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How to care for your high carbon steel blade

High carbon steel blades are still the choice of modern professional chefs and those who appreciate their strength, lasting edge and ease of sharpening. Very little work with a steel will hone an edge that a stainless knife can rarely achieve. Weighted correctly, with a comfortable handle and blade shape appropriate for the task, the high-carbon steel knife will outperform an equivalent stainless steel knife.
However like any quality tool, a little maintenance is required.

Basic maintenance:

– Wash knife with hot, soapy water after use;

– Dry immediately with a towel;

– Use a steel angled at 20 to 25 degrees regularly to keep the blade sharp;

– Use of a stone at intervals, will remove the microgrooves created by the steel and reset the razor sharp edge;


– Pass a lightly oiled cloth (such as olive oil or vegetable oil) over the length of the blade and exposed metal;

– A leather scabbard will protect the edge from damage but not always from rust. A period technique involved a second inner scabbard of oil soaked textile, loosely tacked to the edges of the leather outer scabbard.

Do Not:

– leave the blade unwashed after use; food residues will mark and pit the blade;

– wash your knife in the dishwasher; The corrosive agents used in the dishwasher powders and liquids will pit and mark both the blade and the handle, and reduce the life and appearance of the knife.

– use the knife tip as a can opener; It will break the point off.


– A good quality silver polish and soft cloth will remove most discolouration’s and store as above;

– an abrasive pad such as a green scourer will remove most light surface rust;

– Where there is severe rust and or discoloration, a buffing wheel will remove the stains and return the edge;

– Store as above;


The knife pictured in the feature image was hand-carved by Adam McKay in Australia. Carved in the round, it portrays a young lady with a tame bird of prey. The form is modelled from a popular theme found across Europe and Scandinavia from c. 1200-1400 of young women with birds, dogs and musical instruments. Because extant examples are invariably from ivory, this reproduction is olive wood;?a fine carving wood and fitting substitute. This knife is for sale on our shop, and similar knives can be commissioned via? our Shop.

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Review – In Service to the Duke

In Service of the Duke

by?Christian Henry Tobler


To state the obvious, this is a magnificent facsimile of a German 15th Century fighting treatise (with translation). It?s visually and texturally stunning. For anyone with an interest in understanding the fighting techniques of this period, I?m assured it?s a must have. But – I?m definitely not a fighter and not qualified to discuss its finer points regards technique; others far better qualified will handle that later.

So why am I doing a review? – because this tome also contains a wealth of information on other aspects of medieval life. Everything from clothing to horse accessories, head wear, different ways hose and purpoints can be joined together, seam lines for the middle layers of clothes, men?s and ladies underwear? Wait, Ladies? Yes, the tome also contains a section on legal resolutions for common problems such as domestic disputes.

Seriously, this book has a wider audience than the original author could ever have imagined. Plain and simple, this is a beautiful book with a great deal of information for all aspects of 15th Century living history.


Buy from Mainly Medieval

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Cleaning your linens

Taking care of your beautiful household linens – Table cloths:

With the best will in the world ? stuff gets spilled, and some things are more difficult to remove than others.

For a general wash;

  • Treat any normal stains with an oxygen-based or colour safe bleach, following the directions regards pre-soaking etc. We advise not using chlorine bleach as this can damage the textile.
  • A hot wash with a regular detergent on the delicate cycle should wash clean the table cloth, and help to keep the fringe from getting tangled.
  • To minimize or avoid ironing, lay the table cloth out wet from the wash on a counter or table, smooth out the wrinkles, and then hang so it falls straight. Otherwise, a short tumble dry – again, this is to keep the fringe maintenance down to a minimum.
  • Once dry, fold carefully and store under other linens so that the folds will set as seen in period art.
  • Alternatively, you can iron the patterns in as desired with a hot iron and steam.


To remove candle wax

There are a number of ways to achieve this but our preferred method (and one used in period) is as follows;

  • simply scrape off the excess candle wax;
  • lay several sheets of CLEAN (non-waxed) paper underneath the candlewax spill and another sheet of paper on top of the area;
  • with the iron on a low heat, gently iron over the spot to allow the brown paper to draw out the oily residue left behind (yes, they did have irons ? though it took considerably more technique and experience to use them);
  • IMPORTANT!! Keep the Iron moving so that you don?t burn the fabric!
  • Move the affected area onto fresh sections of the paper so that they can draw the oils more efficiently.


To aid with the removal of Red wine stains;

  • Mop as much as you can but do NOT rub at the red wine ? it will just grind into the fibers;
  • If you can (depending on the state of the diners), dilute the stain with water ( or soda water) and mop with a clean towel;
  • Then (and this would have been an expensive fix in period), pour a generous amount of salt onto the freshly mopped red wine spill and allow it to dry;

Wash as usual, but before drying, check to see if the stain is still there ? some stain may require stronger solutions to deal with any residual stain.


Don’t have linens yet? Why not buy some of the beautiful ones at Mainly Medieval? The featured image on this post is our?

Household Linens – Napkins, towels and tablecloths

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Review – Detector Finds Series by Greenlight Press

Detector Find Reviews by Gordon Bailey

Published by Greenlight Press

The Detector Find books are a series of 7 really solidly researched, handy reference manuals (though number 4 is named Finds Identified ? no one quite knows why).

