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Cole Sibley




Location: Montana, USA
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PostPosted: Mon 30 May, 2005 12:41 pm    Post subject: Coat of plates, a couple of questions         Reply with quote

First time poster here, any information greatly appreciated.

I'm looking at making a coat of plates, circa 1350-1380, maybe German or Teutonic in flavor, patterned after a Wisby TypeIV or possibly the 'Tana' armour found at Asov. Comments on comfort/flexability of either of these would be greatly appreciated, as well as historic locations these armours might be found (I'm under the impression Wisby TypeIV to be northern German, and the Tana COP to be northern Italian).

First question is regarding material. I have easy access to some very heavy canvas (cotton), as well as some fairly heavy cowhide (estimated 14oz). Which of these materials would be most historic/period? Is there any notable differences in flexability, heat buildup, or durability? If I wasn't so lazy I expect I could come up with some very light leather (local deer hide, would have to tan it, definitely not my forte).

Next question, in regards to riveting. How big must the external 'face' of the rivet be to provide good durability? I suppose it depends upon the material used, however, are 'washers' of some sort (either leather, or metal) historically feasable? Does anyone know of a place to find 'large-headed' rivet suitable for coat-of-plate construction?

As a beginner in the whole medieval arms and armour realm, any comments or suggestions are greatly appreciated.
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Aaron Schnatterly




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PostPosted: Mon 30 May, 2005 1:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Coat of plates, a couple of questions         Reply with quote

Hi, Cole! Welcome to myArmoury!

Cole Sibley wrote:
I'm looking at making a coat of plates, circa 1350-1380, maybe German or Teutonic in flavor, patterned after a Wisby TypeIV or possibly the 'Tana' armour found at Asov. Comments on comfort/flexability of either of these would be greatly appreciated, as well as historic locations these armours might be found (I'm under the impression Wisby TypeIV to be northern German, and the Tana COP to be northern Italian).


Wisby Type IV has long, wide, overlapping plates if I recall correctly. Shouldn't be terribly difficult to recreate. My personal experience with armours of similar construction are that they are somewhat flexible in that they will flex at the overlaps, but not incredibly so. As such, they are moderately comfortable. If you take the time to curve the plates, it will be MUCH better.

Cole Sibley wrote:
First question is regarding material. I have easy access to some very heavy canvas (cotton), as well as some fairly heavy cowhide (estimated 14oz). Which of these materials would be most historic/period? Is there any notable differences in flexability, heat buildup, or durability?


Leather was, of course, available. Many different textiles were as well, but I am not sure about whether this would have been an obvious application. 14 oz leather seems really heavy for this, though. At this thickness, it won't breathe, will be stiff, but very durable. I want to say that 6-8 oz leather outer shell, 18 - 16 gauge plates, 2-3 oz leather or canvas or linen liner would make for a pretty good representation. For much greater (and more accurate) details, I'd look at a book called Armour from the Battle of Wisby 1361 by Bengt Thordeman. Also, I'm not an expert on the subject - there are others here who are much more up to speed on this than I am. Hopefully someone will either confirm or clarify.

Cole Sibley wrote:
Next question, in regards to riveting. How big must the external 'face' of the rivet be to provide good durability? I suppose it depends upon the material used, however, are 'washers' of some sort (either leather, or metal) historically feasable? Does anyone know of a place to find 'large-headed' rivet suitable for coat-of-plate construction?


You partially answered your own question. Yes, big enough that it doesn't easily pull back through. Rivets are pretty strong - it's not like you are securing a beam in a bridge or a bulkhead in a ship. 4-6 rivets holding a 6 oz. piece of metal to a piece of leather doesn't take much. Still, it does need to deal with the stresses of getting donned and doffed, as well as a lick or two. 1/8 inch shank should definitely handle that. The head should be big enough to give the requisite surface area, but you will want to place a washer as a backer for the side you peen it down on. You can do an online search for rivets, check with local fastener suppliers, or get some heavier nails and cut them down. Best suggestion I can give you is to play with some expendable scraps first - put a few rivets in, see how they work (and how you need to work them). Put a couple of plates side by side and top to bottom so you can see how it articulates. Yank on it, whack it. You'll learn tons in a hurry, without much investment, before you start on your actual project.

