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Sander Marechal




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PostPosted: Sun 28 Mar, 2010 3:25 am    Post subject: How thick and snug was the gambeson worn beneath mail?         Reply with quote

Yesterday me and a couple of friends from my WMA group went shopping for arms & armour. I found a nice looking and feeling gambeson, but I have a couple of questions.

My original plan was to buy a gambeson that I could use for both my kits: a 1250-ish Hospitallers kit and my mid-14th century kit. I was looking for something that came to a few inches above my knees with long sleeves. I found this one (page in Dutch, sorry, but there are images): http://www.zwaardenvolk.nl/index.php?option=c...&hit=1

For me, that gambeson fits a little bit snugger and is a little bit longer than it fits the guy in the picture. It's made from rough linen with smooth linen inside. It's a bit stiff, with a thickness varying between 1 and 2 centimeters. I can move well in it though. The padding is quite stiff as well, not fluffly like some cotton/batting padded gambesons. It feels like it's excellent for WMA practice with blunt steel swords.

I know that it's not quite long enough for 1250 and that a gambeson from that period should not be front-opening but that will be hidden by the hauberk and long black surcoat.

I also tried on some 14th century plate arms to see how it works with that, but it didn't really work. The gambeson bunched up quite a bit under the vambrace and rebrace and movement was pretty stiff. If I would have worn a hauberk between the gambeson and plate it would have been even worse. So, my new plan is to buy this gambeson for WMA practice and my 1250-ish kit and make my own thinner aketon/arming coat for my 14th century kit plate kit. I can also use this gambeson stand-alone with a kettle helmet so I can reasonably participate in pretty much any event set between the 12th and 15th century.

My questions:

How snug should a gambeson fit? This one fits me pretty well (I think) but it's not entirely snug. It could be a little bit thinner/smaller around the waist. Not by much though, about 10 centimeters in waist circumference without impairing movement.

Would a gambeson of this thickness/stiffness be worn under a hauberk? I haven't tested it with a hauberk yet, but I do intend to test this in the store before I actually buy it.

How resistant to chafing damage is rough linen canvas? The gambeson is quite expensive and I would hate to wear it out fast when I start wearing a riveted mail hauberk over it.

Thanks in advance for all your help!
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Sun 28 Mar, 2010 5:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Can't give you a definite answer but a few things you might consider are range of motion and stiffness or rather avoid stiffness that make it hard to bend your arms.

You should be able to raise your arms over your head without the entire ganbison ( aketon ) wanting to rise with it.

It shouldn't be so thick that depending on the sizing of your maille it become too tight to move.

At the elbow the fabric may become flexible enough after a break in period ..... or not !

The forearm tailoring should taper to close fitting if you want to use plate arms and not have to be folded over to close the vambraces.

Oh, and if you bring your arms forward putting tension on the upper back of the gambison your movement shouldn't feel restricted: If you want to fight you have to be able to move. Wink

I bought a cheap gambison that seemed about the right size for me ( XL but I should have gotten XXL ) but when I brought my arms forward and tensed my muscles the seams at the back of the shoulders ripped off like in an " Incredible Hulk Movie ". Cry Sad Exclamation

Very heavy and thick might be better for a fabric armour meant to be stand alone armour rather than padding under maille I think: You want some good padding under the maille but not at the expense of being able to move or feeling like an overstuffed sausage. Wink Razz Laughing Out Loud

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Christopher VaughnStrever




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PostPosted: Sun 28 Mar, 2010 9:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I cannot provide historical answers to your questions. However if you are interested I can provide tips and a small tutorial so you can make your own in such a way that you will be able to move freely. Just send a pm.
Experience and learning from such defines maturity, not a number of age
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Felix R.




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PostPosted: Sun 28 Mar, 2010 9:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The gambeson samples they show in the hand stitched section seem to be made by Kokosz from Poland. At least he is pictured in a few other pictures on that page. I had him make me a padded helmet liner and aventail. He does use raw wool to fill the tubes and it is too stiff. Even when using wool it should be fluffy still.
I had those guys make me an Aketon http://www.medieval-market.biz/goods.php?kate...at2=Arming Garments
You can give them a lot details and they incorporate everything. In my opinion the Aketon of the later 14th cent should be as tight as possible without restricting moement and breathing.
Mine is differential thickness in different parts of the garment and I just send it back for modifying the lower arms having them even more tight and less padding.
This is the old picture, but it is already tight in the body and upper arms
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Sander Marechal




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PostPosted: Sun 28 Mar, 2010 12:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for all the comments so far.

