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Stefan Rasmussen




Location: Denmark
Joined: 09 Oct 2010

Posts: 19

PostPosted: Sat 09 Oct, 2010 10:44 am    Post subject: Historical accurate gambeson!         Reply with quote

Greetings out there!
I'm looking for the best, and most historical accurate way to make a gambeson. It must be the right materials, right number of layers, the right strength etc. I've searched the net for information, but find it quite hard, to my big disappointment, to find something not involving duvets as the middle layers :S

Therefore I would very much like to draw on anyones information containing the above. So if you have anything that my help me in this quest, please make a noise.

Pain can be controlled
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Quinn W.




Location: Bellingham, WA
Joined: 02 May 2009

Posts: 197

PostPosted: Sat 09 Oct, 2010 1:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Do you have a time period or region you're going for? That's always the best place to start when looking to define what is and isn't "historically accurate."
Good luck!

"Some say that the age of chivalry is past, that the spirit of romance is dead. The age of chivalry is never past, so long as there is a wrong left unredressed on earth"
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Stefan Rasmussen




Location: Denmark
Joined: 09 Oct 2010

Posts: 19

PostPosted: Sat 09 Oct, 2010 1:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

doo yes of course forgot that one! It should be about 1420 - 1470. Gladly exampels or information on gambesons used as stand alone amour, wich would proberbly have more layers then a gambeson used under mail.
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David Teague




Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Joined: 25 Jan 2004

Posts: 409

PostPosted: Sat 09 Oct, 2010 2:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stefan Rasmussen wrote:
doo yes of course forgot that one! It should be about 1420 - 1470. Gladly exampels or information on gambesons used as stand alone amour, wich would proberbly have more layers then a gambeson used under mail.


The term you are looking for is "Jack". A stand alone multi layered cloth defense used alone or with maille underneath.

Here is a link to jacks and some documentation on them http://www.historiclife.com/pdf/JacksDocumentation.pdf

Here is a pattern that can be used "altered" (as in using 10-30 layers of linen) to make a jack that would be correct as one type of historic garment. http://www.reconstructinghistory.com/rh006-15...1&w=21

I hope this helps.

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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Stefan Rasmussen




Location: Denmark
Joined: 09 Oct 2010

Posts: 19

PostPosted: Sun 10 Oct, 2010 11:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks a lot David, that was very helpfull. . .It's hard to find the accurate information, when ones fencing instructor barely knows a jack apart from a gambeson etc.
Pain can be controlled
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Mikael Ranelius




Location: Sweden
Joined: 06 Mar 2007

Posts: 252

PostPosted: Sun 10 Oct, 2010 11:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

All surviving examples of medieval fabric armour are quilted using cotton batting (or possibly wool in some cases).

Multiple layers (20-30) of linen are frequently mentioned in period sources, but my impression is that they are vastly inferior to those stuffed with raw cotton as they are heavier, more cumbersome and offer less protective qualities weight by weight (e.g. a 4 kg or 9 lbs cotton-stuffed garment would offer the same protection as a thick, 12 kg or 25 lbs multi-layered all-linen jack). Not to mention the cost...
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Blaz Berlec




Location: Podgorje, Kamnik, Slovenia, Europe
Joined: 26 Aug 2003
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PostPosted: Sun 10 Oct, 2010 11:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Will this textile armour be the sole defence or will it be covered with a plate armour? In this period you have couple of different options.

1. Jack is usually used on it's own or in combination with maille or limited plate defences (Lübeck and Stendal examples were worn with breastplates, but no backplate)

2. Arming doublet is thinner, more form fitting variant, used under full plate armour


Extant 15th Century German Gothic Armour
Extant 15th century Milanese armour
Arming doublet of the 15th century
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David Teague




Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Joined: 25 Jan 2004

Posts: 409

PostPosted: Sun 10 Oct, 2010 1:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Blaz Berlec wrote:
Will this textile armour be the sole defence or will it be covered with a plate armour? In this period you have couple of different options.

