problems making heater shields

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Trading-Dragon
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problems making heater shields

Post by Trading-Dragon »

This is a quick one: i'm trying to make a heater type shield out of three layers of 4mm plyboard. I have been told that the middle layer ought to have the grain running horizontally for added strength but i keep breaking it.

Has anyone got any practical experience in that regard? And how sturdy is a shield made from ply with the grain running entirely vertical..?
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Re: problems making heater shields

Post by Medicus Matt »

Trading-Dragon wrote:This is a quick one: i'm trying to make a heater type shield out of three layers of 4mm plyboard. I have been told that the middle layer ought to have the grain running horizontally for added strength but i keep breaking it.
Not surprised. Who told you that? I'd charge them for all the broken bits of plywood. The middle panel in each ply sheet is already running perpendicular to the two outer sheets. It only bends properly in one direction.

If you want extra stength, glue a layer of thick hessian between each layer of ply when you're constructing it. Or, for something realy bomb proof, a sheet of fiberglass matting.
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Heater shields

Post by glyndwr 50 »

I have over the years made many types of shields for films and reenactments .The knack is to use the thinnest ply wood you can find ,I like your self had big problems making shields with thick types of plywood.When you use 4 m/m ply it is very resistant to bending ,you may be lucky but more times than not depending on how far you wish to bend it it will crack or worst still break up compleatly .I have found that the best way to get the bend right is to use a much thinner size .As little as 2 m/m .It does mean that you use more layers but this is a great advantage,More layers act like a spring .Thinner sections of ply means that you can bend it far more easily.When you lay the finished shield down on the floor there should be about 3 " ( 75 m/m between the middle of the shield and the floor .The way I go about making any shield that has to be shaped .i/e Norman Kite type or the traditional Knight shield is as follows ....Using the thinnest ply you can get 2 m/m is great for this job as it bends quite a good distance ,Firstly cut all your shield blanks to size you would like but leave more than you require about 5 to 10 m/m( there is a very inportant reason for this ) remember that the thinner the blanks the more blanks you will need to make up the thickjness you would like .10 m/m to 12 m/m is average ,Remember you have to be able to move the shield quickly in battle mode and a heavy shield will slow your reaction time down. Once all your blanks have been cut ,you will need to substantial pieces of wood / bricks or simalar to rest the edge of the shield on ,( If you want a 3" ( 75 m/m ) bend then the supports must be around this hight or thickness and what ever you use to rest the blanks on must not be able to move ,Use a really good contact adhesive like Bostick or similar. Coat the first blank with glue then apply the second blank with glue ,place on on top of the other and keep repeating till you have the thickness you require ,( but remember this very important tip ) ,This job has to be done very quickly so it best to have all your blanks glued at the same time .A good tip is to have a friewnd on hand to pass the blanks to you.Then when all the blanks have been placed on top of each other you need to find a really heavy weight heavy enough to bend all the blanks at the same time .Because the glue is still live and not started to cure the blanks will slide very easily .Leave all the assembled blanks to glue together .Once the blanks are set rock hard you then can start to trim the edges to a nice uniform shape ,This is why you leave the blanks silghtly larger that what you require.After careful sanding you will end up with a really strong shield that would or should last a number of battle seasons .A good covering of leather over the face of the shield will help to stop splinters or sharp peices of plywood catching your opponent and causing unnessasary harm..


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Post by Medicus Matt »

I think the problem with breaking was specific to him trying to follow a bit of duff advice ( ie to alternate the facing grain direction on alternate sheets) rather than just general breakage.

I tend to use 4mm for shallow curves and, apart from the rare instance of a small amount of surface cracking, I don't get any breakage. HOwever, for deeper curves I agree with glyndwr50 that lots of very thin layers is the way to go.

For curved kites, scutums, curved rounds etc I use either 2 or 3 layers of 4mm (depending on which society they're going to get used in), a good waterproof PVA woodglue (which takes the worry out of getting the boards spot on first time) and a press...because I make lots of the damned things.
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Heater shield making

Post by glyndwr 50 »

Just one more point ,As our friend Marcus said ,Plywood only bends one way ,and should always be glued the way of the bend ,from top to bottom .NEVER try to bend it against its grain or as you are finding out it will break .You will find that using thinner ply will strenghten the shield far more than if you used thick sections .Trust me it will work and it is a very strong construction.there are still shields I have made over 6 years or more ago still standing up to combat siduations .There is if you are interested a good example of a 14 cent shield and helmet ,hanging near the tomb of the black prince in Canterbury Cathedral.they are only a funeral Acheivements but gives a good idea of the style and size of a period shield and helmet.

