Welcome to the blacksmith's longhouse...

    My name is Michael Parker.  Raised in southern California, I now live in Raleigh, NC.  In the Society for Creative Anachronism, I am known as Valinn and live in the Barony of Windmasters Hill, the bright and shining jewel of the Kingdom of Atlantia.  I have been forging knives since 1994, when I was first introduced to the craft by reading 'The Complete Bladesmith' by Jim Hrisoulas, known in the SCA as Atar Baktar.  For many years, I was mentored by a smith named Bill Stroman, in Norwalk, CA.  Bill instructed me on every aspect of the art, from the subtleties of forging the initial shape to grinding, polishing, guard and grip assembly, final fit and finish, and even the finer points of working with a variety of materials.  He also introduced me to many other smiths in the bladesmithing community in southern California.  These people were open, welcoming, and more than happy to share techniques and advice with anyone who asked.  There was none of the 'guild secret' attitude I was afraid I would encounter there.  I remain indebted to all the smiths who took time to work with an unproven 'newbie'.  But I am especially beholden to Bill for his many hours of patient instruction and his friendship.  I want to take this opportunity to give him the credit (or blame, depending upon your opinion of my work) he so richly deserves.

    Thank you, Bill... for everything.

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