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Re: armour making too

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  • Susan and Frank Downs
    ... Greetings to all, Here s why I like steel armor: it s period! When I made my hotoke-do eighteen years ago I used fourteen gauge mild steel for the front,
    Message 1 of 23 , Aug 21, 2002
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      > Date: Tue, 20 Aug 2002 13:12:33 -0400
      > From: "Douglas Shannon" <Professor03@...>
      > Subject: Re: armour making too
      >
      > I too am looking into doing a bit of Japanese kit over the winter, but want
      > to avoid plastic if I can.
      >
      > Can anyone suggest an appropriate gauge of steel (probably mild) to be used
      > as SCA armor or can someone give me a REALLY good reason to NOT use steel?
      >
      > Sylvester Burchardt
      > East Kingdom
      >

      Greetings to all,

      Here's why I like steel armor: it's period! When I made my hotoke-do
      eighteen years ago I used fourteen gauge mild steel for the front, because
      it's what we happened to have a big chunk of lying around the armory, and I
      may have made a bit of a mistake. But eighteen years later, I still have
      that same do. I have still had to pound a few creases out of it, and I've
      had to play with how it's strapped and hinged (neither entirely period, I'm
      sorry to say, I've just resorted to strips of leather), but it's the same
      metal. It desperately needs repainting and relacing (not the first times, I
      assure you), but it may even have saved my life one time when I was charging
      in a woods battle, tripped and fell on a pointy root that was sticking
      straight out of the ground like a pungee stake aimed right at my heart.

      So here are the gauges I used on all the parts of my armor in 1984 (All of
      which are still in use, except for the haidate):

      hachi 14 ga. (had to pound out a few creases)
      shikoro 16 ga. (gets bent, has to be straightened)
      sode 14 ga. (wouldn't change, works great)
      do (front) 14 ga.
      do (back) 16 ga. (some dents, but works well)
      kote 14 ga. (heavy, but I like them)
      kusazori 16 ga. (protect well -- I've taken pole arm crotch thrusts --
      but tear up the haidate; I'd like to try leather)
      haidate 18 ga. (a mistake, I've since gone to leather)
      suneate (knee) 14 ga. (good)
      suneate (shin) 18 ga. (a surprisingly good choice; they've taken shots and
      sprung right back)

      Yes, my armor is very heavy, but it's well distributed and I'm a pretty
      heavily built guy, so it doesn't bother me. A whole lot depends on what you
      can take and what you're willing to put up with. Steel armor needs
      repainting and it shows that pretty quickly -- it doesn't keep that factory
      showroom finish the way plastic seems to. My armor is very hard on its
      laces and fabric components. There may be some tricks to getting laces to
      last, something to do with the painting or really filing out each hole, but
      I don't know them. The biggest change I would make is some kind of very
      stiff heavy leather kusazori, because those metal ones swinging around
      really tear up the cloth part of the haidate and go through a lot of laces
      (They sound great though, and provide real peace of mind when those
      inevitable crotch thrusts come your way).

      Good luck!
      --
      Takenoshita Naro
      Marinus, Atlantia

      Frank Downs
      Chesapeake, Virginia
    • Zach Schneider
      You should be able to find a sheet of 16 guage steel, whether hot rolled or cold rolled for about 35 bucks and is 4 feet by 8 feet. Yoshida Takezo ... From:
      Message 2 of 23 , Aug 21, 2002
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        You should be able to find a sheet of 16 guage steel, whether hot rolled or
        cold rolled for about 35 bucks and is 4 feet by 8 feet.
        Yoshida Takezo
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "Douglas Shannon" <Professor03@...>
        To: <sca-jml@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Wednesday, August 21, 2002 2:09 PM
        Subject: [SCA-JML] Re: armour making too


