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Patrick Kelly




Location: Wichita, Kansas
Joined: 17 Aug 2003
Reading list: 42 books

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PostPosted: Sat 27 Sep, 2003 8:25 pm    Post subject: Back from Albion!         Reply with quote

I just got home from our trip to New Glarus and there's good news and bad news.

The good news is that we had the best time possible, the bad news is that we had to leave! It was an exciting time for all of us, and a unanimous vote decided that we should make this a regular event.

Eric McHugh picked Nathan and I up at the Madison Airport Wednesday afternoon, and we then spent the evening getting acquainted with the McHughs, Peter Johnsson, and Jason Dingledine. Peter also introduced me to my new sword which will be the topic of discussion elsewhere. I don't know which one of us was more excited by the experience, Peter upon giving it to me or me upon recieving it. Recieving a fine sword directly from the hands of the master craftsman who made it is an experience that I will never forget. Spending time with Peter was a joy. Peters knowledge of the european sword is matched only by his willingness to share it. Peter Johnsson is a truly genuine and sincere individual, and I am honored to consider him a friend.

Bright and early thursday morning we began our tour of the Albion factory, or was it the Mines of Moria ? Judging from the size of the place I wonder. If you're ever there don't go into the dungeon (that's the basement). The maze of different workshops present at Albion is nothing short of amazing. Everyone at Albion is truly passionate about their work and the attitude is infectious. Howard, Amy, and everyone at Albion welcomed us into their family with open arms. We were given complete freedom to roam the warrens of Albion, this is a trust that will not be forgotten. Nathan and I spent quite some time in the shipping room drooling over quite a few beautiful swords, many made by Jody Samson. I was beginning to think that our language skills had degenerated to "wow !" and "cool!".

It was a real treat to spend time with Jody Samson. Standing in Jodys shop was like standing in the midst of sword making history. Jody is, of course, best known for his involvement in the movie Conan the Barbarian. The is much more to Jody than a a couple of swords that he made over two decades ago. Jody has got to be one of the most prolific sword makers I've ever seen. Next time I'm definitely dragging Jody to the pub for a few cold ones. Jason Dingledine walked me through Albions grinding and heat treating processes. Jason is a real up-and-comer in the sword business. I think we'll be seeing good things from him in the future. My buddy Eric McHugh is Albions head Cutler, and other things. It was interesting to watch Eric stomp around the shop muttering over a project. Eric has a true passion and commitment to his work. He's also quite adept at spotting deer on the roadway after an evening of sampling Wisconsins finest beverages. Erics assistant Kevin Iseli is quite talented as well. He's progressing well under Erics helpful advise of "you suck".

Lars and Leif Hansen are doing some very impressive work in the armor department. The progress on the Death Dealer Helm was something to see. Albions resident Master metal and leather smith is Rob McCall. Robs work is just as impressive as the steel work being done in other areas of the shop. Rob's also a great guy to talk politics with over a cold one at the pub. We were still huddled in the corner when everyone else decided it was time to go home. Neat guy Rob is.
One man that should not be underestimated is Steve Fisher, Albions resident CAD designer and CNC programmer. Steves work is an art form in itself. Nathan and I watched Steve mill a sword blade and it was an impressive sight. When asked "How do you do that?" Steves answer was simply "Just press a button". There's more to it than that, quite a bit more.

The occasion was made even better by the arrivals of Rick Barrett, Howard Clark, Christian Fletcher, Harlan Hastings and the gang from The Mercenaries Taylor. Rick Barrett is an incredibly nice guy with a wild party animal lurking underneath. Rick brought along several examples of his work that were incredible, these included a beautiful katana as well as a pattern welded blade that's part of a work in progress. What can one say about Howard Clark? What you see is what you get with Howard, and that is a quality to be treasured. He's also a mean hand with a european sword. Let's just say that I'm glad I'm not a tatami matt. Christian Fletcher is a man with a deep desire to continually improve his work, as well as to bring his customers the best work possible. Harlan and I did some justifiable chest puffing as the resident owners of Peter Johnsson swords. What a great bunch of guys at The Mercenaries Taylor!

The craftsman at Albion may produce the product, but it takes a great sales staff to get it out the door. Renee May and Mike Sigman are doing a great job in this department. Everyone loves Renee, you'd better since she may kick your butt if you don't. Mike enthusiasm is boundless and I think he could sell refrigerators to eskimos.

There are some exciting things going on at Albion in terms of product development. The really exciting things about our visit, however, were the people we met and the relationships that were formed. While we had never met face to face the experience seemed more one of old friends reuniting than strangers meeting for the first time. Not only were sword makers present but there was also a computer consultant, and school teacher, and a cop in the mix. It's truly amazing that a group of seemingly disparate people can be brought together in a common passion. Something special happened at Albion this week. I am proud to have been a part of it.

