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Michael Clark




Location: Welland, Ontario
Joined: 31 Mar 2007

Posts: 45

PostPosted: Tue 03 Jul, 2007 1:10 am    Post subject: What's in a gauge?         Reply with quote

Something has been bothering me... Well, besides the fact that there is something that I don't know Razz

When looking at websites for armor and shields, I see a lot of mention of "made with # gauge steel." I was wondering if someone could tell me exactly what a "gauge" means, and do I want a higher number on my pieces of armor, or would that depend on the useage?

Thank you,
M.C.
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Vincent Le Chevalier




Location: Paris, France
Joined: 07 Dec 2005
Reading list: 15 books

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PostPosted: Tue 03 Jul, 2007 1:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gauge is just a measure of thickness of metal. Apparently the exact definition depends on the metal... There are several conversion charts floating around the web, for example:
http://www.unc.edu/~rowlett/units/scales/sheetmetal.html

As to the desired value, I'd think it depends on the usage of the piece. But I should let the armor specialists talk about that...

--
Vincent
Ensis Sub Caelo
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Michael Clark




Location: Welland, Ontario
Joined: 31 Mar 2007

Posts: 45

PostPosted: Tue 03 Jul, 2007 1:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks, Vincent. That is a useful chart. If I'm reading it correctly, the higher the gauge, the thinner the metal. That certainly puts a new light on things.

So I imagine I'd want lower-gauge steel for more durable armor?
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Sam Barris




Location: San Diego, California
Joined: 29 Apr 2004
Likes: 4 pages

Posts: 617

PostPosted: Tue 03 Jul, 2007 2:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

With certain caveats; weight being perhaps the most obvious. With mail, you also run into problems of flexibility if the inside diameter of the individual rings is too small for the thickness of the metal. This is only a huge concern if you're going to make it yourself.

It's all a balancing act determined by what qualities you want your armor to have and what kind of punishment you're going to subject it to. Also, armor that provides a glancing surface doesn't necessarily need to be heavy to be effective.

I would also be equally concerned with the quality of the heat treatment.

Pax,
Sam Barris

"Any nation that draws too great a distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting done by fools." —Thucydides
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Nathan Keysor




Location: WV
Joined: 15 Apr 2007
Reading list: 9 books

Posts: 255

PostPosted: Tue 03 Jul, 2007 12:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Most armour repros are made from 12-20 gauge. I usually make helmets out of 14-16 gauge or a combo of both. And then things like poleyns where there is a lot of stress I would do 14 gauge. Other parts could be 16-18 guage. I use mild steel. If you are using stainless of some high carbon you can go thinner. Some SCA armourers use 12 gauge for the tops of their helms which is pretty thick stuff. A body panel on a car, for instance, is 22-24 if I recall. That seems pretty thin but a lot of the rigidity in the armour/body panels is from the introduction of rolled eges, fluting/ridges, crimping etc...
Hope that helps,

Nathan

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner.
Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!"
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