        > > From: "Douglas Shannon" <Professor03@...>
        > >Subject: Re: armour making too
        > >
        > >I too am looking into doing a bit of Japanese kit over the winter, but
        want
        > >to avoid plastic if I can.
        > >
        > >Can anyone suggest an appropriate gauge of steel (probably mild) to be
        used
        > >as SCA armor or can someone give me a REALLY good reason to NOT use
        steel?
        >
        > Thanks to one and all who offered advice, it's truely appreciated!
        >
        > Now I need to find someplace to buy steel plate for relatively cheap in
        the
        > New York Metro area...
        >
        > Sylvester Burchardt
        > East Kingdom
        >
        >
        >
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      • James Eckman
        ... I suspect iron armor is period ;) Your not going to see a great quantity of steel until the industrial revolution. ... Very neat table with results
        Message 3 of 23 , Aug 23, 2002
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          > From: jim e grunst <scadragon@...>
          > From: Susan and Frank Downs <sfdowns@...>
          > Subject: Re: armour making too


          > Here's why I like steel armor: it's period!


          I suspect iron armor is period ;) Your not going to see a great quantity
          of steel until the industrial revolution.

          > So here are the gauges I used on all the parts of my armor in 1984 (All of
          > which are still in use, except for the haidate):
          >
          > hachi 14 ga. (had to pound out a few creases)

          <snip>

          Very neat table with results listed! Are these all mild steel? One wacky
          idea that I'm going to suggest is to use high carbon steel plates that
          are tempered. I've used various scraps from the steel banding that they
          use to wrap and secure crates for woodworking tools, it's a tough spring
          steel which will probably have to be bent instead of cut and have the
          edges ground smooth and rounded. Unlikely to be bent or dented! This is
          even less period in one sense!

          Good luck
        • Ii Saburou
          ... ?? You see a log of lacquered leather, but also a lot of steel in later period armour. I ll look up sources if you would like--why would you say that it
          Message 4 of 23 , Aug 23, 2002
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            On Fri, 23 Aug 2002, James Eckman wrote:

            > I suspect iron armor is period ;) Your not going to see a great quantity
            > of steel until the industrial revolution.

            ??

            You see a log of lacquered leather, but also a lot of steel in later
            period armour. I'll look up sources if you would like--why would you say
            that it would have to wait until the industrial revolution? They
            obviously knew how to make it, although mass producing it for everything
            we use it in (cars, homes, etc.) was beyond their reach.

            -Ii
          • dateyukiie
            Greetings to all on the list, and especially thos I finally met either on the battlefield or in private at Pennsic from Yama Kaminari no Date Saburou Yukiie; I
            Message 5 of 23 , Aug 23, 2002
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              Greetings to all on the list, and especially thos I finally met either
              on the battlefield or in private at Pennsic from Yama Kaminari no Date
              Saburou Yukiie;
              I fight heavy weapons alot.
              I would like to submit that I have had a sengoku jidai style nimai do
              since just before the Gulf War that I made entirely out of 16ga cold
              rold mild steel. It is laced in the kebiki style, which absorbs an
              awfull lot of the impact. I have had to minorly straighten out
              slightly bent sode, and have had to repair edge lacing, but have never
              had to entirely relace the harness. My kabuto is also ga cold rolled,
              and the shikoro is laced kebiki. Minor reforming on the shikoro, but
              no structural problems with the hachi (bowl).
              I wear haidate made of the same material over a close quilted fabric
              base, and only suffer bruises in the inside of the leg, if I get hit
              there. My somen is 16ga cold rolled, and has multiple compound curves
              built into it, which add to the rigidity. It has never so much as been
              dented, although I have taken numerous hits to the face.
              With a smile, I suggest that a good kinetic defence will help protect
              your armor, and your body, but I have never had any real problems with
              the mechanical functionality of the steel.
              I would also like to thank those who posed for pics for my web pages.
              They can be found if you follow the links marked "other projects" on
              the www.kabutographics pages and aim towards the Knowne World Samurai
              pages.
              Thanks also to Yumi for his wonderful demos of kyudo, and his sage
              advice with regards to period archery.
              respects to all...
              Yama Kaminari no Date Yukiie
              Shi wa hei to de aru - all are equall in the grave





