Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Progress this weekend
We had a good turnout for Open Shop Day on Saturday with Aedan, Kansuke, Uther, Mary and Gracie all working on various projects. Those who didn't stay to the end missed out on the barley porridge, which was proclaimed to be delicious. Mary now has her own sword, gloves, half-gauntlet, gambeson, vambraces, rerbraces, aluminum elbow cops, and good progress towards a set of gamboised cuises with aluminum splints and aluminum knee cops.
We modified a mostly-unusable helm (the blue one with the really tall point) to fit an actual human being and after a bit of welding it will be ready for her to use. All she needs now is to finish these projects and add a gorget and a coat of plates in order to take the field in her own gear.
Unfortunately the elbow cops cracked a bit during assembly. I tried to use a dart and rivet pattern in order to get a deep point but the street-sign aluminum did not hold up to that tight of a curve. I am having better luck with dished knees so I may try a pair of dished elbows as well.
I cut and ground a new shield grip for a center-grip shield out of 1/8"x2"x7" steel bar, so now it is ready to be curled in around a 1/2" wooden dowel. I think I'll try heating the sides with my propane torch before I curve them. I've done it cold in the past but it takes a lot of force to get that metal to move. Once they are in position I'll just add a rawhide spiral-wound covering and the grip is finished.
I have made good progress on the central ridge for my new helm. I did a first pass of creasing the ridge with a blunt chisel, working with a 1/2" channel routed into a piece of pine board which I then clamped to the top of my workbench with side blocks to keep the metal band centered over the channel and a wood shim clamped in place to provide a guide for the chisel. This gave me a very straight first crease, but I could feel that a lot of the energy was being absorbed by the soft wood. So for a second pass I used 2 steel pipes about 1.25" in diameter, clamped into my vice. Using the initial crease as a guide I was able to place the chisel accurately and bend the metal band into a much deeper V. My son also helped a lot by coming out to the garage and holding the band while I worked with the hammer and chisel. Then for a third pass I placed this V inverted over a 1/4" rod that Gaston and I had welded to the side of my dishing form (the cut-off end of an oxygen tank) and hit it on both sides of the V with my customized peening hammer. My thanks to Halberds on the Armour Archive (http://armourarchive.org) for this idea. A bit more work to even up the shape of the cross-section and I will be ready to adjust the curve and begin marking and punching holes. This helm is made of 16 gauge 410 alloy spring stainless steel, and it will be pretty much bullet proof when it is finished.