Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Charles A's faulds and tassets

These are the three piece faulds with their tassets...spread out as they would normally be worn. They hinge up on the sides to allow Charlie to sit down, and the tassets are removeable in the event he wants to change the look of the armour by bringing in different ones. Traditionally the tasset straps and side straps were left uncoloured. Charles would find it easy enough to dye these straps in situ if he chose, but it is not necessary.
The rest of the armour is coated in a layer of lacquer. Not the strongest method to prevent rust, but certainly the easiest to repair...after all, ANY varnish, no matter how tough will get scratched, but the lacquer repairs with one simple swipe of a lacquer thinner soaked rag. It melts it, and the lacquer reforms, and dries in less than a minute. Gotta like that.
Now for the breast plate, most of which is done as can be seen in a previous post. Just a few straps to be mounted on the front, a few inside, and I believe Charles wants a sliding post in front rather than a centre strap. (I imagine if he wants a strap instead of a post, he will let me know in the comments. ) And of course, the side straps, which are one inch straps. The buckles are already mounted on the back plate. This job should be done today. Ready to be shipped day after tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Charles's Armour

Charles' back plate...all finished.
The breast plate.....still shiney from the wheel. Needs sanding, faulds, tassets and leathering. So it is not as "done" as it looks.

And this is what the back plate looked like this morning.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008


Research is never ending. These pictures came in attached to an email by a customer who was attempting to explain what he wanted. So I don't know the provenance...and will give credit if any body DOES know.

The first pic, the top one, is a drawing of a statue. Such statues adorned the tombs of influential knights, and are often found in the churches that they supported. Chances are really good that the armour, if it was any good, was handed down from son to son, and was eventually battered to oblivion in the incessent wars that plagued the middle ages. Any surviving bits might end up as statuary in a great hall some place. But this one is so pretty and so functional that it would have continued to be used as long as it survived. Note that statuary is "secondary" research. Presumably the artist had access to the original armour but you know he would have filled in any missing pieces, fixed any dents or rust spots, and maybe used "artistic licence" to make the waist a bit narrower, the chest a little deeper, and the legs a little slimmer.
It is a two piece breast plate, no doubt with a two piece back plate. The placqart has two deep channels in it which decorate what would otherwise be a fairly plain armour, (something I have never seen before) and it is attached to the breastplate by a short, but robust leather strap. (Oh, clicking on the picture will enlarge it to be able to see the details better....) The waist is actually very high....about a handspan above his naval. This will allow the owner to ride a horse with no possiblility that the breastplate would ride up and catch him under the chin. The shoulders are assymetrical...the left shoulder has a haute piece (fence) which will protect the guy from horizontal sword strikes from the normally right handed opponents, and is less complex. Both sides have true "haute pieces", that is to say, armour which sits on top of the underlying shoulder armour to protect it. These haute pieces were often designed to detactch, and fly off under the impact of the lance, forming a sort of "reactive armour". My jury is out on the effectivness of the reactive haute pieces, but I am certain that as "cantels of armour get carved off the players, the crowd cheers ever louder". This may not be a "jousting" armour, even though there is a lance rest, it actually looks more like his "every day" sort of battle wear, with some adaptations for the joust. The four fauld lames would scrunch up and protect themselves against the impact when he is riding. I note also that he has insured his dynastic jewels with a chain mail fauld.
The tassets are pretty...they seem to have that "depressed into a groove" styling which is, again, fairly uncommon and the legs seem almost to belong to another armour...they have none of the clean lines of the arms, but instead are all sharp points and fluted cops.
Other interesting items to take not of would be the lack of gauntlets on the hands, and that they seem to be holding something which has been removed. Not his helm...his head is being supported on his frog faced helm. I suspect it might be a cross, or a world globe, or even possibly a model of the church he is interred in...not uncommon if the fellow had built the church with his own money. Moving on to the second armour....this statue has been battered a bit by time and Protestants but they left enough to analyze. One thing which catches one's eye right off is the very high gorget. This fella would not have been able to look down. It is pretty uncommon to see such a long neck on a gentleman...though it is pretty common on ladies. The hair looks like it has been braided into an arming cap. It would not BE an arming cap of course, since all such effigies are bare headed.
The shoulders are fairly straightforward simple shoulders, with haute pieces protecting the complex and expensive lames underneath. I note that the haute pieces (maybe they should be called rondells) are different left and right...the one on the right has a cut out to accomodate the lance. The lance rest has been hammered off this statue but the base remains.
The breast plate and placquart are standard two piece, joined at the centre with a strap. The purpose of the strap is not to allow the armour to slide up and down for when the owner stands up or sits down, but rather to allow the breastplate to rock from side to side, and to allow the owner to twist his body in the saddle. You need to be able to twist your body when you deliver a sword blow, which is why this armour is more likely to be used in a real battle, whereas the single piece armour is better if all you want to do is to joust. The fellow has a nice pair of gauntlets, what we call "mitten" gauntlets which look to be quite serviceable. His left hand seems to have gone the way of his nose though. This is a more usual position to see the hands...together as if praying.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