              --- In sca-jml@y..., Ii Saburou <logan@m...> wrote:
              > On Fri, 23 Aug 2002, James Eckman wrote:
              >
              > > I suspect iron armor is period ;) Your not going to see a great
              quantity
              > > of steel until the industrial revolution.
              >
              > ??
              >
              > You see a log of lacquered leather, but also a lot of steel in later
              > period armour. I'll look up sources if you would like--why would
              you say
              > that it would have to wait until the industrial revolution? They
              > obviously knew how to make it, although mass producing it for
              everything
              > we use it in (cars, homes, etc.) was beyond their reach.
              >
              > -Ii
            • elsyr@attbi.com
              Of course, if you wanted to be _really_ period about your armor construction materials (especially for munitions grade armor), you could go around to garage
              Message 6 of 23 , Aug 23, 2002
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                Of course, if you wanted to be _really_ period about
                your armor construction materials (especially for
                munitions grade armor), you could go around to garage
                sales and pick up old rakes, shovels, and various other
                implements of destruction and cut your iozane out of
                those. :-)

                Sumiyori
                > > From: jim e grunst <scadragon@...>
                > > From: Susan and Frank Downs <sfdowns@...>
                > > Subject: Re: armour making too
                >
                >
                > > Here's why I like steel armor: it's period!
                >
                >
                > I suspect iron armor is period ;) Your not going to see a great quantity
                > of steel until the industrial revolution.
                >
                > > So here are the gauges I used on all the parts of my armor in 1984 (All of
                > > which are still in use, except for the haidate):
                > >
                > > hachi 14 ga. (had to pound out a few creases)
                >
                > <snip>
                >
                > Very neat table with results listed! Are these all mild steel? One wacky
                > idea that I'm going to suggest is to use high carbon steel plates that
                > are tempered. I've used various scraps from the steel banding that they
                > use to wrap and secure crates for woodworking tools, it's a tough spring
                > steel which will probably have to be bent instead of cut and have the
                > edges ground smooth and rounded. Unlikely to be bent or dented! This is
                > even less period in one sense!
                >
                > Good luck
                >
                >
                >
                > UNSUBSCRIBE: E-mail sca-jml-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                >
                > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                >
                >
              • Ash Smith
                ... While it is true that steel was not mass produced untill the industrial revolution, swords and armor have been steel for as long as we ve been working iron
                Message 7 of 23 , Aug 23, 2002
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                  > I suspect iron armor is period ;) Your not going to see a great quantity
                  > of steel until the industrial revolution.

                  While it is true that steel was not mass produced untill the industrial
                  revolution, swords and armor have been steel for as long as we've been
                  working iron in a forge.
                  Steel = Iron+Carbon
                  Swords and armor are made from iron worked over a flame... usually coal.
                  Anyway, the fuel put carbon into the iron.
                  Now, it's not high carbon steel or anything, but armor and most definately
                  swords were steel... and no longer iron.

                  Iron would not work very well for armor or swords... it won't hold an edge,
                  and it's relatively brittle... plus it'd be hard to get it into shape
                  without using a forge... which would then make it steel.

                  Humbly,
                  Ash
                • lost90804
                  ... quantity ... you say ... Lords may have steel armor, but I m sure the grunts used iron. Before the newer style furnaces, making steel was a very laborious
                  Message 8 of 23 , Aug 23, 2002
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                    --- In sca-jml@y..., Ii Saburou <logan@m...> wrote:
                    > On Fri, 23 Aug 2002, James Eckman wrote:
                    >
                    > > I suspect iron armor is period ;) Your not going to see a great
                    quantity
                    > > of steel until the industrial revolution.
                    >
                    > ??
                    >
                    > You see a log of lacquered leather, but also a lot of steel in later
                    > period armour. I'll look up sources if you would like--why would
                    you say
                    > that it would have to wait until the industrial revolution?

                    Lords may have steel armor, but I'm sure the grunts used iron. Before
                    the newer style furnaces, making steel was a very laborious process
                    that wasn't very productive and required a great deal of fuel.

                    If you know some percentages, it would be very interesting. Also was
                    it steel or was it case hardened? Turning a thin layer into steel. A
                    process still in use for things like Pinto crankshafts ;)

                    They
                    > obviously knew how to make it, although mass producing it for
                    everything
                    > we use it in (cars, homes, etc.) was beyond their reach.

