Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Erin's armour, brassed

The brass bits are kind of fun to make...in a finicky sort of way. They have to be made out of cardboard first, then transferred over to brass, then they all have to be cut out, polished (takes hours that polishing!) than punched for the rivet holes. after drilling the rivet holes, they are countersunk. That big drill bit is just there to clean up the holes! The next step after this is to lay the brass into a divot in the wooden stump, and carefully dish it all out so that it will fit the curve of the underlying steel. Ya gots ta take yer time eh!

Clamp city! We leave a couple of the holes accessible to the drills so that we can drill the holes through the brass bits, and through the sixteen gauge steel underneath.

This is the finished cinquellette from a three quarter's view...

And below is what it looks like from the front. All that is left now is to finish file the edges to clean them up, and of course to replace those pop rivets with brass rivets. The plaquart is the same but different...I didn't want to duplicate the front design too much, though I suppose it would have been good design practice to do so.

And to give credit where credit is due, most of the bull dog work here has been done by Mark, under my close supervision. I just fussed about, correcting a line here, fixing something there. He can take credit for all that work. I'll take credit for the design.

ip-location map zoom


The client wanted some nice period tassets. I like tassets, often they are removed because they are annoying to wear while on horseback. So much so that much of the parade armour doesn't have any tassets at all. This is particuarly the case with Gothic stuff. Oh well, these are very English, and don't look too bad withall.... (click on images to enlarge) Above are the tools requrired to flute sixteen gauge....a honkin heavy hammer, a blunt chisel, and a block of wood to shove the metal down into. Above is the back of the armour, and below you can see what it looks like from the front. Clearly it is a work in progress. But already you can see the nice sweeps and crisp lines.
Of course, it will need to be sanded clean, then blued like the rest of it, and then have some nice buckles added onto it. And possibly some more passes with the chisel to deepen and fair out those flute lines.
Normally fluting is a really expensive proposition....and this is no different. To this point, there is about an hour into it. And of course this is onlyly one side, I estimate four hours to finish. And another hour to make the buckles, and blue the tassets. So all this custom work will likely add about a hundred bucks to the price but unlike most customizing, this will really turn heads.

ip-location map zoom

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Erin S's armour, blued

This is the same armour we saw a couple of posts ago, Erin just wanted a crease in the front to define the line. This is not a true flute, and to my surprise, it went a lot faster than I expected. So, while some of the armour was turning that nice purplish-blue colour, I battered in a centre keel.
above is the breast plate, all blued and ready to drill to mount the leather.

above is another picture same as the top one, but from a different angle. Clearly, depending on the light, it looks either blue or purple. One thing is for sure, it looks fire coloured.

ip-location map zoom

Saturday, June 27, 2009

More sexy armour...the finished product

This is Tracy. She has graciously allowed me to photograph her in her sexy armour, and in return, we ask you not to copy them.
Click on the images to enlarge.
This was a "fitting" photo shoot so we didn't use a lot of props like high leather boots and such. Furs will have to do for now. The fancy boots will come later. For now, I figure if I can get one or two pics I can use, then "bonus", but that was not the real purpose of the shoot. It was to try and see if we could get it to fit and what I will need to do in the future to get it to fit correctly.
The results were pretty good. Above, sexy armour, inspired by the incomparable Clyde Caldwell.

Above, rage against the chains.... I know...the joint between the cup and the strap needs work...but then, thats WHY we do fittings!

Prrrrrrrr... And yes Karen, those I DID line those cups.
Above is a wallpaper. click on it to enlarge. This picture, like all the pictures on this blog are not public domain. email me at stag@southtower.on.ca if you desire a download.

And this one will be going on my web site.
(now to get back to Erin's armour. )

ip-location map zoom

Friday, June 26, 2009

Erin S's armour

Erin's armour. A three piece suit. Three pieces in the breast plate....(click on the image below to enlarge) the full size picture showing the nice work on the back.
three pieces in the faulds. (note they will be assembled in reverse order than is shown here.)

and three pieces in the breast plate.

and three pieces in the back plate.

This armour will be a bit of a project since it will be blued in the oven, then there will be some brass bits added on to make the lines pop. Should be an interesting project. Lots to see in the next few days as I get all those disparate bits to come together.

ip-location map zoom

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Graduation class, spring 09

Basic Chivalrous Sword Handling class grad pic. From left to right, Andrea, Elizabeth, Brendan, Katherine, Tod, Mark, AJ, Trevor, Holly

The advanced class is clearly trying to get even. Left to right, Lorne, Mike, Craig, Karen.

ip-location map zoom

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Prague Armour

These are Kim's pictures of armour in the Prague Castle. You will have to click on them to see them in full size. Although I personally believe all these helms to be replicas, (I use the term loosley...I personally suspect these helms date no farther back than the Gothic Revival of the late 19th and early 20th century, or alternatively, the activities of a teacher of history with a lot of time on his hands sometime since then) the collection is still pretty useful for anybody who likes to see nicely made armour outside of the confines of a book cover.

The above picture is of some barrel helms. They show off some nice variations on a standard barrel, clearly made from sheet steel, and they look fantastic. The cow horns are a nice touch.

above are a nice group of pole weapons. I have been told on uncertain authority that the pole weapons were stacked like this in racks on the battle field when the troops were eating or sleeping in order to provide a screen against cavalry. I imagine it also kept the clumsy things out of the mud, and out from under foot.
to the left is a pig faced bascinet. I hate that term since it doesn't look anything LIKE a pig..but it wasn't MY idea to give it that name. Both bascinets are built with flip up visors which look like they will protect pretty well.