1. Jack is usually used on it's own or in combination with maille or limited plate defences (Lübeck and Stendal examples were worn with breastplates, but no backplate)

2. Arming doublet is thinner, more form fitting variant, used under full plate armour


His request:" exampels or information on gambesons used as stand alone amour"

Mikael Ranelius wrote:
Multiple layers (20-30) of linen are frequently mentioned in period sources, but my impression is that they are vastly inferior to those stuffed with raw cotton as they are heavier, more cumbersome and offer less protective qualities weight by weight (e.g. a 4 kg or 9 lbs cotton-stuffed garment would offer the same protection as a thick, 12 kg or 25 lbs multi-layered all-linen jack). Not to mention the cost...

Depends what you mean by inferior. In period the raw cotton(or wool) fiber is better padding, but the mutilayer cloth will stop sword blows/cuts and arrows. Wear a maille shirt underneath and you'll stop the thrusts that can get though.

What some people do today is use 2-4 layers of linen and then layers of sheet cotton fill to give the garment bulk and protective qualities against the BLUNT weapons we use in Ling History, Reenactment and HEMA/WMA .My "jacks" and arming coats made in that fashion that except for one muli layer hand sewn one for living history.



From a WMA event and may I say, being thrown never looked so good. Wink

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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Wayne Norman




Location: Boston, UK
Joined: 05 Oct 2010

Posts: 11

PostPosted: Sun 10 Oct, 2010 2:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I make mine with a layer of linen on the inside, 2 layers on the outside, and wool blanket in the middle. 3 layers all over, but the shoulders,elbows, and ribs have 4 layers, serves me well. You may want to look at jack chains to go over the top, very usefull piece of kit, seen quite a few of these on billmen and spearmen. they work rather well.
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Mikael Ranelius




Location: Sweden
Joined: 06 Mar 2007

Posts: 252

PostPosted: Sun 10 Oct, 2010 3:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Teague wrote:

Depends what you mean by inferior. In period the raw cotton(or wool) fiber is better padding, but the mutilayer cloth will stop sword blows/cuts and arrows. Wear a maille shirt underneath and you'll stop the thrusts that can get though.


Well maybe not "inferior", but less cost- and weight-effective. I am by no means an expert on this matter, but my personal experience is that a a layer of tough cotton batting will stand up better to stabs from my dagger than an equally thick piece made up by linen layers.
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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

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PostPosted: Sun 10 Oct, 2010 7:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mikael Ranelius wrote:
David Teague wrote:

Depends what you mean by inferior. In period the raw cotton(or wool) fiber is better padding, but the mutilayer cloth will stop sword blows/cuts and arrows. Wear a maille shirt underneath and you'll stop the thrusts that can get though.


Well maybe not "inferior", but less cost- and weight-effective. I am by no means an expert on this matter, but my personal experience is that a a layer of tough cotton batting will stand up better to stabs from my dagger than an equally thick piece made up by linen layers.

My experience is the exact opposite. Multiple layers quilted together provide far better protection against points than stuffed padding of a similar thickness. The difference is that the stuffed padding weighs less.
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David Teague




Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Joined: 25 Jan 2004

Posts: 409

PostPosted: Sun 10 Oct, 2010 7:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mikael Ranelius wrote:
David Teague wrote:

Depends what you mean by inferior. In period the raw cotton(or wool) fiber is better padding, but the mutilayer cloth will stop sword blows/cuts and arrows. Wear a maille shirt underneath and you'll stop the thrusts that can get though.


Well maybe not "inferior", but less cost- and weight-effective. I am by no means an expert on this matter, but my personal experience is that a a layer of tough cotton batting will stand up better to stabs from my dagger than an equally thick piece made up by linen layers.


Are you taking a SHARP weapon?

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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Stefan Rasmussen




Location: Denmark
Joined: 09 Oct 2010

Posts: 19

PostPosted: Mon 11 Oct, 2010 1:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

From what I have seen my self, I would also say that lots of flax layers i form of a jack, is way stronger then the average padded gambeson. I Am looking for the strongest possible solution for huskarl style fighting, where all joints and vital areas must be well protected.
Pain can be controlled
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Mikael Ranelius




Location: Sweden
Joined: 06 Mar 2007

Posts: 252

PostPosted: Mon 11 Oct, 2010 2:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Teague wrote:


Are you taking a SHARP weapon?


Yes, but so far I've only tested it against my Ballock dagger from Tod's stuff and a few arrow heads.

