Aketon with detachable sleeves?

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SirRustbucket
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Aketon with detachable sleeves?

Postby SirRustbucket » Sat Mar 27, 2010 1:35 pm

As I mentioned in my other (first) thread, I'm working on something which I have just been told is NOT an arming jack but more commonly known as aketon? Is that right? I mean to make a quilted undergarment onto which I can tie/lace/buckle whatever armour is to follow.

I've done a bit of internet research and - wow - there are so many designs! :? I also suspect that half of it is just plain wrong, so I could really do with some helpful advice:

- how thickly quilted does it need to be? I was given to understand it's only there to support armour and stop the metal from chafing, which makes it different from a gambeson, which is thicker and acts as stand-alone armour?

- I have seen some jackets that had detachable sleeves. What is the benefit of those?

- How do I do the fastening? I want it opening at the front and thought about a buckle and strapping arrangement, though just realized it might interfere with my coat-of-plates. Can it be laced? And if yes, how exactly?


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Re: Aketon with detachable sleeves?

Postby wulfenganck » Sat Mar 27, 2010 1:55 pm

Jacks with detachable sleeves are a reenactorism, I have not yet seen evidence for that. The simple reason why you can spot rather a lot if those in the "scene" is that it's easier to sew. It's the trickiest part to get the arms well-suited, leaving enough flexibility for movement. Detachable sleeves laced to the body is easier to do.
If you're going for the period of Crecy, a coat of plates over Aketon with some more additional armour (maybe simple besagews, elbow-caps and of course gauntlets) sounds good.
About the thickness: keep in mind, that your kit actually represent an armour as well. It's nit only supporting the armour; your nit "covered" in plate, like the later 14th ct knights or well-suited men-at-arms. Therefore, if you don't wear lots of additional armour (like mailleshirt) you'll defintely go for a thicker textile armour.



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Re: Aketon with detachable sleeves?

Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Sat Mar 27, 2010 2:32 pm

Though there are pictures of what look like aketons and jacks with sleeves half sown on.
I can't understand why anyone would want a jack with sleeves tied on-it would be easy to slide a blade into the gap between sleeve and body.


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Re: Aketon with detachable sleeves?

Postby wulfenganck » Sat Mar 27, 2010 3:02 pm

Marcus Woodhouse wrote:Though there are pictures of what look like aketons and jacks with sleeves half sown on.
I can't understand why anyone would want a jack with sleeves tied on-it would be easy to slide a blade into the gap between sleeve and body.
Right.
I have seen period illustrations (mainly 15th that is, but some 14th as well) with:
- long sleeves,
- short "t-shirt-style" sleeves,
- no sleeves at all,
- Sleeves with holes in armpits,
- sleeves with laces in the armpits and only sewn to the body on the shoulder joint.
I have to say 'though that I barely get hit in the armpit. I own a gambison with detachable sleeves myself - due to my old LARP-days - and I still use it for freeplay with swords. But I wouldn't wear it in reenactment neither 15th nor 14th century.



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Re: Aketon with detachable sleeves?

Postby Nigel » Sat Mar 27, 2010 5:22 pm

SirRustbucket wrote:As I mentioned in my other (first) thread, I'm working on something which I have just been told is NOT an arming jack but more commonly known as aketon? Is that right? I mean to make a quilted undergarment onto which I can tie/lace/buckle whatever armour is to follow.

I've done a bit of internet research and - wow - there are so many designs! :? I also suspect that half of it is just plain wrong, so I could really do with some helpful advice:

- how thickly quilted does it need to be? I was given to understand it's only there to support armour and stop the metal from chafing, which makes it different from a gambeson, which is thicker and acts as stand-alone armour?

- I have seen some jackets that had detachable sleeves. What is the benefit of those?

- How do I do the fastening? I want it opening at the front and thought about a buckle and strapping arrangement, though just realized it might interfere with my coat-of-plates. Can it be laced? And if yes, how exactly?



easy enough which period are you doing


There’s a country in Europe where they treat their ex soldiers with pride no waits for medical treatment after injuries received during service, no amensia from the government. Cant for the life of me recall where it is but I know exactly where it is not.

