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  1. Hello, everyone! My name is Matthew from Michigan and I'm doing a crash course on armor leatherworking. I'm just getting started and have most of my tools. I simply lack the experience, which should make this interesting. My project is a near complete armor pattern set from Prince Armor Academy, the Imperial Knight. I have the patterns and am currently mocking up the armor to make sure that it will actually fit. I need to have the armor finished by June for a larp event at the end of that month. While it feels like I have plenty of time now, it'll go by quick. So much so that I'm looking at options to have the leather cut on a laser cutter for me. Please let me know if you know of any options in the mid-Michigan area. I'll be on here asking for help on a variety of topics from tooling to putting a metallic touch to the armor.
  2. This is a leather mask I made. I tried to give it samurai-esque aesthetic.
  3. Well it's been nearly a year since I first got into leather working. This is my most recent project, a leather cuirass with a matching oversized belt.
  4. So with my new Clicker press I think I might have shaved off about 30 hours on this one.
  5. A recent set of bracers I completed with a hand cut and hammered steel plate guard.
  6. After two months, I finally am satisfied with this project. Lots of fun and lots of hard work and frustration. Glad it's over. Going to write up a photo journal of the build process, and move on to the next piece.
  7. Recently got into leather working a month or two ago and I love it! Here's a few projects I've completely thus far.
  8. Since my hardening method was so successful, I figured it only made sense to try my hand at a piece of armor. I’m going to build a full arm piece, gauntlet to pauldron. I began with the gauntlet, and made a pattern by donning a long, thick rubber glove, wrapping in tape, and drawing my desired pattern on it before cutting it off. This had to be done twice as so many plates overlapped. Once those were cut out, I transferred them to leather, cut them out, wet formed, and assembled into my first attempt which was considerably too small. Pictured here is my second try, which I began last night. I increased certain aspects of several pieces, and now I feel it fits much better and affords decent protection. The next step will be to adjust the fit of individual pieces by lightly dampening and holding into shape until dry. I’ll then punch holes and slots for joints, and these will all be lined with copper for durability and impact resistance. Following that, I’ll add stamping over the entire piece and mark for stitch holes. I anticipate stamping will change the shape a bit, and a final adjustment for proper fit will be needed after stamping. The piece will be stitch on areas not being padded. I’ll then apply my hardening technique, and afterwards stitch in necessary padding, and finish up the edges. This piece will not be used in actual combat, but will instead be a show piece, despite being fully battle-ready.
  9. Here's my latest from the workbench. The lames are 14 oz rectangles and 8 oz rounded end staggered. Hand painted on gorget. Completely adjustable and ready for combat.
  10. While some folks are content making the same thing again and again, Natalie and I like to stretch the boundaries of what we can do. And I’ll tell you, this stretched ALL of them. 3.5 full sides, hand stitched except the scales, embossed lion and bronze fittings and three months of our lives. Made to a historical pattern with the help of a local experimental archeologist, this piece will be used for re-enactments and historical displays, among other things. I hope you enjoy it. It’s time for a drink or three and to let my fingers heal!
  11. Hi everyone, I been trying to make water harden leather armor. but for some reason, the leather would simply shrink but not harden. I did my research and ensured the following conditions: - Water at 180 F - Veg tan leather - Pre soaking in room temp water (i tried both with and without) - wait for the bubbling to stop and for the edge to curl - making sure that there's no oil Here is the kicker - I manage to produce a single successful test piece (it was without pre soak too), but I somehow cannot recreate it with the same pot, same tap water... I tried switching up the pot/water sources too, and nothing what am I missing here? my LARP has specific requirement around harden leather armor, so I really want to get this right. Thank you in advance
  12. I've set myself the goal of recreating the armor for The Witcher 3, for fun purposes, not full contact re-enactment. Knowing that this is artwork and there will be inconsistencies from picture to picture and that certain things won't work in real life I wanted to ask a lot of questions before I cut any leather! I'm currently working on the chest piece. It looks like the chest is one piece but I couldn't figure out how you would make a pattern for that. To make a pattern I took saran wrap, covered myself then covered it in duck tape. Then I cut it off, adjusted it and transferred it to paper. I've made the chest pattern as 2 pieces, with it attaching at the shoulders with lacing and clasps at the sides. I don't think this lacing is historically accurate but I thought that since it will be hidden under the shoulder pauldrons it should be fine - I think lacing was used for armor in roman times but was clasps in medieval times. I did find something very similar from another person but couldn't find a reference person. The leather I am using for the chest is black 8-9oz latigo and the brown is 8-9oz horween. Questions: How do I get the shape molded for the pectorals? I've read about wet-forming but what would use/make as a mould? The chest seems to have a split down though the center to the bottom of the pectorals, I assume this is to be able to get in and out of the armor, will wet forming make it too stiff? Do I need to put metal eyelets in at the shoulders for the lacing? The sides come together and attach with clasps under the arms, It looks like it's a perfect fit but should I make it slightly overlap instead? The neck has a collar that comes up, how do I make it so it attaches all around? How do I attach it? Do I need to make seam allowances? The bottom part of the body is separate from the chest piece. I was thinking of a wife beater type top with the chainmail and large side pieces only on the bottom portion. The pauldrons are held down by 2 large straps that crisscross the body. Question: For the edges which hold down the chainmail, do I cut one set of the side pieces short so that they don't overlap? or do I overlap them? Reference front: Reference side: Reference back: Similar Chest Piece:
  13. Hi everyone, brand new to the forum. I just completed a study in which I made samples of over 16 methods of hardening leather. Then I torture tested them and used those findings to develop a new method that outperformed all others. It was a lot of work and the article is a long read with lots of information. I hope you enjoy it, please let me know if you have questions or feedback. Thank you! https://medium.com/@jasontimmermans/a-comparative-study-of-leather-hardening-techniques-16-methods-tested-and-novel-approaches-8574e571f619
  14. A custom order to be used in a Larp ( live action roleplaying game ) here in Sweden. Took about 40 hours all and all. The entire build is from Vegetable tanned leather. Patterns, colors and patina grew up throughout the build and it´s fully sealed for use outdoors in rain and the cold.
