XVI.-XVII century armour
Do you have any infos about the thickness of armour (breastplate, gorget, helmet...), and shields in the XVI.-XVIIth century? Sometimes they look really thin and I doubt they could stand against a stronger blow or a gunshot. And what wieght did the armours have assembled and each part?
This is very broad topic, hard to give general answers.

But usually, pieces of armor from the break of XVI and XVII centuries were actually some of thickest ever used.

Hussar breastplates were generally about 1.8 to 9 mm thick, while obviously 9mm was thickness around the central ridge and 1 mm around places less likely to be hit square.
Very good quality photos and quite some measurements, one of the most useful sources IMO. I don't know if Mr. Allen posts here, he sure does over at armourarchive.org, and is extremely helpful.
I can recommand this book: http://books.google.com/books?id=GpVbnsqAzxIC...&hl=de which is available in excerps at google. There is a graphical analysis of the thickness of armour though the centuries, since absolute data can easily be misguiding.
Thank you guys you helped a lot :D :D :D
I really like this book it's fantastic.
Many thaks,

Sadly you are not likely to find much on thickness for armour until the mid to late 16th century. It really needs to to be done for medieval armour. I had hoped to do such a project but seems to be years off in the distance now.

There was a study done on some 17th century breastplates but I cannot find it. The RA put it out.

Do you have this book(The knight and the blast furnace: a history of the metallurgy of armour in the Middle Ages & the early modern period) in some format on computer or a place from where I could download or buy it? Because the google book does not contain the whole book a few hundred pages are remaining :( and I haven't found any store where it is currently in stock. And one more question, what about chain maille in that period? In every picture I have seen they are riveted but their inner diameter seems to be sometimes really small but sometimes really big. What was more common, bigger or smaller?

Yeah the KatBF includes only a small number of thicknesses. When I spoke to Dr. Williams last he agreed that some large study should be done on it but that to date he had not done so. The Avant harness I think has some thicknesses given and in his end section on armour penetration.

Do you know how to increase the carbon content of iron? I remember only that one way is to let it rust.
Letting it rust will only increase it's rustiness, otherwise I'd have a ton of medium carbon armour instead of having russeted pieces. You'd need to carburize (sp?) it, which means heating it to around 930-950įC along with something that releases carbon as it burns (decompose would be a better term, I guess). This is "somewhat" more complicated and pricey compared to buying medium carbon steel plate. (especially as Metalloglobus usually has medium carbon steel sheets in usable thickness in stock)

edited to comply with forum rules.

Last edited by Adam Bodorics on Tue 19 Jul, 2011 6:49 pm; edited 1 time in total
It varied a lot.
I read an article on the famous A21 gothic armour (XV century, I know) and they listed average measurments for most of the pieces.
They were:

Upper breastplate: 1.6 mm (1.2 - 2.2)
Lower breastplate: 1.2 mm
Backplate: 1.5 mm (1.1 - 2.3)
Arms: upper vambraces; left, 1.4 mm
lower vambraces; left, 1.5 mm
Legs: main cuisse plates; left 1.2 mm, right 1.3 mm
front of greaves; left 1.1 mm, right 1.2 mm
rear of greaves; left 1.2 mm, right 1.3 mm.
Sallet: skull 2 mm (1.9 - 2.1)
visor 2.5 mm (2.1 - 2.8)
brow at front of skull 4.4 mm (4.1 - 4.6)

This gives a range of roughly 18 gauge on the greaves to 8 gauge on the front of the helmet.
On the other hand, I have a piece of 16th or 17th century munitions armour which is much thinner, it seems about 20 gauge tops.
(Remember all these thicknesses are after forming, grinding, and centuries of rust/polish. If you start making a pair of greaves out of 18 gauge steel, they will end up thinner than that.)
Many thanks.

I thought but I'm so crazy that I would like to make one on the old way. I have read that in the stores I can only buy iron with less than 0,6% carbon content, and I want to make my own steel. What kind of things do exist which can make the carbon content higher?

Last edited by David GaŠl on Wed 20 Jul, 2011 1:21 am; edited 1 time in total
Per our rules, please post only in English. Thank you.

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