WassonArtistry.com
The Art and Craft of Jeff Wasson
Techniques

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Using historical references I have drawn what the armor will look like over a tracing of the client's leg. This helps me develop patterns and keeps me on track as I shape the plates. It is important to have mastery over the material and not let the material have mastery over you! Notice that everything is hammered to give shape. Nothing is just bent.
Here you can see the paper patterns, and how they relate to the articulated knee and the cuisse. The cuisse is roughly bent and will be hammered to match the subtle shape of the thigh.
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Sometimes it is easier to derive patterns after you have a form to work from. Here the visor is being patterned directly from the helmet. I use photos of armour and life size drawings to help me get the right form.
The arm harness under construction. The pointy cops have a concave curve. The vambrace is shaped to fit the forearm and rotates on sliding rivets. In this rough stage everything is articulated with nuts and bolts. Later, after the armour has been polished it will be assembled with rivets.
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On location, demonstrating planishing.

Once the plates have been roughly shaped they need to be planished. This smoothes the surface by squeezeing flat any irregular bumps between the hammer and a stake matching the contour of the plate.

The armour is beginning to take shape. The fauld and tassets still need to be shaped and articulated. Each lame will be hammered on the anvil. This will give each lame a subtle shape. By regulating the force of my blows I can influence the curve of the lames and line them up to one another seamlessly.
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Plates can also be planished from the inside. I do the majority of my planishing this way. Armour can be made with a surprisingly few amount of tools. A few different hammers, a good anvil, some basic stakes, and creativity are all that are really needed.
The breastplate, collectively known as the cuirass. this can be one of the most complex and misunderstood parts of an armour. It is always rounded or globose in order to deflect the points of weapons. It should end between the ribs and the pelvis. the fauld covers the hips and allows one to bend over.
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Here, I am matching up the parts of the backplate to the plates of the breastplate. As in many other crafts one should work from the very general to the detailed. Plates are left on the long side so that they may be trimmed.
The armor is very close to final shaping. Full pauldrons with reinforcing plates have been added. A steel stand has been built to mount the armour on. It is important that all the plates interact over eachother in a way that allows the wearer to fight and wield weapons.

You can see the owner of the armour fighting, in the Activities section under fighting.

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The greaves and sabbatons. I take leg castings to ensure a perfect fit. This allows me to fine tune the metal to the exact shape of the client's leg. Greaves must hang off the leg in such a way that they do not dig into the ankle and cause the wearer pain or discomfort.
Once the armour is shaped, and planished, the plates are disassembled and polishing can begin. The hammer marks are ground out. Sanding progresses from rough to smooth, ending at the polishing wheel to give a bright shine. The plates are re-assembled using rivets. Straps and buckles, leather tabs, and linings are riveted or sewn in place.

You can see the finished harness in the armour section under late 15th century armour.

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