[Archive] Calling all Armourers!


This thread is for all armourers (established, hobbyists, or even just new guys that have passing interest in the craft) to give/receive advice, share stories, show off their stuff and anything else you want to do.

I’ll start off with a few poorly taken pictures:  First, my forge:

When I first light it

And after fifteen minutes of coaxing the coal to maximum hottness

This is a test bascinet I was trying to raise (see if you can spot where I went wrong!)

And, unfortunately since the rest of my helms/harnesses are out at my shop, this is the only finished piece (my first sugarloaf helm) that I can show right now:


I wish i had those skills. How hard is it to make something like this?


It isn’t hard, necessarily, it just takes patience. Lots, and lots of patience.

If you’re at all interested, I can’t suggest this book enough:


It has been my bible for the last four years, and since I lean heavily towards transitional period armour, it’s just been fantastic.

Da Crusha:

that is really cool! I would like to make something like this, eventually. have you ever sold any? Ive seen some of this stuff for sale at the renaissance fair.


I’ve never taken a commission for my stuff. I do it as a hobby, so it can take quite a long time to build each piece - it’s not like I wouldn’t like to make money off of it, but I doubt somebody wants to wait around three months for their helm. Heh.

Also; the stuff you find at renfairs is generally eighteen gauge or higher steel, and cold-banged into shape (as opposed to using the heat from a forge or acetaline torch to “raise” a helm, which creates a lot of strength). The stuff I build is twelve to fourteen gauge steel, and raised, so you could take a lead pipe to the melon and (assuming you’ve properly padded) not get a concussion.

Da Crusha:

that makes it even cooler


Hi khedyarl and all the other smiths out there,

my comment in the Fancy Armour thread was more as a blacksmith than as armourer, but one day.

I am just starting to learn/self teach at the moment. I did an 8 weekend artistic blacksmith course and enjoyed it immensley and am now setting up my home forge. Similar style to yours khedyarl, but not quite in as good condition. I don’t know about Canada but it is really hard to find forge tools etc at a reasonable price in South Australia. Seem to have all been bought up as 'antiques’

Still only at basic metalworking stage in skill but am going to try a so called viking women’s knife soon as it’s all one piece.

Thanks for the book link, can see a Christmass request being made to the Ministry of Finance. :wink:


My older brother has a blacksmith of his own and are working there for a living. On the other hand, as stated in the other thread, it´s not quite the same are armouring…


Blackwolf: I was crazy, crazy, crazy lucky to find my Forge. My wife and parents put a ad in the local “buy and sell” (a paper that most farmers get to buy and sell farm equipment in this area) without my knowing (it was a birthday present), and found an older farmer that had one and had no idea what it was worth. I think they said that he sold it for 250 dollars, which is a fantastic price.

If you are just beginning armouring, I don’t suggest using heat. That book I linked doesn’t assume you have heat, and as such explains the cold-hammering style in detail. The neat thing about armouring/blacksmithing in general is that you don’t necessarily require a lot of special expensive tools/material. Most of my equipment are ball bearings that I’ve found at scrap yards, and my prize possession is a foot diameter stainless steel ball valve that I use as my primary planishing stake.

Turns out I have nothing to do today, and am getting the itch. I keep my forge and tools out at my parents house (they have a farm about thirty minutes out of town), so I’m going to go work on some stuff. I’ll take some snapshots of my shop/tools, and do a writeup on what someone just starting out should make sure they have.


Very impressive dude.


I’ve seen someone build a pretty basic forge using a few insulation bricks. Obviously not as nice as that one, but certainly within reach of most people - the tools would probably set you back far more!


nice interesting thread, will definitely keep looking at this one, along with some ear plugs


Alright, I didn’t get a chance to do much today, just take a few pictures of the workshop.

Here’s the setup from the outside - the plastic is wrapped over the forge to make sure it doesn’t get rained on (I would bring it inside, but it weighs about four hundreds pounds).

This is my belt sander, bansaw and work table (where I work on patterns/rivetting/leather working)

The object wrapped in hose is an English Wheel (if you aren’t familiar with it, it’s a kind of steel press that allows you to bend/shape steel, but does have the downside of stretching/thinning it).  Also pictured is my press.

An assortment of different hammers, tools, and patterning equipment:

Another one of the workbench:

And here’s the three most important tools that an armourer is ever going to need.  A stump for dishing steel (the dishing on my stump is covered by that glove I just realised), a ball-stake (I have a couple of them, but that’s the one I use most often), and an anvil (the larger anvil (75 pounds) I use for most of my work, the smaller anvil (30 pounds) is for rivetting and other small scale stuff.