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Re: Aketon with detachable sleeves?

Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Sat Mar 27, 2010 9:12 pm

i bet you've been hit across the shouders though Wulf, and if the only protection to them is a couple of peices of string it'd sting something mighty.


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Re: Aketon with detachable sleeves?

Postby SirRustbucket » Sat Mar 27, 2010 9:46 pm

Nigel wrote:easy enough which period are you doing


Battle of Crecy era. So how shall I fasten my aketon, Nigel?


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Re: Aketon with detachable sleeves?

Postby Nigel » Sun Mar 28, 2010 2:08 pm

2 choices hook and eye it or point it not hard really

then I am married to the person who makes about 100 of these a year


There’s a country in Europe where they treat their ex soldiers with pride no waits for medical treatment after injuries received during service, no amensia from the government. Cant for the life of me recall where it is but I know exactly where it is not.

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Re: Aketon with detachable sleeves?

Postby SirRustbucket » Sun Mar 28, 2010 7:58 pm

Oh, I like the hook and eye idea, but how do I do it so the things don't come apart?

Something else entirely now: I have found about 2 meters of thick cotton ovenglove wadding. Do you know that stuff? Would one or two layers suffice for a good aketon?


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Re: Aketon with detachable sleeves?

Postby wulfenganck » Mon Mar 29, 2010 9:57 am

SirRustbucket wrote:Oh, I like the hook and eye idea, but how do I do it so the things don't come apart?

What do you mean? Take hooks and eyes solid enough not to rip apart when moving? Whatever method you're chosing, male sure to have a small piece of fabric overlapping on the inside when you close the thing, otherweise you will always have slits or open spots.

SirRustbucket wrote:Something else entirely now: I have found about 2 meters of thick cotton ovenglove wadding. Do you know that stuff? Would one or two layers suffice for a good aketon?

I see a general problem in some of your questions: you'll either have to stick to the originals and do a 100% replika ort you have to try out what works for you.
How shall we know what thickness of oadding is sufficient for you? I don't even know your intentions, if it's all about dressing up, okay, doesn't need to be too thick at all. If you're going for "beat-the-s**t-out-of-you-eastern-european"-style-battle-reeanactment, it should be thick as possible. Then, maybe you're a beast and stand pain like nothing - maybe you're a whimp and start crying once you get hit by a child;-)

My advice: take some of the fabric and do a small square piece of 20 x 20 cm as a reference for the necessary protection (for trying out sewing just as well): wrap it around an arm or a leg and have a friend try out some strikes.....



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Re: Aketon with detachable sleeves?

Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Mon Mar 29, 2010 1:09 pm

Little bit of pain never hurt anyone, if you know what I mean.


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Re: Aketon with detachable sleeves?

Postby wulfenganck » Mon Mar 29, 2010 2:12 pm

Marcus Woodhouse wrote:Little bit of pain never hurt anyone, if you know what I mean.
Well, I wasn't precisely saying he should make the test-piece thicker in case the strikes really hurt.....



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Re: Aketon with detachable sleeves?

Postby Tuppence » Mon Mar 29, 2010 6:54 pm

Detachable sleeves - nononononono - not only a re-enactorism, a fecking dangerous re-enactorism, as already pointed out.

You need proper sewn in sleeves, cut so that they move.


Do not use ovenglove wadding - it's made to trap heat one way or the other and you'll bake. Look at quilt wadding (the proper kind, not the horrid polyester stuff). It depends a lot on the wadding, but go for a cotton one, and you'll likely need 8 - 14 layers depending on the thickness you want, plus the fabric layers.

Thickness, depends what you're doing - most semi contact anything up to about 0.5" is fine - full contact then more like 0.75 to an inch. Some blows will get through no matter how well padded you are. You don't want bruises, you shouldn't be on the field (my personal opinion :D ).