Cole Sibley wrote:
As a beginner in the whole medieval arms and armour realm, any comments or suggestions are greatly appreciated.


Welcome to a really cool place - arms and armour are fascinating things.

-Aaron Schnatterly
_______________

Fortior Qui Se Vincit
(He is stronger who conquers himself.)
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Felix Wang




Location: Fresno, CA
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PostPosted: Mon 30 May, 2005 6:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am not an armour maven, but to the best of my understanding, cloth was the usual material for this sort of armour. Cloth was certainly good enough for the later brigandines. If the coat of plates derived from an armoured surcoat, then cloth was likely the original material also.

The Armour Archive and the Arador website should be able to help considerably. www.armourarchive.org www.arador.com
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Jonathon Janusz





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PostPosted: Mon 30 May, 2005 7:34 pm    Post subject: rivets         Reply with quote

Welcome aboard, Cole Happy

From what researches I've done into such things (admittedly later period brigandines rather than Wisby recreations), it seems that folks have better luck and get a more accurate representation out of cut down copper nails for rivets rather than commercially produced actual rivets. If memory serves, there are also a few sources online for rivets made to the design specs of existant antique finds; a little expensive but if only the most exacting will do. . . Oh, and definitely use washers; leather isn't as cheap as it was back in the day (and scary expensive compared to steel these days Sad )

Also, would you mind sharing some of your research sources on the Wisby armours? There are folks in my neck of the woods that would be interested in studying up for living history endeavors.

Thanks!
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Cole Sibley




Location: Montana, USA
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PostPosted: Mon 30 May, 2005 10:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm afraid any research I've done has been wholly internet based, as my local county library is very small, and books are apparently very expensive as well, when so many appear so usefull Happy Any thing I have would be considered woefully inadequeate by any historian or even reasonably intelligent person Happy

However, in the effort to continue expanding the 'information age', I find that these two sites are not usually noted by many:

http://www.hoashantverk.se/hantverk/hoas_rustningar/index.html (modern recreations of many of the Wisby Types)

http://www.geocities.com/kaganate/tana.html (a translated Russian article of a Genoese Coat of Plates found in Asov, near the Black Sea)

Arador.com also has some excellent articles and discussions, I have seemingly misplaced any bookmarks I have from their, but the armoured Surcoat of St. Maurice, the 14th century effigies, and a forum search for 'Coat of Plates' turned up a lot of good information.

Obviously I can't verify the authenticiy of any of these sources (I'm just parroting other peoples hard work), however they offer some insights, and slightly broaden one's understanding of the possibilities.

P.S. Thanks for the information so far gents, sounds like fabric and copper are the orders of the day; which I did not realize, I thought leather/iron rivets would have been normal, but what you are saying is panning out.
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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Tue 31 May, 2005 12:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Cotton is not very comon in northern Europe at the time, so I'd go for leather...
"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
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Chuck Russell




Location: WV
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PostPosted: Tue 31 May, 2005 4:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Armour form the battle of Wisby is the book you want to buy. it has i believe all 54 different Wisby coats that were dug up in it. complete with diagrams on how they were laid out etc. what you want to make it out of is a couple layers of 7 oz linen. Wash the linen first so that the weave is tight. after you cut and sew your pattern you want, use an awl to go inbetween the fibers of linen to make the rivet hole. do NOT CUT the fibers. or it will unravel and the rivet will fall out.

using cut down copper nails, roofing nails etc seems to be the norm for this project. although i have seen some regular domed rivets with washers under them used. Just don't peen your rivet down too hard and tear the linen.

Leather is very hot to wear. Thin leather will rip out just like linen will. Most SCA reenactors i believe use leather for their cops becaues its faster to make and lasts a good while under the stress of fighting If you deside to use it, i would go with nothing thicker than 2-3oz. veggie tanned.
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Chad Sonderberg




Location: Muscatine, IA, USA
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PostPosted: Thu 02 Jun, 2005 7:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Linen was the historical material used to cover a Coat-of-Plates. Keep in mind that unless you plan on using stainless steel (not suggested as its harder to work with) you will need to either tin or paint the plates before attaching the covering.

