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Scott Roush
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PostPosted: Sun 17 Nov, 2013 9:24 am    Post subject: Patination on 14th c. armour         Reply with quote

I'm currently restoring a suit of Churburg-style armour that was custom made a while ago. It was left to rust. I'm going to be using this harness for 'western martial arts'. I want to be as faithful as I can to the spirit of this armour in every respect that I can.

So... in the short term it would be easy for me to force the rusting and go with a 'russet' finish. I see a lot of contemporary armour finished this way.. but is it realistic for the period? I see quite a few examples of what appears to be brown colored armour in period art.. was this 'russet' patination?

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Scott Roush
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PostPosted: Mon 18 Nov, 2013 8:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

For example:



These guys are rusted are they not? :-) However.. I wonder if during a long campaign most plate simply went that way and was oiled and fixed into a uniform russet?[/img]

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Luka Borscak




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PostPosted: Mon 18 Nov, 2013 8:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, this might represent gilding with gold if these guys were meant to represent some rich guys... I have never seen brown armour but I have seen gilded ones...
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Scott Roush
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PostPosted: Mon 18 Nov, 2013 9:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yeah I figured that gilding would be the other explanation.. but so many and on both sides! How common was gilded armour? But I suppose this is ART...

As to 'brown' armour.. well there seems to be a lot of modern reproductions being made that way as well as commentary on how to 'russet' armour. But I suppose a lot of this is stylistic and an attempt to make modern armour look like antiques. And it might also be a means to take old armour that is already rusted and make it look 'finished' by completing the rusting process and then fixing it with oil.

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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Mon 18 Nov, 2013 4:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Russeting is a technique usually associated with later periods than the 14th century, like the late 16th century.
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David Lewis Smith




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PostPosted: Mon 18 Nov, 2013 4:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

When I was in Korea I found my mild steal armour rusted very fast, when I asked on several forums the best answer was vegetable oil.

spray or wipe it on and just leave it. a thin coat mind you. it browns up nicely sort of turns to plastic

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Scott Roush
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PostPosted: Tue 19 Nov, 2013 5:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well I just found out that the art I posted depicts a battle that occurred 600 c.e. And the knights in 15th c. armour. So.... probably not a good idea to lay too much emphasis on the armour coloration....

Oh yes David... I use spray vegetable oil for all sorts of stuff like that. But it my case I'm going for a forced, controlled rust.. that is fixed into a nice chestnut brown with WD40.

But.. as Chad points out... perhaps russeting is not the best choice if I want an accurate look to my Churburg harness...

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Mart Shearer




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PostPosted: Tue 19 Nov, 2013 7:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The late 14th century is approaching the era of "alwhite" polished armors. There is still some trace of fabric or leather coverings seen earlier in the 14th century. Gilt armor is in, but russeting is out.

http://manuscriptminiatures.com/4317/7115/
http://manuscriptminiatures.com/4317/7124/

(Please note that silver leaf in manuscripts has often tarnished to near black at times.)
http://manuscriptminiatures.com/4869/13235/
http://manuscriptminiatures.com/4869/13227/

http://manuscriptminiatures.com/4750/11311/
http://manuscriptminiatures.com/4750/11312/

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Scott Roush
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PostPosted: Tue 19 Nov, 2013 7:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you Matt.

So I suppose when you talk about armour finish or patination... there is what you get directly from the armoury. Then you get what a knight or man-at-arms maintained. But then you get, perhaps, something that results from style of use? What about long campaign versus tourney?

And then.. what about 'munition-grade' versus nobility? But I assume that the term 'munition-grade' is something that came about in later periods.... as I would think that early plate armour would have always been for the nobility...

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Mart Shearer




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PostPosted: Tue 19 Nov, 2013 9:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I was operating under the presumption that a Churburg-style armor would be appropriate for a Count. Certainly various qualities of armor were produced, and armor issued to non-nobility might not have been as polished, decorated, or sumptuously covered. Certainly rust might appear on a long campaign, but the military expectation is to maintain one's equipment (or have one's servants do it). Bright was desirable, rust was not.
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Scott Roush
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PostPosted: Tue 19 Nov, 2013 10:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sorry I wrote 'Matt' before...

Yes.. you bring up another point I have not yet fully researched... the 'persona' who would have worn a Churburg style harness. That gets into another area I want to research.. the weaponry associated with this style of harness.

One thing I wonder about when it comes to rust finishes: Oiling of rust leads to the beautiful 'russets' or Japanese 'Chestnut browns'.. the oil fixes the rust into a strong, dark patina. So it is fun for me to think of long campaigns.. folks oiling their harnesses that begins to show signs of rust.. and eventually you have a nice, uniform 'russet'. But.. like you allude to.. as I begin to understand the chivalric ideals.. I can see a strong pressure to keep things bright even during long, difficult campaigns. In my mind though.. it seems so practical to not fight the inevitable.. and just make it beautiful.... :-)

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Philip Dyer





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PostPosted: Wed 20 Nov, 2013 2:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Scott Roush wrote:
Sorry I wrote 'Matt' before...

