The HEMA Alliance (Historical European Martial Arts), and abit of what’s it about.

Thankfully I’m intending to continue blogging about interests circulating Medievalism, Reality Stuff does boggle one down when it comes to maintaining an interest to document things down.

The HEMA Alliance, What is it?

I’m surprised that I’d didn’t share this, considering that I’ve been on it for years, today I like to share about Historical European Martial Arts, or HEMA for short, has been a recent resurrection of old Medieval and Renaissance Martial Art treatises, showing the art of fighting through various techniques and principles mainly on swords, but also poleaxes, daggers, unarmed etc.

As a Medieval buff myself, I’m overjoyed and surprised to find out about Martial Arts being existant in Europe, when often the media always portray Martial Arts as of Eastern Origin. Most of the treastises extends as Early as the Roman Empire with the Gladius and even into WW2, notably the faireburn sykes daggers used by the British Army and the Commandos.

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A page of a manuscript from 14th Century Master Fiore de’i Liberi, showing a detailed illustration of the Seven blows of the Sword, and the Four Virtues representing the strengths of animals.

The HEMA Alliance focuses on the reconstruction of many old and long forgotten treatises that were almost lost back in the day, where there Martial Weaponmasters teaching Nobles in the art of fighting and how to defeat or kill of their opponents with skill rather than just brute force whilst preserving one’s life, which is different in contrast to many of the portrayals in European Medieval Combat today.

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Also, unlike the ‘Flynning’ from popular movies where it’s a poor simulation of hitting only the opponents weapon and took ages to finish, Swordfighting was short and brutal.

The Treatises

The HEMA Alliance showcases a wide variety of Both Armed and Unarmed Martial Arts, with Armed consisting of Daggers, Sabers, Rapiers, Longswords, Messers(Like a cutting sword, or a falchion), Spears, Poleaxes, although the Longsword is more popularly associated with, which distinguishes alot from most modern fencing weaponry with notable masters such as Fiore de’i Liberi and Johannes Liechtenauer.

Armoured Fencing (A favourite of mine) even existed back in the times, where the Europeans were renowned for their usage of Armour in the battlefield, in the 1400s-1500s, a more illustrated treatise of the Gladiatoria Group shows principles such as identifying vulnerable points of armour and adapting to defeat armour using techniques like Half-Swording.

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Probably, the most interesting, and most expansive treatise to endeavour into…..

 

The History of HEMA

The surge of European Martial Arts started out in the 90s, where Communities from Europe and the US has reconstructed and established several Treatises from various Masters. It later grows much more prominent in the 2000s with various communities that began to form the HEMA alliance, their goals to further the studies of HEMA treatises and connect the groups together.

With the help of open knowledge passing on the internet, various communities from around the world emerged in not just the Western countries, but also in the East, many notable societies in Taiwan, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore (my country, and Australia).

Freedom of Study

My interests for this Martial Arts was mainly due to the goals of the Alliance aiming towards the freedom to pursue knowledge of the Historical Treatises, which is the Freedom of Study. HEMA was pretty much unknown until the resurgence of such sources in the internet, and with an open-minded policy of sharing sources online, HEMA has became more popular.

Part of the reasons why I’d preferred this mindset of the community over the more popular Martial Arts Commuities.

Interested? Why not look further?

If this blog post here has heightened your interest in HEMA, then might I suggest checking out these videos and sites?

Wikitenauer, an open wiki dedicated to open source sharing of HEMA treatises: http://www.wiktenauer.com

Schola Forum, Forum about HEMA, and mainly HEMA: http://www.fioredeiliberi.org/phpBB3/index.php

Scholagladiatoria, Matt Easton covering about HEMA and other similiar interests: https://www.youtube.com/user/scholagladiatoria/featured

Skallagrim, a Youtube Channel mostly about HEMA and various Medieval intrigues, here’s a video on how to get started: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmVQlcXfzmQ

Thanks for reading, if you have any feedbacks, do write down a comment.

Disclaimer: I do not claim to be a representative of the HEMA Alliance, but rather a participant of the community, just wanting to share my perception of the HEMA community. All sources used here are for Fair Use policy,(information, education).

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The Workshop(WIP) – Making a Medieval Steel Gauntlet – sheet metal style (WIP)

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Today, I’s like to share about making something more adventurously jaw-wrecking : The Gauntlet.

