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R. Kolick





Joined: 04 Feb 2012

Posts: 111

PostPosted: Tue 21 Aug, 2012 9:21 pm    Post subject: double standards of arms and armor         Reply with quote

Ive been on this forum for just under a year and one thing has been bothering me is whenever a question of modern vs.origanal swords modern blades are stronger because of metallurgy our alloys are more homogeneous and we can manipulate the material till we get the qualitys we want and that makes sense but whenever the talk turns to armor the thought is compleatly differnt, that they made better armor than we do. any modern tests that are done with modern materials which means almost certainly steel i see them dismised buy some members because the armor isnt as good as that worn in the medeval or ancient world when they used iron and almost certainly didnt have the same uniform thickness of the modern reproductions have. useing chain mail as an example people have clained that origanal iron chainmail could stop an arrow yet when this is disproven my modern test using steel the sain style of chainmail its dismised because it couldnt be as strong as the original
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Adam Bohnstengel




Location: Spring, TX
Joined: 24 Aug 2011

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PostPosted: Tue 21 Aug, 2012 9:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

What you run into with the armor testing is that no one is testing armor as it was designed with weapons of the period. You have tests against butted mail or cheap Indian reproductions, or you have a piece mail with no padding under it as it would be worn. It's a bit too late to search for it, but someone did do a test with high quality mail with padding behind it and arrows were bouncing off at distances past 15 feet or so. I'm sure someone will link it tomorrow.

Here's a link to a good, long thread on this topic.
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...ows++armor

And you know what, here is that test, I found it quicker than I thought I would.
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...light=test

These two threads should help answer your question.

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T. Arndt




Location: La Crosse, WI
Joined: 07 Jul 2011
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PostPosted: Tue 21 Aug, 2012 9:41 pm    Post subject: Re: double standards of arms and armor         Reply with quote

R. Kolick wrote:
Ive been on this forum for just under a year and one thing has been bothering me is whenever a question of modern vs.origanal swords modern blades are stronger because of metallurgy our alloys are more homogeneous and we can manipulate the material till we get the qualitys we want and that makes sense but whenever the talk turns to armor the thought is compleatly differnt, that they made better armor than we do. any modern tests that are done with modern materials which means almost certainly steel i see them dismised buy some members because the armor isnt as good as that worn in the medeval or ancient world when they used iron and almost certainly didnt have the same uniform thickness of the modern reproductions have. useing chain mail as an example people have clained that origanal iron chainmail could stop an arrow yet when this is disproven my modern test using steel the sain style of chainmail its dismised because it couldnt be as strong as the original


I think your argument is ignoring the details. For example, there are people who make historically accurate mail; however, even the higher end commonly available mail is inferior to it and period originals. Why? In regards to mail in particular, I have often heard that period mail is iron not steel and that the malleability of iron makes is bend and absorb force better and not resist ant break like steel. Most modern mail makers do not use drawn iron wire, they use steel. While steel makes for better plate armor than iron, I have heard, iron makes for better mail.

I might be completely wrong- I'll be waiting to see what our resident mail experts have to say.

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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Wed 22 Aug, 2012 6:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There are multiple factors in play here. With some armour, like mail, the relative malleability of iron might have advantages over more rigid steel. On top of that, modern mass-production mail uses different techniques of production than period mail. Those differences could be bigger than appearance.

For plate armour, modern armour often uses mild steel sheet. The steel itself may be better than the iron of some eras because it is more rigid (rigidity is good in some cases, and not others). However, using sheet steel usually results in a piece of armour that is the same thickness throughout (like the plate of steel that made it), where a period piece would be thicker at critical areas and thinner at areas less likely to be hit.

For some periods, armour was heat treated (earlier it was likely to be surface-level only, while by the era of Greenwich armour it was much better). Some makers are doing that, but not all. Some makers that do heat-treating are heat treating everything, even pieces that weren't heat treated historically.

Then you have little details. Breath holes are often drilled nowadays, not punched, and the resulting look is different. Some makers use historically incorrect rivets and/or straps.

And then we get to fit. Happy Some makers don't hit period shapes well (though many do). Fit, look, and protection are compromised.

Happy

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James Barker




Location: Ashburn VA
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PostPosted: Wed 22 Aug, 2012 6:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The quality of modern sword reproductions vary as does armor. Often modern tests involve low grade armor vs high end weapons. For instance a poorly made Indian helmet or a pressed civil defense helmet vs an Albion sword or Arms and Armor pole arm. Hardly a fair comparison.

Say I used a Robert McPherson hardened spring steel helmet and a Pakistani blade to prove a sword would break over a helmet? Would one consider that fair? It would be like armorers of the 17th century who would shoot their armor for a customer to prove it was proof with only half powder or less.

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Gary Teuscher





Joined: 19 Nov 2008

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PostPosted: Wed 22 Aug, 2012 9:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think one thing to remember - making sharp durable blades of some sort still has it's uses today, whether in even be ginsu knives, a machete or general purpose knife/axe.

For that matter, look at archery. Hi-performance bows, arrows, even strings are used to make more accurate weapons. And these stil have a practical use, hunting, or even the quest to develop the "fastest bow". Strings with almost no elasticity and carbon fiber arrows are two areas where you see this technology.

