Texas Hammerfest 2012 - August 31-Sepember 3 2012

I chose a selection of items for a presentation at the Texas Blacksmiths Association meeting held on Labor Day weekend 2012. The items were selected to include as many interesting elements of design, construction and decoration in as few pieces as possible since I had to get the items to Texas.

This is the list of items.

The list can be divided into different types of armour. They include breastplates, arms, legs gorgets, and other miscellaneous pieces.

The list only includes three breastplates because they are big and take up lots of space. The first is a very late 15th or early 16th c. breastplate that is constructed in the manner of the typical 15th century two-piece breastplates. It illustrates the form of the pieces, the amount of overlap, way they could be secured and form of the rolls at the arms and neck. The second is (relatively) early and includes a nice sweeping shape and large outward turned triangular rolls. The third is thick tapering to thin at the edges, has inward-turned rolls and roping, heavy hammer marks, gussets, and even a little etching. A typical peascod might have been, but I decided it wan't necesary given the amount of space it would have occupied.

Leg armour can offer a particular challenge to many due to the subtle details. The first is a cuisse with knee. It shows a nice dished shape on the cuisse, border detail on the cuisse, a cop with a small wing and very specific shaep and slightly cusped lames that provide just the right movement. It is also etched just for fun. The tassets include another pair of knees (these offer minimal movement) and as illustrations of several other details used in the construction of armour including:

Arm armour also bends, but there are many differences betwen how legs and arms are formed. The first piece of arm armour is a spaulder. It has lots of nice decorative details including:

The 3 arms are chosen because they are different in various ways: The first one is the one I usually use for teaching. I got it a long time ago and it was cheap. It has a functional rotating collar, the wing fits the vambrace , it is basically a reasonable example of how an arm works. The second is a Brunswick one with little plates in the top, a different style of rotating collar - slots and rivets and it is very clean. It is the exception that proves the rule - it iscreased down the outside. Arms are almost never creased. The third has an atypical rotating collar formed from three plates and it has plates on the inside of the elbow. It also has some entertaining etching.

I tend to use elbows in demonstrations because I have a lot of them, they are small, and they can show lots of different details. The assortment on the page is a bit arbitrary. At the moment they could show: The first one has stepped flutes emphasized by engraved lines and cute little cusps on the edge. It isn't very deep and it doesn't cover a lot. It shows a more minimal form. The second is very simple and plain. But it is thick and it shows a really sloppy flute along the edge which is really only there due to the engraved line. It also shows some really bad stake placement on the inside. The third shows shallow flutes accented by lines differently. I tend to use it to show how flutes work differently from much SCA armour. The flutes aren't exactly even or straight, but they have a clean even surface line that makes them look better than they are. The black and white one is a really nice example of high end black and white with raised white areas which are also etched, nice roped border, recessed border which is also etched. It is also very asymmetric. I tossed the last one in because it has very nice etching and it has a very interesting rolled border. Not really roped, but bumped and shows the wire inside it.

I included 3 gauntlets or pieces. The first is my piece that just moves really nicely. People always like playing with it. The next is a gothic, not the best by any means, but it shows the ideas and how the parts work. The last shows a really well formed gauntlet where the plates really work on each other as they should. It also appears to have all original rivets so it really hasn't been messed with. The cuff is ugly, but the rest is good enough to talk through how the fit should be. After I put that list of items together the host asked for some munions. To integrate them into the presentation I added two gorgets almost with one whole gorget with munions and a separate munion. The gorgets show:

The list includes some tasset end plates to illustrate different decorative styles in armour. They are small and they fit in the luggage well, so they are the easiest way to get variety in a small space. The first pair are puffed and slashed is fun all by itself - and they have a nice big, open tapered roll on the bottom. The next ones show 3-D embossing and small, straight rolls. The final one is a nice combination of raised, recessed and etched decoration and a really elegant roll on the edge.

Some attendees asked for some mail. I don't really expect to have time to talk about mail, but these pieces are pretty small so I could bring them along just in case we have time. All of these pieces are constructed from small riveted rings with wedge rivets. The rings have different profiles.

That is a quick summary of why I picked the pieces I picked.