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Scale Armour Construction

Weapons/Armour
  • Friday, September 07 2007 @ 09:06 PM UTC
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Scale Armour Construction
By Indunna aka Jenny Baker
This article appeared in Varangian Voice issue 71

I have now done two different types of scale armour, the first was neck to knee (on me) metal scale and second was torso Egyptian Leather scale. So I thought I jot down some notes for other who might be interested in look at undertaking scale armour.


Metal scale Armour
Culture Periods know to be used in – Egyptian, Ancient Greece, Roman & Medieval

Construction notes –
Number of scale used in Construction 1728 of the buggers
Metal used stainless steel
Size 1 x half an inch – cut with a commercial guillotine
Shapes & Points grounded off with bench grinder
– note watch fingers tips as grinding of the ends can happen

Two Holes per scale punched with metal punch


Me wearing the scale armour at the Bacchus Marsh Conference

Sewn on to 2 leather welder’s aprons for backing which were sewn down one side together the other side laced for easy getting in and out of.

– note you have to start from the bottom of the piece laying the next row on top of this row this is fairly easy for a while then it became difficult when you reach the length of your forearm reach. We then supported the piece over a broom upon two chairs and had myself on side and Gary on the other pushing the needle back and forward to each other.

– Note sew each scale and knot individually so later on if one piece falls off you don’t lose the whole row

– Note – sew shoulders of the welders apron last to make it easy to lay out on the broom and work the rows while sewing.

– Note put a line mark for your rows placement to give you a guide of where the scale need to be sewn – this will help keep your rows straight

Construction time
1 year to cut and grind the scale into shape 6 weeks of nightly sewing of the scale on to the welder’s aprons.

Leather scale Armour
Culture Periods know to be used in – Egyptian, Ancient Greece, Roman & Medieval The particular style done – Egyptian - dubbed by Robert Lemal “the Anbus bikini” as the god Anbus is often represented wearing it.

Construction notes –
Number of scale used in Construction 300
Material used Leather veggie tan scraps – all those small pieces you couldn’t get any thing out of but where too big to throw away.

Size 2 x 1 inch – cut with a pair of scissors

Two Holes per scale punched with leather hole punch

Ridge down the middle of the scale was pressed in to the scale
Note – method for this - first I carved a groove in a piece of wood then I put the scale into warm water – important make sure that the water is not too hot as the leather scale will shrivel up if it is. I put the scale into the water until the air bubbles coming out of it had slowed right down Then I placed the scale over the wood with the groove so the groove was in the middle of the scale and with a plaster’s trowel and a hammer banged it into the groove. I then placed the scale pieces on to wooden board and placed in a low heat oven for 2 mins – just enough to dry the scale out a little bit - but not baking it too much as you want it to retain some flexibility.

Sewn on to linen for backing which was laced down the back for easy getting in and out of.

– note you have to start from the bottom of the piece laying the next row on top of this row.

– Note sew each scale and knot individually so later on if one piece falls off you don’t lose the whole row

– Note I sewed and knotted on the front side of the garment as it may have to be worn with nothing underneath and I didn’t want knots to press into the skin

– Note put a line mark for your rows placement to give you a guide of where the scale need to be sewn – this will help keep your rows straight

Construction time
All up 1 week


Egyptian fresco showing the scale armour
Robert LaMail modelling the Anbus Bikini

the Anbus Bikini layed out flat.

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