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Michael Long





Joined: 10 Apr 2018

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PostPosted: Wed 17 Apr, 2019 6:49 pm    Post subject: Hemp armor?         Reply with quote

Has anyone ever heard of hemp being used as textile armor in place of linen? Everyone says that hemp is much stronger, and still easy to grow. Is there a particular advantage that linen has in the context of cutting and thrusting weapons?
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Mark Moore




Location: East backwoods-assed Texas
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PostPosted: Wed 17 Apr, 2019 7:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't know so much as for armor, but I've seen baskets weaved from strips of hemp stalk. Very tough stuff. I can see it being weaved and layered for armor purposes.
''Life is like a box of chocolates...'' --- F. Gump
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Mark Millman





Joined: 10 Feb 2005

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PostPosted: Thu 18 Apr, 2019 3:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Hemp armor?         Reply with quote

Dear Michael,

On Wednesday 17 April 2019, you wrote:
Has anyone ever heard of hemp being used as textile armor in place of linen? Everyone says that hemp is much stronger, and still easy to grow. Is there a particular advantage that linen has in the context of cutting and thrusting weapons?

Historically, hemp fabric was called "canvas" (and equivalent words in other languages; today we use the word for a particular weave, rather than a fiber). Any references you find to armor made of canvas cloth should be to hemp.

A quick search on the site turns up references on 5 June 2015 by Mart Shearer (on page 2 of "Construction of Gambesons and other Quilted Armor", with further mentions on page 3); 22 August 2012 by Gary Teuscher quoting James Barker (on page 1 of "stuffing vs. layers for stand-alone padded jacks?"); and in other threads.

I have not researched this, but my sense from the references here is that (1) linen is a higher-status material and so more desirable; and (2) linen cloth may be lighter and more flexible than canvas (thus requiring more layers, but arguably being more comfortable). Those points may contribute to why linen seems to be more common in the historical record than canvas. But canvas--hemp--definitely was used.

I hope this proves helpful.

Best,

Mark Millman
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Dan Howard




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

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PostPosted: Thu 18 Apr, 2019 5:47 pm    Post subject: Re: Hemp armor?         Reply with quote

Michael Long wrote:
Everyone says that hemp is much stronger

Flax has almost double the tensile strength of hemp. Elasticity is similar for both.

Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books
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Matthew Amt




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

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PostPosted: Thu 18 Apr, 2019 6:11 pm    Post subject: Re: Hemp armor?         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Michael Long wrote:
Everyone says that hemp is much stronger

Flax has almost double the tensile strength of hemp. Elasticity is similar for both.


But just how vital is tensile strength against cutting weapons, anyway? Obviously there must be some complex physics, I honestly don't know.

The weight or fineness or weight of a fabric is entirely dependant on how thick you spin the thread from the fibers, and how densely you weave the fabric. I've seen a hemp shirt from a frozen kurgan that was pretty much transparent, and linen canvas that practically stands up by itself. The fiber doesn't matter.

Matthew
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Dan Howard




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

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PostPosted: Fri 19 Apr, 2019 3:00 am    Post subject: Re: Hemp armor?         Reply with quote

Matthew Amt wrote:
But just how vital is tensile strength against cutting weapons, anyway?

No idea. I was just responding to the "everyone says" statement. Hemp is not "much stronger" than flax. The opposite is true.

Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books
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Mark Millman





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Posts: 249

PostPosted: Sat 20 Apr, 2019 2:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Hemp armor?         Reply with quote

Dear Matthew,

On Thursday 18 April 2019, you wrote:
The weight or fineness or weight of a fabric is entirely dependant on how thick you spin the thread from the fibers, and how densely you weave the fabric. I've seen a hemp shirt from a frozen kurgan that was pretty much transparent, and linen canvas that practically stands up by itself. The fiber doesn't matter.

No argument, except: The fiber has to have a structure that permits fine spinning of the thread. At least in Europe, linen was selected and bred to have long fibers, and as far as I'm aware, hemp doesn't seem to have been . . . other than for rope-making material, anyway.

But I didn't know about the shirt from the kurgan that you mention, and will look into that. Thanks for telling me about it!

Quote:
Matthew

Best,

Mark
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