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Sander Marechal




Location: The Netherlands
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PostPosted: Thu 14 Jan, 2010 12:54 pm    Post subject: The colour of steel         Reply with quote

I am thinking about purchasing my first piece of armour. Probably gauntlets because they're going to come in handy (excuse the pun) during WMA.

I am wondering about the colour of steel though. I've been thinking about what kind of armour I want so I can get gauntlets in the correct style, but I don't have the money to buy a full suit, or commission a full suit to be made over a longer period. I'll probably end up buying my kit in pieces from several different armourers. But is it going to match?

Is steel (e.g. mild steel) always the same colour? Will my armour pieces match? I assume the amount of polishing can differ of course. How easy/hard/expensive will it be to repolish certain pieces to match the rest, assuming I want a softer finish and not mirror? (personally I love the rougher, used look of munitions-grade armour).

Or are there more severe problems with collecting armour piece-wise than just color/finish?

Thanks in advance!
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Gabriele A. Pini




Location: Olgiate Comasco, Como
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PostPosted: Thu 14 Jan, 2010 1:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The first thing you have to decide is the epoch and the personal history of your character (like social status, finance, etc...):: only then you can start buying what you need. Es.: a lord will more probably have a complete suit, where a veteran mercenary will have pieces from hundred of battles.

The vast majority of the suits of armor we have are patchworks, and even if they were build all together probably not all pieces were manufactured by the same hand (but this is a topic I pass to the probati auctores of the site).
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Scott Hrouda




Location: Minnesota, USA
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PostPosted: Thu 14 Jan, 2010 7:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I personally enjoy collecting and making my kit piece by piece. No worries on matching mild to mild steel, although I wouldn't recommend matching a mild piece and a stainless piece.

It is not hard to polish various pieces to a matching finish level. All you will need is some time and "elbow grease". A very informative article on this forum written by Patrick Kelly has most of your answers. Even though Care and Maintenance of the Modern Replica is written with the sword in mind, the same polishing and care tips apply to your steel harness.

...and that, my liege, is how we know the Earth to be banana shaped. - Sir Bedevere
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Aleksei Sosnovski





Joined: 04 Mar 2008

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PostPosted: Thu 14 Jan, 2010 10:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

All mild steel I have sen was of same color. Well, actually all low and medium carbon and light-alloyed steels are of same color. Some high-carbon steels tend to get darker with time and stainless steel is usually noticeably different in color.

If you do not want to polish your armor (a real pain in the ass, especially if you intend to actually use this armor) but instead want to get uniform finish then I would recommend the thing used by the guy at the middle of this video (time 4:05):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1jF2MA4UrU&feature=related
It is a kind of abrasive felt. Do not know how it is called in English, when translated from Estonian it would be "bear's tongue". Gives a nice mat finish with very little effort. MUCH easier than sand paper. It is also very good for cleaning armor from light rust. And it last very long, unlike fine sandpaper that get clogged up in no time.

Hope this info helps. And good luck with your kit.
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Sander Marechal




Location: The Netherlands
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PostPosted: Fri 15 Jan, 2010 12:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks all.

Quote:
The first thing you have to decide is the epoch and the personal history of your character (like social status, finance, etc...):: only then you can start buying what you need.


Of course. I haven't quite settled yet, but I'm thinking late 14th century transitional. Partly because I like the look and partly because I think it's easier to collect. I have a few questions about that as well, but I will make new threads for them.

Quote:
No worries on matching mild to mild steel, although I wouldn't recommend matching a mild piece and a stainless piece.


That's good to hear. I wasn't planning on buying stainless. I don't like the looks of it and it's much more expensive because it's so hard to work with. Any thoughts on matching mild steel and spring steel?

Quote:
It is a kind of abrasive felt. Do not know how it is called in English, when translated from Estonian it would be "bear's tongue".


I think I know what that is. It looks like the stuff that's on the abrasive side of those abrasive dishwashing sponges, only a little more abrasive. I believe they sell it at the local DIY.
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Aleksei Sosnovski





Joined: 04 Mar 2008

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PostPosted: Fri 15 Jan, 2010 12:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sander Marechal wrote:
Any thoughts on matching mild steel and spring steel?


I already wrote about it. Usually "spring steel" used for making armor is something like 1050, which is plain carbon steel with 0.5% carbon. I used low-alloy steel with as much as 0.65% carbon and could see no difference, so I think that there will be no problems, at least as long as the armor is regularly cleaned. Steels that contain more carbon, around 1%, tend to get much darker with time, especially when exposed to acidic environment (that is why pattern welded blades are etched to bring out the pattern). However making armor of such steel would be really difficult and therefore no-one does so.
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J. Abernethy





Joined: 17 May 2009

Posts: 44

PostPosted: Fri 15 Jan, 2010 5:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
It is a kind of abrasive felt. Do not know how it is called in English, when translated from Estonian it would be "bear's tongue".


