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Hydration is everyone’s business

Hydration is everyone’s business

by Lady Prudence the Curious (published via email to the Barony of Sacred Stone, June 16, 2011 at 10:05 am)

Here are some tips I have learned:

0) If you haven’t urinated within three hours, you are not drinking enough water for you body to process stuff normally.

1) During heavy exercise in hot weather your body SWEATS FASTER THAN YOU BODY CAN ABSORB IT! Get hydrated before hand. – Your body can actually sweat 16 liters of fluid in a hot day of heavy exercise (say 3 battles in one day at Pennsic) – imagine drinking 16 liters in one day – you can’t. Your stomach simply cannot process it that fast. Another way to think about this is 1.6 liters an hour of sweat (heavy, heavy exercise in hot environment) and 0.9 liters an hour for kidney function. Want to drink 2.5 liters of liquid an hour while fighting? Get hydrated early and often.

2) Caffeine of all sorts is not a liquid for replacing sweat. Soda, coffee, and Southern Sweet Tea are diuretics. They use close to the amount of liquid provided in the beverage to process the beverage. De-caf coffee is not caffeine free – it can have as much as 25% caffeine as normal coffee, but usually hovers in the 10% range. This is also true of tea, and remember green tea also is NOT caffeine free but about the levels of de-caf black tea.

Favorite Drinks (16 ounce levels)
Coffee – 150 to 400 milligrams
Tea – 80 to 250 milligrams
Monster energy drink – 160 mg (comes in 16 ounce can)
Red Bull energy drink – 150 mg (equal to 2 cans – comes in 8 ounce cans)
Coca-Cola – 48 mg
Pepsi – 48 mg
Mountain Dew – 72 mg
Dr. Pepper – 56 mg (yes more than coke and pepsi)
Barques Root Beer – 30 mg (Barques has bite; the bite being caffeine. It is the one root beer with caffeine so you need to see what type of root beer is being sold. It has more caffeine than most decaf coffees and teas.)

(Data on amounts can be found at They publish some chocolate facts as well there. Caffeine levels should not be more than 500-600 per day because of stress on the body and heart; women with osteoporosis in the family have less than that as it can increase bone loss in amount greater than 300 mg ( I personally start getting reactions, like inability to sleep, when consuming more than 40 mg in a 24-hour period if you want an idea of what a non-addict reacts to this very, very powerful drug. Doctors ask pregnant women to get off caffeine for a reason.)

3) Alcohol is a diuretic, but unlike caffeinated beverages it actually uses MORE water to process than it provides. Don’t start drinking alcohol after a day of exercise until you are fully re-hydrated. … Unless of course, you want to be a cheap drunk and like a really bad hang-over. Half of what a hang-over is, is a dehyrdation headache. Of course remember comment number one – really heavy exercise can mean that MORE THAN ALL THE WATER you drink in one day goes to sweat – you may not be able to get rehydrated after excessive exercise for a couple of days. Try to find the right balance between night fun and day fun that lets you stay healthy.

4) Water is processed slower and less effectively the older you get. What you could do at 20 is not what you can do at 25, let alone 40.

5) Urine is suppose to be the color of lemonade (I know, bad image). If it is the color of dark honey, that is not good. If it has a red tinge to it, you are seriously dehydrated. Anything darker than honey level, you begin running the risk of kidney stones because the “seeds” start during dehydration (likely not to show up for a few years). Not fun. Don’t recommended kidney stones e-v-e-r.

6) Gatorade has more sodium than one needs when sweating. Make and drink Gatorade at half strength; or alternate drinking Gatorade with water. Gatorade has enough sodium at normal strength to cross into diuretic levels – meaning it uses more water to process than it provides.

7) If you have stopped sweating or thinking – wow, normally I would be soaked through, I guess I getting in better shape, DRINK SOMETHING. Healthy men and women, no matter what their shape, sweat a lot. Humans are one of the all-time sweaters among the animal kingdom.

8) Liquids cooler than body temperature absorb faster at the stomach than body temperature or hot liquids.

