Pieces chosen for study during a visit of Jamestown armorers to the Allen Collection in June of 2023.

After our visit to Jamestown in May 2023, we arranged for people who work at Jamestown to stop by the collection for an in depth study of particular pieces. In this case, there was no initial list of items to be studied. The Jamestown people asked to see types of items, or details of construction and I pulled out appropriate pieces. This picture shows many of the items we ended up studying all laid out together.

Most of the studied items laid out together

We started with a set of two piece burgonets that would allow us to study and compare different ways this was done. Two piece helmets are common in the pieces found at Jamestown.

Then we pulled down a couple of late 16th c. breastplates which should be the kind that would have been sent across the pond. One is light (and has nicer shape), one is definitely not light. The differences in construction are well worth studying.

Then we pulled down a couple of lobster tailed pots. One is a typical continental one, the other very English. These were of interest because they are working on one for Jamestown at the moment.

Then Fred wanted to see an earlier breastplate.

Parker has been working on some mail, so we pulled some small pieces out. We compared the links on a piece he has made to these and to two shirts which were lightly inspected in situ.

Jamestown uses a lot of cabassets in their fort and they are planning some work on a new higher end piece. So we pulled the cabasset from the Pisan armor. It has etching, which is fun, but it also has a very elegant version of the typical shape. This was studied, photographed and measured.

A few more random pieces were pulled down. I brought out my new lance rest for fun, A random discussion brought up rolls, so I illustrated the "jelly roll" on the top of a gorget and there are mentions of "short tassets" being preferable for use in Jamestown, so I pulled out a tasset that can be worn in long or short form.

Part of the study performed included taking copies of the form of several pieces using aluminum foil and masking tape. This allows a full 3D model of the outside of the piece to be pulled directly from the piece. The copy reflects the size of the piece and its shape. This allows for later off site study and to create patterns with a direct frame of reference.

After the study of original pieces, we spent a day of shop time. We worked on two pieces. One was a simple skull cap. This was used to illustrate working from (relatively) thick material to pull the volume of a piece through sinking. We started with an 8 1/2"x10" piece of 1/8" sheet (corners rounded), drew out the outer 1 1/4" using the power hammer and by hand (to demonstrate both methods). This made the blank about 1" larger in each direction. The intent was to eliminate the inevitable thick edge if you just sink a piece directly. It mimics the methods used in Bienno to prepare the blanks for buckets. After this we dished the piece out. The edge work and dishing were done hot using my "Eric Thing" forge. The final size of the helmet is 7 1/2" wide, 9" long and it was 4 5/8" deep (depth measurement from the table, edges arch up). We verified the thickness at stages of the work and at the end using the AcmeArmourCaliper. The result was a pretty credible skull cap in Fred's size. The resulting thickness was pretty variable, but generally .04-.06 (mostly in the .06 range) but with a top that is generally .08-.09. Not bad for a wild guess. Parker also started work on the new cabasset for the Jamestown Settlement. He chose to raise this in the traditional way starting from a 14" disk of .060 material. He completed 2 full passes and started the third.

Attendees: Wade Allen, Frederik Scholpp and Parker Brown.

The following display the items in different ways.

Introduction and small images of each item

All of the information on one page

Slide show of each item