With most blades or archery weapons, the idea is not to make something from period material, but to make the best possible weapon. There are of course some designed to be authentic historical weapons, but these are far and few between.

Mail on the other hand does not have much of a use today. You'll see far more mail bikinis or attempts to make replicas, with little care about performance, the only attempt being to look kind of like the period items.

So mail is made merely to look like the period stuff in many cases, while weapons are still made with performance in mind in many cases.

Add to it that to make mail properly, it is a long painstaking process that most commercial dealers are not interested in, again the "look" is far more impartant to them (and their buyers) than the performance of said mail.

Just think about it - most purchasers of mail just want to look remotely like they are wearing the real thing - they are not planning on using it as a type of body defense. On the other hand, the purchaser of a bow and arrows wishes the thing to perform well as they will likely hunt or at least use them for target practice - where performance is important.
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Mart Shearer




Location: Jackson, MS, USA
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PostPosted: Wed 22 Aug, 2012 11:35 am    Post subject: Re: double standards of arms and armor         Reply with quote

R. Kolick wrote:
any modern tests that are done with modern materials which means almost certainly steel i see them dismised buy some members because the armor isnt as good as that worn in the medeval or ancient world when they used iron and almost certainly didnt have the same uniform thickness of the modern reproductions have. useing chain mail as an example people have clained that origanal iron chainmail could stop an arrow yet when this is disproven my modern test using steel the sain style of chainmail its dismised because it couldnt be as strong as the original


The argument is not that one armor is "better" or that another is "worse", it is that they are different. If you want a reliable test of medieval armor, you need a reproduction that is as close to the original as possible--in materials, method of construction, etc.. Dr. A.R. Williams metalurgical tests show quite a difference is possible within something like bascinets, with Vickers hardnesses of "princely" armors often being twice or three times that of munitions grade pieces. Just because it looks the same doesn't mean it performs the same. For meaningful modern tests, both the weapons and armor must be as close to the original methods and materials as possible.

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R. Kolick





Joined: 04 Feb 2012

Posts: 111

PostPosted: Wed 22 Aug, 2012 3:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Adam Bohnstengel wrote:
What you run into with the armor testing is that no one is testing armor as it was designed with weapons of the period. You have tests against butted mail or cheap Indian reproductions, or you have a piece mail with no padding under it as it would be worn. It's a bit too late to search for it, but someone did do a test with high quality mail with padding behind it and arrows were bouncing off at distances past 15 feet or so. I'm sure someone will link it tomorrow.

Here's a link to a good, long thread on this topic.
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...ows++armor

And you know what, here is that test, I found it quicker than I thought I would.
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...light=test

These two threads should help answer your question.


haha thanks for the first thread i was involved i that in it realy is a looooonnnnggg thread Big Grin and on the testing i do agree that the padding stoped the arrows but this was from a lighter bow than probaly would have been used back then and the arrows are lighter that is how modernbows get such a high speed they use modern lightweight arrows to increase speed but if you try the same test with period arrows you get deeper penatration and technicly the mail doesnt do anything its the layered and quilted cloth that stops the projectile
to chad: thank you on the insite but wouldnt a more heat treated breast plate be a good thing and even if it is the same thikness throughout if that thikness was the same as medeval examples wouldnt that make no differnce
thanks to all who put forward some answers on this
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Jojo Zerach





Joined: 26 Dec 2009

Posts: 288

PostPosted: Wed 22 Aug, 2012 10:11 pm    Post subject: Re: double standards of arms and armor         Reply with quote

T. Arndt wrote:
R. Kolick wrote:
Ive been on this forum for just under a year and one thing has been bothering me is whenever a question of modern vs.origanal swords modern blades are stronger because of metallurgy our alloys are more homogeneous and we can manipulate the material till we get the qualitys we want and that makes sense but whenever the talk turns to armor the thought is compleatly differnt, that they made better armor than we do. any modern tests that are done with modern materials which means almost certainly steel i see them dismised buy some members because the armor isnt as good as that worn in the medeval or ancient world when they used iron and almost certainly didnt have the same uniform thickness of the modern reproductions have. useing chain mail as an example people have clained that origanal iron chainmail could stop an arrow yet when this is disproven my modern test using steel the sain style of chainmail its dismised because it couldnt be as strong as the original


I think your argument is ignoring the details. For example, there are people who make historically accurate mail; however, even the higher end commonly available mail is inferior to it and period originals. Why? In regards to mail in particular, I have often heard that period mail is iron not steel and that the malleability of iron makes is bend and absorb force better and not resist ant break like steel. Most modern mail makers do not use drawn iron wire, they use steel. While steel makes for better plate armor than iron, I have heard, iron makes for better mail.

I might be completely wrong- I'll be waiting to see what our resident mail experts have to say.


The notion that original mail would bend where modern mail would snap is ridiculous. I hear that a lot, but the mild steel used in modern mail shirts is quite ductile, and will bend long before it snaps.
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Dan Howard




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

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PostPosted: Wed 22 Aug, 2012 11:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It isn't ridiculous at all. Bloomery iron is more ductile than mild steel. What is unclear is whether the difference in ductility corresponds to a difference in mail's ability to stop weapons. I think it probably does but there haven't been any studies to support it. What is certain is that mild steel does not have the same mechanical properties as bloomery iron. Any tests on mild steel mail are unlikely to yield the same results as bloomery iron.
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