9) For normal function, 8 cups of water a day is a fallacy. That is the equivalent of 8 cups of water from all sources, including food. You really don’t need to force water in a normal air conditioned environment. Having a glass of liquid with each of the three meals, and maybe one more as “snack” for either morning or afternoon should be a good functioning level. Remember when “counting liquid” that those three cups of coffee in the morning do not count and you likely should count any other caffeinated beverage (like soda) at 1/2 normal amounts; when drinking caffeine, you are taking a drug that gets rid of water without proper processing.

10) Children don’t store water or process it the same as adults. Their stomachs are smaller too. In a hot environment, keep them drinking small sips throughout the day. Just put a cup in their hands ever so often and they should willingly drink. (Watch out for older people as well.)

11) Dehydration includes mental impairment after a while. So monitor yourself early, because you WILL NOT be able to monitor yourself when it gets out of hand. Be kind and help monitor those around you as well.

Well, I think that is enough advice for now. An excellent article about hydration for pilots is available at ; since they are in a non-traditional environment, they need to learn to hydrate outside of the normal spectrum just like us. Excellent information can be found at this webpage.

Hardening Leather (COG)

Hardening Leather

by Lord Christopher of Grey (published to the Sacred Stone email list October 26, 2013 at 2:55 pm)

As a nearly 20 year leather worker let me step in here and make a comment or
two about courbouill, the real name for hardened leather. In the SCA it is
a common misperception that the only way to harden leather is using boiled
wax. While the process works it is messy and potentially dangerous as heated
wax can and does burn! In truth, leather hardens when raised to 120
degrees and kept at that temperature for a while, short while. The process
leather undergoes is called elastomerization. Basically it is a changing of
the structure of the leather resulting in a significantly stiffer piece of
leather. Any material that maintains the proper temperature to heat the wax
works. Wax just has a better heat retention than water. However, typically
wax hardened leather retains its waxy feel and is a somewhat messy thing.
So let me share some other ways to harden leather.

First, and most gross, is to soak your leather in urine. This is THE most
period accurate method for hardening leather. It’s the salts in the urine
that harden the leather. Of course you will be hard pressed to find anyone
who would want to fight you or even be close to you!

Water. For smaller pieces such as bazabands, gorgets, you can simply misty
them with a spray bottle. Not soaking just very damp. Put your piece in a
pre-heated oven that is turned off, for about 10 minutes. You don’t
actually bake the piece, just warm it. I typically set the oven to 200
degrees then when it’s to temperature, turn it off wait a minute or so then
put the piece in. When you take the piece out it will be very warm and
still flexible. Shape it as needed, i.e. for a bazaband, shape it to your
arm. Then let the piece cool and dry in that shape. It will now be hard.

Simply wearing the piece and sweating in it will also harden it but that
will take a long time and lots of thumps before it becomes hard enough.
Just think about that favorite pair of work boots. After 6 months to a year
they are hard right? Yeah, because you sweat in them and your body salts
along with the gentle warming, your body temperature, hardened the leather.

For larger pieces the water method still works. But now you have to have a
pot of just below boiling water big enough to submerge the piece in.
Submerge it until all the tiny bubbles from the leather stop coming up.
Remove the piece, shape and let cool as with the smaller pieces in an oven.

Just for grins and giggles to test the water method, cut a piece of leather
1 inch square. Drop it in boiling water for about 10 – 15 minutes. When
you take it out it will be flexible. Let it cool. When cool it will be
black and about 3/4 inch square, yes, it shrunk from the process. Now place
it on a hard surface and strike it with a hammer but not real hard. To your
amazement it will shatter like cheap plastic. This is what happens to ALL
leather that is over hardened. Also, if you took the time to do any
stamping or carving on the piece it will be impossible to see if at all. So
with any hardening process, be careful and do not overdue it!

Here is a link to the water hardening process .

Now your choice of leather to start the process is also critical. 5 – 6
ounce leather just won’t cut it. Leather is measured by the ounce. What
that means is one ounce is equal to about 1/32 inch. Thus higher ounce
number, thicker leather. Most armor is best made out of 10 – 12 ounce
leather. All leather is sold in a range as I’m giving here as it is a
natural product and as such not consistent across an entire piece. There
are leather pieces out there referred to as armor bends. Basically they are
usually a double shoulder, yes relate to its original owner, and 12 – 14
ounce. This is heavy and fairly stiff to begin with. Now sometimes you can
find leather that has been compressed. This is often used for shoe/boot
mid-soles. They take a piece of 12 – 14 ounce leather and press it down to
10-12 ounce thickness. It results in a very stiff piece of leather.

