Wednesday, December 29, 2010
The mechanism worn under the armour. Below is the description.
spring mechanisms for jousting armour. The right spot gets hit, the armour goes flying and the crowd goes wild. Below is the plaque which goes with the above armour.
above is authentic jousting armour padding. As far as I know,the only surviving examples. They are clearly removable from their helms and have brow and chin ribbons. They would probably drop a chain mail hood over the cloth and just slide the helmet on.
The above VERY unusual piece is a practice armour. The arms are just incredibly detailed!
and lastly, here is one of the armours from the back. You almost NEVER see an armour from the back. Good details to spot are the hammer marks in the neillo (blackened) depressed area, and the leather straps underneath the shoulder guard.
Saturday, December 25, 2010
This is the emails I got from Algonquin College. As you can see...there WILL be courses back to back in the new year...basic and advanced. Then concurrently in the Spring.
cut and paste follows. My request is below the answer (in typical email fashion! grin!)
Close but not quite.....
Basic Course ---- Algonquin Woodroffe Campus
Course Code GEN0088 Fee is $171 incl HST
Course runs from 7 - 9:15 p.m. for six weeks then 7 - 9:30 p.m. on the last week
Dates are correct.
Advanced Course --- Algonquin Woodroffe Campus
Course Code GEN0105 Fee is $171 incl HST
Course Dates: March 4 - April 15
Course Time: 7 - 9:15 pm. For six weeks then 7 - 9:30 on the last week
In the Spring Semester these two courses will run concurrently (Wednesdays and Fridays)
Florianne (Flo) Gauthier
Tel: 613.727.4723 ext 5079
From: William Fedun [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday, December 15, 2010 11:16 AM
To: Florianne Gauthier
Subject: RE: FW: Chilvalrous Swordhandling and Advanced Chivalrous Swordhandling -- Spring 2011
Now this is what I have sent out to my students. Is this correct?
There have been so many emails that I admit to being a bit confused.
Basic Course....Algonquin Woodruff Campus, the gym in the "P" building.
Course Code GEN0088. cost for this course is $160.57 incl HST
Its a go! seven until nine thirty Wednesday evenings in P-121
January 19th until 2 March 2011. Seven week days of 2.5 hours per
night. We are trying a "combined" class, just as an experiment.
Advanced Course .....Algonquin Woodruff Campus (16 hours Friday
evenings 7 to 9:30 in the "P" building.
Course Code GEN 0105 Cost for this course is $160.57 incl HST
There is not a course scheduled on Fridays in January unless y'all get
together and ask for one. If there are enough signups, we'll do it.
The next scheduled advanced course is
Fridays, May 6th to June 17th.
Algonquin College Registrar's Office is 1385 Woodruff Ave, Rm. C150,
Ottawa Ont., K2G 1V8. tel 613-727-0002, or 1-800-565-4723,
fax613-727-7754 email AskAlgonquin@algonquincollege.com
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Watching the "Dragons Den", a reality show dealing with inventors coming into meet the "money lending Dragons", I was struck by the reality that my business, the South Tower Armouring Guild had been sort of spinning its wheels. Not growing, really, and certainly not collapsing backwards! What it HAS been doing is getting better and better at quality and beauty. I am certainly not getting ready to retire, in fact the opposite, I am getting ready to really get some great things going!
The fact that my bread and butter, the basic "beginner's" helms and such can no longer be made economically has caused me to re-evaluate the direction I am going in. There is still tremendous future in custom work...both medieval and in the Anime and fantasy worlds. And there is still a future in running all this AS a business.
A business is not a difficult thing to create. I ran mine for 18 years without so much as a business plan. A fellow who was in here t'other day (a banker) wants me to create a business plan, and a set of goals. He didn't really contribute much, but then he was not being paid to contribute much. My business is my life, and I won't take life coaching from anyone!!! (That's the problem I guess...grin!)
Normally a business has human resources which come together to create something. I watched a movie one time that had these immortal lines it. The girl was flirting with the guy, and said to him....
"So you are a business man. What does a business man do?"
"Well I have an order for you to fill..." she said as she twirled a lock of hair around her finger.
Cute. And what a concise statement THAT is! A business exists to fill orders. Not to play back biting politics, not to hang with cool people, not to drink coffee in the break room all day, not even to build or do great things. A business needs to have a buyer, a salesman to find the buyer, a producer or creator of the goods, a facilitator (the businessman) to bring them together!