Jean Thibodeau wrote:
You should be able to raise your arms over your head without the entire ganbison ( aketon ) wanting to rise with it.

Oh, and if you bring your arms forward putting tension on the upper back of the gambison your movement shouldn't feel restricted: If you want to fight you have to be able to move. Wink


I will try this when I return to the shop next Tuesday or Wednesday. I had the store cleck hold the gambeson for me this week so I could have time to check out a few other shops (not that there are many shops in The Netherlands...)

Quote:
It shouldn't be so thick that depending on the sizing of your maille it become too tight to move.


I haven't tried it with mail yet, but that is one of the things I was already planning for my next visit.

Quote:
At the elbow the fabric may become flexible enough after a break in period ..... or not !


The elbows moved well. The gambeson is differentailly padded and sized. There's a little extra room at the outside of the elbows to give you room to move, and the inside of the elbow has less padding to compress more easily.

Quote:
The forearm tailoring should taper to close fitting if you want to use plate arms and not have to be folded over to close the vambraces.


I already tried on a couple of plate arms over the gambeson in the store and quickly decided that for my 14th century kit, I'm getting an arming coat Happy I intend to use this gambeson under a hauberk and as stand-alone armour. Not under plate.

Christopher VaughnStrever wrote:
if you are interested I can provide tips and a small tutorial so you can make your own in such a way that you will be able to move freely. Just send a pm.


PM on the way!

Ferlix R. wrote:
The gambeson samples they show in the hand stitched section seem to be made by Kokosz from Poland.


Thanks. The stores I visited are all very hesitant to name manufacturers because they are afraid we will buy directly from them instead.

I looked at Kokosz's website and I recognise those gambesons from the store. I tried a few on but they are much stiffer than the gambeson that I am interested in at the moment. One did fit quite well, but it took two people tugging at it to get it off again(!) I really like to be able to self-armour though. That's why for now I set my eye on a gambeson that opens in the front, even if it's not correct for the mid 13th century.

The gambeson I saw wasn't one of Kokosz. It was machine stitched, not hand stitched.

Quote:
Mine is differential thickness in different parts of the garment.


Nice picture Happy It seems to fit really snug around your waist, but I can't really tell. You could be a really skinny guy Happy How snug is it? Is there any room between your body and the gambeson or does it really fit like a second skin? I'm wondering about parts like the arc of your back for example.

The gambeson I tried left just a little room between my back and the back of the gambeson when I stood straight. I could pull it tighter a bit so the front flaps overlapped by about 10 centimeters at the waist line. I am wondering if that is too roomy or if a tighter fit would hamper movement too much.

Apologies for the flood of questions. This will be my first gambeson. I can afford a decent one but I can't afford to buy a wrong one only to have to buy another one in a few months when I discover it doesn't work.
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Felix R.




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PostPosted: Sun 28 Mar, 2010 1:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mine is quite good fitting at the torso and hip section. At first it was as wide as in the situation you described. I brought it back to the medieval market guys, they modified it and sent it back to me. Then it was the tight fit it is now in the picture. Maybe it could be a faint tighter, but it must not be. The tight fit around hips and shoullders is really good, so the garment doesn´t moove muh with the armour attached.
In my opinion, you won´t be able to order a garment that is 100% perfect in the first place. So you need a maker that will help you modify it after trying it on and after some time of using it. So you can see what needs to be modified. Better would be to have the maker take your measurments, in case they really know how to do it and even then they have to be able to make a proper garment out of it.
In conclusion, I can recommend the people of medieval market because of a ok fit in the first place and really good customer service with the modification.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sun 28 Mar, 2010 2:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This is the problem with not having a decent typology. If we used standardised terms then things would be simpler. If gambeson was defined as standalone armour and haketon was defined as underarmour then we wouldn't need a whole sentence for clarification each time the subject is mentioned. Right now if I wanted to talk about an aketon I would have to waste time saying that I am refering to a lightly padded garment intended to be worn under mail.
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Sander Marechal




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PostPosted: Sun 28 Mar, 2010 2:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

@Felix: Thanks, so the one I saw may be a bit too wide then.

I think I have stumbled upon the manufacturer of the gambeson I tried: Matuls. The pictures match very well, except the one I tried came further down my legs. The model is the same though. As is the material and even the eyelets (five sets of two eyelets on each side, no ties supplied). Here's a link to the gambeson:

http://www.matuls.pl/index.php?IDP=1&Lng=...ategoria=6

The price seems right too. In the local store it's 180 euro. The manufacturer website is 135 euro. Add shipping and a markup for the store and it sounds about right. I could order one through the website and have it tailored to my size.