Here are some links to threads by professional armour smiths discussing this topic:
http://www.arador.com/discforums/index.php?showtopic=2857&hl=
http://www.arador.com/discforums/index.php?showtopic=2847&hl=
http://www.arador.com/discforums/index.php?showtopic=2847&hl=
http://www.arador.com/discforums/index.php?showtopic=73&hl=
http://www.arador.com/discforums/index.php?showtopic=833&hl=
http://www.arador.com/discforums/index.php?showtopic=504&hl=
http://www.arador.com/discforums/index.php?showtopic=355&hl=

These should be enough to get you started. You can search the forum for more information, or start an account (free) and ask any questions you can't find an answer for. We are always glad to help.

A.C.S.

Lebend mit Ehre, Sterben Sie mit Dignitšt.
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Cole Sibley




Location: Montana, USA
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PostPosted: Thu 02 Jun, 2005 1:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for all the help folks, very usefull, what a nice community. Excellent information in those links Chad, I had read some of them, and missed some (rather important info from Mr. Bob Reed); I'd definitely like to get registered at Arador (in fact I thought I had, apparently not yet).

Looks like canvas at this point. I simply cannot locate any linen of heavy enough quality locally (I live in a very rural area, north east Montana). Copper rivets (or cut down nails) also look to be the order of the day.

It is just a 'for-fun' hobby, no one is likely to ever see it, however for my own satisfaction I am attempting (and apparently failing Happy ) to be as historical as possible. I recently purchased some 'cheap' riveted mail (my attempt at constructing mail myself failed miserably), and last fall I finished a (imho) fine longsword.

Next on my list are some 14th century gauntlets (also failed in construction) and a helm; I suppose a bascinet, as they seem to be the most common for the period.


P.S. One more question, when using the coat of plates/mail haubergeon combination, is there a garment worn Over the mail (under the cop)? I'm thinking the plates are going to have snagging problems on the mail.
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Jonathon Janusz





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PostPosted: Thu 02 Jun, 2005 4:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

if you use a sturdy enough backing material you shouldn't have much problem with the mail snagging the COP.

www.fabrics-store.com has a lot of different linen to choose from (even canvas-weight) and is very reasonably priced.
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John McFarlin




Location: Colorado Springs, CO
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PostPosted: Thu 27 Apr, 2006 2:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Cole, did anything ever come of this?

John

Compagniye du Chalis: 1370-1420
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Thu 27 Apr, 2006 3:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Agree with Chad. Linen is more historically accurate for the foundation of CoPs and brigandines. Leather was rare .
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Chuck Russell




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PostPosted: Thu 27 Apr, 2006 3:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Agree with Chad. Linen is more historically accurate for the foundation of CoPs and brigandines. Leather was rare .


not so much on the leather. the brigs of the 15thc are thought to have alum tawed goat under the nail heads
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Fri 28 Apr, 2006 3:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chuck Russell wrote:
the brigs of the 15thc are thought to have alum tawed goat under the nail heads


Source?
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James Barker




Location: Ashburn VA
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PostPosted: Fri 28 Apr, 2006 7:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Chuck Russell wrote:
the brigs of the 15thc are thought to have alum tawed goat under the nail heads


Source?


Bob Reed is translating a bunch of armour documents, many from England; I take his word very seriously. I understand there are some fragments made in such a manor also. Many of the museum 15th and 16th century brigandines and brigandine fragments are silk velvet lined with a flax or hemp linen canvas, I doubt the common CoP of the early and mid 14th century were covered in such a way.

I thought I read many of the Wisby CoPs have leather fragments between the rivets and the plates. I am wrong about this?
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Fri 28 Apr, 2006 3:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

James Barker wrote:
Bob Reed is translating a bunch of armour documents, many from England; I take his word very seriously.


Me too. When has Bob ever said that leather was commonly used on brigandines? Here is one post he made on SFI directly contradicting this.

Quote:
There are a lot of extant brigandines and fragments of them in the world, considering what they were made of. The Higgins Museum has nearly 3 catalog pages of brigandine fragments (mostly from Chalsis/Negroponte) alone, and I've handled the majority of them.