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Some of the sexiest things once could “easily” try out and make…. well, it’s the easiest thing if you’re into making a full set of armour.

If you’re an aspiring armoursmith starting out(as I), then consider making yourself a pair of hand armours.

 

Disclaimer: You know the drill, I’m not accounted for anything funny you do with your creation whatsoever. Now, grab a hammer and start pounding.

 

Starting out

Now, the reason to start off with gauntlets is simple, there is absolutely less material required to begin, and alot to learn from metalworks with a reasonable effort required to finish your project, plus it has more appeal to incentivize you to strive on. (You need a forge to make breastplate, shoulder armours are not as interesting to make for a 1st try, you can’t slap someone with leg greaves properly).

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Classical duel acceptance 101, Robin Hood: Men In Tights, every armourer should watch it.

Basically:

  • Less material to work with, you just need at least a 60cmx30cm metal sheet
  • You don’t need a forge (yet)
  • A more fun-ctional(if it makes sense) armour to play with
  • You learn the necessity of in-depth metalworks(riveting, etc)
  • Making a nice looking gauntlet is not easy, you’ll need alot of practise to refine it, and you’ll learn alot from the journey

Due to constraints from absurd laws in my country, I am unable to acquire a forge through normal means, and have to resort through sheet metal.

Just remember that it takes a LONG time to make it if you’re starting out.

Materials(Sheet metal)

As a historical Accuracy Buff myself, I do loathe the sense of going down to “costume-grade”, but as one starting out, Armoursmithing is not easy, even with modern tech, I would recommend Aluminum sheets to start out.

  • Aluminum has some distinct advantages: It does not rust, is lightweight, easy to mould and bend but still retains metal strength. Also, aluminum is quite shiny.
  • Mild steel is definitely tougher than Al, but does rust easily, and since it’s harder than aluminum, it’s more dangerous to work with, so take note. Also, Historically accurate.
  • Galvanized Steel is, I might highlight this, DANGEROUS. Any contact with high heat would release zinc oxide, a gas POISONOUS to us, not recommended, even if it rusts less than mild steel. If you don’t intend to use this in a forge, well, ok then. Just be mindful of the smell that lingers onto anything it rubs on.
  • Stainless Steel is a duck to work with, firstly, it’s the HARDEST to cut, is slightly more brittle than other steels, and almost impossible to mould. However, if you do know how, I would recommend this if you’re insane or like a challenge since it almost replicate the properties of historical steel and does not rust. Shinier than mild steel.
  • I’ve rarely worked on brass, but I believe it’s equivalent to the strength of aluminum. Does give a shine with it’s gold colour, but I’ve heard that it will lose its shine after some time.

For the thickness of sheet metals, start off with 18 gauge(I go by SWG for gauges) metal. 20 Gauge is the thinnest you can go if weight is of concern but any thinner would be too flimsy. For historically accurate ones, it would be 16-14 gauges.

  Materials(Leather Gloves)

A must to mould onto your hands, Gauntlets are not a piece by themselves, but rather an attachment to a leather glove, that is either sewn or riveted onto. Getting a good glove is not cheap if you plan to start out.

Just note that it REQUIRES a non-stretchable glove to work. You need the cutout holes to be consistent or your metals will fall apart.

Materials(Rivets)

So far, I’m not aware how rivets were done historically, but there are two types of manual riveting, hot riveting(requires a forge) and cold riveting (just hammering it down). I believe that hot riveting is required for stronger metals like steel, whilst cold riveting can be done on aluminum or brass.

You’ll need alot of rivets to connect your metal pieces together, since it’s essentially one of the few methods of holding metals tightly.

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A cold riveting method, best used for softer metals

For this tutorial I’ll be using aluminum rivets specially designed for cold riveting.

Optional Materials(Leather Strips)

Leather strips the length and size of your four fingers is essential if you’d prefer an easier time to work with riveting the metal onto. The strips are placed on top of the glove which only the first and the last finger plating(usually) are riveted together with the strip and the glove itself. The rest of the finger plates can be riveted on the strip itself.

You can do without it, but I believe the strips helps to keep the pieces in line.

Optional Materials(Template reference)

This tutorial does not provide a template, so you’ll have to scour for your own online. Do take note that I’m following a specific template, so you’ll have to make a bit of tweaking if your’s is different.