I think I know what that is. It looks like the stuff that's on the abrasive side of those abrasive dishwashing sponges, only a little more abrasive. I believe they sell it at the local DIY.[/quote]

It looks like the red S.O.S. pads you can get at auto paint stores, same size and everything.
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Christopher VaughnStrever




Location: San Antonio, TX
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PostPosted: Fri 15 Jan, 2010 8:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sander Marechal wrote:
Quote:
I don't have the money to buy a full suit, or commission a full suit to be made over a longer period. I'll probably end up buying my kit in pieces from several different armourers. But is it going to match?


I would recomend to consider buying a full suit from one maker. Of course the entire price tag will be large, though as you said --to buy one piece at a time-- Which you can do from a single armourer. That suit will match in style and colour of steel.

If you buy from different armourers... It will not match in the end, even if you polish and buff all you want, the entire end result will not match. Each maker has a different "style" of making their armor. Your suit will "most likely" not match in style and color. Please consider the two scenerios below....

Buying from the same Armourer
(A) Pick an armourer that has the most desired look that you want.
(B) You can purchase one piece at a time from the choosen armourer.
(C) Since a man at arms could range from wearing gauntlets and a helm to a full suit of armor. The one piece at a time will develop your persona of a men at arms acquiring a piece by piece set of armor.
(D) If your armourer remains the same person, your entire suit (In the end) and the colour steel of that suit will match.
(E) Each piece of your armor will connect and fit with all other piece's of your armor. for example... Your Pauldrons or spaulders will fit well with your arm harness and/or your gorget.

Or...

Buying from different Armourers
(1) buy different pieces of armor from different makers.
(2) different sheens of polish or different looks of a rough munitions grade will be very visible (Modifiying a new piece of armor to have a different finish look is very risky considering you spent hundreds of dollars on a nice new piece of armor)
(3) This can give a very neat look (Like a true man at arms that would pick up different pieces of armor from the dead on the battlefield)
(4) Your complete suit will have a different attachments--A different armourer means a different style of connecting the armor together (Straps and buckles are different, those same straps and buckles are in different locations. Some pieces of armor are meant to tie to another piece, whereas the opposite can be said of an ajoining piece... example-- Your Pauldrons may have a strap and the gorget has a strap as well)

Experience and learning from such defines maturity, not a number of age
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Sander Marechal




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PostPosted: Fri 15 Jan, 2010 4:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
I already wrote about it. Usually "spring steel" used for making armor is something like 1050, which is plain carbon steel with 0.5% carbon.


Ah, okay. I didn't register that the steel types you were talking about also included spring steel. Thanks for explaining.

Quote:
Each maker has a different "style" of making their armor.


Could you explain a bit more or give some examples? When I said buying one piece at a time I didn't mean for example separate vambraces, rebraces and elbows, but more buying two arms, two legs, two gauntlets, a helmet, etcetera.

Quote:
Since a man at arms could range from wearing gauntlets and a helm to a full suit of armor. The one piece at a time will develop your persona of a men at arms acquiring a piece by piece set of armor.


I have been giving that quite a bit of thought. One of the reasons I am thinking about 14th century armour is exactly that. Start with a gambeson and possibly a hauberk and look like an early 14th century man-at-arms. Then start adding plate bits. The more plate you add, the more late 14th century and higher class you look. Also, a houndskull basicet with the visor removed looks like an early basinet :-)

I also love the look of 15th century italian armours with barbute helmets. Barbutes are also good for WMA because of excellent visibility (we don't thrust to the head when using steel, but do strike/cut to the head and neck). But I fear that such armour will just look bad until it is complete. Any sources/references on people just wearing a few bits of this kind of armour?

Quote:
Your complete suit will have a different attachments--A different armourer means a different style of connecting the armor together (Straps and buckles are different, those same straps and buckles are in different locations. Some pieces of armor are meant to tie to another piece, whereas the opposite can be said of an ajoining piece... example-- Your Pauldrons may have a strap and the gorget has a strap as well)


Good point, but I was hoping to avoid that simply by buying smart. For example in 14th century armour I could buy whole arms that point to the gambeson and fit together. No gorget, a houndskull with aventail, complete set of legs that point to the pourpoint and a separate coat-of-plates for the body. I figure I should be okay as long as I make sure that the spaulders and cuisses have leather tabs so I can point them.

I love to hear your thoughts on all this. Although I wonder if I should make a separate thread or rename this one...
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Christopher VaughnStrever




Location: San Antonio, TX
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PostPosted: Fri 15 Jan, 2010 6:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes, tabs that would allow you to point your armour would be great. That way nothing directly attatchs to each other. Just be extra sure to mention that to each maker.

