DJole

Fencing Mask overlay

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DJole   

Another work in progress
For doing HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts), a basic fencing mask is a good start, but they're not really enough protection for using steel in tournaments. 
Thus, there are mask overlays on the market, which add padding and protection to your head (a good thing to do!).
I decided that I could make my own custom overlay, using leather to add the rigid or semi-rigid "plating" to the mask. 

These are the first two pieces. (I'll add others as I complete them.)
The larger one goes on the forehead, a place which sees a lot of sword strikes. It will get some foam padding underneath it later on.
The smaller one goes under the chin, and it will hold an additional throat protector that goes over the mask bib. That protector bit will be riveted to the strip of leather 
Using a fencing mask, I made a pattern from paper to get the curves right, then cut them out of leather. The border is done with a Tandy stamp, a Christmas gift (Craftool Pro Stamp-Border D2171) from their recent sale. 
I sewed both pieces together using my new stitching pony (brought back from Korea). The seam is left standing up, for more reinforcement. 
I got them nice and wet, then molded them to the fencing mask itself, strapping them down to hold shape as they dried. 
I used a block-out resist for the big inside panels, and a Tandy Antique Black for the border itself. The edges were burnished with water. I may use an edge paint, but I haven't decided yet. I left the leather a natural color-- it's a nice contrast. 
I then riveted the strip to the chin piece, and wet-molded that to shape. I have the patterns for the throat plate, but I haven't completed that part yet.
I'm really pleased with the way they look so far (and they're really nice on the mask itself-- but no pictures of that yet!)
to be completed:
1) Create and attach throat plates (probably leather articulation).
2) Finish design for sides and top of mask, create the same.
3) mount all pieces so they strap tightly on.
4) add foam padding 
5) make back of head panel.

MaskBitsFront.jpg

MaskBitsSide.jpg

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kiwican   

Interesting. Can we see this actually being worn?

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DJole   

Yes you can! It's still a work in progress, though. I'll update it as parts get put together (I'm working on it right now, actually.)
I'll put it onto the mask for the next photo to illustrate the concept more clearly. 

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alpha2   

Must be the slashing steel thing. I used to favor a quick tap to the mask when fencing with epee. Startled the heck out of the opponent! Masks were ALWAYS tested before a match. Can't wait to see more!

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DJole   

Okay, next step--

Here is the throat plate, placed on the chin piece (but not attached yet).
I decided to go with three plates, laced together, rather than one piece. 
An earlier version of the bottom plate warped too much in the cuir boulli process, so it wouldn't line up. I discarded it and did another. Lesson to self-- yes, TOO HOT or TOO LONG will mean you throw the leather piece away.
 

Here it is from the side and from the front. 

I am liking the looks of this-- I think it's a viable concept. 
The chin piece doesn't really "need" to be there, but it'll match the forehead piece, and more importantly, it's a mounting point for the rigid throat plate. 
Why use a throat plate? Well, the fencing mask has a soft bib there, meant to stop sport fencing blades, which are much lighter than longsword blades. This plate structure has some give to it, but it's also going to soften a hard thrust by a good amount. 
It's also modular -- if or when the laces wear out, they can be replaced. They'll wear out long before the leather plates will. 

Mask bottom.jpg

Mask bottomSide.jpg

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Thanks for sharing. I look forward to seeing it finished.

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Nice! Keep it up!

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DJole   

Here's the next bit:

OverlaySide1.thumb.jpg.89ff5d3831ff8e5b3bf96eb703d9dc6b.jpg

That's the part that goes over the top of the mask. I punched diamond holes (filigree punch) for ventilation, and used a background tool to "pre-distress" that area (since it's going to get hit).
The design is a maker's mark -- a red raven perched on a medieval head knife. (I don't have a head knife, but don't tell anybody!)

That strip to the right is the link between this piece and the forehead piece. It's being held on with paper fasteners as temporary rivets. 

I'm annoyed by the little black dye dots to the bottom left-- the bottle of Fiebeing's USMC Black had dried crusty bits, and some jumped off the bottle as I opened it. Important lesson -- open ALL and ANY dye bottles FAR AWAY from any leather you don't want dyed!

 

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kiwican   

Its coming together well

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DJole   

And here's the first teaser of what the top, forehead and chin will look like together:
TopAndChin.jpg.3c1ee5068f2212f3fe09eb04f568c553.jpg

I haven't riveted the top pieces together yet, and the chin piece is still loose, because the side pieces are the missing links here. 

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DJole   

Here are the upper side pieces in their  current stage. (there will be lower side pieces also, but those are still in the design stage.) I flipped one over so the red lining is visible.

Side1.jpg.360604698d69604dc2114b9df6d3237f.jpg

The perforated area is right over the ears. I was surprised at how much sound those holes actually let through. I'll have to do the same through the red lining, also. 

Underneath the lining I am putting some padding strips, and I am going to lace the front edge, because that edge will take a lot of abuse. The lacing will help lock the red lining, the padding, and this thicker piece together. 

I don't remember what this thin red leather was -- it was in a bin of bargain upholstery leather at Tandy, 15 bucks for the side. It's a bit thicker than pigskin. 

No tooling here, just a nice diamond design made with a filigree punch, and some nice slick edges (gum trag and elbow grease). It certainly took some pounding to punch those diamond holes in the thick leather, and lubricating the punch with wax helped a lot in pulling the punch out afterwards. 

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