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Cole B





Joined: 05 Mar 2008

Posts: 44

PostPosted: Wed 31 Aug, 2011 5:11 pm    Post subject: Replacing leather fittings on Gauntlets         Reply with quote

Hey guys. Recently purchased some Italian Gauntlets by Marshal Historical from Kult of Athena.



I can find no fault with the metalwork but the leather leaves something to be desired. One strap tore pretty much immediately on the rivet from light pressure, very dried and weak. The others are in better condition but honestly, I feel like something significantly sturdier would be appropriate for any kind of serious use.



Not knocking Kult of Athena, they have great customer support and already offered me an exchange, but if they're just going to send me another pair with dainty fittings I am thinking maybe I should just redo it myself.

Sadly I am no armorer, just a college student, so I come to you guys for advice.

First off, would it be historical to have significantly bigger/sturdier straps or are my instincts misleading me? I feel like the fingers are pretty close but the wrist strap could be like twice as thick.

Second, how big of a project would it be for someone smart but with no experience or relevant tools? Just to replace the broken strap? To redo all the leather?

Third, if the answer to #2 isn't don't bother, how would I go about buying the supplies and fixing it?


Last edited by Cole B on Wed 31 Aug, 2011 11:11 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Aleksei Sosnovski





Joined: 04 Mar 2008

Posts: 313

PostPosted: Wed 31 Aug, 2011 10:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

1) Straps on gauntlets should be made of relatively thin but strong leather. I usually use leather that is about 2 mm thick (actually even a little thinner). There are very different types of leather. There is that dry and weak one you already know. There is soft but still weak (sheep skin is a good example). There is very soft and stretchy leather that is very strong (often used on furniture), that one is great for points but is not good for straps. And there is dry strong leather that doesn't stretch much, and that leather is good for straps. Actually the strap that is broken can be made of thick leather, but the loops on the fingers should be made of thin leather because otherwise they would make holding the sword uncomfortable.

2) Replacing straps is very simple. The most difficult part is to remove the rivets. Once it is done, the rest is easy. Rivets on finger lames can be drilled out because they are hollow, but rivet on the broken strap, if it is solid steel, will be a challenge. The easiest way would be to grind the peened part (from leather side) with a dremel tool, but these rivets can be drilled out as well. Again riveting finger lames to new straps would be easy because you can use nails with wide heads as rivets. But for the broken strap you need a proper rivet with domed head. Well, you can still use a nail, but in this case this rivet will be different from the others.

Actually for these gauntlets to work properly you need to cut these finger loops off, add a strap to the first (widest) metacarpal plate or knuckle plate and stitch your gloves directly to leather to which finger lames are attached (which means that you have to replace these straps as well).
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Cole B





Joined: 05 Mar 2008

Posts: 44

PostPosted: Wed 07 Sep, 2011 5:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Short update: Still trying to track down anywhere in town that sells solid rivets and leatherworking stuff.

Got some Lexol Neatsfoot oil to use on the intact fittings (and a sword and kukri sheath) and I'm pretty happy with it, but I couldn't get to certain parts of the leather to apply it, obviously the underside of the strips riveted to the finger plates and other various spots.

So to anyone who's used gauntlets, have you had to make repairs on them? If so, what kind/how often?

Also, still happy for any further input on the project as I still haven't started yet.
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Christopher Treichel




Location: Metro D.C.
Joined: 14 Jan 2010

Posts: 268

PostPosted: Wed 07 Sep, 2011 9:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

First, go to www.armourarchive.com (yes mostly SCA but they do know how to make gauntlets) and look for posts on how to fiddle with gauntlets...

rivets... roofing nails... no joke... they work really well and are cheap and readily available... you will need a ballpeen hammer and something like an anvil to pound on.

test it out on some scrap items until you get the hang... you only need a small protruding stub and hammer arround the outside of the nub.

the best leather to use for someting like this is about 5-6 oz tooling leather for the straps and chaps leather for the articulation pieces
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Emmerich Ziegel




Location: Westbank, British Columbia
Joined: 29 Jan 2011

Posts: 1

PostPosted: Wed 07 Sep, 2011 11:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would use latigo leather for the strapping. Very strong and resilient to drying out (compared to tooling leather) as it has oils and waxes added to it when it is tanned. Some shoe repair shops have leather for sale or you can buy reins or saddle strings at a tack shop. If you want solid rivets you can check out www.rjleahy.com and www.hansonrivet.com

Good luck with your project.

Emmerich Ziegel
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Cole B





Joined: 05 Mar 2008

Posts: 44

PostPosted: Thu 08 Sep, 2011 2:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote



Voila!

Not gonna win any beauty contests, but it works and it gave me some confidence if I have to do this kind of thing again. Used copper because I read on several places that corroding steel can screw up leather.

I finally found a place with solid rivets, had to file/hammer down a wide copper one into a (relatively) matching shape though. Definitely gave me a healthy respect for how much work goes into making armor, and especially making it look good.

Thanks for the help guys.
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Aleksei Sosnovski





Joined: 04 Mar 2008

Posts: 313

PostPosted: Thu 08 Sep, 2011 10:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes, copper alloys are said to strengthen/preserve leather while steel is said to weaken it. But my experience shows that by the time a corroding steel rivet destroys the strap the gauntlet will look somewhat like this:



I don't know if making an articulating rivet of soft copper is a good idea, time will show. But then again, copper rivets are waaaay easier to remove than the steel ones so you will be able to easily replace it when needed.
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