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Christian G. Cameron




Location: Toronto, Canada
Joined: 07 Dec 2009
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PostPosted: Tue 04 Oct, 2011 11:37 am    Post subject: reproducing an 590BCE aspis         Reply with quote

In addition to the late 14th c., I also reenact Ancient Greece (that's what I write books about, of course..) and I've now built something like 15 aspides--or build parts of them. There's a team of four of us (amateurs all, except our metalsmith Aurora) who build them, as a team.

About six months ago, I finally 'broke the code.' The aspis below is the first one I think is really correct. Up until this point, we'd get the shape right, and the size right, and the interior right. And we were getting the weight right... but the construction details were wrong, and I knew we needed to rethink it all.

I spent some time staring at the Chigi vase.



After a while, I decided that I was looking at strips of wood.

A couple of us built a "Boeotian" (it is on another thread) with strips of wood built into the outer face. It was complex, hard to build, and didn't seem quite right. just as one example,a ll the wood strips lay on one axis, and that's not what I see in the Chigi vase..

So I commissioned a professional woodworker to make me an oak rim, and I left it for a year, and stared at it while I did other stuff in my shop.

Three months ago,m when we all decided to reenact Marathon's 2500th, I started on it. I'll let the pics tell the rest.

Christian G. Cameron

Qui plus fait, miex vault

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Christian G. Cameron




Location: Toronto, Canada
Joined: 07 Dec 2009
Likes: 13 pages
Reading list: 4 books

Posts: 193

PostPosted: Tue 04 Oct, 2011 11:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote






Christian G. Cameron

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Christian G. Cameron




Location: Toronto, Canada
Joined: 07 Dec 2009
Likes: 13 pages
Reading list: 4 books

Posts: 193

PostPosted: Tue 04 Oct, 2011 11:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote






Christian G. Cameron

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Christian G. Cameron




Location: Toronto, Canada
Joined: 07 Dec 2009
Likes: 13 pages
Reading list: 4 books

Posts: 193

PostPosted: Tue 04 Oct, 2011 11:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote






Christian G. Cameron

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Christian G. Cameron




Location: Toronto, Canada
Joined: 07 Dec 2009
Likes: 13 pages
Reading list: 4 books

Posts: 193

PostPosted: Tue 04 Oct, 2011 11:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote






Christian G. Cameron

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Christian G. Cameron




Location: Toronto, Canada
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Reading list: 4 books

Posts: 193

PostPosted: Tue 04 Oct, 2011 11:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote



And of course I bled on it...



and then I had to see it it was as good as it seemed...

so I shot a bodkin arrow at it from 20 feet with a 50 pound bow...


Christian G. Cameron

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Christian G. Cameron




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PostPosted: Tue 04 Oct, 2011 11:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote



The arrow bounced back and hit me. The flexed ash strips act as bows under tension,a nd actively rebound blows... amazing design....

so I finished it...



That's a layer of veg tanned cowhide over two layers of linen, glued up and placed at 90 degree angles to each other. The bronze shield emblem also rivets through to the porpax, as per the originals at Olympia.



The interior, with the heavy leather pad to keep the relatively rough ash from carving your shoulder. porpax fitted to my arm by Aurora Simmons--its perfect--so perfect that I don't need to grab the antelabe to fight, which saves enormous amounts of energy. I carried this for about 20 miles of walking and running at Marathon a month ago. Easy. Ways about ten pounds. Will stop--and bounce--a heavy arrow powered by a heavy bow. Looks right. feels right....

see what you think.

Ahh--one last point. After building it, I think I know even more--and what I did wrong. By starting from the layers of ash and working out, I was working backwards. i suspect that the bull's hide and/or bronze was FIRST, and the rim was second--then all the strips could be "popped in" with lots less measurement than I did. It's theory, and I'll try it on number 17...

Christian G. Cameron

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Juan Cocinas




Location: SF Bay
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PostPosted: Tue 04 Oct, 2011 12:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That is fantastic, sir! What is the finished weight?
"Resist your time- take a foothold outside it." Lord Acton
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Colt Reeves





Joined: 09 Mar 2009

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PostPosted: Tue 04 Oct, 2011 1:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

He states it "Ways about ten pounds."


Christian, your comment about it stopping "a heavy arrow powered by a heavy bow" interests me. Do you happen to know what the bow poundage for your time period would typically be?

I ask this because compared to the 120-150 pound medieval war bows, your 50 pounder isn't exactly what many would call a "heavy bow." (I know there are other factors involved, but for the layperson, AKA me, poundage is the easiest way to compare bows.)

"Tears are for the craven, prayers are for the clown.
Halters for the silly neck that cannot keep a crown.
As my loss is grievous, so my hope is small.
For Iron, Cold Iron, must be master of men all..."
-Cold Iron, Rudyard Kipling
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Christian G. Cameron




Location: Toronto, Canada
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PostPosted: Tue 04 Oct, 2011 1:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The latest book on Marathon--quite a good book, I'll add--states authoritatively that Saka bows were 30 to 50 pounds and Persian bows were 40 to 80 pounds. But that's misleading, because both of them shot stiff cane arrows with super light, 10 gram or less bronze points with no penetrating power. So my steel bodkin point off a 55 pound Grozer is probably more power and punch than the original had to take. However, the total failure of the arrow to penetrate--it rebounded like a shot--leads me to think I could probably field arrows off an 80 pound bow. Eventually, the arrows will actually penetrate heavy enough and they'll split a layer of ash, but at least in the center 2/3s, they need to go through THREE layers of split ash.... We know some did--its in the art. But then, note that the test was before my pretty-and effective--two linen layers and the bull's hide and the bronze... not sure, but I'm thinking the guy behind the shield is impervious to arrow fire.

