28 August 2008


Yesterday I played with the leather.

I went to Tandy leather here in town and picked up a slab of 12oz leather and some scraps. all told, about 45$. I took it home and started sizing.

For my first project i wanted a pauldron and arm bracers. One of the scraps i picked up was just perfect for the pauldron with just a little trimming. I boiled it in 200F water, pressed it between a couple cereal bowels while it was still stretchy, and molded it over my shoulder.

The leather didnt darken that much, but it did get rubbery and stretchy like the article said, so i figured i was about right on. I plan on melting the wax over it anyway to add additional hardening. I won't be using slashing weapons in my combat, so wax is fine, and it should darken it. I'm going to try it on a smaller scrap first, see what color the wax turns it. I want a nice dark brown/burgundy color. if that doesnt work i'll have to pick up some dye.

Anyway, the pauldron came out nice, fits my shoulder, and will work well with some padding under. I'm going to have to add a lame or two to extend it down my arm. Prolly attach it with rivets or heavy thread, not sure on finishing stuff yet.

Next i het up some more water and did the left bracer. I wrapped a small dish towel around my arm and had my wife strap down the bracer with an ace bandage. it left a slight texturing that i wasn't all too worried about. The bracer started really hot (remember 200F) but cooled quickly and i could feel it shrink slightly and get tighter on my arm as it went. I waited about 20 minutes until it was sufficiently cool and held its shape, then did the other in the same way, playing some SW:Republic Commando to kill the time.

My wife doesnt care for the smell of leather (sacrilege!) so i put them on the back porch to dry. in a couple days they'll be sufficiently dry and ready for punching for the laces and buckles. I'm not sure what tooling i want to do, be it a design around the edge or across the top or a mixture of the two, but i'll be thinking about it and working on some designs before i wax it. It was so easy i'm surprised i wasn't doing this stuff before.

I need more leather.

My dad told me he'd give me his deer hides if i will learn how to dehair and tan myself. i've googled a little on tanning leather, and found some interesting articles. its pretty gross stuff (leather is often tanned/prepared with brain/urine/poop) but i'm willing to give it a try.


24 August 2008

Chainmaille & Leather.. Kinky?

Kinky.. pshh. no way. I'm not into that sort of thing.

But what I am into is creating armor. Yes, new burst of creativity. Wanna hear how it went down? Very interesting:

I was surfing the vids on YouTube and watching things of interest like making green screens, fireball effects with adobe Aftereffects, rotoscoping lightsabers, ... you know, basic geek stuff.. and i stumbled upon making lockpicks out of hacksaw blades. So i started searching for "how to" stuff, and next i hit chainmaille. looked relatively easy, so i stareted, as i often do, researching on google.

Two weeks later:

Well, you might be asking.. what about the leather?

That is a little different story, but along the same line. My friends Lone and Tony (I refuse to call him Goku) were sitting around late one afternoon and thought it would be fun to get some armor and make padded weapons and beat the hell out of each other. We thought tires would make great armor, ala Demolition Man. But the more i thought about it, used tires sounded dirty and difficult to cut.

So i started thinking of alternatives. Plate armor.. hell yeah. I need to be a blacksmith. Well, that was a little out of my reach, but i did talk my dad into teaching me about welding, so we'll see how that goes first.

Hmm.. no plate. what else would be hard enough to take a solid hit but be cheap enough to afford? And then Google, being the Internet God that it is, delivered the answer.

Hard Leather Armor.

My friends and readers, this is the holy grail of armor for the poor. Pieces can be purchased for a few dollars, shaped around bottles or similar -free- objects by wetting, then when they're dry, dip them in wax. Once they are cool, attach buckles/velcro, them to clothing, and you have inexpensive solid armor that will take a hit and keep your bones from breaking.

Now for the weapons. Muahaha!

For testing purposes, we started with some 1/2" pvc wrapped in foam insullation sheet bought at home depot for about 4$, then duct tape and electrical tape to keep the foam on. This is fine for just playing, but the pvc will shatter with a solid hit.

Now we're looking into Ash or hard Maple as the core, still wrapped in foam and duct tape. That will handle the swords.

Mace. Everyone wants to swing a mace at your friend's head.. hell yeah. Softballs are the size of mace heads. a broom handle and a hole drilled in the softball, then attach and cover in foam padding.

Lone wants a warhammer.. that one might be more difficult. He said sledge hammer, i said piss off. I'm all for mock combat.. i'm not for going to the hospital.

More updates will come when i buy the leather tomorrow and start on some bracers and chest plates.


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