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Ryan Hobbs




Location: Middle GA
Joined: 19 Jun 2016
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Posts: 25

PostPosted: Wed 05 Jul, 2017 6:37 pm    Post subject: Good Shield Reproductions?         Reply with quote

Howdy! I'm looking for a pair of shields with which to do HEMA with, specifically a pair of kite shields. When dealing with shields for HEMA, bucklers are what mainly come up, so I've had a hard time finding shields that look like they could stand up in heated practise, even only with synthetic weapons.

Does anyone know of a reasonably priced and reasonably historical shield manufacturer here in the states? I would probably only use synthetic weapons on them.
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Mark Tan





Joined: 30 Nov 2016

Posts: 26

PostPosted: Wed 05 Jul, 2017 7:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Shieldsplus or kult of athena might have what youre looking for
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Wed 05 Jul, 2017 9:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ryan,

One thing that must be considered is one's underlying assumptions about shields and shield usage. Many modern wooden shields are overbuilt; that is to say, they are significantly thicker than they need to be. Many medieval shields were only around 5 mm to 7 mm thick. Modern shields are also often given accessories for which there is little support from period artifacts and images, whether metal-lined edges, rope-lined edges, or edges covered with a thick layer of raw-hide. We are making our shields heavier, thicker, and more “buff” than real medieval shields.

It is possible that medieval knights and warriors who fought in life and death battles using shields were fools and had gear that was inadequately robust for the purpose. I suspect, however, that this is not the case, which means that we modern people may need to reconsider how we approach shield use.

An important factor to consider when practicing is whether try to use the shields to block a sword blow directly, or whether you bind the sword first with the other sword. The disadvantage to blocking the blow directly is that your shield receives the full effect of the strike or thrust, destroying it quickly, whereas binding with the sword initially means that the shield receives less impact. Shields work much better when you use them to either bind your opponent’s shield, or to bind the opponent’s sword after the initial blow and sword bind.

The other thing to consider, something Roland Warzecha reminded me of, is that the steel used in medieval swords is nowhere near the strength of modern steels. It is quite likely that even a new medieval sword would not survive the abuse that modern people put swords through, and this is because modern people tend to strike with far more force and power than they need. In fact, one of the hallmarks of growth in HEMA is for students to be able to respond more skillfully with weakness, and using less and less arm, shoulder, and upper back strength in their strikes. I am quite sure that when the masters refer to buffels, they are talking about swordsmen who don’t have enough experience and skill with a sword to realize that they can be weak and yielding and win a fight, and who overcompensate by using physical strength instead. Even terms like “strong” in the bind can be misleading; it is possible to use relatively feeble arm strength and power, and yet be in a strong position in a bind because of your mechanics in the crossing of the swords. So being strong and weak in a bind has very little to do with physical strength, very little to do with holding the opponent’s sword in place (in the bind) with a strength, and little to do with anything else that involves resistance.

All this to say is that, if you are using too much physical strength and power—and almost everyone does at the beginning, especially men—you might actually be putting your weapons and shields through far more abuse and stress than real swords would have had to face. This then, requires you to learn to win fights without relying on trying to dominate, hit hard, lock with force in a bind, or any of the rest of the things that less experienced swordsmen do.
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Ryan Hobbs




Location: Middle GA
Joined: 19 Jun 2016
Likes: 2 pages

Posts: 25

PostPosted: Thu 06 Jul, 2017 7:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark Tan wrote:
Shieldsplus or kult of athena might have what youre looking for


Ya, I'm looking at some shields on KoA by deepeeka. I've never heard good things about deepeeka's quality though, but they're on sale, might be worth a try!
I contacted shields plus, but the shipping would have cost more than the actual shield :/
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Ryan Hobbs




Location: Middle GA
Joined: 19 Jun 2016
Likes: 2 pages

Posts: 25

PostPosted: Thu 06 Jul, 2017 10:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Craig Peters wrote:
Ryan,

One thing that must be considered is one's underlying assumptions about shields and shield usage. Many modern wooden shields are overbuilt; that is to say, they are significantly thicker than they need to be. Many medieval shields were only around 5 mm to 7 mm thick. Modern shields are also often given accessories for which there is little support from period artifacts and images, whether metal-lined edges, rope-lined edges, or edges covered with a thick layer of raw-hide. We are making our shields heavier, thicker, and more “buff” than real medieval shields.

It is possible that medieval knights and warriors who fought in life and death battles using shields were fools and had gear that was inadequately robust for the purpose. I suspect, however, that this is not the case, which means that we modern people may need to reconsider how we approach shield use.

An important factor to consider when practicing is whether try to use the shields to block a sword blow directly, or whether you bind the sword first with the other sword. The disadvantage to blocking the blow directly is that your shield receives the full effect of the strike or thrust, destroying it quickly, whereas binding with the sword initially means that the shield receives less impact. Shields work much better when you use them to either bind your opponent’s shield, or to bind the opponent’s sword after the initial blow and sword bind.



Ahhh, yes, I entirely agree. I found the same when I made my first early medieval center grip shield. My grandfather and I made it out of half inch red oak planks with four reinforcing strips of wood on the back. You couldn't break that shield with a Dane ax, but I could only fight with it for about 5 minutes. The second shield was thinner and made from polar, and has stood up well to full speed sparring with steel swords.

I have no idea how to curve the wood for the shield I want, and I don't have time to go back home to my grandpa's workshop.

Shields plus makes quality, reasonably accurate shields, like type you discussed, but unfortunately I have had little luck finding the same quality of shields in America.
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