Any opinions on Matuls? Are they nice gambesons? Does he tailor well? If it doesn't fit, can I send it back and have it made fit better?
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David Teague




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PostPosted: Sun 28 Mar, 2010 3:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sander Marechal wrote:
http://www.matuls.pl/index.php?IDP=1&Lng=1&IDProdukt=47&IDKategoria=4&IDPodkategoria=6

The price seems right too. In the local store it's 180 euro. The manufacturer website is 135 euro. Add shipping and a markup for the store and it sounds about right. I could order one through the website and have it tailored to my size.

Any opinions on Matuls? Are they nice gambesons? Does he tailor well? If it doesn't fit, can I send it back and have it made fit better?


Hi Sanders!

My group has been using Tomm of Matuls for years now for our padded coats. I love his work.



(4 of the 6 are Matuls work)



Another Matuls coat.

On the flip side, we have had seams blow out on a few of the coats, but I find it a quick fix with a needle and stout fhread.

My non- Matuls arming coat for my late 14th century kit has some padding in it as it's a maille based harness. It's the 15th century plate harness that can be worn with a unpadded arming coat.



Cheers,

David

This you shall know, that all things have length and measure.

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The Historic Recrudescence Guild

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Sander Marechal




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PostPosted: Sun 28 Mar, 2010 3:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks David. I've seen a couple of posts of you about Matuls on the Armour Archive as well Happy

Since you apparently know his products, do you happen to know the difference between his type 2 and type 4 gambeson? I can't tell from the pictures. Apart from the color it looks pretty much like the same model to me. I know that his type 1 is the most appropriate for my period, but I'd really like to be able to get out of my gambeson without the help of a squire (or two) Big Grin
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David Teague




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PostPosted: Sun 28 Mar, 2010 4:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello Sander,

I've never quite figured out the difference myself.

We have always bought the #4 as our standard coat.

3 of us have the Pourpoint style coats instead/along with the #4 coat.

Cheers,

David

This you shall know, that all things have length and measure.

Free Scholar/ Instructor Selohaar Fechtschule
The Historic Recrudescence Guild

"Yea though I walk through the valley of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou's sword art is with me; Thy poleaxe and Thy quarterstaff they comfort me."
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sun 28 Mar, 2010 5:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sander Marechal wrote:
Thanks David. I've seen a couple of posts of you about Matuls on the Armour Archive as well Happy

Since you apparently know his products, do you happen to know the difference between his type 2 and type 4 gambeson? I can't tell from the pictures. Apart from the color it looks pretty much like the same model to me. I know that his type 1 is the most appropriate for my period, but I'd really like to be able to get out of my gambeson without the help of a squire (or two) Big Grin


Keep in mind that if you want period-correct armour then you also need assistants to help you put it on. Historically, if you couldn't afford a servant or two then you definitely couldn't afford a suit of mail.
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Connor Ruebusch




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PostPosted: Sun 28 Mar, 2010 6:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:

Keep in mind that if you want period-correct armour then you also need assistants to help you put it on. Historically, if you couldn't afford a servant or two then you definitely couldn't afford a suit of mail.


I could be wrong about this, but didn't early medieval warriors (I'm thinking of the Vikings in particular, not knights really) consider it a point of pride to be able to get into a hauberk and gambeson without any help?

Connor
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Maurizio D'Angelo




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PostPosted: Sun 28 Mar, 2010 6:38 pm    Post subject: Re: How thick and snug was the gambeson worn beneath mail?         Reply with quote

Sander Marechal wrote:
I can also use this gambeson stand-alone with a kettle helmet so I can reasonably participate in pretty much any event set between the 12th and 15th century.


hello,
the materials used in the twelfth century were linen or hemp.
What you buy, is linen .
This is already good in order to use between the different periods.
I think the rest are a bit different than the twelfth century than the fifteenth century ... Happy



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David Teague




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PostPosted: Sun 28 Mar, 2010 7:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Connor Ruebusch wrote:
Dan Howard wrote:

Keep in mind that if you want period-correct armour then you also need assistants to help you put it on. Historically, if you couldn't afford a servant or two then you definitely couldn't afford a suit of mail.


I could be wrong about this, but didn't early medieval warriors (I'm thinking of the Vikings in particular, not knights really) consider it a point of pride to be able to get into a hauberk and gambeson without any help?