I like running a business because all successful business persons have to be goal oriented. A successful employee's goals pretty much extend to "treat me like a human being and pay me a living wage". A successful boss's goals are "we have a product which needs to be sold/made/moved, and will motivate the workers to do that. A successful business man has to bring the goods to the customer, he or she needs not be a good employee OR a good boss to be a good businessman. Three different goals, three different philosophies.
As a businessman myself, I find that the greatest difficulty is the lack of sure knowledge of exactly what I am doing, with what and to whom! Even after 18 years, I feel like the Newfie going into the ditch, you know, the one who says "Here, hold my beer boy, and watch dis then!" I may not know what I am doing, but by George, it'll get done somehow!
I hate the term "Just Do It". It sounds so trite and mundane. But the fact is, if you don't Just Do It, you will always fail. It is shorthand way to overcome the natural timidity. I know you don't normally think of Bill as timid kind of guy, but there are times. I need to "Just Do It" every day! Most people are timid. They play a game called the "Yes But" game. I find myself doing it from time to time. (Oh you know that game..."Why don't you get a good job", "Well YES I suppose I could, BUT I need the education", "Can't you get the education at the High School? "YES BUT I need money to pay the tuition". Well, you have a job right now don't you? "YES BUT its not enough to pay tuition".) (All this is a distillation of "Transactional Analysis", a much overlooked field IMHO.) Justification for timidity is not appropriate for a businessman. But it is a natural thing, not to be ashamed of. It is our natural timidity which keeps us from driving into ditches "just to see what will happen".
So, if your goal is to become a businessperson, you MUST not be timid. On the face of it, this seems to fly in the face of common sense and advise. The usual naysayers all say the same thing..."if there was a market for that product, there would a hundred people selling it, and of course, there is the corrollary....a hundred people are selling that product, what makes you think you can sell it as well?" Well, I notice that cell phones are still selling like hot cakes even though most people now have them.
All business people are flying by seat of their pants with insufficient information and no resources. You HAVE all the knowledge and resources to run a successful business just like this one now! So, for the coming year, let me just say this...
Hang onto my beer, and watch this!!!
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
I'm breaking a rule about "web marketing" here in that I am putting up some pictures of armour which are not quite finished, and not quite ready to put in the box and ship. On the other hand, it shows some of the construction details, and thats what it is all about eh? By now, they have been detailed and warped and added to, and are ready to ship.
Above is a full frontal. ( This armour does SO NOT fit my top apprentice, it would have almost been better to hang it on a stand. But, at least you can see that it does all fit together.) Quinn wanted a subtle line up the middle of the plaquart, which I had forgotten about until it was all assembled. The process of beating that line in there spread the placquart open a bit. It is all closed up now, but it gives you a chance to see the picadills (leather strips) just inside the top edge. Out of site, normally. Of course, by now, the plaquart has been warped back into place and it fits as well as the middle piece fits the breastplate.
The top buckles are solid brass with one inch buffalo leather straps. They will hold up better than most.
The side view shows that I have to make some belt holes which are a bit tighter, to pull the breastplate up higher towards the neck. And the startling lack of belts to attach to the buckles I cleverly installed on the back. When the belts are tightened on, the individual plates front and back will match up, and overlap. The slightly unusual nature of this armour is immediately apparent...the plaquarts are nearly flat and all the space in the breastplate is taken up by the chest. This armour will make Quinn look really trim and fit. If you look closely at the bottom flange, you can see the armour point eyelets which will lace the faulds into place.
Above you can see the back plate. Fairly standard backplate, with space for the shoulder blades and a dome over his spine up top where it might be vulnerable. Hard to see in that harsh shop light, it looks like a zebra! But the vertical zebra stripes are all carefully sculpted in and serve a purpose. The bottom of the back is a simple roll, instead of a flange. A flange simply makes it impossible to sit down on a chair with a back to it, and a roll is perfectly period and acceptable, though admittedly, a flange (or flare such as you see on the bottom edge of the breastplate) might be a bit more comfortable after an hour of standing.
The side buckles are made from zinc 3/4 inch buckles on 7 oz straps. A good place to use the less expensive zinc since they never get hit! And if they DO get flattened (once in a while, that happens), well, they are cheap and easy to replace.