  15. I've been working on augmenting my existing arm protection, which is adequate for nylon sword simulators, but I want more for steel. Plus, armor is cool! This is the whole shebang together: Leather: unknown source -- I have a variety of veg-tan leather, and these pieces are from the bellies I got last year. Dye: Angelus Burgundy, and gold Acrylic paint. The arm guard is meant for motorcyle use, but it covers all the bone points of the elbow and has a nice 90 degree articulation. But that 90 degree caused problems in this design -- originally there was just one piece riveted to the plastic plate. But I found that I need the arm to close to a more acute angle than 90 (30 or 40 degrees), so the elbow kept popping open and locking. Oops... So this is my solution-- I cut the piece in half, and added an articulating lame at the back. So now I get this: Note the lugs just under the circular pivot joint -- those are meant to only go 90 degrees, yet they can pop out under stress. The articulated lame lets the arm bend more: You can see the cracks in the cuir boulli leather -- there are just so many variables that make it a risky proposition. The surface here is rigid, but the leather underneath is not. The lame is water hardened a different way-- I got it wet, shaped it and dished it (onto the plastic here) and then let it dry in the sun. I am lot more satisfied with that method (I've used a wall heater in the winter to do the same thing). I used split rivets to fasten the lower leather piece to the plastic (easier to remove them in the future) after drilling three holes in the plastic. The rerebrace is closed using cotter pins -- eventually I may have additional holes so that I can close it tighter if I want. And inside, held on by the bronze covered rivets, is a Kydex plate (.080 thickness), heated into a nice U shape with a heat gun, adding a layer of plastic rigidity to the leather. Here's a shot of the backside: The cutout over the split rivet will make removal a lot easier. The articulating lame is sewn to the lower plate, and riveted to the upper plate. After I put the articulating rivets in, I'll test this Wednesday night and see how it goes. I may also take the heat gun to the plastic "dish" pieces and flare them out so they'll "catch" on each other, preventing any pop-open.
  16. 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.
  17. I have agreed to make a friend a suit of armour, I have never done this & its a challenging project. A bit of background: my friend does regular sword play with nylon blades, but they still bruise & he's after a bit of protection & looking good at the same time, he prefers leather over metal for manoeuvrability. I have started to make it out of foam sheets to be able to visualise and agree the appearance, test for size & ultimately use as a pattern. This was my draft & this is the style he wants. (sorry can't seem to rotate the image) So I start to make a "pattern" copy out of foam & split pins What I am trying to understand is how to make the lower banded section (orange) and still maintain flexibility - my thought being if I just rivet them all together it will be one large immobile piece. My Google Fu has failed me on this one and so any advice is gratefully received
  18. I'm making more sets of forehead "crash pads" for longsword fencing. The forehead is a frequent target, and a sword to the mask can leave some dents! But this is a piece of armor that attaches to the mask (with foam padding underneath) that will help cushion the blow. And since it's armor for swordfighting, why not put a swordsman on the piece? This man in his fancy pants is standing in a guard, ready to strike a fearsome blow. Note the swivel knife for scale, and the printed woodcut to the right, which was the traced source for this. Working in miniature is a pain!
