SCA Armor: A How-To Manual

It has been said that a fighter's armor is a project that is never really done. Dame Aoife this week offers helpful links to make new armorers get started, and to help experienced warriors keep improving their armouring skill.

Greetings my faithful readers!

Tourney season is upon us. To be fair, for those who are martially inclined, it never really left us. While many of the intrepid tourney and melee participants will want to buy their armor ready-made, there is another option: home-made.

Not everyone can be a master metalsmith. But many armor projects are doable at home. That is the aim of this list: to show what a normally-talented person with some time on their hands can produce if given enough inspiration an a handy selection of hand tools.

Just as the arrival of early tourney season is heralded with the scattering of rivets across my garage floor, so too is the season escorted in by the many links found within the sites below. Please explore each of these sites, as they have much to offer in the way of experience and wisdom. There's no need to re-invent the wheel as each new armorer appears with drill in hand, ready to risk a Sunday Morning in order to achieve that most beneficial of items: comfortable armor. In that spirit, please share these links wherever they will find a ready audience.



Dame Aoife Finn of Ynos Mon
mka Lisbeth Herr-Gelatt
Endless Hills

Pictorial Glossary of Armor Terms
(Site Excerpt) This glossary is based heavily on the glossary in Arms and Armor of the Medieval Knight by David Edge and John M Paddock, published by Crescent Books. This is an excellent book covering European weapons and armor from the eleventh century to the sixteenth century

The Apprentice Armorer's Illustrated Handbook For Making Mail
A Clear Systematic Guide for the Do-It-Yourselfer
(Site Excerpt) Are you the kind of person who can recite an entire episode of Gilligan's Island? Have you mastered all of the Nintendoª games and are looking for something new? Does bungee jumping no longer hold any thrills for you? Have you macrameted all the plant hangers your family and friends can stand?! Well, if you are the kind of person that's really hurting for a new hobby, then become an Apprentice Armorer! Making mail is easier than pulling your own teeth, more time consuming than Differential Calculus, and more fun than doing the dishes. (Seriously.)

Coat of Plates Pattern
(Site Excerpt) The patern is available in CAD (Computer Aided Design) formats .DXF and AutoCAD r12 .DWG as well as a Windows Meta File and a MS Word 7 .DOC file. I recomend using the CAD files for a number of reasons. They are fully editable, infinitely zoomable and scaleable, and may be printed with infinite detail on any size paper or plotting (dependand upon the printer) and they are accurate at a MINIMUM of 6 decimal places.

A Guide to Making Bartholomew's SCA Armor
(Site Excerpt) My goal is to describe in as much detail as possible the way I put armor together. I've never had the benefit of working with other armorers, and I tend to spend a lot of time in hardware stores wondering how I might use the interesting things found therein for the most noble of purposes; making SCA armor.

The Perfect Armor Improved: Water Hardened Leather
(Site Excerpt) Some years ago, I wrote an article on how to make hardened leather armor, using beeswax. Since then, I have concluded that although the method I described works reasonably well for SCA purposes--I have fought in my wax hardened klibanion for a good many years now--it is quite unlikely that it is the method used in period for armor.I reached that conclusion for three reasons: 1. Beeswax is a lubricant. Furthermore, stiffening the leather makes it easier to cut, just as it is easier to slice meat if it is half frozen. So although wax hardened leather provides protection against the sort of blunt weapons we fight with, it would be of very limited usefulness against sharp swords, arrows, and the like....

SCA Armor Craft (a Yahoo! group)
(Site Excerpt) This is for anyone who can offer/or needs advice and/or help on building armor for use in the SCA. as well as anything else to do with armor to be used in SCA fighting.

The Arador Armor Library
(Site Excerpt) . while many people have an interest in arms and armour in general, most who build or purchase armour are reenactors who use the armour for its actual defensive qualities while engaging in various combat forms, both historical and modern. This differentiates armour from other collectibles, and makes function a primary concern. Unfortunately, appearances and authenticity are often needlessly sacrificed in an ironic twist- the reenactment and role-playing communities are the very place where there is the most interest, and sadly the most misinformation.

Late 13th Century Armour Adapted for SCA Combat
(Site Excerpt) Though the 14th century is usually associated with the 'transitional' period in European armour study there are several examples that show armourers were beginning to experiment with rudimentary plate defenses from even the beginning of the 13th century. Most notably plate appeared at the knee and elbow joints and on the front of the shin. The knees appear to have been developed first and show up in the early decades of the century. This is probably due to the fact that knees are very vulnerable joint since it takes very little pressure to break the knee cap and incapacitate a fighter.

Armorers and Armor Patterns
A SERIOUSLY LONG list of links

Armor for Women
(Site Excerpt) Now when you look at this and visualize what is (more of what ISN'T) covered, you may wince to yourself (particularly if, like me, you come from a hard hitting shire). But these are only the required pieces of armor. Mostly, I'll only be covering the more difficult pieces to be found for women, namely the breastplate and the groin protection.

(Site Excerpt) Designed after knee surgery with the help of an orthopedic appliance specialist, this rig performs the functions of a commercial knee brace well enough to have averted knee problems on the field since 1987. The original armor (built long before surgery) consists of a 14-gauge stainless cuisse and a 16-gauge stainless knee. It already provided forward-and-back stabilization, as the lames of the knee lock when open and will not extend beyond a straight line with the cuisse. Additions of 18-gauge stainless, leather, and padding provide side-to-side stabilization and keep the apparatus in place.

The Armor Archive
(Site Excerpt) Welcome to The Armour Archive! The Archive is an on-line Journal devoted to teaching people how to make armour. I try to gather as much armouring information as I can to help beginner armourers avoid reinventing the wheel, and to help advanced armourers grasp the finer points of armouring.

Basic Armouring: A Practical Introduction to Armour Making
by Paul Blackwell A manual on armor making, in PDF format. 116 pages.


The Red Kaganate: Armor of the Steppes Nomads and related peoples
A short list of links to articles on the subject and related topics

The Way of the Warrior
by Lord Sylvanus Perrin
mka Brian J. Pfeifer
A list of articles on a variety of subjects including how to make and improve armor.

An ongoing site with articles and links on armour as it applies to the Middle Ages, the SCA and to SCA combat.
A Very Long list of links to many articles, including how-to's and patterns.

Everything historical there is to know about Knighthood, Chivalry and armored combat, in one place.

Knee Braces for Armour

I am interested in the excerpt regarding the knee brace for the armour, but the site to which it refers is down, so I cannot check.

One would assume that some sort of support for the joints would be necessary in armour anyway, because of the weight involved, but is this particular item made for authenticity, or is it so that people with dodgy knees can still use the armour?