Moar greaves!

I'm going to a neat 15th century Burgundian feast in November, and I want to look spiffy.  It feels like a good excuse to up my game, making some new greaves.  The last set I made was pretty good, but there was definitely room left for improvement.  I go into more detail in their construction here.  Since then I've changed the way I do a few things.  Mainly:
1. I'm using oxy-propane with a gas saver and a rosebud tip.  It's cheaper to run, and the light isn't as bright, so I don't have to hamper myself with dark tinted goggles.
2. I'm using a different stake (made by Robert Dietman) to do my shaping on.  I still planish on the same bracelet mandrel.
3. I've soaked my brain in 154 pins of 14th and 15th century leg armour and a greave class by Eric Dube.  This is mostly a good thing, though the collection is just eclectic enough that it's blurred my focus a bit.  Side note- go to The Forging.  Totally worth it.  If you're seeing this early enough, you can book your spot via Facebook here.

The big things I've been pushing for with the new greaves are:
Tighter ankles, clear asymmetry of the crease and calf muscle, and crisp rolls. This is an example of what the originals tended to look like:

The ankles are quite slender, like the wearer is a Kenyan runner.  You can see the relatively smooth arc of muscle along the outside of the calf, and the deeper sinusoid of the muscles on the inside.  Notice that the creases aren't quite straight lines.  There's a slight bowing to the shins that helps the greave fit better and gives it a more organic look.
  Here's my right, in progress:
  I over-exaggerated the curve of the center crease a little too much, though I'm fairly happy with the general shaping.  I run, but I don't have a distance runner's calves.
  I'm shooting for a 15th century look, which tends to go with a pair of hinges, rather than the single long hinge that was more common in 14th century greaves.  A lot of the 15th century hinges are external, some are internal, and some are a mix (one in, one out) that feel like a curator's kludge.  I opted for external. Mine turned out pretty well, though they're kind of over-kill.

If you look at the originals, you'll see some hinges with two rivets, and some with three, and it's common to find greaves with a three rivet hinge on the top and a two rivet hinge near the ankle.  I did for rivets, which is clearly more.  Only other armourers are likely to notice or care, but it now bugs me.
I managed to screw up the hinge placement on the left leg, so the hinges on that one are on the inside.  They're on the outside in all the extant pieces, as far as I can tell.  It should work either way.  I should have double checked it.
 I've hated making hinges in the past, but I think I have that particular lock cracked: use a cut off wheel.  I've been a little scared of them, and I did set my shirt on fire with it, but they make much crisper cuts, with less hassle, resulting in fewer screw ups and less filing.  I also used some welding rod as my hinge pin.  Since it's the same alloy as the greaves, it will also harden when I fire them, and it's thinner than some of the rod I've used in the past, allowing me to make a smaller, more elegant hinge.
  There are some issues with my pattern that I've since fixed.  The top edges don't quite overlap on the outside, and I'm not wild about how the front and back of the ankles come together.  I like the ones where the ankles are a nice continuous arc, and rolled all the way around.  I only rolled the fronts, and my ankles make a more abrupt transition. 
  Some of the orignals don't make a smooth arc either.  These, for example:

Notice the mix of internal and external hinge on the one on the left, and the slotted buckle and strap on the right one. Also, strap keepers at the top of the calf show up in the 15th century examples.  I didn't want to embark on that detail just yet. 
  So much better, yet so much I hate about these.
I'll finish planishing, sand, fire and polish them, then move on and make something better with what I've learned.


Popular Posts