And these are the faulds and tassets. Sharp eye'd visitors will notice that the straps are cinched up too tight! Oh well, easily fixed. The pelvic arch should have been more continuous instead of placing his genitals into parentheses like this. Dooh! Teach me to rush the picture portion of the job!
The faulds all neatly fold up to three inches, the width of one of the fauld lames. They are made with the english wheel to form a gentle 12 inch diameter globe. This will provide a good solid lame which should stand up to years of even heavy SCA combat, though as we all know, nothing will last forever. They will fit Quinn's hips perfectly, still allow him movement, and the tassets are rounded and the flare will ensure they won't dig into his thigh. The points match up to the breastplate. And the nice thing about tassets is that changing out the tassets can change the whole look of the armour.
These buckles are 3/4 inch solid brass with 7 oz leather straps, the heavy brass is good for a place which will get stressed a lot. And tassets get stressed a lot.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
From the web site http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2010/11/2000-year-old-roman-multi-tool/
This is just too cool for words. Lets see...there is a spoon and a blade, making this clearly a mess kit, a hoof pick, and two tools I have no freakin' idea what they are for!
More on the FitzWilliam Museum web site...
Saturday, October 30, 2010
You can see the thousands of hammer marks which remain even after the irons have rolled them out. The marks by this point don't exist as "marks" but rather variations in surface texture. If I was to paint it at this point you would not be able to see a single hammer mark.
As you can see, Reginald is a very fit and solid individual...he has a barrel chest and a reasonably slim waist. The chest is easily pulled out or pushed in as required if Reginald desires to wear padding underneath the armour or not.
The back is pretty. See how I shoved it up a bit...there is plenty of room for mobility.
Nothing fancy, just simple curves. But it IS made from 16 gauge steel.
From here, things are going to get a little more interesting since Reginald is actually not getting me to make medieval armour at all, but rather an interesting personal design.
More as I make it....
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Pure iron is barely harder and stronger than copper. Impurities are to iron, what paint is to an artist's canvas.
Red Ochre is Iron
The problem with iron at this level of purity is that it is too soft and too ductile for most commercial uses.
This means that the iron products that we know and recognize are relatively and deliberately impure.
Iron also has three allotropes or crystal forms, delta iron (body centered cubic) gamma (face centered cubic) and alpha, body centered cubic. I was originally taught* that delta and alpha iron were the same allotrope, a distinction that now appears to be a charming sign of old age… and the addition of impurities (alloying elements) have different solubilities based on these forms.
It is the addition of carbon and other elemental impurities which alter these allotropic forms that gives commercial iron and steel products their diverse properties.
When we look on the material certs that accompany our steel products , the first element that is reported is carbon. Carbon is ubiquitous, and has the dominant effect on the behavior of the iron based product to which it is part, even in the presence of large amounts of alloying elements.
What is implied by the certs is that after adding up all of the elements reported, the balance of the material is "iron."
In 2009 world Iron and steel production was estimated to be 1,219.7 million metric tonnes.
Physics trivia: Iron is the heaviest atom that can be made by the fusion of stars. Iron is is the 'ash' of stellar nuclear fusion. Iron is abundant- the fifth most abundant element on earth, and sixth most abundant in the universe. Our blood is red because of iron, and since iron is an essential part of our bodies, we can truly claim that we are "Stardust."
The preceeding is written by Miles Free on the Engineer's Blog. More on this topic here...
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
(click on the above images to enlarge.)
When you get two or three sword trainers together, you get disputes and opinions. The task of a historian is to cut through the opinions, and determine the underlying truth in order to form your own (no doubt disputable) opinion. In the case of sword fighters, the opinions usually come down to "which school or style is better". Mr. George Silver, a sword fighter who bitterly opposed the "new fangled Italian style" wrote two books. The first was an off-putting non-stop diatribe against the Italians, the second is much harder to find but is more useful in that he discusses the "Englyshe Style of Broad Swerd" with great thoroughness and depth, a worthy sucessor the Marxbuder German style popularized by Talhoffer and Meyer. DeGrassi discusses the introduction of rapiers and the desire to not lug a shield around all over the place. Savolio is often considered the genius behind the creation of a foil and Achille Morozzo is considered the first codifier of cuts, guards, wards and parries.
