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New Year, New Project!

Hello and welcome to my new blog. Here I hope to document my first proper foray into armour making: The construction of a Brigandine. I also intend to use this blog as a dump for interesting photos, articles etc I happen to find so it can be a help/warning to others.

More years ago than I care to recall, Gaddgedlar acquired a second hand brigandine. After about 30lbs of personal modification, I found I could fit into it and eventually purchased the piece. Since then it has prevented my entrails from becoming extrails at events up and down the country.
However, the poor thing has seen better days, it was old when Gadd bought it and I have owned it for at least 7 years. Nails have pulled through, plates have slipped and the stitching is beginning to go.

This leaves me in the uncomfortable position of risking going from mostly tinny to definite squishy which, as you can imagine, is somewhat undesirable.

The Project
Much as I would love to buy a new brig from White Rose or ASH I currently lack the necessary funds. I have thought of getting new fabric and a pile of nails and refurbishing my current brigandine. However, I am worried that I will pull it apart and be unable to put it back together leaving me with no armour at all. This leaves me with the third option of creating a new one from scratch.

Watch this space...


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 6th, 2013 04:59 pm (UTC)
(found via Zornhau, and Fenland/David-pitts on Evilbook, if you're wondering who on earth I am,)

good luck, look forward to the updates. Hope you have more time for it than I have... mine's still a shell and loads of peices.

thought you might have some use for links if you're going for option 3:

1. your centre core: needs to be good stiff textile, and this is perfect: 18oz cotton canvas: means you just need one inner layer, while maintaining the strength. really good value too


2. Nayles/nails/rivets are the big sticking point. too small a head, they'll rip through. too large a head, they lok bad. too wide a shank, they're hard to pein...

Boatbuilders' Bronze Clout nails may be an option for the bling front. I've had a nightmare of a time finding steel clout nails that arent galvanised.
getting good narrow-shanked rivets is one of the main sticking points. I've considered wether to make a couple of master moulds for broad-headed, narrow-shanked nayles in various styles, copied from the Coldingham Priory brig plates, and the Royal Armouries one, and then have them cast in batches, but getting the gates right on hundreds of nayles is horrible, and would cost a fortune - my guesstimate is, about £200-300 for a single brig's worth.

The other option might be to talk to Sapphire products, who do great solid rivets, about their mushroom head rivets:


and see if they're able to do something as a custom batch. if you go down that route, talk to me as I'll be interested in an order too, and doubling the number ordered may make it more viable.

3. metalwork:
I'd reccommend you get a nice small bread tin loaf. What the hell for? because its just about the right size for tinning plates. then go via
and buy 3-4kg of tin, and a gas torch and your kitchen stove. Dipping the plates into the molten tin to cover them will significantly reduce the corrosion, keeping it look good on the outside, and makes it look absolutely amazing inside too.

From there, talk to steve at Spring Steel Strip:

about a roll of "CS70" in 0.70mm annealed, possibly 0.90mm if you want a really tough brig. comes in rolls about 30cm wide by a metre or two long - so its fairly manageable to move around, unlike great big sheets with guillotine edges asking to fall on toes, eat your car seats, etc etc.
as you'll have to subtly dish the plates, annealed is the way to go as it'll workharden as you do so. for the waist-line plates, you may need to hotwork some of the anticlastic saddle curves with the gas torch you'll need for tinning, to re-anneal as they workharden. for a brig, full spring temper on the plates is overkill, so you dont need to worry about HT kilns, and all that fun stuff. Unless you've already got it there.

Would'nt reccommend mild steel, you'll have to go up to 16ga to get the stiffness, and that'll just rack the weight up and up and make it plain unpleasant. 20ga CS70 will give equal protection, and save a kilo of weight.

for the plate holes, I'd strongly reccommend the use of a Roper-Whitney #5, rather than a drill. no burrs, just slot in, punch the hole clean and clearly each time. no risks of the drill grabbing the plate and turning it into a whirling blade, a real hand and sanity saver. you can get 'em on Ebay, about £80. Cromwell Industrial Tools (http://www.cromwell.co.uk/) and LAS Aerospace ( http://www.lasaero.com/ ) do replacement punch and die sets.

Hope the links are of use.
Good luck!

Jan. 6th, 2013 07:43 pm (UTC)

Thanks for all the info! It will be a great help!

My initial thought had been to go with 1.2mm mild steel as I found a relatively cheap source but I have now e-mailed the spring steel guys to get a quote. Will probably drill the plates as I have a decent press drill (and a decent pair of gloves to protect from any mishaps!) and I don't have a punch. I hadn't even considered home tinning, was contemplating painting the plates to protect them but I may give the tin a go.

For nails, I was thinking about using copper roofing nails. If the initial project goes well, I may consider custom nails for future ones!

Over the next few weeks I hope to get tools and materials together and start doing a little test piece to see how it goes.

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )



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