                    Mass production in the West didn't come about until fairly recently as
                    well. It's not like the Japanese were backward in this respect, most
                    people were using similar processes in period.

                    Jim Eckman
                  • lost90804
                    ... Depends on how the carbon is dispersed. Iron can have carbon nodules in large numbers. For it to be steel, the carbon and iron atoms have to link. Usually
                    Message 9 of 23 , Aug 23, 2002
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                      --- In sca-jml@y..., "Ash Smith" <chronoknight@m...> wrote:

                      > While it is true that steel was not mass produced untill the industrial
                      > revolution, swords and armor have been steel for as long as we've been
                      > working iron in a forge.
                      > Steel = Iron+Carbon

                      Depends on how the carbon is dispersed. Iron can have carbon nodules
                      in large numbers. For it to be steel, the carbon and iron atoms have
                      to link. Usually in the old days this meant packing iron in an
                      airtight container with a carbon source (like hoof parings) and
                      cooking it for a day or two at high temperatures. There are other
                      period methods, none of them are fast nor do they produce any great
                      quantities. People with money could have steel, it's just not very common.

                      > Swords and armor are made from iron worked over a flame... usually coal.
                      > Anyway, the fuel put carbon into the iron.
                      > Now, it's not high carbon steel or anything, but armor and most
                      definately
                      > swords were steel... and no longer iron.

                      > Iron would not work very well for armor or swords... it won't hold
                      an edge,
                      > and it's relatively brittle... plus it'd be hard to get it into shape
                      > without using a forge... which would then make it steel.

                      It would make poor swords, but there probably were poor swords for the
                      average ashigaru. Wrought iron which is the vast majority of metal
                      items in period is not brittle, it works and welds in a forge easier
                      than steel does and is far more corrosion resistant than steel. Cast
                      iron has totally different characteristics, it can be brittle, it
                      can't be forged or welded, etc. It was quite common, (indeed I own
                      some) for tools to be wrought iron except for a tiny piece of steel
                      forge welded on as a cutting edge. The more expensive Japanese chisels
                      are still made this way!

                      Yours,
                      Jim Eckman
                    • Susan and Frank Downs
                      ... It s very clear that by my period (late Momoyama) Large quantities of steel were very common. I don t really know when that came about, but I suspect it
                      Message 10 of 23 , Aug 23, 2002
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                        Quoth James Eckman <FUGU@...>:

                        > I suspect iron armor is period ;) Your not going to see a great quantity
                        > of steel until the industrial revolution.

                        It's very clear that by my period (late Momoyama) Large quantities of steel
                        were very common. I don't really know when that came about, but I suspect
                        it involved European influence. My understanding is that before this was
                        possible they used steel from "old rakes, shovels, and various other
                        implements of destruction," to quote Sumiyori, and especially from old, worn
                        out saw blades and files to make kozane. Clearly, extremely high quality
                        steel goes way back in Japanese history, but it also seems clear that
                        quantites and particularly sizes of pieces were limited (as Ii mentioned).
                        I'll admit that this baffles me, but I'm no student of industrial history.

                        Further quoting:

                        > Very neat table with results listed! Are these all mild steel?

                        Glad you liked the table; yes, it was all cold-rolled mild steel as I
                        recall. Your suggestion seems interesting and even more period in the sense
                        of reusing materials. I gather, though, that you're talking about making
                        kosane to be laced together, and I was refering to a two-piece hotoke do
                        (solid breast and back plates hinged together).

                        Yama Kaminari no Date Saburou Yukiie mentioned:

                        > I fight heavy weapons alot.
                        > I would like to submit that I have had a sengoku jidai style nimai do
                        > since just before the Gulf War that I made entirely out of 16ga cold
                        > rold mild steel. It is laced in the kebiki style, which absorbs an
                        > awfull lot of the impact. I have had to minorly straighten out
                        > slightly bent sode, and have had to repair edge lacing, but have never
                        > had to entirely relace the harness.

                        and:

                        > With a smile, I suggest that a good kinetic defence will help protect
                        > your armor, and your body, but I have never had any real problems with
                        > the mechanical functionality of the steel.