Depending on what template you’ve got, you’ll always have the plates for all fingers and thumb, the kunckleplate, the plates at the back of the hand, and optionally a vembrace for that complete look.

  Tools

  • (PPE for SAFETY) Gloves and googles: A must if you like a pleasant time. Flying metal shards is not funny either.
  • Ball peen Hammer: A definite must if you would need to hammer your gauntlet into a sexier, curvier look. Also does a good makeshift anvil if you lack one. Just secure it in place on a vice to have your ‘anvil’ ready
  • Another hammer: For obvious reasons
  • Metal Snips: Do note that there are many different types of snips (Left, Right, Centre, Long-Cut) due to difficulty in working with metal
  • Leather Puncher: You’ll need it to cleanly cut out leather gloves
  • Files or a belt sender: You’ll need to smooth out those edges, cut sheets ARE SHARP. Files work fine, but an electric belt sander works wonders.
  • Awls: It’s a sharp needle tool used to mark on metals. Required to draw out templates onto metal sheets
  • Cordless Battery Drill: To drill out holes on your metal sheets, do not use powered drills, that’s overkill.
  • Blocks of wood: For the drilling of holes
  • Strong metal pipe flattener jig: All you need is a half pipe and another smaller pipe
  • A long metal pipe: To shape the rest of the metal pieces.
  • Metal Ruler: To measure your cut out metal parts.

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All you need for the jig. It’s that simple

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Left to right, Metal ruler, Awl, File, Claw Hammer, Ball-peen Hammer, Metal Snips(Straight, Right, and left), Wood Block, Leather Puncher

  Steps

  1. To start off, you’ll need a template to cut off the metal pieces for your gauntlet. You can measure the circumference of your hand and get references from gauntlets online.
  2. Once you obtained the templates, mark them on a piece of cardboard or paper, cutout the pieces, and use the awl along with the pieces and mark on your metal sheets. I’ve used Aluminum sheets for my attempt.
  3. Once marked, bring out your snips and cut along the markings, be sure to leave out an extra 2-3mm of metal as you’ll need to file/sand it down smoothly.
  • NOTE: Metal sheets when cut are EXTREMELY SHARP. Be sure to don gloves before handling them for filing/sanding. Dispose all metal shards in a proper container.

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Be careful of the shards.

4. Once done, assemble your metal pieces for sanding/filing. Remove the sharp nicks and edges made to ensure that your pieces are safe to handle.

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Get those curves right.

5. Once done, it’s time to bend the pieces that will fit into your hand. You’ll need a metal bending jig that consists of strong metal pipes. A half-pipe to collect the piece, and a full pipe to form the metal in shape. Do take note that this applies only to the finger plates. For the hand pieces, you’ll need to find a longer metal pipe to shape it around.

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It’s like kneading bread

6. For the rest of the metal pieces, use a longer, bigger metal pipe to shape them around. Since the pieces are bigger there is no need of a jig for that.

7. If you like, you can give your gloves some depth with a ball-peen hammer. The round side of the hammer can make spherical shapes that’s commonly seen in medieval gauntlets.

8. Once all your pieces are shaped, we’ll move onto riveting the pieces on the leather glove. You’ll need a leather punch to ‘poke’ through the gloves and forming holes for your rivets to work on, and a drill to make holes in the metal pieces. Just be sure that you’re drilling on a wooden block if you like your workbench very much.

  • Note: When drilling on metal, be sure to have a firm grip on the metal pieces, they will fling out of control with the drill.

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Make sure the hole is smaller than the rivet, in order to ensure a tight fit from the rivets…. I seem to be making too many unintentional jokes.

9. If you’re using leather strips, cutting holes on both ends of the leather is enough to hold the metal pieces tight. If you’re not, you’ll have to punch every hole on each piece embedded onto the glove.

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If you’re not, you’ll have to punch every hole on each piece embedded onto the glove.

10. Repeat on the other fingers, and the thumbs of course.

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Shiny stuff. I love this step.

11. Once the finger (and thumb) pieces are done, we’ll move on to the next part, the hand. Depending on the template that you have, you will have about 4-7 pieces of metal plates that will fit snugly onto your hand. Drill holes and rivet those together on the sides to compile them together.

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You’ll need to do abit of manual re-shaping to fit these parts together flawlessly.