They are actually published as identification aids for objects found by amateur metal detectorists in the United Kingdom, but they have plenty of useful information for the living historian.

Each book covers a wide period of time and an enormous variety of small non-precious metal artifacts; everything from harness pieces and weapon parts, to cutlery, tools of every description, dress accessories, pilgrim tokens and bells. The sheer breadth of metal object categories is truly stunning.

Understand however, that these books are not how- to manuals. Unlike the superb Museum of London artifact series, they don?t discuss or have in depth analysis of what a particular item was used for, how it was constructed or by whom. Personally, I like to use them as catalogues. I particularly appreciate that each category in a book has colour photographs (with scale bars!) of extant pieces, includes detailed line drawings of different perspectives, and a concise summary of materials, decorations, manufacture and context of the piece.

I think these books provide a great insight for anyone interested in the metal tools, fashion and accessories used by, and for, the average persons? day to day living. If you already have a working knowledge of metal craft, and enjoy re-creating the many types and forms of the metal smiths art, then these are definitely a resource worth their weight in gold.

These Titles are also in stock on the Mainly Medieval site.

Volume 1

Volume 2


Volume 3


Volume 4


Volume 5


Volume 6


Volume 7

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May Newsflash

Greetings Gentle reader,
This month we are showcasing new titles in a variety of crafts and trades from Straw and Strawcraft (Shire Publishing) to Calligraphy from the Court of Emperor Ruldolf II, and the Italian Fruit and vegetables of the 16th Century. During the next few weeks we will also be adding new brass belt findings and brooches from a variety of periods. For our subscribers, be assured the May issues of Ancient Warfare and Medieval Warfare will be here shortly.

Until next month we bid you all, good reading.
Paul and Loreena

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April Newsflash

Greetings Gentle Reader,

This month see the addition of a number of ecclesiastical studies examining the different religious orders and their part in western medieval society. These include, ‘The Other Friars; Carmelite, Augustinian, Sack and Pied Friars in the Middle Ages’; ‘The Cistercians’; The Francicans in the Middle Ages’; ‘The Benedictines in the Middle Ages’; ‘The Chronica Maiora of Thomas Walsingham (1376-1422)’. We also have the new release titles from Shire which include ‘Beauty and Cosmetics, 1550-1950’ and our latest shipment has replenished the re-enactor supplies of chapes/agulets, dress pins, towels and combs. Last but certainly not least we have the April magazine issues of Ancient Warfare (Vol6 issue 1) and Medieval Warfare (Vol2 issue 2).

We hope everyone had a wonderful and safe Easter break, particularly for those traveling to and from Rowany Festival at Glenworth Valley. It was great to see so many friends and we look forward to being there, full time, in 2013 with our new Past Tents, Tudor Pavilion.

Until next month we bid you all, good reading.

Paul and Loreena

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March Newsflash

Greetings Gentle readers,

A food and social bent this month, with new food titles such as Ken Albala?s ?Pancakes; A global History? and texts considering various aspects of society such as the yearly calendar, dance and maritime fishing. This is in addition to the new issues of the monthly magazine titles ?Ancient Warfare (Issue 5 2012)? and ?Medieval Warfare (Issue 1 2012 )?.

We also have an announcement:

Sadly, our intention to run the store at Rowany Festival this year has been foiled by other circumstances. Fear not, for those with pre-orders we will be taking a table at the Saturday market to ensure everyone receives their items. Be assured we will be attending Abbey Festival in July 2012 and back again for Rowany Festival 2013 with a new and larger store.

As ever, we bid you good reading,

Paul and Loreena

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February Newsflash

Greetings gentle readers,

This month we are highlighting Gaita and their latest collection of instrumental medieval music, ?Medieval Music: A collection of 12th to 14th Century?. Gaita is a specialist medieval music ensemble based in Edinburgh who have transcribed and published several manuscripts of medieval music and dance as well as producing several CDs of medieval dance music. To discover more in the Gaita range please go to the entertainment section on this site.

Throughout February new titles from the Stuart Peachey range will be added to the current range including a new DVD, ?Tudor Lives on DVD? following the daily routine of ordinary Tudor people living in the country.

Until next month we bid you all, Good Reading.

Paul and Loreena

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January Newsflash

Greetings gentle readers; we hope that the Festive season was a joyous and safe one for everyone. This month, the Creative Anachronist (CA?s) range has been expanded to CA153 as highlighted below. In addition we are proud to showcase the latest offering from the Tudor Tailor library: ?The Queen?s Servant; Gentlewomen?s dress at the accession of Henry VIII?. Keep watching for the Tudor Tailor pewter button range and Button DVD which will be added very shortly.

So until next month we bid you all, Good Reading.

Paul and Loreena

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December Newsflash

A little late this month, but midst the Christmas rush we have managed to add yet more titles including those highlighted below. For those interested in re-enactment tents, we will be updating our ‘Tents’ page regarding our new supplier ‘Past Tents’ shortly. ‘Past Tents is a UK based company who have been making quality re-enactment tents and pavilions for many years and their site is well worth a visit at

This year, Mainly Medieval will be closing for the festive celebrations (23rd of December to the 2nd of January 2012 inclusive). We look forward on our return to presenting a new range of re-enactment items as well as a host of new titles for your reading pleasure. Orders received in this time will be processed when we return.

To all our customers, we wish you a joyous festive season, and a safe and prosperous New Year.

Paul and Loreena