DJole

Cuir Bouilli (Boiled Leather) Gorget

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This is a work in progress.

I'm making a piece of throat /neck armor called a gorget.
I have a metal one, but I wanted to see if I could do one out of leather that would be rigid enough for use in some sword combat arts (i.e. rapier fencing or HEMA longsword, but not SCA rattan.)

So, here's a test of the concept of cuir bouilli. I spent a LOT of time doing Google research and reading a few sets of instructions. Testing this thick leather, I found that immersing it in 180 degree (Farenheit) water for about 20-30 seconds seemed to be right. 
I am not sure that belly leather, which is what I am using here, is the best thing for this project, since some pieces still seemed less rigid than I wanted. Yet after re-boiling them, I ran into the problem of the leather getting brittle. I don't recommend trying to re-boil the pieces if they don't seem rigid enough. 

One problem is shrinkage and warping -- to really get this right, I  need a frame or mold for each piece. I did end up using my metal gorget to shape part of it (after wrapping it in plastic to keep wet leather off), which helped. 
I decided to attach the neck pieces to the front and back shoulder pieces using tabs (as visible in the Side picture)and brass rivets. I wouldn't recommend doing it -- the tabs get really think and hard when the leather is boiled. I didn't boil the tabs for the front piece, which made them easier. But next time, I'll just use a piece of leather  to attach the two pieces together. 

The front piece (with the decorated panel) is two pieces. The decorated panel holds the pieces together, and acts as a reinforcement. 
Things to complete: (1) line the flesh side and add a small bit of padding for comfort, clear up raw edges.  (2) add "blade trap" strip to the front piece. (3) decide how to strap them together into one unit. (4) apply final layer of finish to everything.
Dyes used: Angelus Wine Tone for shoulder pieces, Angelus Lt. Brown for throat pieces. 


 

GorgetFront.jpg

GorgetSide.jpg

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Very nice work! I like seeing all of your unique projects. Not a lot of guys on here playing with nice, functional leather armor!

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Looks good.  I have played with Cuir Bouilli with mixed results and decided that like you a mold would be necessary for armour as well as knowing the amount of shrinkage.  Here is a boiled leather quiver I did.  I used 2/3 weight leather to see if the hardening would give it the necessary thickness and rigidity.  It did but I should have made the quiver a bit longer 

IMG_E0677.JPG

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2 hours ago, Peter Darby said:

Looks good.  I have played with Cuir Bouilli with mixed results and decided that like you a mold would be necessary for armour as well as knowing the amount of shrinkage.  Here is a boiled leather quiver I did.  I used 2/3 weight leather to see if the hardening would give it the necessary thickness and rigidity.  It did but I should have made the quiver a bit longer 

IMG_E0677.JPG

That's really nice!  the face is really a striking design. Did you use a mold for that?

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No, I carved it in.  I didn't make a mold because it was more of an experiment than anything else.  I sewed it inside out then turned it before I did the hardening.

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