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Post by Brother Ranulf »

A word of caution - the items hanging above the tomb of Edward the Black Prince are all modern replicas, albeit very good ones. Apparently a number of thefts around the country prompted many churches and cathedrals to commission replicas made by armourers at the Tower of London:

"One of their first important tasks after the war was the replication of the Black Prince's achievements to replace the originals in Canterbury Cathedral. Only the helm and gauntlets were actually made at the Tower, but the workshop there also supervised the making of the shield and jupon by others.

The success of this project led to requests for replicas for other churches, such as Castle Acre in Norfolk, and altogether about a dozen were made, although towards the end of Smith's career, the time investment in making a real metal helmet was so costly that a change was made to the use of glass fibre/resin. The earlier metal replicas were so good that at least one was stolen and offered for sale in the antiques trade."

You wouldn't believe that people would be happy to steal nationally-important historical artefacts, would you? :shock:
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Re: Heater shield making

Post by Medicus Matt »

glyndwr 50 wrote:As our friend Marcus said ...
:shock:

Ermmm...
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Making a heater shield

Post by glyndwr 50 »

Sorry about the getting your name wrong,Matt ,please except my apologies .I don't know where marcus came from ,but I was watching Gladiator earlier in the day .Its a poor excuse but its the best I can do ,ha ha .


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Post by Trading-Dragon »

Brother Ranulf wrote:
You wouldn't believe that people would be happy to steal nationally-important historical artefacts, would you? :shock:
Reminds me of an incident some years ago: a friend of mine owned a civil war - era cavalry saber which was in near mint condition. The blade fought at several battles and could even be traced back to it's original owner (name escapes me here).
Then, one day, he left it in his car overnight (in the boot), which was parked in an apparently secure car park. Biggest mistake of his life because the next morning both the saber and his stereo were gone.

He still maintains that what really annoys him is not so much the loss of the sword but that it's thief wouldn't know it's historical significance. The sod probably just thought it was a nifty-looking blade and it'll most likely end up in a pawn shop - or even worse, in a knife amnesty bin to be destroyed.
What a terrible, terrible loss of a piece of English heritage and history... >..<

Apparently this sort of thing happens more often than we'd think.
I have often contemplated that perhaps individuals shouldn't have the right to possess historical artifacts...then again, do I really feel comfortable entrusting the gouverment with it? :?
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Post by Trading-Dragon »

Anyhow, thanks muchly for a bit of insight regarding shield making here. Seems like i've been spooned rubbish by my mates...where can I put my face?

I'll have another go after work today.
I am planning to use my own little rig to bend the shield - three ratchet straps, braced with 2 planks that have a few belt loops riveted on to them, helping to make sure the straps are evenly spaced.
I have indeed ordered the ply bigger than the intended shield and was going to fasten the edges of the ply sandwich together using little wood screws. I am hoping this will prevent gaps, once I've got the curve.

Does that sound like a feasible idea, gentlemen?
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Post by Medicus Matt »

Trading-Dragon wrote: I am planning to use my own little rig to bend the shield - three ratchet straps, braced with 2 planks that have a few belt loops riveted on to them, helping to make sure the straps are evenly spaced.
I have indeed ordered the ply bigger than the intended shield and was going to fasten the edges of the ply sandwich together using little wood screws. I am hoping this will prevent gaps, once I've got the curve.

Does that sound like a feasible idea, gentlemen?
Ratchet straps do the job nicely but I'd use half a dozen 2 by 1 lathes (with the outer ones placed right on the edge) rather than a couple of planks. Keeps the pressure more even.

When I do mine, I work with rectangular sheets that are half inch oversize all the way around so that I can use woodscrews around the edges. Not too many, just one top and bottm in the center to keep them aligned before curving and then a few more once the curve is pressed.
I mark out the shield shape (and any centers/dimension lines) on the outer sheet before starting and then cut it to shape after it's all dry after forming.
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Post by chrisanson »

Medicus Matt wrote:
Trading-Dragon wrote: I am planning to use my own little rig to bend the shield - three ratchet straps, braced with 2 planks that have a few belt loops riveted on to them, helping to make sure the straps are evenly spaced.
I have indeed ordered the ply bigger than the intended shield and was going to fasten the edges of the ply sandwich together using little wood screws. I am hoping this will prevent gaps, once I've got the curve.

Does that sound like a feasible idea, gentlemen?
Ratchet straps do the job nicely but I'd use half a dozen 2 by 1 lathes (with the outer ones placed right on the edge) rather than a couple of planks. Keeps the pressure more even.

When I do mine, I work with rectangular sheets that are half inch oversize all the way around so that I can use woodscrews around the edges. Not too many, just one top and bottm in the center to keep them aligned before curving and then a few more once the curve is pressed.
I mark out the shield shape (and any centers/dimension lines) on the outer sheet before starting and then cut it to shape after it's all dry after forming.

yep, what Mat said. i am however thinking of making my press with a "lid"
with foam or some sutch in it so that it would only need to be clamped around the edge's. if it works i can use it for 2-3 or posably 4 ply's.
and i have found that canvas is good inbetween ply's.