  19. Posting a few pix to see what you people think. This leather is 100% post commercial waste.
  20. I got my Critical Role (a D&D podcast / Twitch show) costume 2/3 complete in time for DragonCon this past weekend in Atlanta. I posted the boots before, but folks were interested in the entire thing, so here it is! The character, Percy de Rolo, is a gunslinger. Most people go with a steampunk / "weird west" vibe, but I came up with a design that has 17th/18th century and older influences. Breastplate: Artwork by a friend, I cheated here and used a v-gouge for wood carving so I could have the entire thing done in a day. I need to do some edge lacing or other finishing on all the chrome tan it's affixed to. Was originally gonna be all layered vegtan, but needed a slimmer profile because this will eventually go under a coat. Gun things: Made a rifle sling and a flintlock holster, the latter in my hotel room, ha ha. The brass spots are aged a bit with vinegar and salt to give them a slight patina. Boots: Articulated sabatons with greaves on top of equestrian boots with some ridiculous spur leathers. I learned the hard way to put some threadlock in my chicago screws (only popped a couple at stress points and had spares in my pockets). Pauldron: Designed inspired by a Musketeers TV show. It pulled a bit at my breastplate, so it's getting some rigging modifications. Wool is dyed scrap and I had fun getting it dark enough. Bits and bobs: A few other leather things (like my plague doctor mask, belt, bandolier, and neck stock) and some fun props, like a powder horn (soon to get some scrimshaw) and some black powder "apostles" turned out of wood. This was my first big costume build (made almost entirely from water damaged leather I got from Craigslist) and I'm excited to finish the rest! Most of what's left to make is clothing and guns, but I do plan to make a fancy leather gauntlet for V2.
  21. I recently finished my first bit of armor work, this pair of greaves and sabatons (and spur leathers with no spurs, ha ha). I'm cosplaying as a D&D character from a popular web series (Percy from Critical Role) and designed a costume with a bunch of historical nods to what is a fantasy gunslinger. So, it's a little gothic, a little 17th century musketeer, a little steampunk. I own a pair of very comfy riding boots, so patterned everything custom for as tight a fit as possible. The added weight is noticeable, but I can still run, jump, etc. I've got strap savers to add, a little color matching to do, and some additional weathering/antiquing, but I'm pretty dang happy for my first big leather project. The completed costume will have a leather breastplate, pauldron, plague doctor mask, rifle sling, gauntlet, sidearm holster, and misc accessories. So, I'm no where finished, lol.
  22. Here's my project for today-- I am making a heavy leather over-glove to go over some lighter hockey gloves that a couple people in my longsword class use. Hockey gloves aren't the best protection, so if they take a good strike to the hand it HURTS. And if you are worrying about hurting your hand all the time, it's hard to fight well. So I offered to help protect their hands better, and they thought that was a great idea! Here's the project so far: This is the thumb, two pieces wet molded onto the hockey glove and then hardened by hot air blowing over them. (I set them next to the electric wall heater nearby -- not too close, but enough so an hour or so dries the leather). Next step: Got the articulation point in the middle, and a nice curved dish shape, too. Here's a better view of the thumb tip: It curves around the thumb tip very nicely! Details: 8 to 10 oz veg tan, cut from tooling belly (I got them for a great sale price, so I don't feel bad about having to throw away a prototype that doesn't work). Dyes are Fiebing USMC black and Fiebing red. This is the right thumb -- the left thumb is drying off to my left a ways. Next step is riveting, and then on to the fingers.
  23. Hello! I recently came across the work of La Geuse on DeviantArt and love her "gradient" esque finishes where the dye is darker on the edges. I used to achieve this affect on cosplay pieces before I started working with leather by applying a dark wash and wiping away, but I want to know how to get this finish using leather dye. I make armored corsets and a lot of heavy armor for SCA and would love to achieve a similar finish on my work. My confusion comes from if her finish is achieved by airbrushing on a darker color of dye on the edges (or thinning angelus paints to do this) OR if this is some form of antiquing. I am coming to leather from the cosplay world, and while my construction is pretty good I am looking to heavily improve my dyeing process. Thanks all! Pictures are not mine, all c redit to La Geuse on DeviantArt.
  24. Hello! I recently came across the work of La Geuse on DeviantArt and love her "gradient" esque finishes where the dye is darker on the edges. I used to achieve this affect on cosplay pieces before I started working with leather by applying a dark wash and wiping away, but I want to know how to get this finish using leather dye. I make armored corsets and a lot of heavy armor for SCA and would love to achieve a similar finish on my work. My confusion comes from if her finish is achieved by airbrushing on a darker color of dye on the edges (or thinning angelus paints to do this) OR if this is some form of antiquing. I am coming to leather from the cosplay world, and while my construction is pretty good I am looking to heavily improve my dyeing process. Thanks all! Pictures are not mine, all credit to La Geuse on DeviantArt.
  25. Hey everyone, ally When I first got into leather a few years ago I eventually wanted to shift into doing armor, and things of midieval influence. Well I've finally gotten to start that transition! My oldest son joined the local LARP group, which we didn't even know we had one here, and of course started begging for armor. It was definitely fun to make, and I'm looking forward to making more! I also put on a tournament on one of their game days, winner gets a fully custom set of bracers. This was the prize.
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