If you're wearing plate over it then you'll need little or no padding. If you're wearing something more flexible (like mail or coat of plates type stuff) then you'll need more padding. So for crecy era, that at least means slightly thicker padding in the body (as described above).
How thickly you pad the arms depends on what you have over the sleeves - with plate they need to be pretty much unpadded and tight and well fitting - with less plate ( or other solid stuff) they need to be thicker.
Remember that if you have solid protection at one point on the arm, but not another, you can adjust the actual padding to match. Also remember that you need to be able to move your arms still. Same goes if you choose to make apdded hose.


You're not making an 'arming jack', because there's no such thing - it's a term only used by re-enactors who know little or nothing about padding.

There's little difference between a gambeson and an acheton (some say that one is under armour and one over, but the distinction wasn't really made at the time - it's a later hand over from those dear victorian dress historians (the ones who invented 'ring mail'). You culd also throw in jupon, jack, coat armour, arming doublet, etc, etc.

Actually, come to think of it, mid fourteenth century - you're coming into the period when you should have two laers of padding - one over the armour and one under it it.



Fastening - you can use buckles, though they're questionable in terms of accuracy. Nige is right - hooks and eyes or points. hooks and eyes have the speed advantage (putting on and taking off), points have the secureness factor (unless the point snaps they'll stay fastened). obviously points do snap from time to time, and you'll need to get proper arming points.

If you want points you'll obviously need holes in the padding - for hooks and eyes you just need to sew them on (using buttonhole stitch for strength). To stop them popping you alternate them (hook, eye, hook, eye, etc) - and get proper sized ones, and don't go with modern fur hooks and eyes, (the fabric covered ones) cos they're not strong enough, they're brittle, and they snap.

And a port piece under the gap is a must. I lightly pad mine.


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Re: Aketon with detachable sleeves?

Postby SirRustbucket » Mon Mar 29, 2010 10:26 pm

Wow! So much feedback, thanks muchly everyone! :D

wulfenganck wrote:How shall we know what thickness of oadding is sufficient for you? I don't even know your intentions, if it's all about dressing up, okay, doesn't need to be too thick at all. If you're going for "beat-the-s**t-out-of-you-eastern-european"-style-battle-reeanactment, it should be thick as possible. Then, maybe you're a beast and stand pain like nothing - maybe you're a whimp and start crying once you get hit by a child;-)

My advice: take some of the fabric and do a small square piece of 20 x 20 cm as a reference for the necessary protection (for trying out sewing just as well): wrap it around an arm or a leg and have a friend try out some strikes.....


Well, I expect that a few bruises are inevitable (though I have been told that if it hurts, I'm doing something wrong). Ideally I'd like to avoid a fracture though. They are annoying! :)

I'd like to make the best effort I can. I know the limits of my skills and my imagination though - I don't think that the end result will be entirely living history proof, but I'd love to end up with some kind of approximation that will, from a few feet away, portray the shape and function of the 'real deal', as it were. I want to avoid obvious anachronisms so I don't embarrass myself if a kind comes up to me and tells me I'm not looking at all like they do in the book.
But I ALSO want it to be practical and function reasonably well.

To that extend I'm hoping to knock up some simple gutter-shaped plates to cover my biceps and forearms and tie (point?) them also to the aketon. I've found someone who has a big guillotine shear - it cuts endless amounts of rectangular pieces of sheet metal. Perhaps I could bend them around a pipe, file the edges round? Would that at all be suitable for the period?

My progress so far:
I've been busy tinkering with a mock-up cut out of an old curtain and am now relatively satisfied with the fit. I've gone away from the oven glove batting after all and managed to rustle up an old wool blanket with a few moth holes. Furthermore, I managed to scrounge a few yards of green coating-weight wool fabric and a linen IKEA curtain off freecycle. My intention is to use the linen as lining, the blanket for padding and the coating wool as an outer shell. It's a really thick old blanket which I think has been washed in the machine once (and smells suspiciously of dog :o )...not quite 0.4" thick. I'll give that a go and see how it performs.
I have also been thinking whether it'd be at all accurate to cover all the stress zones where the metal is going to rub with an extra patch of fabric or even leather. Like the shoulders, elbows and cuffs. Is there any evidence for something similar?