12. Once the hand pieces are attached, you’ll have to drill holes and rivet the 4 ends of the pieces (Both upper corners of the first pieces and the lower corners of the last piece) onto the glove,

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That feeling when you are done. Yes, admire it, it’s like your newborn child, goddamnit.

Well, there you have it, a perfectly functional gauntlet. Whilst your first creation might not go as you’d expected, you have fully grasped the concept of making a gauntlet, and you can start forging more elaborate ones if you’re up for game.

Do take note that this is a Work-In-Progress, this isn’t a complete tutorial thus far, I have yet to make my second gauntlet and refine my tutorial. I’ll update this post if I’ve the time to hammer stuff.

A Long update from my laziness on blogging……

It’s been a month ever since I’ve updated this bloody thing, lots of work to do, and other life problems and as such…

Just a preview of what I’ve did for the past month…

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Working on maile Jewelry is a pain, with the requirements of specific tools and materials to make the jewelry that I want to sell, even that Singapore is a difficult place to look for specialized tools.

 

So I have set up a shop to sell the accessories and crafted stuff that I eventually am going to make, The Renaissance Shop, on the online store Carousell.

 

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Not much is happening in the online store though….. but I’ll see my luck on Etsy and see if I can sell other crafts like leather pouches and such.

In the meantime, I’ll be planning to post out an entry regarding the medieval weapon arts of the sword and shield, which sadly there isn’t much info about it in the High Middle Ages. The only closest Medieval Treatise is the I:33 Sword and Buckler, and even that is dynamically different than say a heater shield.

Historical Analysis – Mail and Plate, a comparison

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—Thought I’d try something different this time, adding on to the workshop posts, tapping into knowledge back in historical times on the interesting advances and adaptions of technology etc. This post will be dedicated to the comparison between Maile and Plate during 14th-16th Century. Note by any means this is not an extensive research, but an analysis from my findings from books, experience and the internet— 

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Pretty much sums it up how long it takes to make Maile. I know, I’m still working on it.

There has been a universal understanding that the transitional era where maile armour that was dorminant for almost two millenniums was inevitably replaced with a more rigid, economical, protective (and aesthetical dare I say) piece of technology that phased out the era of maile armour. One answer is simple rather, that plate armour’s strongest factor in dominating the European theatre of war near the 14th century was it’s ability to manufacture faster than maile.

To put it simply: A mail suit would take 2 months, a Breastplate 2 days.

And even with the decline of maile armour, this was not the end. There have been records of foot soldiers still donning up maile even in the 16th century, and the Ottoman Calvary were still using maile up till in the 17th century.

So for this blog post, let’s have an analysis on both armours on it’s physical merits and context out on the military battlefield.


 

Physical Characteristics

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This comparison is certainly unfair, but maile definitely has some advantages over plate, just not on combat terms, ithat would be just unsporty

Let’s look on the effectiveness of maile and plate Armour.

  Maile Armour has long existed as early as the 6rh Century BC, and proof of it’s effectiveness no doubt was it’s existence alone in various nations around the world, until plate armour and guns ruined the fun.

(Strengths)Maile suits or Hauberks are definitely the top choice of defense back in the 10-13th century. The Hauberks were fully covered in maile, including the vital parts such as the armpits. A good quality Riveted Maile Armour can easily protect the wear from any cuts from a blade, and provides reasonable protection from arrows and spears from the period where maile is dominant. Maile was designed similiar to a fabric dress, that offered more comfort compared to other armours. Compared to Plate, maile offers more mobility.*

(Weaknesses)Maile armour has three distinct disadvantages, Firstly that it’s not a rigid piece of defense but rather was constructed as a metallic fabric, meaning that it lacked the rigid defense to stop blunt force trauma against an impending course, that is where the big bad mace comes in as an anti-armour weapon that was apparent in the 12th century. Secondly, it was still vulnerable to piercing weapons, while it still can protect from thrusts, the evolution of bodkin arrows and the momentum of polearms still surpassed the protection. Thirdly, most of the weight hangs on the shoulders of said wearer, with only rhe belt acting as a secondary force. This does ‘drag’ down the wearer much, unlike say Plate armour.

Plate Armour does hold king to it’s superiority over maile, but also for the fact that weapons were also evolving to a point that maile armour can be vulnerable. Weapons of the 15th century can easily tear apart maile on that matter.