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Post by Medicus Matt »

chrisanson wrote:

yep, what Mat said. i am however thinking of making my press with a "lid"
with foam or some sutch in it so that it would only need to be clamped around the edge's. if it works i can use it for 2-3 or posably 4 ply's.
and i have found that canvas is good inbetween ply's.
I've made a two part press now. Looks a bit like this one which makes things a damned sight easier. Takes up a lot of room though...
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ShieldPress2.JPG
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Post by glyndwr 50 »

Take care when attaching screws ,as when you try to bend the various layers of ply they will hinder the bending process,try clamps at the outer edges but not too tight,you need to allow for the ply sheets to slide or move without restrictions .once you have got the shape you require then you can fix your screws in place where you want to hold the edges down flat to each other till the glue drys .

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Post by Medicus Matt »

glyndwr 50 wrote:Take care when attaching screws ,as when you try to bend the various layers of ply they will hinder the bending process,try clamps at the outer edges but not too tight,you need to allow for the ply sheets to slide or move without restrictions .once you have got the shape you require then you can fix your screws in place where you want to hold the edges down flat to each other till the glue drys .
Exactly. One each in the middle at top and bottom to keep the sheets aligned then no more until it's bent to shape.
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Post by chrisanson »

Medicus Matt wrote:
glyndwr 50 wrote:Take care when attaching screws ,as when you try to bend the various layers of ply they will hinder the bending process,try clamps at the outer edges but not too tight,you need to allow for the ply sheets to slide or move without restrictions .once you have got the shape you require then you can fix your screws in place where you want to hold the edges down flat to each other till the glue drys .
Exactly. One each in the middle at top and bottom to keep the sheets aligned then no more until it's bent to shape.
or just nock in small panel pins, flush heads and easy to pul out 8)

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Post by Medicus Matt »

chrisanson wrote:
or just nock in small panel pins, flush heads and easy to pul out 8)
Any excuse to use a hammer eh?

It's not the ONLY tool you know?
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Post by chrisanson »

Medicus Matt wrote:
chrisanson wrote:
or just nock in small panel pins, flush heads and easy to pul out 8)
Any excuse to use a hammer eh?

It's not the ONLY tool you know?
:wink:
8)

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Post by Trading-Dragon »

Ah, but it's the FIRST tool, undoubtedly. 8)

...probably in the form of the humble rock. Pick it up and bash things with it until they come apart. Or bash your neighbour, to make him shut up. Or bash your food, so it can't run away...

It's tool, weapon AND entertainment, all in one!
Brilliant, that stone age technology!


On a rather similar note (and this is true) flint daggers enjoy a comeback at work. Stanley knives, pen knives and even most safety blades have been banned by our management. What we are allowed is a strange little thing with a retractable 5mm long blade that is notoriously dull. And we can't have spare blades because they cost too much and the recession hit so hard (apparently).
So in our peril we've taken some big pieces of flint out of the aquatics section and started knapping them into nice, fist-sized tools. Ever so sharp and perfectly legal at work because carrying bits of rock in your pockets does not feature in the health-and-safety manual at all.

Which is good, too, otherwise I'd have to resort to using my teeth and nibble through those packing straps..
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Post by Medicus Matt »

Trading-Dragon wrote:

On a rather similar note (and this is true) flint daggers enjoy a comeback at work. Stanley knives, pen knives and even most safety blades have been banned by our management. What we are allowed is a strange little thing with a retractable 5mm long blade that is notoriously dull. And we can't have spare blades because they cost too much and the recession hit so hard (apparently).
So in our peril we've taken some big pieces of flint out of the aquatics section and started knapping them into nice, fist-sized tools. Ever so sharp and perfectly legal at work because carrying bits of rock in your pockets does not feature in the health-and-safety manual at all.

Which is good, too, otherwise I'd have to resort to using my teeth and nibble through those packing straps..
Nice.
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Post by Darren Mac »

An oil drum is a great shape for bending a shield around - couple of bits of individually curved ply strapped around a oil drum, good strong marine glue to stick them together (it's flexible) and a good covering of glue then hessian, followed by leather. My 'on-its-way-out' shield is being held in one piece by the leather covering, all the blank top is splintered wood, not very safe any more, but most amusing and very bendy.
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Post by Trading-Dragon »

I am proud to report that my latest attempt to make a curved ply heater-shaped shield blank was an overwhelming success..!

I've now got a 13mm thick piece of plywood with a very pleasing curve and perfect glue lines!


From here on my plan is to carefully drill round the edges, lace on some thick rawhide strips to protect the edges using waxed linen twine.

Next I'd like to cover the outer surface in several layers of glue, hessian and linen. My hope is that the fibres and the glue will toughen the shield and provide a bit of padding.

