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Alan Schiff
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Location: Las Vegas
Joined: 06 Oct 2008

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PostPosted: Wed 07 Dec, 2011 10:38 am    Post subject: Making a Coat of Plates         Reply with quote

I am starting this thread to detail a project to make a Wisby-style coat of plates. I hope that my efforts may also help others looking to make their own coats in the future.

So after selling my maille I decided I really want another piece of armor and thought that a coat of plates would be relatively inexpensive and easy to make myself. I thought about making my own maille but just don't think I would be patient enough. I tried, unsuccessfully, to make butted maille several years ago and could not even imagine trying to do riveted. So I decided on a coat of plates, specifically I was going to make a reproduction of #19 from Wisby. I've already bought all the materials and all told it's less than $75, much cheaper than buying anything pre-made I can think of.

My plan was to use leather but my local Tandy didn't have anything large enough in my budget, so I ended up with padded vinyl instead, much cheaper and it looks the same on the outside. I cut out the garment Monday night and decided that instead of opening on both sides I wanted to have it open only on the right side, so I modeled it after the #21 coat from Wisby. See pic below.

For the plates I bought a large sheet of 20 gauge steel and spent some time yesterday cutting it into 4-foot lengths to be made into small plates. All told I have 5 lengths at 4 inches wide and 10 lengths at 3 inches wide. Today I will be cutting these into 12 inch lengths before shaping some of them. The plates will range from 12 inches long to 9 inches long and will overlap. I spent quite a while trying to figure out how to get the plates to overlap properly and maintain the same number as in the Wisby coat. I couldn't figure out how to make the numbers for #21 work, so instead I am using the same number of plates as #19, so in the end my coat will be an amalgamation of the two.

Here are pics of my progress so far.

This is the sheet of steel I bought. It is 4 feet by 8 feet, more than I needed but the cheapest I could find.


Here are the 4 inch strips I cut to make 4 inch wide plates.


Here are the 3 inch strips for narrower plates.


And here is the outer garment I will be using.


Thanks for looking, and of course comments are always welcome.
-Alan
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Alan Schiff
Industry Professional



Location: Las Vegas
Joined: 06 Oct 2008

Posts: 232

PostPosted: Wed 07 Dec, 2011 4:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here is a link to a site that has pictures of recreations for each armor found at the battle site for those that don't have other resources to see what I'm going for.
http://www.hoashantverk.se/hantverk/hoas_rustningar/index.html

So I cut out all the plates earlier, cleaned them up and drill holes for the rivets and put the plates on without riveting so that I could mark where I need to punch holes on the garment. I overlapped the plates and it ended up using fewer plates than I had planned on, so it's a little less accurate than I was going for.

Here are pics of the plates laid out on the front portion of the garment.







Thanks,
Alan
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Chuck Russell




Location: WV
Joined: 17 Aug 2004
Reading list: 46 books

Posts: 936

PostPosted: Wed 07 Dec, 2011 5:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

good start, but i do believe you may have a problem with flat plates. they may not curve to the body well enough
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David Lewis Smith




Location: NC
Joined: 26 Aug 2003
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Posts: 484

PostPosted: Wed 07 Dec, 2011 8:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Run, do not walk to http://www.armourarchive.org/

Join!
Enjoy!

Seriously it is one of the best resources on Armour construction on the internet, it is a forum much like this but centered on armor rather than swords

David L Smith
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Randall Moffett




Location: Northern Utah
Joined: 07 Jun 2006
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Posts: 2,098

PostPosted: Thu 08 Dec, 2011 6:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yeah flat plates of that size might make life hard in the wearing. Not sure about the foundation layer either.

I use either leather, canvas, and even velvet in combination with these.

A simple stump and large round faced hammer would help with those plates but you will have to take them off.

RPM
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Alan Schiff
Industry Professional



Location: Las Vegas
Joined: 06 Oct 2008

Posts: 232

PostPosted: Thu 08 Dec, 2011 10:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the replies guys. David, I'm already a member at armour archive and have been looking through there for a while now.

As far as the flat plates go, I have not yet attached the plates to the garment and actually need to do a bit of trimming on a couple to make them fit properly. My intention is to curve the plates slightly as is seen in the originals from Wisby, and this can be done by hand with the 20 gauge steel easily enough. I laid them out flat so I could mark the rivet holes more easily.

Thanks again,
Alan
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Thu 08 Dec, 2011 7:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm sort of sceptical about using vinyl as it will be very hot and not breathe at all.

Also will it tear easily at the rivet holes ? PVC is incredibly tear resistant but also won't let air pass through it !

Multiple layers of heavy canvas with the weave rotated 45 degrees for each layer and stitched together as a quilt should be strong enough but I might be tempted to use riveted eyelets for each rivet hole to prevent tearing

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Doug Lester




Location: Decatur, IL
Joined: 12 Dec 2007

Posts: 167

PostPosted: Thu 08 Dec, 2011 8:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I agree with Jean that the vinyl will not hold up to the rivets holding the plates on and the coat of plates will come appart on you in short order. I think it will be a case of "if you can't afford to do it right when will you be able to afford to do it over". Try looking for some deer leather even if it's chrome tanned. If you really want vegetable tanned leather you will just have to look for the litest leather you can find. I think that I ran across some vegetable tanned goat leather but I can't remember where. I'd cut up an canvass tarp before I'd do the vinyl. Just my opinion, for what it's worth.
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David Lewis Smith




Location: NC
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PostPosted: Fri 09 Dec, 2011 12:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

jumping on the no vinyl band wagon

nice light wight leather or cotton duct (if your want historical accuracy Cotton was called Spanish Silk and was VERY expensive)

David L Smith
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Alan Schiff
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Location: Las Vegas
Joined: 06 Oct 2008

Posts: 232

PostPosted: Fri 09 Dec, 2011 2:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks again for the replies guys. I probably should have stated that the funds for the armor were a gift and that there is no way I could have gone over budget, so waiting until I could get the leather I wanted was out of the question. On a related note, I have used vinyl like this for other projects and there is a way to put rivets on without them tearing the vinyl. It just has to be done carefully, with very small holes, and they must be absolutely tight and straight.

At this point historical accuracy is not my #1 goal and I have made a number of compromises to finish the piece. The number of plates is lower than on the originals from Wisby, and of course the garment material is not accurate at all.

I finished putting the plates on the front and decided that I liked it the way it was, so I left the back unarmored. The left shoulder is sewn together while the right has a strap and buckle. The left side is completely closed and the right also uses straps and buckles.

Before attaching the plates I did dish them somewhat and the effect is actually quite nice. The armor conforms to my body well, although it's less comfortable than I was hoping for. All told the coat weighs about 10 pounds. I've only worn it for a few minutes but it wasn't overly hot, of course being winter the weather may have something to do with that. I won't have a chance to really see how well it breathes (or doesn't) until around April most likely, when the weather starts heating up.

Anyway, here are pics of the coat basically finished.

Here are the plates dished and attached.


And the front of the coat after all is done.




Thanks for looking,
Alan
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Frank Haertlein




Location: SoCal
Joined: 09 Dec 2011

Posts: 3

PostPosted: Fri 09 Dec, 2011 10:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Have you seen this stuff ?

Click on the links that says "flash armor ppt".

A 1/4" section of this metal stopped an armor piercing .30-06 round....and it's lighter than conventional steel.

http://www.bainitesteel.com/applications.asp
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