Ultimately, if you want to start armouring, you only need a few items, and everything else will come as you feel more comfortable and start seeking out other stuff.

1.  A stump.  Not kidding.  An ordinary tree stump.  It is the most important thing you will ever have, so make sure it’s a solid one.  Dish a shallow circle (or a couple, depending on stump size) into the top of it, and you just hammer sheet steel into the shallow dish, force-shaping the steel.

2.  A stake or two.  These can be specially ordered from blacksmith sites on the internet, but I just made mine out of large ball bearings and other metal spheres I’ve managed to acquire over the years, welded to metal rods.  You use these for more fine detail shaping and for planishing (planishing steel is to lightly hit it with a polished hammer against a smooth solid, and it is how you remove hammer marks after you’ve dished the steel.

3.  Hammers.  You’ll probably only use two to three hammers right away.  A rubber mallet is what I use for initial shaping, or when I need to quickly bend a piece of steel into a shape without denting it.  A ball-peen hammer is absolutely necessary for riveting and other tasks.  Finally, you need a big, flat-faced hammer (all non-rubber hammers should have their faces kept polished) for planishing.

4. Sheet steel (and a way to cut it).  A ban-saw isn’t cheap, but it’s possible to cut fourteen gauge steel with steel shears.  It isn’t fun, but it’s what I did initially, so definitely possible.

5.  An anvil, or a railway rail (the steel beams that trains ride along) for a multitude of tasks.  This is the most expensive/hard to find piece you’ll need to get ahold of.

That’s really all you need to get ready and start armouring.  Rivets, leather strips for strapping, et cetera are all fringe pieces you’ll need but to simply begin banging steel into a harness, those above things are all you will need.

well, this turned into kind of a long post.  If anyone has any questions, or if any other hobbyists/armourers want to chime in on anything I’ve said/done incorrectly, hop on in!  I’d love to get a good discussion going in here.


Keep up the posts khedyarl, it all adds to inspiring me to get my shed sorted out once winters over and start forging again.

I’ve picked up my gear so far by lurking at farm clearance sales (sad to see farms being sold off but i have my needs) and fighting off (outbidding) home decorators and wannabe antiques dealers. So far I have a full size anvil (table about 14", don’t know the weight but i can just lift it) on a stump, a post vice that i need to mount, an old farriers forge, some old tools and some new hammers.

Have been busy collecting books (Hashut favour Project Gutenberg) and just practising. Maybe one of teh few bonuses of my immenent redundancy is more time at anvil.


Not something I’ll probably ever put in the effort to learn how to do, but definitely a neat subject to see/learn about. Thanks for sharing!


If you have the anvil, hammers and stump all that is really left are the stakes to get started. If you are self-teaching, you should try to pick up Techniques of Medieval Armour Reproduction soon as possible, and give it a good read-through; the book is just fantastic.

A few sites that every Armourer should have bookmarked:


The Armour Archive is great. It has a decent community, lots of people are willing to help with questions you have, and most have good suggestions when you run into a brick wall. There are other armouring sites out there, but Armour Archive is the most accessible and new-friendly.


Eric Dube is, by far, my favorite armourer. He’s from Quebec, and I love everything he’s ever done.


Very nice topic!!

I might start by ordering Brian Price’s book.

Thanks for sharing.


I’ve often thought it would be fun to make a sword or an axe. Never really gave armour much thought.


Few pictures of my stuff that I picked up from the shop yesterday.

If anyone else has anything they’ve made, armour, weapon, or anything smith-related, post it in here!  We want to see your stuff!

Sallet that a friend of mine made (not a true Sallet, technically, since the helmet is designed for use without a bevor)

Pictures of my shell gauntlets (not finished yet, pay no attention to the hideous weld lines!)


Thread resurection!

The tiny-headed helmet thread reminded me that I had made this thread.  Although school’s been wrecking most of my time, I do have some shots of some work of a friend of mine:

It was his first attempt at chasing brass, and his first attempt at acid-etching steel.  I think it looks absolutely fantastic.

Here’s a couple of random pictures I found amidst my folders.  The first one is of another friend, who made the sallet from an earlier post that’s he’s actually wearing in this picture:

The next two are of me.  The first is me (at least my head and feet) with my lovely wife:

The second is just me, this is a bow that my dad built - he’s been trying to build wooden separable bows.  Unfortunately, after rigorous testing, this one eventually broke - back to the drawing board.

Lastly, I wasn’t going to show this one, because it’s a hideous picture, but this is something I was working on early last year.  It’s called a Corazina, and is shaped plates of steel attached to a dyed leather fronting.  I promise, it looks far better in person, and I’ll endeavor to get some snapshots of it sometimes soonish.