The book by Egerton Castle referred to above is a wonderful compilation of these opposing viewpoints! Mr. Castle created a history of the art of sword fighting and has strenuously declined to determine "which is better". He and I agree that a fighter who is poorly trained in a superior style will lose against a fighter who is properly trained in an inferior style. Rather like the question "what sword is best in a fight", the answer of course is "the one you brought with you, not the one you left at home in the closet", the question of which style or school is "better" can be answered simply by observing which school trains their students daily, which school is more intuitive, which school is more capable of training folks who really have no knack for sports, and which school teaches techniques which can be transfered to other weapons easily. And perhaps, in this modern age, which school can stay interesting enough so that even the most jaded belt hunters will come back to it again and again.
Take a week of evenings, and read Castle's dissertation. I will guarantee that you will be the better for it.
Monday, October 18, 2010
The light from the flash can pick up the plastic scales, but in normal day to day light, you can't tell the difference.
There is a plastic row of scales forming a kidney belt, and hard scales covering his spine and menubrium. The rest is nice soft leather scales.
Click on these to see them full size. These pictures were painted by an artist in the fourth century on the walls of a small church on the slopes of Mount Olympus. (that would be central-west in the long skinny island that is the birthplace of Aphrodite...among others. Including my personal goddess...Nemesis.) (Google it Dude!)
I figure that the artist was actually painting from life. The Tunic was short for a horseman, when I made my interpretation for Lou, I made the tunic longer.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
the other end concaved (1").
I can give more exact dimensions and a detailed drawing of what I am looking
for if you can provide me with a rough price range first.
I'm looking to order a few peaces from you and would just like to get a over
all price quote in US$(if possible with shipping, I live in California). The
items i was looking to get made are as follows: the 10-G Helm with the
German spangen upgrade, the 12-c-2 Two piece suit 16g battle armor (would
prefer the buckle to the sliding rivet) and a plywood 32" by 23" curved
Look forward to hearing back from you, will get the funds in order and get
the needed measurements so we can get the ball rolling.
The scales that come with rivets and everything else, do you assemble it and it costs
2.00 per scale, or is it somthing you need to do yourself? I live in Ontario as well,
but where is your store located in Ontario?
flat top helm. Especially the one with the grill face. I was wanting to know if you
could do a flat top helm with a grill that looks like the one in this video?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fM39fsrzl-o I love the way the helm is more narrow in
the front, and the vertical grill looks so mean. Basically, I am looking to recreate
the helm seen in the video, but flatten the top and keep a crusader look on the sides.
I would love to exchange some more ideas as I am looking to purchase from one armory
exclusively, and then kind of endorse them at events. Contact me and let me know wheat
PS Can someone make a purchase from you with paypal?
Thank you for recently speaking with me about my desire to have a custom suit of armor
fabricated. As promised, I have put some more thought into what I actually want in my
suit of armor.
To that end, I have attached JPG files which contain drawing illustrations of my
proposed suit of armor.
As discussed, I would like to base my custom suit of armor on your original 3-Piece
suit of armor with a few modifications. The most important modification is that I
would like the majority of the suit to be fabricated from 1040, NUMBER 3 GAUGE Medium
Plain Carbon Steel Sheet which is 1/4 inch thick (0.2391 inches) instead of the usual
NUMBER 16 GAUGE steel that you normally use. Thus, I would like my suit to function as
a real-world suit of armor. Thus, my proposed 3-piece suit of armor would be designed
based on your original 3-piece suit of armor but would be fabricated from a thicker
gauge of steel. Thus, any additional cost beyond the approximately $1,500 for the
3-piece suit illustrated on your website would be for the time and labor to work with
the thicker gauge of steel which may involve heat treating the NUMBER 3 GAUGE of Steel
Sheet in order to temporarily soften the still before hammering work on your anvil.
My questions to you are:
1. Are you able to fabricate a NUMBER 3 GAUGE suit of armor?
2. Do you have any concerns or objections about fabricating a NUMBER 3 GAUGE suit of
3. What would be the additional cost for making a NUMBER 3 GAUGE suit of armor?
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Always interested in new tidbits of history, I was provided some additional info on the Spaulder/Pauldron topic. Thought you might be interested as well.
Your friend is correct that "spaulder" is something of an anachronism, but then again, so too is "shield." At any rate, "pauldron" is also likely incorrect, as it is based on a single sixteenth-century work, amid more prevalent variations.
The proper term for what you're looking for in Modern English is "spaudeler," which is what you'll want to look up in OED.