Eventually I'll sort the strapping out, cover the shield with white canvas and tack it down at the back with carpet nails.


I've spotted some potential problems along the way, however. First of all, once I've soaked my canvas in waterproof wood glue (tried it on a test piece) it doesn't take on paint very well when dry. Is there anything I could prime it with?

Secondly, I am a bit unsure about the strapping. I'd like to wear my gauntlets while using the shield, which has always posed a problem with the ready-made ones I've bought. Adjustable buckles work well but I need a squire to actually strap the shield onto me.
Hasn't anyone invented some sort of quick-release yet? Or otherwise found a way around that problem?
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Post by Thomas Hayman »

A couple of things i'd suggest:

Put only one layer of your covering on, any more isn't really neccessary and a waste of time.

To make the paint stick, you really need to prime the surface. Gesso is the stuff to use and can be bought from most artists supply places worth their salt. The Range superstore also sell it in large tubs. Avoid the acrylic stuff.
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Post by Trading-Dragon »

Good point about the Gesso! My partner is an artist and actually has a tub of the stuff somewhere...I wish I'd thought of it myself. D'oh! :lol:
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Post by the real lord duvet »

the shield i made had a painted canvas front to hide the 5 cut up bicycle inner tubes that cover the front and edges........

made the shield almost indestructable.



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Post by Colin Middleton »

I've noticed a few shields in our group suffer from weapon hits cutting the surface, like scisors. I think it's caused by there being too little give behind the surface layer, though I've yet to work out the solution to that one.

as for strapping, I use a fixed strap for the hand (not too tight), with a pad behind it. For the arm strap, you can either buckle yourself in, or we often use a strip of leather through a loop on the shield. The strip then goes from it's anchor point, over the arm, through the loop (a D ring usually), then diagonally over the arm again, round the hand and is gripped by the finger's & thumb, with the hand strap. This gives you a 'qucik release' sheild for dramatic dueling. Either way, you're better off with some-one to help you put it on as you need to support the sheild while you fasten it.

Don't forget to fit an arm pad!
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Post by Theotherone »

Brother Ranulf wrote:A word of caution - the items hanging above the tomb of Edward the Black Prince are all modern replicas, albeit very good ones. Apparently a number of thefts around the country prompted many churches and cathedrals to commission replicas made by armourers at the Tower of London:

"One of their first important tasks after the war was the replication of the Black Prince's achievements to replace the originals in Canterbury Cathedral. Only the helm and gauntlets were actually made at the Tower, but the workshop there also supervised the making of the shield and jupon by others.

The success of this project led to requests for replicas for other churches, such as Castle Acre in Norfolk, and altogether about a dozen were made, although towards the end of Smith's career, the time investment in making a real metal helmet was so costly that a change was made to the use of glass fibre/resin. The earlier metal replicas were so good that at least one was stolen and offered for sale in the antiques trade."

You wouldn't believe that people would be happy to steal nationally-important historical artefacts, would you? :shock:
The real ones are now in a display case not too far from the tomb. (Down the steps, on the left, up fairly high)
Because there would have to be three of them.

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Post by Trading-Dragon »

Colin Middleton wrote:I've noticed a few shields in our group suffer from weapon hits cutting the surface, like scisors. I think it's caused by there being too little give behind the surface layer, though I've yet to work out the solution to that one.

as for strapping, I use a fixed strap for the hand (not too tight), with a pad behind it. For the arm strap, you can either buckle yourself in, or we often use a strip of leather through a loop on the shield. The strip then goes from it's anchor point, over the arm, through the loop (a D ring usually), then diagonally over the arm again, round the hand and is gripped by the finger's & thumb, with the hand strap. This gives you a 'qucik release' sheild for dramatic dueling. Either way, you're better off with some-one to help you put it on as you need to support the sheild while you fasten it.

Don't forget to fit an arm pad!
That's such an ingenious idea for a quick release, i think i may have to blatantly copy it!! I'm thinking of potting a little wooden knob on the end of the strap though, so that it's easier to grip and thread through the D-rings.

Incidentally, i have just found an interesting material at work today - capillary matting. It's like really thick synthetic felt, yet still fairly firm. I reckon that may produce some nice low-key padding under the outer layers to prevent swords from scissoring through the canvas. Will try it out on a bit of leftover ply...
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Post by Medicus Matt »

I'd use artificial sinew rather than waxed linen to stitch the edging on. I stitch the rims onto all my shields and have only just started using sinew....it's a LOT tougher than thread.
once I've soaked my canvas in waterproof wood glue (tried it on a test piece) it doesn't take on paint very well
Then don't soak it in waterproof wood glue?
I just paint it on the wood, slap the heavy canvas on top and smooth it all out. No problems and then you can paint over it.
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Post by Colin Middleton »

It's probably completely inauthentic, but KIBS have been using that design since before I joined in 1999.
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