Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Indian Stockade: WIP

It's great, I'm here at school on deadline on a Friday night, desperately hoping I'll get home in time to see the season premier of Portlandia.  Some things are more important than others. In between looking at stories, and page designs I decided to amuse myself by working on my next terrain project, the Chickasaw stockade.

As you can see from the illustration, the Chickasaw stockade is not huge, and is nothing like we see on the whites building on the frontier.  No bastions, firing platforms or interior buildings. In an Indian palisade, the palings simply are not flush together.  A gap is left between the timbers to allow fire. There's not a gate; entering and exiting  is done by a narrow opening.  My objective is to provide a simple fortification warriors can use to defend their village and food source, or send their families for safety.  And I want to scratch build it.

There is a commercial Indian palisade available from Acheson Creations. It's not even terribly expensive, and looks pretty nice, but I've decided to make it myself. 

I decided on dimensions of 12" X 6" with rounded corners.  I decided to make the palings two inches tall from 1/8" craft dowels I bought at Michaels.

Step One:  I cut the dowels on my little scroll saw, shattering a few along the way.  My bad.  After cutting the dowels into two inch lengths. I traced out the outline of the palisade. 
The dowels are sanded to flatten one end and an irregular peaked shape is created on the the other end

A hole is drilled in the flat end and a hunk of .032" brass wire is glued into the hole
 Step Two: I decided the best way to fix the palings into the plywood was to put a pin into them and glue them into the holes.  I sanded one end down flat and tried to remember to round off the top edge or to make a point; I didn't want them to appear too uniform.  I started by using a pin vise to drill the hole because I was afraid using a drill might split the dowel.  After taking forever and wearing out my hand, I switched over to my Dremel tool and it worked fine. I chose .032" brass wire for the pins and I began cutting it to length.  Actually, to make it easy, I inserted the brass rod into the hole and cut the protruding rod to the desired length, and glued it in with CA glue.

I started gluing the palings into the holes in the plywood and immediately discovered I'd need to skip some of the holes if the palings were to have enough room and leave sufficient gaps. 
One view of the Chickasaw fort under construction.  The palisade doesn't have a gate.  The entrance is open but protected by fire from the overlapping curved wall.

The palings don't fit flush and provide some fire openings between palings, yet offer some protection to defenders including women and children seeking shelter from an attacker.  The holes for the palings are clearly visible.
The brass wire offers some advantage.  It fits snugly in the holes, and can be bent a bit to get the palings perpendicular.

1 comment:

DeanM said...

Holy cow, Kevin. That is an ambitious project. It looks great so far, best wishes. Dean