Here's to new friends, may they become old friends.
Here's to old friends, may they remain true friends.

I've found some at Albion Armorers.
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Howard Clark
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Location: Iowa
Joined: 26 Aug 2003

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PostPosted: Sun 28 Sep, 2003 6:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It was good to finally meet you Patrick ! I had a great time and want to publicly thank everyone at Albion, and Harlan for inviting me. It still felt a bit like crashing a party, but I did know lmost already, so that helps. I had never cut with a European sword before, but it sure was fun. Peter makes a very good sword, and it WAS quite sharp. Thanks to everyone for having this get together, and letting me in on it. Happy
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Eric McHugh
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Location: Crown Point, IN
Joined: 17 Aug 2003
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PostPosted: Sun 28 Sep, 2003 7:22 am    Post subject: Re: Back from Albion!         Reply with quote

Patrick Kelly wrote:
Erics assistant Kevin Iseli is quite talented as well. He's progressing well under Erics helpful advise of "you suck".


Sometimes negative reinforcement is the only way a person will learn. At least, I haven't started beating him...yet! Wink

All joking aside, it was great to finally meet you face-to-face. Like you said, it was like seeing old friends again.

Come back anytime...really!

Find me on Facebook, or check out my blog. Contact me at eric@crownforge.net or ericmycue374@comcast.net if you want to talk about a commission or discuss an available piece.
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Eric McHugh
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Location: Crown Point, IN
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PostPosted: Sun 28 Sep, 2003 7:26 am    Post subject: Crashing a party?         Reply with quote

Howard Clark wrote:
It still felt a bit like crashing a party, but I did know most already, so that helps. I had never cut with a European sword before, but it sure was fun.


Howard, I wish you would crash our parties more often. It was really great to have you, and you are always welcome at Albion or my home. Consider this a permanent open invitation.

Find me on Facebook, or check out my blog. Contact me at eric@crownforge.net or ericmycue374@comcast.net if you want to talk about a commission or discuss an available piece.
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Randal Graham
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Location: Nova Scotia Canada
Joined: 20 Sep 2003

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PostPosted: Sun 28 Sep, 2003 7:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Cool to meet Christian, Nathan, and Patrick, fun weekend.

Howard...you cut with a scramaseax once... :0)

To bad Mac wasn't with Harlan and the guys....

R.H.Graham
Swordsmith
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Patrick Kelly




Location: Wichita, Kansas
Joined: 17 Aug 2003
Reading list: 42 books

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PostPosted: Sun 28 Sep, 2003 8:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It was great meeting you too Howard. If that's what you call crashing a party feel free to crash anytime!

Randal's right about Mac. More than once someone said "I wish Mac was here". We did call him on the phone, just to let him know what a great time he was missing Big Grin
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Thomas McDonald
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PostPosted: Sun 28 Sep, 2003 10:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It was nice of you guys to call me ..... even if it bummed me out that I was not joining in the fun !
Perhaps next gathering I'll get my arse in gear and actually show up !

The Albion crew are truely a great bunch of folks , and I look forward to the day I meet them all !

I'm definitely planning on attending the Atlanta Blade Show next year , as I just have to meet Vince & Grace !
Hopefully alot of my friends here will also be going , as it's high time we do the old face to face *g*

Thanks for your report ,Patrick ...... I'm dying to see all the pictures Nathan must surely have taken !

Slāinte, Mac

'Gott Bewahr Die Oprechte Schotten'
XX ANDRIA XX FARARA XX
Mac's PictureTrail
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Jim Lindsey




Location: Arlington, Texas
Joined: 24 Aug 2003

Posts: 101

PostPosted: Sun 28 Sep, 2003 3:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey, Patrick ... I was very happy to read about your wonderful trip to Albion. It was a pleasure to read your post ... it definitely boosted my eagerness to go and visit Albion (which, by the way, is something I sincerely dream daily of ... I can't wait to see Albion someday and meet all the great folks there ... of all the places I'd ever like to go and visit, Albion is the very top on my list).

Hearty congratulations on a great visit with Albion and eagerly looking forward to reading all your posts about it. Big Grin

"And so it shall be that in the days of peace, one sword shall keep another in its scabbard."

Have a great day ! Best Regards,
Jim
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Björn Hellqvist
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PostPosted: Sun 28 Sep, 2003 4:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Good to hear that you had a great time, and that you finally got to meet Peter! Having known Peter since 1994, I've been able to see the rapid progress he has made in the art of smithing. I'm proud to consider him a friend too, and I envy you for owning a PJ-forged sword. Looking forward to the review!
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Patrick Kelly




Location: Wichita, Kansas
Joined: 17 Aug 2003
Reading list: 42 books

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PostPosted: Sun 28 Sep, 2003 6:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Jim,

You need to plan on making the gathering next year, as we all agreed that this should be an annual thing. Spending a few days at Albion was great, but having all of the other makers and collectors come down was real icing on the cake.

