evenly applied on the shield. The oil burned black, darkening the steel underneath it. Baelin continued until he thought he got it as good as he was going to get it, then moved the shield off the forge to cool.

Tucking the tongs back in their holding rack, Baelin went to get the next shield. Pulling in a long breath, he set it next to the still cooling―and now darkened―shield. The difference between the two was stark, now that they lay side by side. The untreated shield was almost a burgundy shade, with swirls of rust adorning it in what might have almost been considered artistic.
User avatar
Baelin Holt
Blacksmith
 
Posts: 340
Words: 360322
Joined roleplay: July 25th, 2014, 12:36 am
Location: Sunberth
Race: Mixed blood
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Scrapbook
Plotnotes
Medals: 3
Featured Character (1) Featured Thread (1)
Mizahar Grader (1)


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