The styles I was speaking about would be the-- "rolled borders" look at this link of the merc tailor...http://www.merctailor.com/catalog/popup_image.php?pID=54 Notice the edge of the armour. Some makers fold the metal to the inside of the armor, as in the photo.

Now notice this maker.. http://www.ageofarmour.com/education/armour_rolled_edges8.html Look at the second to last picture and the last picture. Other makers may round the metal to the outside of the armor as seen in those pictures.

This is one example of different styles.. Of course one would buy a "set" and not a left arm here and a right arm here. Though, the borders of your armor pieces may be different. That is something you would have to decide if you want or do not want.

These are just things to think about. When I began buying armor, I had no clue about all the "little" details.


Another thing to seriously consider. when buying a gambeson or an arming jacket... a gambeson or arming jacket that does not properly fit will put all the weight of your armor onto your shoulders... 30lbs or more on the shoulders will be very uncomfortable... On the other side a gambeson or arming jacket that fits to the "T" will distribute the total weight onto your hips and shoulders. that makes a huge difference.

Experience and learning from such defines maturity, not a number of age
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Sander Marechal




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PostPosted: Sun 17 Jan, 2010 2:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks, I hadn't thought about details like which way the edges are rolled. I presume another such detail is the type and colour of the rivets used (e.g. brass or steel, size, etcetera).

I'll give it some more thought.


Last edited by Sander Marechal on Sun 17 Jan, 2010 3:17 am; edited 1 time in total
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Ben van Koert




Location: Veenendaal, the Netherlands
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PostPosted: Sun 17 Jan, 2010 3:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Those are indeed important details for a consistent look in a harness.
One option you can consider is to replace all exterior straps and buckes for a similar colour and design. This also helps a lot.

One thing which is great about 14th century armour is that there are a lot of eastern european makers who are specialised in this timeframe, so you can get some great deals, however beware of the sizing. Most armour is made too thick and too big, as it's customary to wear a lot of thick padding under their armour there because of different combat styles on the battlefield there. Those guys hit seriously hard.

If you're considereing 15th C. also, please consider that barbutes are SO overrepresented in living history and reenactment.

It's possible to build a consistent 15th century harness over time. I've done it too.
I started with a sallet, bevor and gauntlets. I already had a pair of ugly old arms, so used these as well.
Next step: a brigandine with brigandine spaulders. Then I got me some legs, new better arms and now I'm upgrading the helmet. Hopefully i'll get a cuirass over time to make the full suit complete. The brig really helped gluing these parts together as its suitable for a whole strata of statuses.
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Sander Marechal




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PostPosted: Sun 17 Jan, 2010 4:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ben van Koert wrote:
If you're considereing 15th C. also, please consider that barbutes are SO overrepresented in living history and reenactment.


I didn't know that. I guess the excellent visibility compared to visored sallets has something to do with that. I went to a shop last friday that sells armour just to try on some helmets and see how visibility is. With the sallet on I could see my girlfriend at 2-3 paces away (normal fighting distance) from the top of her head to about her naval. I also tried on a few houndskulls but visibility is even poorer in those.

Quote:
It's possible to build a consistent 15th century harness over time. I've done it too.
I started with a sallet, bevor and gauntlets. I already had a pair of ugly old arms, so used these as well.
Next step: a brigandine with brigandine spaulders. Then I got me some legs, new better arms and now I'm upgrading the helmet. Hopefully i'll get a cuirass over time to make the full suit complete. The brig really helped gluing these parts together as its suitable for a whole strata of statuses.


Thanks. That's giving me some ideas. I also stumbled on this thread, which has some nice pics of people in partial 15th century armour.
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Ben van Koert




Location: Veenendaal, the Netherlands
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PostPosted: Sun 17 Jan, 2010 4:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

And even then it depends from helmet to helmet. In a sallet, the visor is supposed to be fairly close to your eyes. The further away it is, the worse sight you're going to have.
With a decent visored sallet and a correct bevor you have better protection than with a barbute, as your throat is also covered. Your face is a bit more exposed to thrusts, but with your visor half open you'll have some good protection against strikes.
(My current bevor is still too far away from my face. I've ordered a new one with my new spring steel sallet which hopefully will be good and I currently have ordered another spring steel bevor Jeff Hedgecock had in stock.)
A bevor is supposed to be as close to your face as shown in the numerous historical depictions of it.
Most replicas move way from the face instead. Because of this, most sallets are adapted to these bevors.


I've just posted in the thread you referred to, funny that you mentioned it.
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Sander Marechal




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PostPosted: Mon 18 Jan, 2010 1:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ah, I only now noticed that those fantastic archer pictures are yours :-)

Thanks for the information on how a sallet is supposed to fit. When I'm in the store again I'll try them again and see how close to my face it really is.
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