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Stephen Forshaw





Joined: 27 Jul 2010

Posts: 8

PostPosted: Wed 22 Sep, 2010 6:47 pm    Post subject: Covering shield with leather.         Reply with quote

Does anyone have any historical information about covering a shield (mainly heater) with leather? What type of leather was used and how thick would it have been? Were designs just painted right over the leather or was another process used? I know historical info is spotty, so any good recommendation to the above questions would help also.

Thanks.

Stephen.
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Kel Rekuta




Location: Toronto, Canada
Joined: 10 Feb 2004
Likes: 1 page

Posts: 612

PostPosted: Thu 23 Sep, 2010 11:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The majority of artifacts studied in Jan Kholmorgan's work on High to Late Medieval knightly shields are constructed with rawhide glued to softwood boards, covered in gesso, paint and varnish to stiffen the surface. Late Medieval & Renaissance pavises are similarly constructed but sometimes use coarse canvas-like textile instead of or combined with rawhide. None of them seem to be tanned leather.
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Stephen Forshaw





Joined: 27 Jul 2010

Posts: 8

PostPosted: Thu 23 Sep, 2010 1:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the info, Kel! It's a great help to me. Rawhide, eh? I would have amused that they used soft leather. That will be my next project.
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János Sibinger




Location: Hungary/France
Joined: 31 May 2009

Posts: 50

PostPosted: Thu 23 Sep, 2010 1:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Greetings!
As I recall, someone wrote about the different layers of materials on the shield of the Black Prince, Edward of Woodstock. This was made for his burial, so I don't know if it uses the same materials as a ,,normal" shield does. You can read more about it in the link below. I made my one based on these... Whit inauthentic chrome tanned leather, and doubled fabric, due to the lack of parchment. Happy
If you consider the gesso too brittle, you could add some sugar into it. I have red this in a book about calligraphy, although I don't know how common was the "sugar" in the present form of it in the medieval times.
I hope I was able to help!
John

The link:
http://www.myArmoury.com/feature_mow_bp.html
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Nathan Beal





Joined: 02 Apr 2006

Posts: 68

PostPosted: Thu 23 Sep, 2010 7:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kel Rekuta wrote:
The majority of artifacts studied in Jan Kholmorgan's work on High to Late Medieval knightly shields are constructed with rawhide glued to softwood boards, covered in gesso, paint and varnish to stiffen the surface. Late Medieval & Renaissance pavises are similarly constructed but sometimes use coarse canvas-like textile instead of or combined with rawhide. None of them seem to be tanned leather.


Based on the fragments from the Isle of Mann early medieval shields had paint applied directly to the leather (and given that rawhide and leather are archaeologically indistinguishable in most cases it's a generic term and probably rawhide).

Quoting this (http://forums.armourarchive.org/phpBB2/viewto...highlight= post on armourarchive

Quote:
The shield was found at Trondheim bygrund in 1975 in a context dated to the
11th and 12th centuries. It was found in what was then a backyard in a
refusal heap with other discarded objects, it had obviously been thrown away
as worn-out and useless.
It is made up by two layers of boards, the upper layer skewed 90ş against
the lower.
The boards in each layer are approximately 5 – 6 mm thick. One must
keep in mind though that the shield parts were waterlogged by the time of
the recovery, it could thereby be estimated that the shield probably had a
total thickness of close to/less than 10mm.

A series of holes along what is left of the rim implicates that it initially
was covered and/or had the rim reinforced, possibly by rawhide that
deteriorate quite fast in the ground.


And there is a cut down kite (into a heater) known widely as the Seedorf shield, that has blue (presumably painted) leather on the face.

HTH
N.

Beware of dragons, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup.
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Stephen Forshaw





Joined: 27 Jul 2010

Posts: 8

PostPosted: Fri 24 Sep, 2010 9:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks again guys for the info! You have all been helpful.

So should I apply gesso to the rawhide and paint on that or just paint directly onto the surface? I don't know too much about gesso. It is brittle and will chip off easy? I would love to test out the different methods for myself, but my cash flow isn't so great.

Stephen.
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Kel Rekuta




Location: Toronto, Canada
Joined: 10 Feb 2004
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Posts: 612

PostPosted: Sat 25 Sep, 2010 4:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stephen,

Gesso is basically glue with chalk or plaster. A couple layers solidify the material beneath and provide a smooth ground for painting. There is no necessity to go beyond a couple coats or for that matter add plaster unless you need a smoothly primed surface. Painters' canvas bonded to wood with carpenter's glue then coated with thinned glue is enough. Seal that with paint and varnish as you wish. There is no need to be particular about the materials unless you are making period reconstructions. Shields are consumable items in training. Better ones last longer but they all die eventually.

Hope that helps!
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