Works

See "Projects" under the Gallery link.

Inspirations

Robert MacPherson - One of the foremost armourers in America, he is the man to whom museums go when period armor pieces need restoration or repairs.

Patrick Thaden - Based out of Dallas and recommended by a lot of people I regularly fence with. I got to pick his brains once, when I was just starting out. I'd love another chance to talk, now that I have a clue.

Wade Allen - With Art Elwell, he began a major renaissance in armoring (in the US).

Marek & Jizba - Eastern Europe runneth over with recreation armor production these days, and these Czechs make some nice stuff.

Arms and Armor - Don't confuse these Czechs with Craig Johnson's most excellent Arms & Armor (see below).

Resources

Arador.com

Armour Archives

My Armoury - A showcase for Nathan Robinson's photography. Also a lavishly high-bandwidth introduction to practical sword collecting.

Suppliers

Triple-S Steel - Steel at reasonable market prices in small (i.e. non-industrial) quantities. Ask for their second quality stuff (1/2 price) -- the cutting and shaping process mauls the steel way worse than any damage that comes on their stuff.

  • Hot-rolled 20, 18, 16, and 14 gauge (in 4'x8' or 4'x10' sheets)
  • Bar stock and flat stock ranging from round 1/8" all the way up to 3/8" round or square; 1" to 1.5" x .25" flat stock is good for buckler handles, manacles, etc. ironworking type stuff. use .125" flat stock for strapping on chests and furniture.

Eastwood Company - A source for Beverly shears and other metalworking tools.

Roper Whitney - The No. 5 Jr. Handpunch rocks.

Home Despot - My personal Toys'R'Us. Cheaper off-brand alternatives can be had at Harbor Freight, but Home Depot is rather convenient.

Leather Factory - Vegetable-tanned hides, buckles, leather-working tools, Poundo rubber mats (useable for both leatherworking and fluting armor with a blunted chisel), etc.

  • 3-9 oz vegetable-tanned cowhide shoulders
  • strap cutter
  • buckles (I prefer 3/4" D-rings for 3/4" straps, but they're not entirely historical)
  • Rotary hole punch for leather
  • various rivet-setting tools
  • Poundo rubber mat (used with a blunted chisel, excellent as a backing on which to flute armor pieces)

RJ Leahy - A source for rivets. I use 1/8" and 3/16" shank diameters. Round heads are good-looking and used for external rivets of all sorts. Truss heads look better than flat heads when you want a lower profile head for certain articulated riveted joints or strap connections. Blind rivets done with countersunk heads would be even better, if I could get them to work right. 1/8" x 1" for hinges, 1/8" x 1/4" for some gauntlet connections and for riveting hinges on. 3/16" x 1/4" works for just about everything else. I used to use a 3/8" long shank, b/c my fitting wasn't very good. Lately, I find I only use this long shank when riveting 1/4" bar / flat stock to sheet.

Grizzly - This is their belt sander, as recommended to me by Patrick Thaden and Scott Wilson.

And from Home Depot, Harbor Freight, etc., these are tools I've used, acquired, or adapted over the years:

  • Hammers! No end of 'em. 8 oz all the way up to 4 lb. Planishing, ball, peen, cross, sledge, rawhide. I haven't seen vertical cross hammers for sale, so I made my own by grinding down the peen end of a cheap hammer. A No. 3 rawhide mallet is handy for heavy shaping (from Wholesale Tools in town, no website). Use a grinding wheel and sanding belt to round edges and polish off the faces on the hammers (600 grit or better) -- it makes a world of difference when your hammer faces don't put divots or marks in your work.
  • .5 horsepower bench grinder
  • Chisels and punches - Sharp chisels for cutting, blunted / rounded ones for fluting (sand them down just enough to take the edge and corners off). Punches to mark rivet holes, knock out ground-off rivets. Use combinations to decorate armor with roping and other decorations.
  • Files -- half-bastard, mill
  • Nails! -- roofing nails are 1/8" shank with a wide head. Good substitute for truss rivets, but only when the head is inside the armor. 6d and 16d nails can serve as rivets in a pinch when clipped with bolt cutters. (use washers with the 6d and 16d -- #6 washers for 1/8", and I forget whether it's #8 or #10 for 3/16")
  • ...And to make rivets out of those nails, a pair of 18" bolt cutters. The 8" jobbies really have to strain to clip 1/8" shanks. But you also need 8" cutters (along with a heavy-duty drill and a 3/8" rod with a 1/8" hole on one end) to cut wire for your 3/8" link inner diameter chainmail.
  • 14g fencing wire for nonhistorical butted chainmail. Or 18g wire for riveted mail.
  • 600-grit sandpaper
  • Table vise
  • Power drill
  • Scrap pine or other wood from 2x4s, shipping pallets, etc. -- also good for fluting / putting dents in things.
  • 60 gallon 135 psi Ingersoll-Rand air compressor from Northern Tools.
  • Air tools: 1/4" die grinder, file, cut-off tool. I got most of these from Harbor Freight, but you need to shop carefully. They carry a lot of good stuff for cheap, but there's also a lot of tools that aren't as durable as the name brand stuff. Know which tools you won't be very hard on.
  • Hobart 135 MIG welder using .030 wire and 75% Argon 25% CO2 gas
  • Vise-grips
  • Wrenches
  • B2 Beverly Shears -- got mine off Ebay new.
  • Vise-grips

Swordsmiths

Swordsmiths of some repute

Armor.com - Historical. Cunningly crafted. Handsome. Pricey. Also carries some armor.

Angus Trim Swords - Great cutting swords. CNC milled, hand-finished and tuned. My own 1515 Oakeshott XVIIIb is a joy to handle.

Darkwood Armory - Makes some of the best-looking and handling steel practice weapons for rapier and sidesword fencing. Don't be a wimp -- get the full-width bated blades.

Lutel - These Czechs make quality repro pieces priced not to bust your bank (Well, less so, now that the USD is sucking). Comes with a sheath and belt -- easily a $100 value on its own elsewhere.

Phoenix Metal Creations - Stunning baskethilt piercework and other such things.

All Saints Blades - Where I got my Atrim longsword. He provided some of the best service I've ever had anywhere.

Pavel Moc - His swords are gorgeous repros (functional ones) of historical pieces.