problems making heater shields

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Chris, yclept John Barber
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Post by Chris, yclept John Barber »

Colin Middleton wrote:It's probably completely inauthentic, but KIBS have been using that design since before I joined in 1999.
Those shields are from very early in the group's history, so 1973 or shortly afterwards.

I reckon it's inauthentic, because you probably wouldn't want to cast your shield aside in a 'real' fight. For our 'Historical Entertainment' show-fighting it's good because fights with shields are rarely interesting to the public, so it's great to start out with lots of clanging and smashing, then cast aside the shield by just opening your hand and flinging it away, to finish with more showy swordplay and 'stunt-death'.

The only reason to get rid of a shield in a real battle or tourney would be if it had been destroyed by multiple hits and its tatters are getting in your way. In that case, it would be better to just take a few seconds to cut the straps next time you can spare the time.
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Post by Trading-Dragon »

Showfights are the main reason why I'd like to dispose of my shield quickly. It's just one of the staples of our performance. A little while ago i was pairing up against an elderly chap. He had a whooping hand and a half, I had an arming sword and a heater. You'd be amazed how quickly the kids and old women start heckling you because an old man with just one sword against a young man with sword and shield - 'dats jus' not fair, innit? :roll:

And that is another reason why I'm keen on keeping my gauntlets on when using the shield. Once you toss it, you have an unprotected hand. Accidents may happen - and did happen. In fact, I'm quite lucky to still have the use of my left hand after a blow didn't quite land where it was supposed to.

Anyhow, I'm waffling on... :D

I'd love to invest into a nice new pair of Uncle Roger's gauntlets. I like them - it's like having your fist stuck in a little tank, nice and hard wearing. Trouble is that the wide cuff interferes with the padding on the shield.
I thought about modifying a pair - take the cuff off and replace it with a slightly more flexible splinted leather cuff. It'd also look (to the casual observer) more consistent with the rest of my kit, which is largely transitional period.

I've had a bit of a fiddle with scraps of ply and different types of twine/glue. It seems that the canvas just won't take paint unless primed, regardless of whether the glue is waterproof or not.

Also quite intrigued about artificial sinew - where can that be obtained?
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Post by chrisanson »

Also quite intrigued about artificial sinew - where can that be obtained?

i think its just dental floss

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Post by Thomas Hayman »

Why would you want to paint on unprimed canvas??
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Post by chrisanson »

Thomas Hayman wrote:Why would you want to paint on unprimed canvas??

sorry i dont understand the question

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Post by Thomas Hayman »

We posted at the same time, there was a slight cross over.

Trading Dragon mentioned his trials where he painted on unprimed canvas.

I just wondered why?
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Post by chrisanson »

i would assume to save time ? i dont bother

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Post by Trading-Dragon »

Because I'm lazy. :lol:
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Post by Medicus Matt »

chrisanson wrote:
Also quite intrigued about artificial sinew - where can that be obtained?

i think its just dental floss
You could use it as dental floss. It'd make your shield rim taste all minty though.

I get mine from http://www.leprevo.co.uk/photos/art-sinew.htm
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Post by Brother Ranulf »

I have used "artificial sinew" and I can categorically state that it is artificial - but it isn't sinew.

Real sinew, when dry, is a shrivelled, dark, greasy, stiff mass of parallel fibres about 24 or 30 inches long (just 10 to 15 if it's deer sinew) which have to be pounded with a stone hammer (or similar tool) to separate. When moistened the fibres stretch considerably - so when it dries again, they contract and give a very strong, very tight binding or stitch.

Artificial sinew comes on a reel of endless, flat, thin, waxed material which can be torn apart by hand into tiny fibres - very much like dental floss (as others have said). Wetting it has no effect at all - it neither contracts nor stretches, so calling it "sinew" is very misleading. It's simply flat thread which can be broken up into a number of finer threads - it is quite strong, but nowhere near as strong (or elastic) as the real thing.
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Post by Medicus Matt »

Trading-Dragon wrote: It seems that the canvas just won't take paint unless primed, regardless of whether the glue is waterproof or not.
I paint emulsion directly onto unprimed canvas. No problem.
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Post by Medicus Matt »

Brother Ranulf wrote:I have used "artificial sinew" and I can categorically state that it is artificial - but it isn't sinew.
Don't think that anyone claimed that it was.

I use it because it doesn't wear and snap (unlike even the very strongest linen thread), making it ideal for stitching the hide rim onto early medieval shields. It looks a damned sight better than blued tacks which is what the majority are still fixed on with.