Bjorn,

It was indeed a pleasure to spend time with Peter. He's one of the finest gentleman that I've had the pleasure to meet. He suggested that my wife and I come to Sweden for a visit. My wife was suprisingly excited about the idea so I think it's on the list of future plans.
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Gary Venable




Location: Kansas City
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PostPosted: Mon 29 Sep, 2003 6:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It sounds like a truly incredible trip Patrick. To say I am jealous, of both the trip and your new PJ, would be an understatement. Congrats on both. I can't wait to see the review of your newest sword as well as some pics.

Gary

Gary
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Patrick Kelly




Location: Wichita, Kansas
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PostPosted: Mon 29 Sep, 2003 6:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gary Venable wrote:
It sounds like a truly incredible trip Patrick. To say I am jealous, of both the trip and your new PJ, would be an understatement. Congrats on both. I can't wait to see the review of your newest sword as well as some pics.

Gary


Thanks Gary,

The cruel part is that, since I didn't want to entrust my new sword to airline baggage handlers, I asked Albion to ship it home for me. Consequently it will be a few more days before I have my new baby home. Oh the pain of waiting!
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Harlan Hastings
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Location: Finger Lakes, NY
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PostPosted: Mon 29 Sep, 2003 7:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick Kelly wrote:

The cruel part is that, since I didn't want to entrust my new sword to airline baggage handlers, I asked Albion to ship it home for me.


Gee Patrick, I didn't have any qualms about entrusting your new sword to the baggage handlers Laughing Out Loud

Seriously, I know how you feel. It looks like my first PJ will be coming home soon in it's new custom scabbard but it will be a while before I see my NEW PJ since it is staying at Albion for the same treatment.

Harlan
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Patrick Kelly




Location: Wichita, Kansas
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PostPosted: Mon 29 Sep, 2003 7:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

"Gee Patrick, I didn't have any qualms about entrusting your new sword to the baggage handlers Laughing Out Loud "

That doesn't suprise me Harlan. After all, I could tell that you were jealous of my Big Johnsson Razz
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Harlan Hastings
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PostPosted: Mon 29 Sep, 2003 7:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

["That doesn't suprise me Harlan. After all, I could tell that you were jealous of my Big Johnsson Razz"

Ouch! I can't deny it's a piece any man would want to call his own ...... Wink

Harlan
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Jason Dingledine
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Location: Tacoma, Wa. USA
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PostPosted: Mon 29 Sep, 2003 9:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you for the very kind words Patrick. It was very nice to finally meet you in person after all these years. Nathan had such a good time, he is still here.

I will endeavor to not be sick the next time you are here, so that when we talk, my mind will be firing on all 8 cyclinders, and not foggy like it was this last trip. It was funny, Patrick would ask me something and it would take about 10 seconds to sink in before it registered. The joys of heavy dosages of flu meds.

Like I had said before, if you would like, you are welcome to stay at my place the next time you are in town.

Talk to you soon,

Jason Dingledine
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Patrick Kelly




Location: Wichita, Kansas
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Reading list: 42 books

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Posts: 5,688

PostPosted: Mon 29 Sep, 2003 9:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jason Dingledine wrote:
Thank you for the very kind words Patrick. It was very nice to finally meet you in person after all these years. Nathan had such a good time, he is still here.

I will endeavor to not be sick the next time you are here, so that when we talk, my mind will be firing on all 8 cyclinders, and not foggy like it was this last trip. It was funny, Patrick would ask me something and it would take about 10 seconds to sink in before it registered. The joys of heavy dosages of flu meds.

Like I had said before, if you would like, you are welcome to stay at my place the next time you are in town.

Talk to you soon,


Thanks Jason,

It was great to finally meet everyone. I suspected that Nathan had changed his plans when he didn't answer his phone Wink
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Björn Hellqvist
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PostPosted: Mon 29 Sep, 2003 10:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick Kelly wrote:
It was indeed a pleasure to spend time with Peter. He's one of the finest gentleman that I've had the pleasure to meet. He suggested that my wife and I come to Sweden for a visit. My wife was suprisingly excited about the idea so I think it's on the list of future plans.


If you do, we must make sure to meet! I'm excited about meeting Eric McHugh next week; it's like you say - the people here are not strangers, but friends you haven't met in person yet.
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Renee May





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PostPosted: Mon 29 Sep, 2003 12:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote


Nathan has been kidnapped and will be returned for a LARGE sum of money Wink
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Roger Hooper




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PostPosted: Mon 29 Sep, 2003 12:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Renee May wrote:

Nathan has been kidnapped and will be returned for a LARGE sum of money Wink


More likely - you'll only let him go after he has taken lots and lots of photographs Big Grin
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