The earliest attestation in English is probably "spawdeler," c. 1450-1509, in Richard Coer de Lion, line 5285
"Spauld" (spaud) as shoulder is possibly attested in English as early as 1305, and certainly by 1313.
"Spanbelere" is a copyist's error for "spaudeler," so don't be confused by it.
"Pauldrons," or more correctly "Pouldrons," is first attested in English in 1439, as "palerns;" 1454: "pollerons;" 1465: "polrondys."
There are various cognates for "spaudeler", including Middle Low German "spoldener" and Middle High German "spaldenier."
(And Bill's research is as follows) ..............
In the OED, a spaulder is a person who spualds, that is to say, spalls flint off nodules and it isn't an anachronism at all. The word "spauldeler" is listed as "obscure, rare, but at least it is English, albeit Old Engish. Espauliere is of course French.
The "New English Dictionary" became the OED. Since the Oxford English Dictionary is so long and tedious, they have always had a "concise" oxford dictionary, which is of course, the one volume reference work beside most Canadian desks. ( What is sometimes a little annoying is when a word is in the "concise" but isn't in the ten volume NED. The word "spaudler" is a case in point and another charming word "spadassin", that is to say, a swordsman.) Fortunately, we have the interwebs, and most of these old books have been scanned into the
The general usage in the Tower of London seems to be "Spaudler" (pronounced spawd-ler) . The NED word, "spauldeler" is pronounced much the same, "spaw-del-er". I have to admit that I have yet to find a reliable reference to "spaulder" as applied to shoulder armour, though the "Random House" dictionary reference makes me think that there is an American usage. Like the word "armor" for "armour". But though you can blame a whole lot of language disruption on Mr. Webster's attempt to streamline the English language, the fact remains, he was silent on the subject.
Coutere is a perfectly good word which has been bastardized into "elbow cop", and it is also properly called "cowter". The reference in Richard Coer De Lion is on line 5285, which also contains the word cowderbras. I like the word "cowderbras". Which of course is another word for "arm armour".
A vambrace was originally just the forearm guard, but of course, it quickly became the term for the whole arm, the "cowterbras". I'll stick to using "vambrace, coutere, and rerebrace" for now.
pages 1098 and 1116
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Lou S. asked me to make him a Byzantine armour. It had to look fourth century. And it had to meet or exceed SCA regulations. It must also work like a charm. Right oh then.
Semi-articulated forearm guards
The gorget is totally not Byzantine....even though I tried my best by incorporating a Roman Lion decoration. OTOH, it will protect his neck. Interesting variations are the deep cutouts on the sides to allow Lou to swing his arm up overhead.
I swept the top of the "chin" portion forward a lot to allow for greater comfort. Nothing is as uncomfortable as a goget, and hopefully, this will be better than most.
The back is beaten out to match his back since this gorget is designed to fit closely to his skin.
Below are the shin pads. If I had gone sixteen gauge for all of it, they would have weighed him down something awful! So I replaced part of the lower leg with leather. Again with the Roman lions. Would have been a site easier to make articulated knees...these only "look" easy! Oh, and I made them from that pretty hot rolled steel. If you look at them closely, you can see that I modeled the shin bone and the flares for the calf muscle.
The third from the bottom picture is the inspiration for Lou's armour. He called me up way back in February, and told me he wanted a Byzantine armour. For SCA fighting. "But Lou", I said, "Byzantine armour is not suitable for SCA combat...it is all open faces and scale and stuff which is good for bladed weapons, but not so good for SCA beatin' sticks! Even the materials...they used light gauge brass and bronze, the SCA requires heavy sixteen gauge metal. They didn't have gorgets and kidney belts and stuff.
Like a fool, I agreed that there might well be ways to make an SCA armour which will pass for Byzantine armour at first blush. Almost every thing had to be invented from the ground up...this is not a normal armour! The fact that there is no articulation on the joints is a serious problem. There are no knee cops at all, just someting resembling shin pads. The deep dishes take an inordinate amount of time. I am not sure if they are SCA legal yet...they might need some flanges still, see if I can protect the sides of the knees.
These pieces are almost all the third incarnation, sometimes the fourth, since it takes a couple of tries to get them right. For every piece you see up here, there are two in the scrap pile! The result by now is not too bad, and not so bad price wise. Because Lou allowed me to take my time, they got done right.
Now to see about how to get all those scales made into something which will meet SCA regulations. Then it'll be done.