Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Riley's Armour

A workbench seriously in need of tidying up. In the distance, you can just see the backplate, the two lower pieces of the backplate shoved ingimoniously out of the way, the front faulds neatly sitting in the foreground, and a section of workbench which is miraculously clear of projects. For now.

This is Riley's breastplate. He is a big fella! 50 inch chest, and 21 inches waist to throat! Yeah...could be a formidable person to deal with!

Looks very tough to me! Might still need some pushing and shoving to make it all fit right, but hey...thats easy enough to do. Lots of chest....a fun job bouging that sixteen gauge breastplate I'll tell ya! The rolls are solid, battle ready, a 14 gauge wire has been slid into the rolled edges to prevent kinks. The "flat" wheel on the english wheel crisps up the edges really nicely don't you think? The blessed thing looks almost machine made! Which, come to think of it, is the idea.

The backplate, faulds and back faulds are all done, but not assembled. I expect another 4 hours will see this breast and back combination fitting like a glove! Today, well, c'mon, I did my innings...rolled a breast and backplate, flared the bottom edges, and bouged and rolled both the breast and back plate. In ONE day!

This armour is supplied "from the hammer", or in this case, "from the wheel". Sanding and polishing would, of course, cost extra, and why should Riley pay ME to do a job he can do himself. Besides, "from the hammer" is totally good looking IMHO.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Chris's Armour

The helmet with the wings. Well, one of them anyway. The other is still sitting on my workbench. These are not quite finished....I want to deepen some of the fluting and figure out a way to keep these wings from rocking backwards with the visor.
Above is the helmet with the wing, visor in the "full up" position. The visor can if need be, completely hide behind the wings.

Here is the helm with the visor in the half way up position. The sillouette looks like MORE feathers...grin!

Above is with the visor completely down.

As is this view.
Above are the faulds. The scratches are only on the lacquer on the surface...they have all been fixed. Lacquer scratches easily, and repairs even easier.

Above is the side view of one of the spaulders. I particularly like the different angle each fauld point makes compared to the one above it.
These are the tassets. Simple, good looking. Again, with the white leather to prevent scratches on the underlying leather.

The backplate, showing off the little round leather picadills. They keep the overlapping pieces from scratching.

The fully articulated arms. Below, you can see the inside..which is already showing signs of flash rust. But its on the inside, so it doesn't matter.

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Chivalrous Swordhandling Grad

Chivalrous Swordhandling basic course graduation. November 2009
And one of the first pictures of Shayne's new baby.....woot!

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Breastplate done...well almost.....

click on these images to enlarge. This is a closeup of the picadills. Leather pieces designed to keep the armour from scratching.

These are the buckles I found for you Chris. What do you think?

And this is what it looks like as of Saturday morning. The green and the gold is really quite stunning. Good choice.
The only thing left would be to put something into that hole right up at the neckline. I am thinking of a shiney gold lion head, but perhaps just a simple rivet to fill the is getting a little busy up there already.

I am thinking of putting a couple of eyelets midway along that centre strap...a lace would be nice to help hold everything in place. Right now, there is really nothing holding that centre plate in position. Well, a back strap...
Just thinking out loud here. Is this what you had in mind Chris?

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How to use an astrolab

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Progress report....More of Mr. A.s armour.

The backplate, with those really nice "Malta" style scapula flutes. Thats the hard part done...the other two bits are all done, I just could't be bothered trying to find them to photograph them.

Above are the two lower parts which make up the breastplate....on the left is the cingulette, and on the right is the placqart. The cingulette is called that because it is a waist belt, that "cinches" the waist. The plaquart nests under the cingulette, and the breastplate below nests under those two.

Not a bad looking breastplate. All eighteen gauge for lightness since Mr. A. is not planning to actually fight in this armour. On the other hand, eighteen gauge is actually "period" weight for armour. The sixteen gauge plates I make just take more abuse, thats all.

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The spaulders as seen from above. You can just see the feather tubes on the inside of the fence. You can barely see the feather tubes when you are wearing the armour. I suppose a leather cover could glued over the "plumbing", but it isn't needed.

The feather tubes had to be riveted on. Since I can't hide the rivets, I made them into a feature. Looks kind of steam punky...grin!

From the front and a bit to the side, all you can see is the fence.
From the back and inside, you can see the feather tubes. Neat eh! They have a little bit of movement in them to allow the feathers to rake backwards, forwards, or fan out, in any way Mr. A wants.
This is the left hand one, partially assembled. You can see all the rest of the stuff is there in the back. But it shows graphically how much goes into building a fence. Those outside curves are a real killer! Then the fence has to be folded to fit up against the spaulder on the inside. Inside flares and rolls are not so bad.

The big problem with fences is that once you have the fence installed, there is no going can't pry the shoulders out any more to allow them to fit a little better, nor can you compact them in. OTOH, they make a very solid piece. The weight is never a problem of course since they fit so close to the centre chakra of the body.

