*Addendum: August 2015*
Apparrently I forgot that construction never remains on-budget OR on-schedule so unfortunately my hope to re-open this summer was overly optimistic. The good news is that we have at long last finished moving into the new house/shop. Its going to be a while before things are fully set up here but after a lapse in august during the move where production ceased entirely, I have enough equipment and workbenches set up now to keep pumping out gorgets. As of this update I am still entirely out of stock but continue making batches each week to cover orders as they come in. Please anticipate a 1-2 week delay between when you place the order to when I can ship the gorget. I will be full-time for the remainder of august and september to catch up but then will resume splitting my time between finishing construction and keeping up with orders.
I have given up attempting to set dates by which I'll be re-opening to take custom spring-steel armour orders, so all I can say is stay tuned.
*Updated announcement November 2014*
I am still on hiatus from all custom work while my new wife (as of October 11th 2014!) and I work to build our new home and workshop as owner-builders in Brattleboro, VT. As we have repeatedly learned this past year, construction never goes as smoothly (or as on budget) as we had hoped and our intended move-in deadline has been pushed from Fall of 2014 to Spring of 2015. At this time the earliest I may be re-opening for armour comissions would be the summer of 2015.
Gorgets can still be ordered through the website and I am making them as quickly as I can, given the bulk of my time and attention is being spent on the construction project. Our inventory has been completely exhausted for several months and thus I am making batches to satisfy orders as they come in. Please expect up to a ~2 week lead time before your gorget ships and plan appropriately.
I apologize for the uncharacteristic lead times on what should be an "in-stock" item. I had hoped to keep a good inventory while we built the new place by working in the shop on rainy days, but a marked increase in sales volume compared with previous years emptied the shelves surprisingly fast and the demands of constrution meant I just got wet working on the new house, rather than being able to get into the shop on those rainy days.
My advice to anyone reading this: Do not build your own home and get married in the same year. Especially if you are doing the bulk of the work for both yourselves and especially if you are planning to hold the ceremony and the reception in and around the structure you are trying to build. Just don't.
"Erik's spring steel armour fills the bill for the Western Martial Artist interested in period armoured combat. It's not just strong, well-made, and affordable - it looks medieval. And it's crafted by someone who's a truly ethical and reliable businessman. You simply can't go wrong here."
- Christian Henry Tobler, Selohaar Fechtschule
"Winter Tree Crafts is Erik Schmitt's love affair with armour, and that passion shows in his attention to his customers. The armour is what you ordered, when you ordered it, and is durable, comfortable and based on historical designs. But the extra touch is Erik's attention to staying in touch with the client, giving them updates and checking in after the fact to see how the harness is holding up. It is that something extra that means a lot. If you are looking for those critical safety components for fencing, such as gorgets, or early 14th century harness, WTC and Erik are good place to put your trust."
- Gregory Mele, Chicago Swordplay Guild
"Our group has used Winter Tree gorgets for several years now. Erik provides great customer service and fast turnaround. We never hesitate to recommend his work."
- Shay Roberts, Academy of Arms