  (Strengths)Plate armour has obvious advantages, being it able to protect the wearer from both cuts and thrusts(unless from heavy warhammers or polearms that can deliver alot of momentum) Plate armour also reasonably was able to stop blunt trauma due to a better area distribution. Also, it distributes weight better than maile, meaning that you can don plate all day and still feel nothing, if you’re a fit person that is.

  (Weaknesses)Unlike the fabric structure of maile, parts of plate will need straps to hold the armour itself, causing discomfort to the wearer. Plate armour was heavier than maile, although the difference was not much that would prove it unfavourable. Guns can pew-pew off armour, (although some 16th century armours were able to stop gunshots from a distance by an aquebus until better ones arrived at the end of the century)

Definitely compared on physical grounds that Plate armour is naturally superior on physical defenses than maile armour, but maile still have a few ups on it’s mobility factor.


 

Military Characteristics

 

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Ottoman Turk Calvary from the 16th-18th Century, even where guns were dominating. The Ottomans used maile mainly for their tactics and maile was more forgiving under hot weather.

Even when Plate Armour was favoured in European Battlefields, it has many disadvantages that doesn’t make it the ‘one-all’ choice’ when it comes down to military or societal context. In fact, maile was oftened considered over plate on circumstances where protection was not an imperative for the wearer. In the Middle East, the Ottomans were in favour of maile mainly because of their tactics and the environment around them.

  Plate armour still is the preferred choice of defense to aristocratic nobles for the time it takes to make compared to Maile. In 1427 Milan, Armour was in such a huge demand that a Factory town supplied in a few days of armour for 4000 Calvary and 2000 Infantry.**

The annoying problems about Plate armour was the time it takes to suit up, and it was nigh impossible to put the armour on yourself, which knights often required squires to assist them. And also if evident attacks were to occur right at your doorstep, plate armour would not be an option to self-preservation of life.

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  The cost price of Plate Armour is the least of your worries…..

Maile Armour on the other hand, was easy to don up compared to Plate. (I’ve had experience so I’d know) In a punch, putting on a maile Hauberk can be as fast as a few seconds alone with proper technique. Maile was definitely preferred when knightly work requires nothing life-threatening such as a patrol in peacetime, the maile would be a top choice.

Of course, Maile does not fall into non-existant oblivion, it still was used by foot soldiers up to the 16th century, and before the rise of Plate, maile armour, however slow was accumulating up, and still provides decent protection, until guns ruined everything.


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An Ottoman Sipahi, I believe this is 16th-17th due to the rather late era look on the Helmet.

Surprisingly enough, Maile was still existent in the Ottoman Empire and India up till the 19th Century, as tactics in the Middle East were different than European Armies. Where masses of Tin Cans are bashing out head on, the Ottomans favoured speed over protection. Ottomans also favoured archery, which maile was decent enough to protect against, and believed that armour could do little against muskets and cannons.(Although 16th century European armour can survive aquebus shots until the invention of muskets)

Also, due to the structure of the Fedual system in Europe, the Nobles and Knights, military leaders of warfare, have to be responsible for their own protection, priority being owning the best armours to survive in the heat of battle. For the Ottomans, it’s more effective to fund on superior weaponry such as cannons than spending on armour and ruin everything.

Also, Damn you Guns.

 

*Mobility as in more of how restrictive it feels. A Plate Armour can be very mobile to the wearer given the right conditioning, and maile has the disadvantage of weight distribution

**From the book “THE ARMOURER AND HIS CRAFT” by Charles ffoulkes

 


–Hopefully this wealth of informtation would definitely excite Medivalism Lovers, although I have to state again that this is more of an analysis rather than proper research, but to state, I’ve went through forums and books extensively in regards to confirm historical accuracy and have experience with maile(although butted)—

Just a few sources of the many I found:

Myarmoury.com

http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/isaa/hd_isaa.htm

Also, putting on plate armour vid

Do shoutout a feedback if you notice a discrepancy in the sources or like to comment about. All these info are used purely for educational entertainment, so I’m going to throw out that card out here.

The Workshop – Making a Cloth Arming Cap (WIP)

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— Note: This guide is my interpretation of my own methods in making an Arming Cap, and is meant for individuals living in Singapore. This guide also requires some basic knowledge of using a sewing machine. —

— Also, this is a Work-In-Progress and I do not have pictures of my own Arming Caps, due to a lack of documentaion from doing so. I’ll start making another and improve upon this post once I have the time, so excuse the lack of visual representation. —-

Two weeks has passed and I still haven’t posted anything relevant with the Renaissance Project, to grow a Singaporean community about a bunch of people wearing girly caps and beat each other with metallic sticks.

