Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Jason got a sword.

So Jason got a sword.  Paid a buck for it on EBay, and it still cost him twenty five bucks shipping and duty.  It had a broken tang and some rust.  Just the blade...no handle or scabbard.  It was folded steel though, and the decoration was hand chiseled. 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Interesting emails

Dear Mr. F.,
I'm looking to get 2  pieces made, approx. 12-14"x6". One end convexed (1")
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.

Darron Pxxxxxxxxx
 Bill says about that.....
Hmmmmm...two pieces of what do you suppose? Steel? Aluminum?  Cheese?
Well, below is another one. 
High there,

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
shield blank.

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.

Bill says about that.....
Well, Mike, what would you like me to tell you that is not on my web pages?  As it is, Mike dropped off the radar and never did get back to me, and when I emailed him, he told me had purchased from a local guy. 
 Brxxxxxxx asked...

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?
Bill says about that...
Not such an unreasonable question, no doubt the statement on my web site is a little vague.... the website says "for those that want to build their own scale coat". 
  Don't know why he wanted to visit, but if he did, instructions are all over my web site.  Not sure why he wanted the scales, but his email consisted of words which implied that he was an armour maker himself.  Oh well....scales take an inordinate amount of time to make.  Maybe I can get them stamped out cheap someday.  When that day comes, no doubt the production scales will be too pointy, too rounded, too heavy, or not heavy enough with the holes all in the wrong places.   (Gawd I hate scales!)


I contact via the shop phone, but I wanted to send you an email as  well. I love your
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
you think.

Thank You,

PS Can someone make a purchase from you with paypal?

Bill says about that......
I love letters like this....the guy is so keen and he wants so much to get into fighting.  And he has a good idea of what he wants....he sends me to a long and rambling video which features a helm with a grill face, which he likes.  Yet, I did find it a little disturbing the fact that the only thing he took away from that lecture is the cool grill face on a helm. Nothing about period re-enactment, safety, protection, visibility, any of the things an armourer has to consider.  The topper is that he wants a crusader barrel helm modified in a way no crusader ever thought to modify his helm.  I passed on this job BECAUSE he would tell people where he got it.  I don't want my name attached to such a blatantly non-period item. I can live with non-period features for safety reasons, but this is not why he wants this modification...if he wants crusader, then go with the closed face helm. Too bad actually, he seems like such a nice fellow...but his marshals should have advised him better.

  And no, I don't take paypal, I am a legitimate established business with my own merchant accounts. 


Mr. F.
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?

Bill says about that.....
Hmmmm....no question that this fine gentleman knows that gauge sizes go heavier as the integers go down...he realized that his armour would end up being quarter of an inch thick.  This email came after I had talked him out of stainless steel!  Even so, I passed on this job because the end product would still be in excess of 250 pounds.  Nice fellow though....he came back later with an alternate proposal which he would actually be able to walk in, something in sixteen gauge.  The pictures were quite interesting...his sketches implied that this fellow actually might be Tony Stark.  Hmmm.  Never made an armour for a super hero before!  So this looks like it could be interesting, and I think I'll take that job. 
And the list goes on.....


Sunday, September 12, 2010

The great spaulder, spaudler, spauldeler debate.

Letter from Mike.....

Hi Bill,

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

page 530

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

The Lou Bin

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

 Forearm guards are clamshell opening...they pivot open on the rivets under the elbow cop.  Big concession from the original is the wing. 

 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. 

 Four eyelets on each side.  Two for the arms. Two for adjustment.

 Click on this picture to see it full size.  this is the inspiration.  Below, you can see the upper arms based on the above picture.  Again, lots of eyelets, hopefully at least two of them will be suitable to lace to the elbow cops. 

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.


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