Of all the extant brigandines & fragments in the world, only two have a leather cover. One is a badly done 19th century reconstruction in Madrid where a curator with little knowledge did something that struck his fancy, and the other is a fragment recently uncovered in the American Southwest.

The overwhelming evidence for brigandine construction, both in extant pieces and in inventories is that brigandines are textile and metal constructs - no leather, except for the strapping and buckles holding them closed involved. The fragments we have examined have a heavy-duty canvas foundation, with a cover of finer cloth sewn over it. We presume that the foundation is hemp, because of the condition the fragments were found in, were it a linen canvas, the foundation cloth would have rotted away entirely.


This doesn't automatically mean that CoPs were constructed with the same materials but, without evidence to the contrary, it is a good assumption. What does Thordmann say about the Wisby armour? Does he mention fragments of leather under the rivets?
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James Barker




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PostPosted: Fri 28 Apr, 2006 6:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
James Barker wrote:
Bob Reed is translating a bunch of armour documents, many from England; I take his word very seriously.


Me too. When has Bob ever said that leather was commonly used on brigandines? Here is one post he made on SFI directly contradicting this.


He has not put his findings public yet, he passed it on to us privately [Hey Chuck shut up Wink] since our living history group is getting ready to do brigandines and we are English. He said alum tanned goat would be what we want based off his current research.
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Al Muckart




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PostPosted: Fri 28 Apr, 2006 8:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

James Barker wrote:

He has not put his findings public yet, he passed it on to us privately [Hey Chuck shut up Wink] since our living history group is getting ready to do brigandines and we are English. He said alum tanned goat would be what we want based off his current research.


I'm not a great expert on armour, but I know a bit about leather and that strikes me as a bit of an odd choice for something that is going to take the kind of abuse that a coat of plates will.
I'm more than happy to be wrong, I'd love to see more info in it's use in armour.

Alum tawed hides are just rawhide stuffed with aluminium salts and a fat emulsion (often containing egg yolks). The problem with it is that in the staking process used to soften it the fibres are broken up so it is a lot more fragile than either rawhide or oak-tanned leather. The other issue with it is that it is very unstable, the aluminium salts will wash out of it very readily in the presence of water, leaving behind softened rawhide. I've actually done this to snippets of an alum-tawed goat hide I have which I'm going to use to make shoes.

--
Al.
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Cole Sibley




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PostPosted: Sun 30 Apr, 2006 9:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi fellas, the shell is finished and dyed a deep blue. I had to go with cotton (canvas) as thats what I had, but I'm very happy with how it turned out, its not a direct copy of a Wisby style (as I was unable to afford the book), but it is left side opened, wrap around, fairly short waisted, and pretty well fitted.

I'm still experimenting with plate shapes and coverage, and have not taken the plunge on riveting anything yet. I also have a nice supply of heavy copper rivets that I am toying with 'stamping' a design in the head. Total weight is going to run around 20 pounds I'm afraid, mostly because I'm one of those people that over builds everything I do. I'm afraid it won't stand up to rigorous historical critique, but in my own opinion it has good historical flavor Happy

Now I can't decide if I should attempt to make the actual coat of plates as 'fancy' as possible, or go simple (meaning easy) and plan on some type of jupon over that. Do I have that correct that a jupon would be the final 'decorative' piece over this type of armour (1350ish)?
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James Barker




Location: Ashburn VA
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PostPosted: Mon 01 May, 2006 5:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Al Muckart wrote:
I'm not a great expert on armour, but I know a bit about leather and that strikes me as a bit of an odd choice for something that is going to take the kind of abuse that a coat of plates will.
I'm more than happy to be wrong, I'd love to see more info in it's use in armour.

Alum tawed hides are just rawhide stuffed with aluminium salts and a fat emulsion (often containing egg yolks). The problem with it is that in the staking process used to soften it the fibres are broken up so it is a lot more fragile than either rawhide or oak-tanned leather. The other issue with it is that it is very unstable, the aluminium salts will wash out of it very readily in the presence of water, leaving behind softened rawhide. I've actually done this to snippets of an alum-tawed goat hide I have which I'm going to use to make shoes.


Yeah but silk velvet seems and odd choice for the same reasons Wink. I don't anything about it except that Bob R. found some info and shared it with us.
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