I don't use it when I'm making replica shields for museums...but then I don't use plywood either.

Or emulsion from a tin.

Or £3 a meter canvas from the bloke in St Nicks Market .

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Post by gregory23b »

"I paint emulsion directly onto unprimed canvas. No problem."

Because emulsion is in effect a primer, it has loads of filler plus pigment, lazy barsteward.

Can you recommend any decent literature re early shields their construction and their paintwork, am slightly intrigued and may fancy making one, for no apparent reason than want.
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Post by Medicus Matt »

gregory23b wrote:
Because emulsion is in effect a primer, it has loads of filler plus pigment, lazy barsteward.
I prefer to think of myself as being efficient.


gregory23b wrote: Can you recommend any decent literature re early shields their construction and their paintwork, am slightly intrigued and may fancy making one, for no apparent reason than want.
For Imperial Roman there are a few surviving bits and some intact oval and rectangular scuta from Dura Europos (detailed in Simon James' report)

For early A-S shields, Dickson and Harke's "Early Anglo-Saxon Shields" is very good. There's also Stephenson's "The Anglo-Saxon Shield" which I'm not so keen on.
Not much surviving paintwork for early (pre_Conqest) medieval though, a scrap from a shield from the IofM, a few bits from Denmark.

For later period stuff, kites and heaters, I'm not aware of any standard works, it's more a question of basing reconstructions on the few known bits of archaeological evidence supported by the pictorial and sculptural stuff.
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Post by gregory23b »

Thanks, I have an idea of the paint media, thanks to the likes of Mappa Clav, which happily was translated through the middle ages, but was keen to get a pin on actual examples from whihc to extrapolate etc.

I think my colleague has a book on AS shiled, IIRC, it shows them as types, something to do with boss shapes I recall. I like the look of making a round AS shield, planked and glued, with the requisite other bits, mainly for the hell of it.
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Post by chrisanson »

gregory23b wrote: I like the look of making a round AS shield, planked and glued, with the requisite other bits, mainly for the hell of it.

you is a cool dude 8)

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Post by gregory23b »

;-) Nah, just have a low boredom threshold and if not kept busy get horrible and mug old ladies etc.

Just fancied a new back burner project to mull over.

Bunker, what woods were used, just so I can simmer it at back of the mind.
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Post by chrisanson »

gregory23b wrote:;-) Nah, just have a low boredom threshold and if not kept busy get horrible and mug old ladies etc.

Just fancied a new back burner project to mull over.

Bunker, what woods were used, just so I can simmer it at back of the mind.

oh ok. try pallet wood

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Post by Trading-Dragon »

Pallets are mostly pine these days - we get the odd beech or ash pallet at work, but they're rare.
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Post by gregory23b »

So, soft and hardwoods?
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Post by chrisanson »

the ones with the blue edges are best. oh yes

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Post by Trading-Dragon »

The blue ones are also commercial pallets, which are 10 quid a piece. They are valuable to companies and they don't like to part with 'em. :(

The white ones are just scrap once unloaded and businesses have to pay money to get rid of them, therefore they are usually up for grabs, with the exception of small rectangular euro pallets (EUR or DB on the side). These are like gold dust and rather expensive.
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Post by chrisanson »

Trading-Dragon wrote:The blue ones are also commercial pallets, which are 10 quid a piece. They are valuable to companies and they don't like to part with 'em. :(

The white ones are just scrap once unloaded and businesses have to pay money to get rid of them, therefore they are usually up for grabs, with the exception of small rectangular euro pallets (EUR or DB on the side). These are like gold dust and rather expensive.

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Post by Medicus Matt »

gregory23b wrote:
Bunker, what woods were used, just so I can simmer it at back of the mind.
Poplar, willow, alder and lime were the most popular. Light enough to carry, good at resisting surface impact and very 'grabby' on blades that hit them in the end grain.

I was asked recently to cost up a proper shield using poplar. My usual wood bloke doesn't stock it so I phoned up a specialist supplier.

Over £200 for 9 square foot of 10mm thick sawn poplar. :shock:

I could get the same amount of ash for less than a quarter of that cost but ash is too damned heavy.
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Post by gregory23b »

Cheers.

My local specialist timer supplier now lives in France, I lament his leaving like losing a relative, not because we were close, far from it, but he was uber wood geek and would supply a piece to order, cut in the right way for the period, aaah.

Now I have to hunt down lime boards, mind I could work with a pavise construction as well.

cheers once again
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Post by Thomas Hayman »

If you come across any lime boards, do let me know. They are rather hard to come across in any decent width! Ta.
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