Connor


Hi Connor!

There is no know proof of "vikings" (a verb btw, not a people) using a padded garment under the maille. Also the number of hauberks to "vikings" on a longship is very small as I understand it. ( Not my area of study, but I have read up on the subject in the past).

This you shall know, that all things have length and measure.

Free Scholar/ Instructor Selohaar Fechtschule
The Historic Recrudescence Guild

"Yea though I walk through the valley of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou's sword art is with me; Thy poleaxe and Thy quarterstaff they comfort me."
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Sun 28 Mar, 2010 11:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Connor Ruebusch wrote:
Dan Howard wrote:

Keep in mind that if you want period-correct armour then you also need assistants to help you put it on. Historically, if you couldn't afford a servant or two then you definitely couldn't afford a suit of mail.


I could be wrong about this, but didn't early medieval warriors (I'm thinking of the Vikings in particular, not knights really) consider it a point of pride to be able to get into a hauberk and gambeson without any help?

Connor


Independently of any discussion about Vikings using aketon or not under their maille, the Normans certainly seem to have used them, putting on aketon and maille without help is easy if a little longer to do than with some help but plate armour is very challenging to put on by oneself if it's close to full plate armour: One reached a point in putting plate on that some straps and pointing are hard or almost impossible to reach.

With a simplified kit it is possible to have work arounds and develop a technique to put the plate armour alone.

Also lets make a distinction between putting on plate for show ( costume use ) and putting it on for very active simulated fighting now or real fighting in period: One would want everything strapped and pointed to make sure that any pieces of armour that an opponent could grab, if it got down to wrestling in armour and dagger work, was as difficult to move or displace as possible i.e. loose armour can really ruin your day if it can be shifted from it's normal position and open up vulnerable targets or just ruin mobility. ( Just think how a gorget with shoulder armour attached would behave if it's just sitting there unsecured except by gravity and someone pulled and twisted it. Wink ).

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Sander Marechal




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PostPosted: Mon 29 Mar, 2010 12:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Keep in mind that if you want period-correct armour then you also need assistants to help you put it on. Historically, if you couldn't afford a servant or two then you definitely couldn't afford a suit of mail.


True, but since I live in the 21st century I'll have to do without squires who do my every bidding. Also, it's not the hauberk I have trouble getting off (I don't own one yet, but I did try on a few). It's the snug gambeson without an opening Happy

Maurizio D'Angelo wrote:
What you buy, is linen .
This is already good in order to use between the different periods.
I think the rest are a bit different than the twelfth century than the fifteenth century ...


The Matuls gameson I saw is linnen, so I am good there. I know that the model changed over the centuries but I hope I can get away with it. It may not be good enough for serious and very period-specific living history events, but I hope it will look good enough so that I can participate as a squire or generic man-at-arms in reenactment. It won't be perfect, but I won't look too out of place (I hope).

There are not a lot of reenactment events in The Netherlands and they all focus on different time periods. I hope that with a generic backup kit of a gambeson + a kettle hat I will be able to join many of them as a simple man-at-arms. It's better than only being able to go to one or two events every year Happy
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Mon 29 Mar, 2010 5:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Regarding putting armour on by yourself: This is another difference between coats of plates and brigandines. The coat of plates fastened at the rear which meant that it couldn't be put on without assistance. Brigandines were fastened at the sides or front so you can put it on yourself. This could imply that brigandines were worn by a greater number of people (reaching much lower in the ranks) than the COP.
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Sander Marechal




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PostPosted: Mon 29 Mar, 2010 7:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
This could imply that brigandines were worn by a greater number of people (reaching much lower in the ranks) than the COP.


Perhaps. Most references to the CoP I see are the Wisby coats. IIRC these were from 1361 and already quite outdated by that time. Most references I read about brigandines put them at the very late 14th century at the earliest, well after the Wisby-style coat of plates if you incorporate that outdatedness.

Personally I am starting to think that corrazinas, cuirasses and brigandines (all of which open to the front or sides) were all used earlier than generally accepted but that we simply don't know about it because everyone was still wearing surcoats and other things to cover them up. If you look at the effigy analysis on body defences then you can see that from the 1350's up there was some kind of rounded but covered up body defence.

Certainly as lower and lower ranks started to wear more armour during the 14th century, the ability to get into and out of your armour by yourself became more important. Including front-opening gambesons Happy
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PostPosted: Mon 29 Mar, 2010 7:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Then why is the Maciejowski bible full of normal soldiers with gambesons that are not front-opening?
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