I had a couple of ratty old feathers lying around to show how the mechanism of the feathers. I think a mix of short and long feathers would look nice, and maybe some curly ones to fill it in. That will be entirely up to Mr. A., he is the one who will finish this "look". I just made sure there was plenty of foundation to allow him to achieve his "look". will want shorter feathers...but you get the idea.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009


From Ruth Thompson's great picture

This is the picture which the client sent me. Ruth Thompson's very lovely painting of the knight and his lady on horseback. Very angular, brass accents all over. Not really making this exact armour, but one similar to it. Well, except for the spikey knees. I drew the line at that. I made nice knees...with brass accents. Those were the ones I posted here a few days ago. Please click on the pictures to see them full size.
Please note that I have not yet obtained permission to use Ms Thompson's picture, so you will just have to click on the link.

Here is MY interpretation of the above shoulders. The brass was kind of fun...its bright yellow and high polish contrast nicely with the steel's matt finish and the leather picadills.

The leather is actually only there to keep the lames from scratching each other. They can be replaced very easily by the client if they wear out, become ratty, or otherwise do their job. They are only glued into place with contact cement. There are four eyelets up there at the top....two to hold the shoulders onto the gorget, and two to hold the laces for the arm harness.
These shoulders have been modified from the original to allow for more mobililty in the shoulders...though one might expect a fully armoured knight to be limited in his forward movement of his arms (in favor of protection) one can hardly expect the client to have such limited mobility. Therefore I have allowed a pivot rivet to take the place of two side rivets, the whole thing can now fold up on itself like a chinese fan.

The problem with the single pivot rivet is that it is inherently weak, as are ALL pivot rivets, and a fence is required to strenghten the large shoulder lame. My client (Mr. A.) likes the idea of a fence, not because he plans to actually FIGHT in this armour, but because a fence is very pretty, and will form a good base for "angel wing feathers". So, I shall remove the pivot rivet and install a fence, reinstall the rivet and see if I can have it all ready by the weekend.

In the interests of making sure this holds its shape, the steel and brass are all sixteen gauge. Don't let the prettiness fool you, this is real battle armour.

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Monday, November 9, 2009


The book is dated 1443. The armour is awfully good for that date. Though I have no reason to doubt the provenance...the date is clearly written on the flyleaf. Two men are going to a formal duel. Above is the place where they will be fighting, their coffins have been brought to the site to drive home the serious nature of the situation. Talhoffer was part of the German school of fencing of Johannes Liechtenauer.

There were four main editions of Hans Talhoffer's fight book...1443, 1450, 1459, and 1467, and only six copies of any of them exist. Often the illustrations are the same, but done by different artists even in the same edition. Often, it seems, the artist who did the engravings were only slavishly copying another book, and very frequently, they get their right and left hands and footwork all wrong because they have to mirror image when they cut the engravings. Usually the illustrations are not captioned, you would have to go to the text, where he may or may not actually match up the plate number with the explanation of what is going on. Each edition bears little resemblance to the previous edition, and people who study the forms improperly tend to get quite proprietary over the "proper" way to do a particular move. Four books, four ways to do it. Also, the book won't tell you "everything". Some tricks are deliberately obscure, requiring a paid instructor to decode them.

All of Talhoffer's fight books assume that you already KNOW how to fight, and these are only tricks which will help you win the duel. Therefore, "Talhoffer" is a really bad introduction to the art of fighting. His was an excellent "advanced" style, he was a professor in good standing of the German school of fencing (sort of an ad hoc organization made up of lawyers, diletanttes and ex soldiers who studied Liechtenauer's system and he was one of the founders of the "Brotherhood of St. Mark"...a gentleman's club who studied fencing.

As they march in, their seconds check out the ground, make sure there are no rocks or footing difficulties. The "ring" is pretty secure, and one reference suggests that if anybody gets thrown out of the ring, they will be summarily executed by the bystanders. The guy in front with the nice outfit is probably the bailif (sherrif's representative), the guy in behind is likely the fellow's lawyer, and the man to the armoured fella's left with his hands on his hips without a care in the world is the armoured guy's "second". Or possibly his surgeon.
Here they face off. The guy on the left drives a spear point at his opponent...
and his opponent ducks.

The parry swings around and its a shoving match. I have decided not to put the rest of the match up on these pages...not only can you find it yourself by googling "Hans Talhoffer, 1443", but it is too graphic for casual reading. If anybody "really" wants to see how this turns out, leave a comment to that effect down below, and I'll put the denoument of the fight up here.

This early book seems to be many things....a fighting manual, a warning about what can happen if you do things wrong, and in this case, even being dumb enough to get into a duel in the first place. Observing a century of development in style is a very fulfilling study.

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