There's actually several things ot support this--men squatting behind the round aspis, fitting the whole body behind it...leads you to think maybe they really did that...

Christian G. Cameron

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Colt Reeves





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PostPosted: Tue 04 Oct, 2011 1:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quick reply...

Just to be clear, I wasn't doubting the usefulness of your shield, no doubt it can take a lot of punishment, but was merely curious if you knew your bow to be a "heavy" one for that time period or were just making assumptions from a modern bow perspective. (It's not hard to find people online boasting of how their tests with a "powerful" 40 pound bow proves plate armour was completely untouchable, or vica versa for that matter. Wink )

"Tears are for the craven, prayers are for the clown.
Halters for the silly neck that cannot keep a crown.
As my loss is grievous, so my hope is small.
For Iron, Cold Iron, must be master of men all..."
-Cold Iron, Rudyard Kipling
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Tim Lison




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PostPosted: Tue 04 Oct, 2011 1:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

WoW! Not my period, but I love this shield! The progres photos are great. Well done.
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Christian G. Cameron




Location: Toronto, Canada
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PostPosted: Tue 04 Oct, 2011 1:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ah--got you. No, one of my friends is a veteran of the Dutch Warbow society and seems quite comfortable with longbows in the 120 to 160 pound range...so I'm getting used to the idea that my (to me) very powerful 55 pound bow is "light." But in period, it's middle-heavy.
Christian G. Cameron

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Sam Gordon Campbell




Location: Australia.
Joined: 16 Nov 2008

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PostPosted: Tue 04 Oct, 2011 6:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Right! Well, it now looks like I have a project to do over Summer!
Awesome work, I lok forward to seeing future experiments.
...
It reminds me of boat building some how. Hm.

Member of Australia's Stoccata School of Defence since 2008.
Host of Crash Course HEMA.
Founder of The Van Dieman's Land Stage Gladiators.
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Colt Reeves





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PostPosted: Tue 04 Oct, 2011 6:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes, in my hurry to find out about bows, I forget to mention: That's one impressive shield. I have some questions about it now.

You say the slates are flexed. How did you do that? Did you bend them first and then put them on the rim, or did you actually bend them to fit into the rim? (I would assume the former for several reasons, but...)

Also, do you have intentions of getting a snugger fit between boards on the next shield, or do you think leaving the small gaps is fine?

"Tears are for the craven, prayers are for the clown.
Halters for the silly neck that cannot keep a crown.
As my loss is grievous, so my hope is small.
For Iron, Cold Iron, must be master of men all..."
-Cold Iron, Rudyard Kipling
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Gregory J. Liebau




Location: Dinuba, CA
Joined: 27 Nov 2004

Posts: 669

PostPosted: Tue 04 Oct, 2011 7:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Christian,

This is a fabulous and inspiring interpretation of the Chigi Vase shields. I don't really have much to say except that you did an excellent job constructing it, and that I'm very impressed with the finished weight! I plan on making a Greek shield (not an aspis, but a surprise!) and am very glad you got this done first. There are several points in your method worth noting for my project, and I'm excited to incorporate and manipulate them in order to make things work out... Bravo.

-Gregory
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Christian G. Cameron




Location: Toronto, Canada
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PostPosted: Tue 04 Oct, 2011 8:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks! (blushes).

1st--We do call it the "boat hull" aspis in my shop. It's like canoe buildings...

2nd--the slats are "snapped" into the rim. The rim is recessed to take them, and the outer layer--bronze or bull's hide--keeps them from escaping the recess. That's why I realized--too late for this version--that I should have put the rim into the finished outer layers,. and literally snapped all the slats in.

3rd Yes, my next one I'll but all the slats perfectly. I learned how--way too late. Not, i think, that it matters to the strength.

4th--initially, I shaped each slat. They were about 3/16ths thick, and I worked each one for almost half and hour.

Then my neighbor the professional cabinetmaker came in. He was fascinated by the project, talked it over for ten minutes, and made me cut new slats only about 1/8th inch or even lighter. He donated more ash--ash boards aren't that easy to get. Anyway, he then taught me to use the lighter slats dry (up until then I'd soaked them) and to trim them by whittling and not by "precision" cutting. With a sharp knife and some light slats, I was 75% faster--and I'm convinced that's the way they really did it.

Christian G. Cameron

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William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
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PostPosted: Tue 04 Oct, 2011 11:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

well thats amazing. i cant say much more than that,
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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
Joined: 17 Sep 2003

Posts: 1,363

PostPosted: Wed 05 Oct, 2011 5:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yeah, what he said! When I first saw the oak rim, I thought, "Ouch! Thick and heavy!" But for a finished weight of TEN POUNDS?? I'm sold. Geez, my old dinosaur is almost twice that...

Recently I was inspired by a different discussion on Anglo-Saxon shields to google up some videos on barrel-making or coopering. The speed at which wood can be shaped to precise curves with simple tools by experienced craftsmen is amazing. Two or three shields from now, I'll bet those little gaps will have disappeared!

Thanks for sharing that!

Matthew
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Christian G. Cameron




Location: Toronto, Canada
Joined: 07 Dec 2009
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Reading list: 4 books

Posts: 193

PostPosted: Wed 05 Oct, 2011 5:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

We missed you at Marathon, Matt! We had 85.... but we'll do it again in 2014
Christian G. Cameron

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