So, to alleviate this issue of nearly succumbing into what people call, being a homeless bum, I’ve decided to take the initiative to start The Workshop Category, part and parcel of how-tos and knick nacks, if it’s a perfect excuse to stop my talk-to-self blog postage spree.

A friend of mine requested for a tutorial on making stuff, so for today’s post, I’m going to show you how to make Girly Arming caps.

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Yes, Men of the Middle Ages embraced it with such pride and glory.

A red arming cap without straps, from http://www.landsknecht.org

 

Arming caps were used back in the Middle Ages as a form of insulation for the wearer against the weather. These headwear were usually made out of cotton or wool, with the colour unbleached(white), and it’s popularity contributing to how easy it is to make.  Another practical use is a padding for soldiers who require it to cushion their heads from metal helmets.

Onto the subject of making Arming Caps, here is what you’ll need to get started.

1)Access to a sewing machine, a basic sewing machine set (threads, pins, scissors, etc), and some basic skills on the sewing machine, an iron set.

2)Template for the Arming Cap. An easy find on the internet. You’ll need to measure and scale the template for this tutorial before you proceed to 3) and 4)

3)1m x 1m of fabric, preferrably cotton, linen or wool (This generous amount is meant for 1st timers)

4)Thick art paper, to cut out as a reference. A3/A2 size.

5)Tailor Chalk, VERY IMPORTANT

 

 

1) So first off, you’ll need to learn abit of machine sewing skills before proceeding to make your arming cap.  If you don’t have access to a sewing machine at home, try to ask around your school(if you’re a student), ask an old relative(chances are, they might have their own machines), find a Craftspace/Makerspace in Singapore, or find a Sewing interest Group online.

Check out how to set up a Sewing Machine if you’re learning how to sew, also check out Single Fold Hem, Double Fold Hem,  they are essential to making your arming caps look neat.

Irons are essential for fabrics since they will help to flatten/fold them while stitching and also help to remove creases on your cloth.

 

2) The Template can be easily found with just a google search, but I find this template easy to work with, it’s rather straightforward.

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Very simple template, just ignore the dotted lines, they are meant for padding the caps. Copy this image and print it out, I’ve set it to A4 size

 

3) The most convenient way of getting cloth/wool/linen is to search for Spotlight shops at your local mall, or if you’re in for a trip or to get something cheaper, there is always Arab Street near Bugis MRT.

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A usual Fabrics store from the hundred shops in Arab St. the store owners will likely point you to the right store for your needs.

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A convenient option for those that lack the time but can spare the cash.

 

4) Drawing Block would do, but you might want to go to an art shop to get an A2 size.

5) Tailor chalk is very important to trace on your fabric.

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Essential for tracing, can be found on any sewing supplies stores.

 

 

Making your arming cap:

For most of the time, the tutorials from the internet are quite technical and lengthy, so my version of this guide will be a more straightforward method.

A) First off, get the template from 2) and print it out, A4 size.

B) Measure the circumference from your forehead to the back of your neck, in this diagram.

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C) From the measurement of B), Compare it to the length of the center piece of the template. This will be your scale ratio.

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The measurement ratio I’ve got is 1:2 or 1:2.5, depending on the size of your head. The reason of this improvised measurement is to easily scale the size of the Arming Cap for the wearer’s head.

D) Measure out the scale of the template into your Art paper 4), trace out the template, and cut it out.

E) Get the cut out paper and trace the fabric together with tailor chalk. Give an extra 1cm size on the tracing, you’ll need to fold the fabrics when stitching them together, VERY IMPORTANT

F) Cut out the traced fabric, the cutout fabrics should look like these:

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A are the sides of the cap, B will be the straps of the cap that you tie together to secure the cap on your head, C is your center piece.

G) You’ll need to fold the fabrics as stated from E), and you can fold them either with pins or using the iron to fold the fabrics on place.

H)Onto the sewing machine, machine sew over the fold with a simple stitch.

I)Combine the fabric pieces together by overlapping them and stitch them together.

