The Torc (also spelled torq or torque)

I would have to call last night a success. I put on my first demo for a group of new Marklanders and even a few not so new Marklanders. As the winter set in, I began studying Iron Age Celts, 300-100 BC. Stick-Jock to Sword-Jock, our two cultures could see eye to eye. The first thing I set out to make for my new Celtic kit was a torc. After trial and error after error after error, I was finally ready to show off my new skill to a group of eager bright-minded University of Maryland students.

The project is very simple and very cheap. How cheap? You to can have your own Celtic torc for a measly buck-fidy. Ghetto Celt maybe, but it definitely looks better than a T-shirt and jeans. What you will need is:

1 spool of gold wire
I found 20 gauge wire at Jo-Anne’s for $3.50. You can make several torcs from one spool.

1 board
I used the first board I found, it was about an inch thick and about two feet long.

1 dowel
Again, I used the first thing I found. It was a 1/4 inch dowel.

Or if you are really desperate, you can use an upturned chair's legs and two large screwdrivers. That is how I made my first two. You will also need a wire cutter, a pair of needle nose pliers, a drill and a saw.

First find a drill bit that is just bigger than your dowel. Then drill some holes at varying lengths into the board, and do not drill all the way through. Then cut your dowel down to two eight-inch sections. Then measure your neck. Most people appeared to wrap their hands around their neck; I swear the demo was not that boring. They then measured their hands to the board giving themselves about a 1/2 inch extra due to the shorting caused from winding the wire. Then they stuck their dowels into the aforementioned holes; see I told you the demo was not that boring.

Anyway, then you take your wire and tie it to the first dowel. Give your yourself plenty of wire in front of the knot, you will need it later. Then keeping the wire as strait and tight as possible begin wrapping the wire around the second dowel. Go all the way around the dowel so as to lock it in place. These loops will later be turned into decoration. Then go back to the first dowel, and go completely around it. You have just made one full loop or two strands. Repeat this process until you reach the desired amounts of loops, but it is best to always have an odd number of stands. I do seven strands for a thin torc and thirteen for a thick torc. Then wrap the wire under the strands and back through itself to create a knot. Then cut the wire leaving ample wire after the knot.

Now it is time for the fun part. Take the far group of strands and pull them over the near ones. Crimp the wire near to the dowels. Pop out one of the dowels and hold the wire about an inch from the dowel. Begin winding. As you wind, slowly inch your grip up the wire. Try to wind as straight as possible and to keep even tension as you wind. Be careful not to overwind as one end will come out thinner.

Finally, remove the dowels. Take the excess wire from the first knot, and wrap it around the base of the torc, right above the loop left by the dowel. Then take the wire and pass it through the center of the loop, and neatly wrap it around the outside middle of the loop. Snip the excess and tuck the sharp end into the center of the loop. Repeat for the other side. Bend the torc into shape, place it on your neck and you are good to go.

Here are some other ideas: weave several torcs to make a really thick torc; snip the loop ends and attach an animal head instead; use the same process to make bracelets, belt loops and penacular brooches.

Have fun, experiment and remember it’s cheap. So to everyone here is to you, have a great War Season, and maybe look a little better doing it.

Proud Galatian Citizen