John P's Armour

The two piece breastplate
two piece backplate

The faulds with rounded tassets laced on.
same faulds from the front.
single piece elbow cops. Nice wide flanges. Lace holes all lined with eyelets.

The shoulder pieces. sixteen gauge. Should stand up to a fair amount of abuse.
The gorget....still have to line it and provide a belt to hold it closed.
vambraces....note the eyelet holes at the top.
closeup of the half gauntlet

I like to make them sturdy. They are sixteen gauge steel, with 11 rivets holding the cuff into place. Note the overlap at the inside of the wrist....there is no rivet is held in place purely by spring action. This will allow John to slide his hand into the half gauntlet without cracking a bone in the process. There is no need for a rivet to hold the two sides together.
They are meant to have a glove inside. And since the cuff goes on the outside of a vambrace, there is no need for a rolled edge.
and this is how they work. These particular ones are a size small...actually a bit smaller than my hands. If they are too small, John can send them back in exchange for a larger pair.

The leg harness. Showing all the signs of a rush job. You can see some scars on the knee cops from the tuck pointer. Rather than sand the scars out, which might thin the metal, I elected to leave them tough and a full sixteen gauge. Pretty is nice, but tough will protect your knees. Note the inner "wing" which is required by the SCA. Not period at all, but again, it will protect your knees.

There you go John....a very basic but perfectly serviceable armour for you.

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Kelly and Erik W's Armour

Above is Erik's gorget, all lined with foam and strapped up.

From the back you can see the difference in this gorget....because it goes under what amounts to a poncho, I had to make the back a lot longer. If it is too long, well, that can be trimmed off.

From the side, you can see the nice keyhole locking mechanism. The keyhole just keeps everything neatly in place, the belt is what holds it nice and tight.

The leather body armour is based on an armour dug out of a trench on the site of the battle of Wisby. It is leather, with steel plates. I don't like this armour is hard to make it look nice, and because of the ridiculous price of leather, it is often more expensive than steel of the same coverage. For some reason (that reason being that it can be made in your basement apartment with minimal tools) it is popular with the SCA, larpers and such medieval organizations that don't use live steel. We know a real sword will go right through this armour because, well, we have the original with the skeleton still inside, with a severed spine.
The original was cobbled together in a real hurry...which although period, doesn 't make it right. When you take your time with this armour, it has the potential to look, well, not so bad. Even downright good. And make sure you use good quality fasteners (the copper rivets are period and look SO much better than the modern two part dome rivets being used for (ha ha) medieval-like armour.
Erik is lucky...I found a nice piece of Italian top grain cowhide which was destined to become a couch but was probably considered to be too heavy. It is a nice ripe plum colour on the outside, and is tough as nails. Such a deal doesn't come by every day! Normally a piece of leather like that would set you back a couple of hundred dollars....this one was half that. And no, the leather used is not period...this leather is much tougher than period leather.

There is no secret to how to lay out the plates inside the armour, and I don't mind showing the world how it is done. SCA regulations demand overlapping plates all down the spine, and overlapping sideways around the kidneys. The key, I guess, would be to ensure that all the plates are properly rounded on their corners, and all the sharp burrs are sanded off. This is the step normally skimped on by the basement armourers, and is the source of the majority of scars and cuts caused by this armour. Note that every single plate is rounded, and painted to prevent rust from coming off onto your clothes.

The bottom edges are simply scalloped...Erik may want to stiffen these scallops to prevent them from curling....some people do that.
So, even though I don't normally like making such simple armour, I found, as I got into it, that it was not so bad. Careful alignment of the holes for the belt attachments and a good choice of buckles and straps results in a pretty good looking armour. I would be proud to have a man (or woman) wearing such armour on my team.

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Thursday, December 4, 2008


That contact cement is kind of pretty. Turns clear when ready...grin! But the gorget will be finished when the padding is installed.

temporary rivet...a pop rivet. Left side looks good, now to work on the right hand side.

Above you can see where the key hole slots will go. There is a procedure to follow to ensure everything stays in line.

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