Yes.. you bring up another point I have not yet fully researched... the 'persona' who would have worn a Churburg style harness. That gets into another area I want to research.. the weaponry associated with this style of harness.

One thing I wonder about when it comes to rust finishes: Oiling of rust leads to the beautiful 'russets' or Japanese 'Chestnut browns'.. the oil fixes the rust into a strong, dark patina. So it is fun for me to think of long campaigns.. folks oiling their harnesses that begins to show signs of rust.. and eventually you have a nice, uniform 'russet'. But.. like you allude to.. as I begin to understand the chivalric ideals.. I can see a strong pressure to keep things bright even during long, difficult campaigns. In my mind though.. it seems so practical to not fight the inevitable.. and just make it beautiful.... :-)

Well, there thinking was maybe that if I give the rust a inch, it might take a mile and when rust takes mile you now have brittle and fragile armout
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Mart Shearer




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PostPosted: Wed 20 Nov, 2013 4:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Plenty of 14th century records describing men being paid to clean mail, plate, and even arrowheads. Bran and oil seem to be the common scouring ingredients for cleaning. Harness was polished bright before being sold. Some 15th c. harness polishers at work, with pounce (pumice) bags and polishing sticks:




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Jason Daub




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PostPosted: Wed 20 Nov, 2013 6:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Someone who could afford a new Churburg harness had servants to maintain his "alwyte" harness. The modern preoccupation with poor knights on campaign/grizzled old warrior with rusty armour sleeping under a hedge in his tattered cloak is misdirected.

Today, in my region, it is considered slightly pretentious to have a live in nanny and I believe it is very like that in most of the western world, so we tend to forget that personal service was a very common thing before the twentieth century, and even well into it. My great-grandmother as a child grew up with an upstairs maid, a maid, a housekeeper, a cook, a gardener, and a butler. It was the done thing for certain social classes to have personal servants, of a type and number dictated by status and position. I once read a comparison about a "poor knight", I don't recall where, but it ran along the lines of 'a poor knight is the equivalent of the hundred thousandaire at the country club rubbing elbows with millionaires and the occasional billionaire'. He isn't exactly poor now is he? Consider that a hypothetical lance of six men from the 1440's would be made up of the gendarme, a coutillier, a pair of mounted archers and a pair of non-combatant servants. Would a man at arms have rusted armour? I highly doubt it.

'I saw young Harry, -with his bevor on,
His cuisses on his thighs, gallantly arm'd,-
Rise from the ground like feather'd Mercury,
And vaulted with such ease into his seat,
As if an angel dropp'd down from the clouds,
To turn and wind a fiery Pegasus,
And witch the world with noble horsemanship.'
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Robin Smith




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PostPosted: Wed 20 Nov, 2013 7:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jason Daub wrote:
Someone who could afford a new Churburg harness had servants to maintain his "alwyte" harness. The modern preoccupation with poor knights on campaign/grizzled old warrior with rusty armour sleeping under a hedge in his tattered cloak is misdirected.

Today, in my region, it is considered slightly pretentious to have a live in nanny and I believe it is very like that in most of the western world, so we tend to forget that personal service was a very common thing before the twentieth century, and even well into it. My great-grandmother as a child grew up with an upstairs maid, a maid, a housekeeper, a cook, a gardener, and a butler. It was the done thing for certain social classes to have personal servants, of a type and number dictated by status and position. I once read a comparison about a "poor knight", I don't recall where, but it ran along the lines of 'a poor knight is the equivalent of the hundred thousandaire at the country club rubbing elbows with millionaires and the occasional billionaire'. He isn't exactly poor now is he? Consider that a hypothetical lance of six men from the 1440's would be made up of the gendarme, a coutillier, a pair of mounted archers and a pair of non-combatant servants. Would a man at arms have rusted armour? I highly doubt it.

I think this is an important point. For a knight in period, having personal servants was not just a luxury, but almost a duty essentially. The social order depended on the upper ranks like knights and professional warriors employing those below him.

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Scott Roush
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PostPosted: Wed 20 Nov, 2013 7:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks guys. This is helpful and what I was hoping to learn. Like I alluded to above... my interest to this point has been mostly very early Middle Ages (Migration/Viking period) and I've only recently taken a more serious interest in the 'Age of Chivalry'... which has been precipitated by me falling into and restoring a harness of Churburg plate. So.. I'm learning more and more about the importance of prestige amongst the Nobility in war-like settings.