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The sides of A will be connected to C, while B will be stitched onto the ends of A

This whole making experience will take at most 2 hours or so, so enjoy the fruits of your labour when it’s done. It’s a rather cooling cap to wear even in a humid weather in Singapore, and certainly an effective padding when wearing helmets as such, but society frowns upon normal people wearing mismatched headwear, so put them on in Medieval Fairs/Cosplay/LARP/Fencing stuff and so on.

Oh, and do comment if you wish to feedback about my post. The Workshop is a hands-on branch for my blog, and I intend to make more entries regarding the crafting/making of related items of the Renaissance/Medieval Eras.

 

Maker Faire Singapore 2015!

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It’s been a long week….

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It was an agonizing luggage plowing sweatshop fustercluck, but it is done.

Maker Faire is an event that held in Singapore on the 11-12th July, and for my booth The Renaissance Project, consisted of two catergories, Chainmail, and Hearldry. We also had a demonstration and some of us being historical mannequins to entertain the crowd.

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Kudos to Zhe Hao and Ryan as my sweatshop workers  booth managers for the faire

I didn’t expect myself to be able to pull this through, considering that it’s mostly been a one-man job for me on the preparations. But then again, the booth existed, people came, and that’s more crucial to let people know that we exist.  As much content that was supposed to be in the Faire (Metal Gauntlets, Leather Pouches), so much was cut away from, the Chainmaile and the Heraldry Section was sufficient enough to draw crowds.

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It was a success, the booth did manage to pick up the interest of the ongoing visitors, some of them trying out our booths in making Chainmail and Medieval Head Gears.

Honestly, I did not think that The Renaissance Project can be viable in this country, considering how people can tell me that painted tennis balls are fireballs and cosplay has been the dominant BUT some have came to expressed opinions of organizing classes a workshop for schools, and I think it’s time to make it sustainable.

Most of this would not be possible if not for my friends who have supported me in this. Zhe Hao, Ryan and Daniel. Also, a shoutout of thanks to OMG for allowing me to represent my booth in their group, and Robin & the PHEMAS group for hosting a demonstration on Saturday.

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Me(left) and Daniel(right). We make a pretty good team making Chainmail

If this is something that I can make it work upon into the future, I could easily get a renaissance fair here in Singapore

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Oh yes.

 

New Banner for the Initiative!

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Ok, I might have come off as too much of a cynical person from my previous posts, perhaps I should try something light-hearted for once.

I’ve made a banner for The Renaissance Project, yay.

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It’s something that I’m frankly proud of, and I’m quite fond of how it looks rather amateurish, it gives itself a rather jovial character of a maker rather than ‘businesslike professional’.

The Renaissance Project is a Initiative to bring back the Maker’s Culture to the Historical Ages(romans, vikings, Middle Ages, etc.) where craftsmanship and blacksmithing are highly regarded, back in the days when a hand-crafted spoon could be valued as a heirloom. How humanity has strived to create an identity for themselves, practitioning their trades and learning how to do it. Like how you can’t get the things you want like globalization, common people back then have to improvise and make things themselves.

Perhaps I might sound biased on that paragraph, but in the modern days of industrialization, it seems that we are contempt at the concept of machines, instant products churning out at our doorstep, without the need to know more further than what the product does. In the age of technology, we have progressed, and yet we seemed to have dwindled. We think much but yet we feel too little, and the convenience of technology has led us to be complacent about learning. That’s why the Maker community can be a significant contributor to the world. To bring back the joy of discovery everyday.

And to note my frustration over the maker community, 3D Printing is not exclusively equals to Making.

That’s what I at least perceived of it, although that’s not absolutely the case, but I think Making can be more diversified even in this day and age. To get our hands dirty and to make stuff, even if it does not bling out sparkly lights, is at least an experience for us to understand how things work around. When we involve ourselves more to create, we gain a ‘sentimental’ value for what we have made, and will care for and value our creation, even if it’s an amateur job. Likewise, consumption is the opposite, making us apathetic to things around us. Only when we understand where and how things around us come from, only do we cherish. Which goes back to the topic above.

Translation: I’ll find a way, or I’ll make a way.

Although making Chainmail is a pain in the ass.

Making Chainmail

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Eh, being sick on the whole weekend is not funny, esp. when you’re organising a booth for the Maker Fair

But nonetheless, I have something to show for this week. Chainmail, something that my friends from the swordschool has taught me how for my interest in armoured swordfighting.