Your next issue is what type of leather in the sense of how was it tanned.
Chrome tanned leather is tanned using chromium salts. This lather is most
commonly used for work aprons for folks who shoe horses or are blacksmiths.
It is very stiff and tough. However, the chrome tanning process creates a
leather that is somewhat water resistant. There are pros and cons to this
type of leather for armor but you will not be able to increase its stiffness
using the techniques suggested here in Achbar’s original post. You spot
chrome tanned leather by looking at a cut edge. It will be dark all the way
through. Usually it tends to have a bit of a waxy feel to it as well. The
more period accurate method of tanning is vegetable tanning. If you boil
acorns to get rid of their tangy flavor the water is brown. That is the
tannin used to vegetable tan leather. (You can also use that water to cure
dandruff and a myriad of other sicknesses.) Veg tanned leather is what is
used for stamping and tooling. It is a light beige color and accepts all
dyes for color of choice. You can also get drum dyed veg tanned leather.
You can tell it’s been drum dyed by looking at a cut edge. If the edge is
the same color as the rest of the lather, drum dyed. Not a bad thing.
Colors like blue and white are best done drum dying. The issue with veg
tanned leather is that all the hardening methods here work on it as it is
not water resistant in any manner. You can apply coatings to make it so,
but in its natural state, no.

Now the worse leather for making armor is furniture bends. In our area one
can often find these for great prices. A side of leather, furniture grade,
can run about $100 or less, depending upon total square footage. Typically
a side runs about 23 – 26 square feet. A double shoulder about 10 – 12
square feet. You can also get bellies with about 10 square feet but these
are long strips about 12 – 18 inches wide and the leather is softer at the
same ounces as regular sides and shoulders. Furniture bends are typically a
full side or often a full hide. So you are getting about 25 – 55 square
feet per hide. Problem is this leather is about 6 – 7 ounce and very
flexible. Think about it, would you want to sit on a couch that is as hard
as a cement bench? Furniture leather is great for clothing like vests or
shoes, pouches, bags, etc. All furniture bends I’ve ever seen are also drum
dyed so great color choices.

The final type of leather that actually does work for armor but only for
armor like coat of plates or the like. This is mistakeningly called suede.
It is not suede. Real suede, i.e. nubuck, is full grain leather, meaning
the smooth side is original owner’s outside, rough side the owner’s inside,
that has been drawn through brush rollers rotating backwards to the
direction the leather is being drawn. This scuffs up the surface of the
leather creating nubuck. Suede is split leather, thus is more properly
called split grain leather. When leather comes off the original bovine
owner it is about 3/4 to 1 inch thick. It gets run through a splitter after
tanning to spilt it down to the size required. Thus there is only one piece
of full grain leather per hide. All the rest is split grain. Split grain
leather stretches and is not water resistant nor can be made water
resistant. Good for shoes, clothing, bags, and the like. Now if used for a
coat of plates the garment as seen worn is made of split grain for its
flexibility. However, riveted inside are squares of 10 – 12 ounce leather,
the plates. Thus the split grain is simply a garment holding these plates
in place. Very functional, flexible for movement and very period.

Well you don’t exactly walk into the local mall and find a leather store.
The crafts stores, ACMoore and Michaels, sell very small pieces of split
grain leather for crafty things. In our area we have two great outlets
though. The first is Tandy Leather. Outlet stores in the Raleigh and
Charlotte areas. The other is Zack White’s in Ramseur. Zack’s caters to
the equine industry so they often have things Tandy does not. Both outlets
are also available via the internet. For example at Zack’s you can buy
rings from about 1/2 up to 3 inch in diameter. Make yourself the split
grain outer garment of a coat of plates but mount these rings on it. Very
period version of a coat of plates. Of course it will also be VERY HEAVY!

Anyway, there you go, enjoy. Remember to keep your leather tools very sharp
and that if they can cut leather………… are covered with leather,