Since I've been working on this armour I've seen so many references to 'russeting' and various methods of blackening that I wanted to find out what the realistic occurrence of these patinas was in the appropriate time period.

So the take home message for me is that purposeful 'russeting' of plate armour was NOT appropriate for the 14th c. (although one post mentions that it is later, and one post states earlier) and that incidental 'russeting' through poor care on campaign probably did not occur. Okay... time to get serious about brightening up this armour!

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P. Schontzler




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PostPosted: Wed 20 Nov, 2013 8:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

What about blackening?
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Philip Dyer





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PostPosted: Wed 20 Nov, 2013 8:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Robin Smith wrote:
Jason Daub wrote:
Someone who could afford a new Churburg harness had servants to maintain his "alwyte" harness. The modern preoccupation with poor knights on campaign/grizzled old warrior with rusty armour sleeping under a hedge in his tattered cloak is misdirected.

Today, in my region, it is considered slightly pretentious to have a live in nanny and I believe it is very like that in most of the western world, so we tend to forget that personal service was a very common thing before the twentieth century, and even well into it. My great-grandmother as a child grew up with an upstairs maid, a maid, a housekeeper, a cook, a gardener, and a butler. It was the done thing for certain social classes to have personal servants, of a type and number dictated by status and position. I once read a comparison about a "poor knight", I don't recall where, but it ran along the lines of 'a poor knight is the equivalent of the hundred thousandaire at the country club rubbing elbows with millionaires and the occasional billionaire'. He isn't exactly poor now is he? Consider that a hypothetical lance of six men from the 1440's would be made up of the gendarme, a coutillier, a pair of mounted archers and a pair of non-combatant servants. Would a man at arms have rusted armour? I highly doubt it.

I think this is an important point. For a knight in period, having personal servants was not just a luxury, but almost a duty essentially. The social order depended on the upper ranks like knights and professional warriors employing those below him.

You must of had a rich great grandmother.... why do you think most people had more children than they do now? One, the infant morality rate was higher, two : children were utilized in that sort of work. Also, even though I get your point, I think it is bit exaggerated, people that were millionaries and billionaries probably weren't out in the field that often... they probably managed and directed all the guys who were. Knights of all levels of wealth were low nobility and I think the idea of the rusted armour came from the fact that until very recently, if you wanted to get anywhere you either had to walk , travel by boat, or ride a horse there all of which is slow and dangerous, if you had shoddy general that insisted on luring or purusuing into battle all the time, your servents could die off. Maybe one of the reasons sieges were much more frequent is becuase if you set up a camp , you can shelter yourself, and if you take an castle, you instantly have better shelter along with killing a bit of the enemy. Even if you are the victor of an epic battle, all of have done is kill allot of the enemy and the elements can end up killing you right back.
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Mart Shearer




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PostPosted: Wed 20 Nov, 2013 10:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

P. Schontzler wrote:
What about blackening?


Seems to have been trendy though not universal around 1440-1460+/-.
http://manuscriptminiatures.com/search/?manuscript=3932
http://manuscriptminiatures.com/4537/11319/
http://www.enluminures.culture.fr/Wave/savima...7674-p.jpg

Even then, you might note the attempt to show a high gloss on the blackening, so the armor would be polished before blackening. Of course there's the 16th century black and white armors from Nuremburg and Augsburg.

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Jason Daub




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PostPosted: Wed 20 Nov, 2013 10:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Philip, yes that side of the family was society. Domestic service was not performed by children though. Yes, for a very long time a large family was farm labour and then 'retirement'. Many artisans though did not have huge families, large by todays standards, yes, but not huge. But to say that the equivalent to the millionaires and billionaires were not out in the field ignores the historical reality that very many were. Let us take a quick glimpse at Agincourt, killed in battle were:
Charles I d'Albret, Count of Dreux, Constable of France
Jacques de Chatillion, Lord of Dampierre, Admiral of France
David de Rambures, Grand Master of Crossbowmen
Guichard Dauphin, Master of the Royal Household
Antoine of Burgundy, Duke of Brabant and Limburg
John I, Duke of Alencon-Perche
Edward III, Duke of Bar
Edward of Norwich, Duke of York
Michael de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk

And then check the lesser nobles killed as well as the greater and lesser captured. Carefully look at the casualty lists of medieval battles. Consider Richard I, Richard III, James III, James IV, John of Bohemia, Ottokar II all medieval kings, all killed on the field. And there are many more.

The tactics of medieval armies are a completely separate subject, but I would disagree with your interpretation of them.

'I saw young Harry, -with his bevor on,
His cuisses on his thighs, gallantly arm'd,-
Rise from the ground like feather'd Mercury,
And vaulted with such ease into his seat,
As if an angel dropp'd down from the clouds,
To turn and wind a fiery Pegasus,
And witch the world with noble horsemanship.'
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