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23535Re: Making an Armguard?

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  • John and Carol Atkins
    Sep 25, 2007
      As a leatherworker, I prefer cordwainer, my two cents worth on this
      question. First is what type of leather. Leather can be tanned in
      a manner that it is very soft, i.e. deer tanned cow hide. Elk is
      thick, 7 - 10oz. and very good for footwear or heavy use things,
      bags, pouches. I have also used it to wrap bow grips as the
      thickness tends to cushion the grip. Deer makes good clothing as it
      is very strong for its thickness. However, leathers this soft are
      not suitable for an arm guard.

      Split grain leather, often miscalled suede, is made by reducing the
      thickness of the hide from a cow. When it comes off the cow it is
      about 3/4 inch thick. It is thinned down by slicing the inner
      layers off which are then sold as split grain leather (hence the
      name). This type of leather stretches and is typically very
      flexible. Again, not good qualities for an arm guard.

      Latigo and oil tanned leathers are stiffer per same thickness
      (leather industry uses oz. as a guage of thickness of leather). Veg
      tanned tooling cow hide is very stiff, more like both oil tanned and
      latigo. These three types of leather are full grain which means
      there is a rough inner side and a smooth outer side. The smooth
      side is the outside of it's original owner. If you use this type of
      leather 5 - 6 oz is generally suitable. Like mentioned here, if you
      get a good snap then it serves as a mention that you have a
      technique problem with your shooting. But with 5 - 6 oz veg or oil
      tanned or latigo you will not have a mark on your arm. If you want
      to tool or stamp your arm guard then you need veg tanned leather.
      Like a good pair of leather shoes the arm guard will custome form to
      your arm and soften a bit with wear.

      One thing I have done because it gets hot where I shoot and I tend
      to sweat a lot, is line the inside of the arm guard with synthetic
      wool. I prefer the synthetic because it dries faster and can be
      washed without fear of shrinking or other issues that can happen
      with real sheep's wool. The other nicety is that the synthetic wool
      is thin, thinner than real wool. You can get this stuff at your
      local fabric shop.

      Remember that an arm guard is never, assuming you have any semblance
      of technique going with your shooting, struck square on. Instead it
      deflects a glancing blow at a very sharp angle. What you don't want
      to do, and I have seen this, is put spots, spikes, buckles or rivets
      (things that stick up) on the inside, the side facing the bow
      string. (I know, you are most likely thinking "What do you think
      I'm an idiot?" Not at all, but I have seen archers with this type
      of arm guard and they wonder why their string gets all chewed up!)

      I have some patterns for arm guards I am willing to share if you
      would like.

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