Of course these are only non-professional amateur tests, I have yet to conduct more tests involving various types of weapons and different qualities of linen. Some period sources stress that the linen used for a jack should be old, used and washed several times rather than crisp, fresh-from-loom fabric. Since I've noticed that linen turned soft and supple from repeated washes is more difficult to cut I believe there is a truth to this.
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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
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PostPosted: Mon 11 Oct, 2010 4:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Get some decent linen to start with. The crap that passes for linen in most stores has a pretty lousy tensile strength and has little in common with what was actually used in period. Try some quality tablecloth linen. The rigidity can be adjusted depending on the numberr of layers, the thickness of the weave, and how close the quilted rows of stitches are. Further weapon resistance can be obtained by rotating the cloth so that the weft and warp in each layer don't all run in the same direction.
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Mikael Ranelius




Location: Sweden
Joined: 06 Mar 2007

Posts: 252

PostPosted: Mon 11 Oct, 2010 4:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Get some decent linen to start with. The crap that passes for linen in most stores has a pretty lousy tensile strength and has little in common with what was actually used in period. Try some quality tablecloth linen. The rigidity can be adjusted depending on the numberr of layers, the thickness of the weave, and how close the quilted rows of stitches are. Further weapon resistance can be obtained by rotating the cloth so that the weft and warp in each layer don't all run in the same direction.


Good point, but trust me - I always use quality linen to all of my sewing projects (except for lining civilian garments where I can go with cheaper linen). The linen I used for my gambeson is a very dense fabric much similar to period homespun and handwoven linen. 16-20 layers proved to be very effective against stabs, but that would have rendered a garment three or even four times as heavy (and maybe 10 times as expensive...) as the one I made using cotton batting.

But maybe rotating the cloth would have proved even more effective, I don't know. I have also heard that fabric armour was soaked in brine or vinegar to make them more resilient, I havent tested that either.
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David Teague




Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Joined: 25 Jan 2004

Posts: 409

PostPosted: Mon 11 Oct, 2010 12:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mikael Ranelius wrote:
But maybe rotating the cloth would have proved even more effective, I don't know. I have also heard that fabric armour was soaked in brine or vinegar to make them more resilient, I havent tested that either.


I've always understood that the vinegar soak was a form of body lice control.

For cuts, layers... but a good sharp pointed weapon's thrust will pass right though.

Raw fill might do better with the thrusts as it's not lined up in a weave.

Ok Stefan, you lost me with "huskarl style fighting" as I think 1066 ish when I read "huskarl", "fyd" or "Saxon", not the 1450's

Cheers,

DT

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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Stefan Rasmussen




Location: Denmark
Joined: 09 Oct 2010

Posts: 19

PostPosted: Mon 11 Oct, 2010 3:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Teague wrote:
Mikael Ranelius wrote:
But maybe rotating the cloth would have proved even more effective, I don't know. I have also heard that fabric armour was soaked in brine or vinegar to make them more resilient, I havent tested that either.


I've always understood that the vinegar soak was a form of body lice control.

For cuts, layers... but a good sharp pointed weapon's thrust will pass right though.

Raw fill might do better with the thrusts as it's not lined up in a weave.

Ok Stefan, you lost me with "huskarl style fighting" as I think 1066 ish when I read "huskarl", "fyd" or "Saxon", not the 1450's

Cheers,

DT


Yes. . .your right about the time frame. . .But Huskarl have in Denmark become a general expression for sparring that's in general more hardcore then normal sparring, and full contact. No fingers laid between. . .So there are stricht requirement to the equipment.

And thanks a lot for all your answers Happy

Pain can be controlled
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David Teague




Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Joined: 25 Jan 2004

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PostPosted: Mon 11 Oct, 2010 3:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This might be the style you seek:



You can order this as shown for 155.00 Euros plus the company in question has a number of styles and types of construction available including layers of linen only and hand sewn.

http://www.matuls.pl/index.php?IDP=1&Lng=1&IDKategoria=4

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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Michael Edelson




Location: New York
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PostPosted: Mon 11 Oct, 2010 4:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Those who want to learn more about the efficacy of multi-layered linen textile defenses may enjoy the following:

http://www.newyorklongsword.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=285

Also, in my experience, stuffed quilted garments provide vastly inferior defensive capabilies when compared to multi layered garments.

New York Historical Fencing Association
www.newyorklongsword.com

Byakkokan Dojo
http://newyorkbattodo.com/
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