Notes and features

A note on pricing and schedules: It is my herein stated intention to do my best to raise the bar for the average SCA fencer's / fighter's harness and dress. I feel I'm coming to achieve this for myself, and now will do what I can for others who are interested. My talent is far from fabulous, but sufficient to the task, I think. However, this is only a hobby, despite what I may wish! As such, your price range dictates my time constraint (with a fair amount of wiggle room) on your project. I want us all to look good, and will do my best. I hope you'll indulge me as I continue to improve my skill.

That said, the base armor harness component and its features can vary significantly in price, even for the same options. A $300 gorget will get a lot more attention to detail than a $125 gorget, even though both might have the same basic features. A $500 gorget would be a splendid piece to behold, and well beyond my skill level.

This section may eventually end up on another page. Example pics may eventually be posted. Some terminology is my own, for want of education. If you don't see something or know what something is, feel free to ask, or just assume I'll choose something functional and attractive (to me) for your price range. :) For now, here is a sample of features seen on extant museum pieces that I can recreate in my work:

  • Fitting - I usually make pieces in an approximately Medium size. Short of constant fitting tests in the shop or making body castings, any measurements I ask for, take, and use should be considered at best a semi-custom fitting. Anyone significantly smaller, larger, or differently shaped than me (6'0", 180 lbs, male) should currently expect a slight learning curve as I adjust to your body type (usually resulting in longer times, but not increased cost).
  • Hinges - can be internal, external, or integral. Rivets can be round-headed or blind. With my current skill, tools, and materials, nonhistorical spot-welding is a better alternative for blind rivets.
  • Catches - post-and-hole, spring pin with or without a push pin, post and hook, keyhole.
  • Buckles - my preferences are to use as few as possible. I can attempt period hardware, but prefer not to currently.
  • Rolled edges - default on vital areas like the gorget collar. Choices include plain, basic roping, fine roping.
  • Edge and surface decorations - I can put in fluting and stepping, as well as some basic pierced or filed edge decoration.
  • Finish - A medium finish (~200 grit) is the default, but I can also put on a fine finish (~400 grit) or very fine (600 grit or better). For the impecunious, an unsanded munitions finish will be your biggest money-saver.
  • Material - I default to 18 gauge mild steel for most armor, with 14g on at least the crown of the helm for SCA use with rattan or 16g for cut-and-thrust (or not) rapier; 20g on finger scales for finger gauntlets. Expect much higher cost and longer time for stainless steel (I don't keep it in stock, it's more expensive, is tough on tools, and is harder to work). Heat-treated steel (i.e. hardened) is still in trials.

Requests from other people

I'm trying to keep this list small, so that everyone goes home quickly and happily.

  • Alden (3-lame gorget, gauntlets) - Have initial measurements. Pending corrections on current gorget pattern (see personal projects).
  • Tristan (3-lame gorget in Maximilian style to fit a Maximilian sallet with bellows visor) - Have initial measurements on neck and helm collar. Pending corrections on current gorget pattern.
  • Mark (3-lame gorget) - Done.
  • Corvin (replace gorget collar hinge)
  • Stephanie (mid-1500s Landsknecht burgonet) - working on patterns and rough drafts.
  • Aeron (pairs of finger bucklers, simple cowters and poleyns, gauntlets)

Personal projects

Stuff currently holding my interest.

  • Revised 3-lame gorget - having made half a dozen of them, I've found a number of deficiencies in my pattern. Revisions will eliminate gaps at sides of collar, smooth out collar line of back chest piece, and allow more room on front chest piece to fit collar.
  • Shields of various sorts - Took a break from gorgets and made some 14g bucklers. One is a 12.5" round buckler for I.33 fencing, the other is a single piece version of the buckler from Talhoffer's 1467 fechtbuch for which I finally made the means to make. Also pondering alternative straps for finger bucklers (2 straps in an X?), in anticipation of the next project.
  • Training simulators - Commercially available, but not affordable to everyone. So I'm taking a stab at some hideously crude but balanced aluminum wasters. First will be a pair of longswords with 16th century guards based on extant German examples (a guard with two large ports, a knucklebow for a single hand, and sweeps (?) connecting the former to the latter; also with slightly S-curved spatulated cross). Then will come a simple sidesword guard that might be able to double for an I.33 arming sword (slightly S-curved and spatulated cross with a forward arm and knucklebow; probably no posts or ports).
  • Demi-gauntlets to become finger gauntlets - 20g gauntlets for sidesword and other WMA play. Preparation for working in spring steel.
  • Cowters and poleyns - 18g. Emphasis on some simpler styles such as infantry or modern entry-level WMA students might need. Still, I'm attempting a pair of 3/4 round floating cowters b/c I feel like it. :P The first one is shaping well, but is vile to gaze upon.
  • Vambraces - Probably will also be 20g. What hits we have taken to the forearms in sidesword free fencing don't put that much of a crease in 18g. And even 18g is awfully heavy when you're trying to simulate unarmored combat.

Other

  • Lanterns - After fumbling in the dark at two SCA war events and seeing Gerry Embleton's sketches in a Dragon issue, I've decided that medieval folk were rightfully afraid of the dark, and I will do my part to dispel it. 6-8 panes, or else piercework metal panels. 1-3 candles. Now I just need to source glass or (preferably) high-temperature plastic panes.
  • Candles - ...and what's a lantern without a light? Just simple 1" tapers with a 1:3 or 1:4 ratio of beeswax to paraffin. It's fun for the whole family (who've probably been wondering what the hell I do for fun), and you can make 13 for the price of buying 1.
  • Chest strapping - .125" x 1" flat stock for period chests. Now I just need a chest to mount them on.
  • Manacles - why not? Working flat stock for chests and shield handles got me interested in other flat stock metalworking.
  • Mancatcher - ...and Alice continues to fall down the rabbit hole. These things just look cool, in an evil way. Don't let your parents see this one, kids. On a lighter note, the BDSM crowd would probably love a version with silicone or latex rubber spikes.