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Stephen Wheatley




Location: DORSET ENGLAND
Joined: 15 Nov 2008

Posts: 93

PostPosted: Sat 16 Oct, 2010 7:09 am    Post subject: 17th Century Back And Breast Weights         Reply with quote

I'm making some breastplates at the moment, mainly to keep me from getting into mischief. Using 1.5 -2mm mild steel but am a bit worried about the weight. All up, this one weighs about 8lb or 3.75 kilo. The bridle gauntlet is about half that. Are these too light? I think the guage of steel equates to about 14 or 16. Any comments?


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Stephen Wheatley
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Sean Manning




Location: Austria
Joined: 23 Mar 2008

Posts: 549

PostPosted: Sat 16 Oct, 2010 11:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

What level of proof do you want? That thickness is probably sword proof but probably isn't safe against contemporary pistols at close range. Musket proof is about 6-8 mm based on calculations and Sylvia Leever's experiments; Williams notes that the heaviest armour was about that thick. Obviously not many people were willing to wear armour that heavy!
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Stephen Wheatley




Location: DORSET ENGLAND
Joined: 15 Nov 2008

Posts: 93

PostPosted: Sat 16 Oct, 2010 11:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Sean,

That must have been hellish heavy - I know they had duplex plates to try and keep the weight down.

Stephen Wheatley
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Sean Manning




Location: Austria
Joined: 23 Mar 2008

Posts: 549

PostPosted: Sun 17 Oct, 2010 10:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The odd thing is that they could have got decent protection for a heavy but bearable weight if they had used medium-carbon steel (quenching it and tempering it might have brought the weight down even further). Obviously it would be expensive. But by the middle of the 17th century armourers had practically given up using anything but iron, even for customers who could afford good materials.
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