8th of March, 2002
7pm to 12:00pm
I decided to start with the front of the greaves, using a two piece pattern, welded up the center, to make the front greave plate. I've sort of based my pattern on the way Brian Price shows to do it in his book on medieval armoring, but I've altered it slightly. I'm not yet entirely sure how I plan on doing the sabatons, so I cut the greave off a ways up from the ankle. One way I have seen greaves done (the way Price shows it) is to have the sides of the greaves extend down to cover the ankles, another way is to have the greaves stop a ways above the ankle, roll out the bottom edge, and have the top of the sabaton turned in over the outward roll of the bottom of the greave. This will create a sort of rotating cuff, which should give more mobility for the foot. Yet another design I've seen from the 16th century is similar to the last one described, but has several articulating lames on the lower end of the greave.
I am not yet entirely sure how I will do the sabaton. there are several styles for articulation. I would like to have a floating heel cup on the back, as I think it would be more comfortable. The toe plate will be the wide sort of cow-mouth design.. it's what I've seen on most 16th century sabatons, and I like it cause I won't have to worry about it getting stuck in the ground while fighting. I plan on doing some decorative gadlings on the top front portion of the toe plate, a bit like the knucles of my gauntlet. I haven't seen anything quite like that on armors of the period (or any other period), but I have seen fluting and shaping to look like decorative slashing.
So, tonight I looked at a lot of pictures, read through the chapter on greaves in Price's book, and starting working on this new project. I've gotten the front plates cut out and mostly shaped. Looking at them at home now, I can see some things to work on to get the shape a little better.
10th of March, 2002
7pm to 12:30pm
~Day 3 to 6?~
Late march/Early April, 2002
Picture of my current progress on the greaves.
~Several Nights Worth of Work~
April to July 4th, 2002
For the back plates of the greaves, I used the very same pattern as I did for the front, but reversed it. The mostly strait center line became the edge, and the curved outside line became the center. This created a compound curve in the backplate, which in profile matched the curve on the sides of the frontal greave plates. It seemed easy enough in my head, but getting it to work took a lot of hammering, swearing, annealing, welding, and re-welding broken welds. In the end though, I think they came out good. For spacial reasons on the inside of the lower part of the greaves, I decided to go with an upward overlap for the lames on the lower backplate. The opposed direction of overlap between front and back seems to work well and not look too out of place. I'm not yet sure if I will continue the opposed overlap down into the sabatons. It might not work out so well down there.
I've already started on one of the latches. each pair of greaves will have two latches, one on the upper part, and another just above the articulations. Both latches will consist of sneck hooks and posts. the post on the upper latch will be on a small leaf spring on the inside of the greave, and the post will pass through the overlapped lip of the inner plate and through a matching hole on the outer plate. yep, basic spring-pin & hook sort of clasp. The lower latches will just be sneck hooks on one plate passing through posts on the other plate. right now I have the matched holes drilled for the spring posts, one of those posts made; and for the leaf spring, I'm trying to decide between high carbon steel box strapping, or a broken hacksaw blade. cool thing about the hacksaw blade is that it already has one of the right size holes in it for the post.
I now have a deadline. Not a real important deadline, but the group I play with is doing some sort of sword combat demonstration on July 11th. I know I'll not be able to have the sabatons done by then, but I hope to have the greaves and a pair of articulated knees done by then. I might be able to do it, though I'm not sure. This will be the first piece of shell articulation that I've done and I've only had a little practice with raising.
I've set asside the greaves in their almost done state, and started working on the knees that will hold up the greaves. So far I have both knee cops cut out and one of them mostly formed with a combination of raising and dishing. I'm using Price's book as a rough guide.
~Several more nights worth of work~
July to end of September, 2002
after the demo I was a little burned out on plate. So I went kayaking for a few days, then in the middle of August, went on a spur'o'the moment ten day long roadtrip with a friend. We drove from Maine across southern Canada to Vancouver; down to Portland, Oregon where we spent way too little time visiting a friend; then down to San Francisco and back across the mid-west through Las Vegas, Denver, Chicago, Etc., back to Maine. My short time in Portland OR, wandering around and checking out Saterday Market filled me with a lot of enthusiasm to get back to the shop and work on things other than plate armor, which I have been playing with for the last few years. I'd been completely taking for granted that I could use the shop to make things other than plate armor, like more non-maille jewelry, metal sculpture, leather work, forge/iron work.. Those things were in my mind the entire time I was working on armor, but not as high on my priority list so they were largely ignored. My visit to Portland made me realize something about my work that I have no idea how to fully communicate with words. basicaly, the voices (what voices you ask? don't ask!!) are telling me I need to concentrate less on plate armor as I have been doing, and expand my artistic endeavers before this bout of inspiration dulls down to someplace lower.
but fear not, for I have not abandoned my plate projects! I started on a few post-Portland projects, have lots of ideas for others, but have decided to finish up my armor, which will involve finishing off these legs, then making some type of close helm or armet.
I've worked on my greaves a little more. The right leg now covers the leg and extends to the ground, with both the heel and the arched front opening all done except for latches and a bit of trimming up the bottom. It's very nice feeling. The bottom of the greaves support the whole weight of the leg armor when I'm standing, and it provides great ankle support. I was a bit worried about my ankle not being able to move where it wants to, but it's actually not bad at all, and I don't have to worry about my ankle moving in ways I do not want it to move while wearing 40 pounds of armor.
I still plan on doing the toe plate as mentioned in an earlier update, but I've decided to use a form of maille sheet on the rest of the foot. I have documentation for something similar (greaves, maille over most of the foot, steel cap over the toe) but it's an odd form of maille that I'm using and I'll leave it at that.
Picture of the legs a few nights ago. I have since polished up the lower parts by the ankle.
~Several more nights worth of work~