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Re: Aketon with detachable sleeves?

Postby SirRustbucket » Wed Mar 31, 2010 9:38 pm

I have found a useful shop that may be of interest to some:

http://ew-trading.com/shop/index/index_php/

They carry very reasonably priced wool army blankets. I might purchase some. Hopefully they will be suitable for quilting my aketon with. I suspect that some of those blankets may be a wool blend but I am going to take my chances, perhaps do a burn test when they arrive and use the best of the lot for quilting.


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Re: Aketon with detachable sleeves?

Postby Alice the Huswyf » Thu Apr 01, 2010 12:25 pm

I wash blankets that are going to be used for padding to pre-shrink and also to thicken them. It also makes them nice and cleeeeean. It isn't just smell. Dust and dirt particles will abrade and even cut fibres so you are putting a lot of effort into something that you are limiting the life on. 2d's jacks have been made in the past to allow for washing (off season becuase they take a very long time to dry), but she knows how to to allow and advises on care.


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Re: Aketon with detachable sleeves?

Postby SirRustbucket » Thu Apr 01, 2010 9:08 pm

Thank you, that is very useful to know!
What about the coating wool i intended to use for the outer material? It's got about 5 percent man-made fibers in according to the lady I got it from. If i wash that in the machine, will it continue to shrink with subsequent washes?


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Re: Aketon with detachable sleeves?

Postby Alice the Huswyf » Fri Apr 02, 2010 7:13 am

The only way you can gauge fabric shrinkage is to take a sample of a particular size, wash it and remeasure it, wash it again and remeasure. It is too late once a garment is made up, so always allow extra yardage when purchasing for for shrinkage. You also need to restrech and shape you fabric when drying. If drying on a ine hang equally over both side s and peg to eliminate uneven stretch. Pardon my ignorance, but why are you using a soft, shrinkable fabric like wool which often leaches its dye in water as a outer layer on a specialist work garment designed to take punishment (and friction if worn under other protection)?



I'm sure I don't need to add that anyone atempting it will destroy their washing machine if they try to wash a jack in it, and they will destroy their jack (unless they know a very slim bloke to sell it to). Hand wash - in the bath most likely and don't leave it to soak. Drape it to drip then leave it open in air or a couple of days to dry thouroughly - the core retains moisture long after the outers appear dry.


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Re: Aketon with detachable sleeves?

Postby SirRustbucket » Fri Apr 02, 2010 7:46 am

Alice the Huswyf wrote:Pardon my ignorance, but why are you using a soft, shrinkable fabric like wool which often leaches its dye in water as a outer layer on a specialist work garment designed to take punishment (and friction if worn under other protection)?


There is no special intention behind it, except that I've got a few yards available to me at no cost at all. It's very much going to be a thrifty aketon. Mind, I HAVE some undyed heavy duty cotton drill, just about enough for one layer. It just looks a bit like jeans fabric on the outside...I also have 4 whooping great curtains made of green cotton velvet (i think). Would that be any good for anything?


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Re: Aketon with detachable sleeves?

Postby Tuppence » Wed Apr 07, 2010 12:08 pm

also avoid biological washing powder when cleaning - it's harder to rinse out and unrinsed detergent can cause damage.
Best to use nothing at all, or old fashioned soap flakes if really filthy.


Pre-shrinkage tests, cut a square, draw round it, then wash and check, wash and check, etc.


If there's man made in there, do a burn test (doesn't stop you using it, but at least you'll know the risks). generally what you want is something that self extinguishes not long after you remove the flame. the ideal is all natural, obviously, because although cotton and linen can burn more strongly than many synths, they don't melt. less of an issue for low or no gunpowder groups though.
all fabrics will burn eventually.


don't use velvet as the outer - it's just not strong enough. I wouldn't use wool as the outer either for the same reason.

the cotton would be the best bet, assuming that your group allows cotton (check, because most don't).


want to avoid obvious anachronisms so I don't embarrass myself if a kind comes up to me and tells me I'm not looking at all like they do in the book.


don't worry too much about that - very much depends on the book!


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