Above is an archer's hat. Below are a couple of helms which would not be out of place in most any battle, either IN Bohemia or pretty much anywhere else.

The above is called a "bellows" visore'd helmet. The visor is in two parts, the forehead and face plate are hinged on the same point. The Ninja stars on the sides...now thats just cute.

I know how much work went into this...plenty! Hard to tell what gauge the steel is, however if this is a useable helm, we are likely looking at 16 gauge or heavier. A lovely bit of sculpture. The crown of copper is very telling...that is so clearly Art Nouveau....which gives an early date. But then, this is Prague, the home of Alphonse Mucha, and the hotbed of art nouveau, so it could have been made any time after he did his work in the early 1920's.

Above is a good shot of the helms from below. Dont usually get to see the inside of armour.

Oh...how demonic! Love it!

The helm at the top is really iconic...it is the helm most people think of when they think of a knight in shining armour. It is called a "close helm" since it fits so closely. The helm at the top right is kind of neat...the whole front, including a very functional looking gorget, flips up. On the second tier down is a morion....the usual helmet used all over during the renaissance.

Top left is a three bar lobster tail. I thought they were pretty much an English thing, but they could have been used elsewhere I suppose. The rest are variants of this ordinance grade helmet. Because they were made from spinnings, they tended to be very much bowl shaped, and in fact during the great revolution in England, the fight was between the "Cavaliers" (horse riding nicely armoured knights) and the "Round Heads", (soldiers in cheap round headed helmets and great thick leather buff coats.) Like the barrel helms in the top picture, this picture shows some of the variants of a basic design one could encounter on the battlefield.
The wings are a nice touch...

ip-location map zoom

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

sexy armour...workpiece

click on these images to enlarge.

The workpiece was discoloured by melting lead into it. I figured it would not matter since it would all be sanded out later anyways. Bad idea...the other one had no such funky colours, and the wire brush played hell with the steel "look" I was trying to achieve. Well, live and learn.

The first step was to lay out the triangles, and then create a line with the blunt chisel. Below are the two cups, side by side, with some of the background "quilting" starting.

And here is what it looks like after about an hour of cursing the slippery steel and banging hammers off my thumbnail. Personally I like this look all by itself....but of course ideally it is supposed to be coloured black. I briefly toyed with the idea of cutting it all out and simply using a black sheepskin behind it, but as I saw how swiftly this was going, I figured, "heck, I can always cut it out later if it looks awful."
The eighteen gauge steel responded really well...the finished product has a really nice three dimentional effect.

Above is the completed bra cups for a nice sexy armour. The repousee took no more than four hours, the melting of lead, masking and painting took another 2 hours. Its not making the blessed things that was difficult, but rather, making them both the same, but mirror images. So, at first blush, these took me around 12 hours to make.

I think that the bra cups I made using this painting as an inspiration ended up looking pretty good. Its not "exactly" like the illustration. I wish I could say that was because I didn't want to slavishly copy a painting, but the reality is that I imperfectly remembered which triangles were "quilted" when I went to lay out the workpiece. Ah well. Next time.
Now to work on the tassels, chains, straps, bracelet and pendant. These are just as important as the cute little cups, and possibly even harder to make.

illustration courtesy of Clyde Caldwell and is used by permission. Please don't copy it. Copyright 2009. this is only a thumbnail, the full picture is here. http://clydecaldwell.com/large_images/leopard_serpent.html

ip-location map zoom

more sexy armour...the tools

The first step of course was to make the bra cups to begin with. That's them in back. click on the images to enlarge. They are most assuredly NOT simply bowls....they have a very distinctive shape which I worked hard to beat into the metal. above is the result of melting the lead into the bowl. Below you can see the lead, and how I mounted a great big bolt into it to hold it into place. The wood in the above picture just gives the lead a little more support.

hmmm...possibly these three pictures should have been reversed. Oh well, its all good.

After about four hours of repousse work, the surface of the lead button stake is pretty scarred up. I am not really worried about that though....it will be pretty easy to just melt it all over again into another bowl.

And above are the tools of this job. The bronze faced hammer which sticks to the punches without glancing off, the sharpies to do the lay out, and the blunt chisel to incise the lines. The orange punch is a drift which I sort of modified a little, to have a sharp edge. And the single stake on the right is for getting into the corners.
These tools, when properly employed, can be used to incise lines, and "quilt" the spaces in between. I have done a little of this in steel before, and a lot more in leather. I find that except for having to hit the tool a little harder, the same techniques which you use to tool leather work just fine to tool steel.
Okay, you have to hit it a LOT harder....to sink the workpiece into that lead!
Next week, I will try this same technique but I will use jeweler's pitch instead of the lead. I understand if you use pitch (which is essentially a form of tar) you can work the steel without it sliding all over the place. That alone should be worth the mess.
Oh, and I have been asked about using lead. I am a little funny about lead...I know it is dangerous, and the fumes are toxic and cumulative, but I DID use ventilation. Its not so much the lead which is dangerous but rather the lead oxide formed as the stuff rusts. I have a fair amount of lead around which I use from time to time and I always spray it with lacquer after it is formed into a bar, stake, or hammer head. Simple precaution...no oxide. The stake in the above picture has been sprayed with lacquer for instance...which doesn't seem to have affected its ability to back up a chisel any.

ip-location map zoom