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Market Square => Arms and Armor => Topic started by: TheMightyMcClaw on December 15, 2009, 10:27:25 PM

Title: Looking to take up plate armor
Post by: TheMightyMcClaw on December 15, 2009, 10:27:25 PM
Greetings, all ye fair gents and cunning ladies,
I've been making maille for a couple of years. I've recently taken up blacksmithing. I'm seeing myself heading inevitably towards one goal, which is making plate/banded armor. I consider these much the same craft, as far as I can tell, they both come down to cutting, shaping, and riveting sheet metal.
I am, of course, a bit nervous about the whole thing, since plate armor has some rather expensive tools involved, especially compared to the "two pliers and a winding rod" needed to make chainmail.
As far as I can tell, I need three basic things: sheet metal, something to cut sheet metal, and a way to shape sheet metal.
For the cutting, I've heard throatless sheers are the way to go. I'm currently looking at these guys: http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=38413&xcamp=google&utm_source=googlebase&utm_medium=cpc&zmam=33951326&zmas=12&zmac=112&zmap=38413 (http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=38413&xcamp=google&utm_source=googlebase&utm_medium=cpc&zmam=33951326&zmas=12&zmac=112&zmap=38413).
For shaping, I've heard it said that logs, pipes, and other such can be used for those who lack an anvil. Does anyone have any advice on this topic?
Finally, the sheet metal itself. Where does one *buy* sheet metal? Hardware store? Or somewhere more specialized?
Title: Re: Looking to take up plate armor
Post by: ALS on December 16, 2009, 08:54:05 AM
The Harbor Freight shear is what it is, a cheap inexpensive knock off of a Beverly shear. It can be made to work okay but you will have to work on it to get it to do so. This http://forums.armourarchive.org/phpBB2/viewforum.php?f=1&sid=a86d58d1060f257a1fa87ecfce23cce3 is a good place to go for questions and advice.

To give you some idea of what your getting into tooling wise you can see our shoppe here http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2021080&id=1200387794&l=b665c60d6c Not shown is welding and forging tools which are at a different location.
Title: Re: Looking to take up plate armor
Post by: crazyrennie on December 16, 2009, 09:10:50 AM
Greetings,
Harbor Freight also has Anvils for sale. If I may ask what kind of Plate armor are you looking to re-create?
Crazyrennie
Title: Re: Looking to take up plate armor
Post by: escherblacksmith on December 16, 2009, 10:15:57 AM
As a rule I'd avoid harbor freight anvils, but, truly, for plate mail work, a standard london pattern anvil won't be of much use.

I have seen custom stake anvils of various sorts, but the easiest to get and mod to use would be large trailer ball hitches.  the bigger the diameter the better.

The same is true with using logs.  On end and carved to the circumference you want, they are good for dishing and other work.  Obviously they won't have the life of a stake anvil, but the price is usually right.

Any local metal supplier can get you sheet-metal.  The stuff you get at lowe's or home depot or the like is cut down to smaller sizes and more expensive generally.

Title: Re: Looking to take up plate armor
Post by: ALS on December 16, 2009, 11:28:27 AM
Harbor Freight anivls do not have a hardened face, they're just a chunk metal. The face will dimple and cut with any hit quickly yielding a working face that looks like a model of the surface of the moon and mars the surface of the metal possibly beyond fixing. The only thing we really use anvils for is rivet setting. We do all our shaping on vaious stakes, a beakhorn stake is the single most usefull stake you can have. Stumps are good, we have lots, some with holes sunk in them for dishing, and you can quickly pound a shallow curve and the like in one for rough shapping of smaller work. Get hard woods, pine will fold in a second. We have several black walnut stumps that have soldiered for ten years and are still going strong. We've gotten tools from antique shoppes, junk shoppes, flea markets and ebay. You can make very simple plate projects with relaively few tools but to make complex pieces you'll find that the more stakes and hammers you have ( a really good selection of abrasive tools is good to, not just a bench grinder, but a belt sander, angle grinder with flap wheels, and various abrasive wheels for a drill press end up becomming pretty much indispensible for finishign work. Speaking of drill press you'll want at least a bench top one. We have two bench tops and an upright ) the better. Theres nothing worse that getting to a point in a project where you do not possess the tool to go further so just because you don't need it now doesn't mean you won't in the future.

" Banded " is something created by Gary Gygax for D&D, its was his misnomer for the Roman lorica segmentata.


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I have seen custom stake anvils of various sorts, but the easiest to get and mod to use would be large trailer ball hitches.  the bigger the diameter the better.

Ultimately a variety of sizes of ball stakes will be needed. Ball stakes are used for planishing over and the size of the ball stake affects the finished depth the curved/dished shape being planished. Larger ball stakes tend to make the finished shape a little shallower after planishing while smaller stakes tend to creat a bit more depth after planishing. A trailer hitch makes a decent ball stake but you will end up needing something with a longer shank as well for deeper dishes. You can buy these or make them by welding things like large ball bearings or shot puts onto the end of a length of solid bar stock ( then forging a tapper in the end to allow for fitting to a stake plate ) or welding to thick walled hollow square or round pipe stock. We have both.