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Not my chain shirt, sadly…

Not going to give a history lesson here, but I’ll state out the interesting facts about chainmail

  • It existed back in the Dark Ages, but they are quite rare, In a viking raid, only 1 in 40 warriors get a chain hauberk.
  • Chainmail was prominent in the Middle Ages, but got shafted later on at the start of the 1400s due to a more ergonomical option for plate as it takes less metal and is faster to forge.
  • There are two types of chainmail, buttered and riveted.
  • Buttered mail takes the form of a ring that has a gap between both ends. Mostly for jewelry and for replica chainmail as making the historically accurate stuff is insane.
  • Riveted mail, the historically accurate mail, has a ring that overlaps with one another, while a rivet is snapped into the overlap, giving a secure connection with both ends. This is much stronger and durable than buttered, but requires you to rivet it.

If you’re living in an urbanized society, or for some reason forging metals are banned in your country(yeah, that.) Your options in armour making are limited. For metal armours, chainmail is the cheapest, “easiest to get into”(misleading), and its portable enough that you can do it anywhere.(if you like tugging around with weights)

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This is an example of a buttered ring. Mostly used by reanactors and people who realistically wants chainmail without a workshop.

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How riveted rings look like. The process should take 5-10 times longer than making a buttered ring, and that is IF you have set up a jig to make something that insanely long.

If you’re wondering about making chainmail here in Singapore or any other similar country that work is a ———– over your life, than you’re in a life of hell making chainmail…. Here are a few eye-popping considerations

  • You’ll need about 8-14kg worth of metal wires to make chainmail
  • Each kilogram is worth about 2000-3000 rings.
  • Say, the process of coiling wires into rings, cutting them, and weaving them takes about 30 seconds per ring.

Do the math, and you’d probably be still making a chain shirt for more than a year…. Here is an example:

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Seemingly harmless tin cans of korean seaweed(those are good actually). 4 kilograms of chainmail inside.

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Most of these are weaved into rectangle strips using the standard European 4-in-1 weave. Took about 6 months to weave all these together?(Only that’s because I’m not doing it periodically so it’s still realistically achievable within say less than a month)

Yes, starting out in chainmail is something that you’d probably should just throw the mantle to sweatshop workers from China or India to do it for you, but again, that’s just unmaker.

So…….. buy chainmail from China/India like some random= urban man or suffer an eternity making chainmail.

I wonder which is worse.

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Would probably be posting a how-to make chainmail in the future once I’ve established more into making all these stuff.

Blog Revamp, and some new things

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A new blog revamped for my latest commitments in pursuing my aspirations. A very frustrating yet somehow addictive problem that us young kids of the generation face. And yet after all that daydreaming and envy we all fall down into the same bottomless pit of reality hitting you like a frying pan. Such a shame that how one’s upbringing on education of the optimistic image of the ‘model’ achiever-that-can-do-anything has indeed made us so frail and defenseless against the tidings of the ‘real world’ when we realise that all those touting of getting a good education and doing your standard operating procedure of doing good is all it takes to fulfill your passion is an utter lie, like cake.

In short, yes. I’m not a fan of Victorian style schooling combined with an orwellian-like optimistic masquerade that has turned our creative brain into mush.

In shorter terms for the masses, Living in Singapore sucks.

If I am to stop all this crapshoot, I’ve decided to create a blog out of my research and documentation of my experimentation,

The Renaissance Project.

I intend to create an awareness of the Medieval Culture here. In Singapore. Which is something that seems to be never done here, and I’d like to have a Medieval Fair someday here, something that people can come together and make stuff to celebrate what it takes to be a smelly peasant. So how would I start this out that I would eventually get to see the light of a jousting tournament with pet poodles as horses?

Well, there is the Maker Faire coming up….. And it’s about Making, and Making is better than consuming, and I’m not going to give you a lecture about fast culture crap, and Medieval Fairs are mostly about Making stuff so…….

I’ve decided to make some surcoats, brilliant, no?

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If anyone wonders if this is all just for show, it’s not cosplay. I intend to use this as an overdress for me and my fencing mates as we do on a 1-on-1 duels with wooden wasters (for now). Lovely would that be if we have plate armour and meshed helmets to go with.

A Master once said that documenting your work helps to spread the message about the power of the community.

I think I should do that.

S.P: The Singapore Maker faire is held at Qiaonan Primary School on the 11th-12th July. Thought I’d throw this in in case someone has the same faith as I did.