                        I congratulate you on the durability of your armor and the skill of your
                        defense. I would like to point out that I was talking about 18 years of
                        use. I have noticed that after about 5 years of fighting my laces are much
                        more drably colored, and many have begun to fray and break (I'm estimating
                        here, but it feels like about five years; of course it depends on many other
                        factors, like how often my "dead" body is dragged through muddy fields and
                        whether or not I'm in a royal guard. Both those events seem to cause me to
                        relace sooner).

                        If your kinetic defense adequately protects your armor in a bridge battle,
                        or even a hot and heavy field battle, I'm frankly impressed. I know mine
                        doesn't, but then I sometimes enjoy going out in a suicidal blaze of, if not
                        glory, at least foolhardiness. The gaijin seem to enjoy it! ;)

                        --
                        Takenoshita Naro
                        Frank Downs
                        Who used to believe he knew a little about samurai armor, until he was asked
                        to proofread Anthony Bryant's articles!
                      • lost90804
                        ... of steel ... I suspect most of that is iron, not steel. ... Europeans don t have any decent methods to mass produce steel in this period either. I can bore
                        Message 11 of 23 , Aug 23, 2002
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                          --- In sca-jml@y..., Susan and Frank Downs <sfdowns@p...> wrote:
                          > Quoth James Eckman <FUGU@p...>:
                          >
                          > It's very clear that by my period (late Momoyama) Large quantities
                          of steel
                          > were very common.

                          I suspect most of that is iron, not steel.

                          > I don't really know when that came about, but I suspect
                          > it involved European influence.

                          Europeans don't have any decent methods to mass produce steel in this
                          period either. I can bore everyone with a timeline when I get home to
                          some reference works. There is steel, just not lots of it and it's
                          very pricy because you need lots of fuel to make it compared to
                          wrought iron.

                          My understanding is that before this was
                          > possible they used steel from "old rakes, shovels, and various other
                          > implements of destruction," to quote Sumiyori, and especially from
                          old, worn
                          > out saw blades and files to make kozane.

                          ??? Reuse of iron was very extensive. I suspect old steel was reused
                          for smaller tools until it virtually disappeared from wear as was the
                          case in the US until recently.

                          > I'll admit that this baffles me, but I'm no student of industrial
                          history.

                          I'm a bit of an otaku on the subject, I'm also an engineer by trade.

                          >I gather, though, that you're talking about making
                          > kosane to be laced together, and I was refering to a two-piece hotoke do
                          > (solid breast and back plates hinged together).

                          I suspect buying a piece of high carbon steel that large would be
                          quite a bit more expensive than mild steel! Yes I was thinking of
                          smaller scales and plates since the largest stuff I see tossed away is
                          about 1 1/2" wide. The price is right!

                          Jim Eckman
                        • Ii Saburou
                          ... Okay, I finally got a chance to delve into my books. Stephen Turnbull mentions that armour was either leather or iron , with an obvious tendancy for
                          Message 12 of 23 , Aug 23, 2002
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                            On Fri, 23 Aug 2002, lost90804 wrote:

                            > It would make poor swords, but there probably were poor swords for the
                            > average ashigaru. Wrought iron which is the vast majority of metal
                            > items in period is not brittle, it works and welds in a forge easier
                            > than steel does and is far more corrosion resistant than steel. Cast
                            > iron has totally different characteristics, it can be brittle, it
                            > can't be forged or welded, etc. It was quite common, (indeed I own
                            > some) for tools to be wrought iron except for a tiny piece of steel
                            > forge welded on as a cutting edge. The more expensive Japanese chisels
                            > are still made this way!

                            Okay, I finally got a chance to delve into my books. Stephen Turnbull
                            mentions that armour was either 'leather or iron', with an obvious
                            tendancy for metal later in period. I don't see any reference to steel
                            being using in the armour, only in the weapons; I do see plenty of
                            references to the iron armour and iron scales. Thus, I have to agree with
                            you that most armour appears to have been iron, rather than specifically
                            steel. (I'm not sure if this is true in Europe as well)

                            However, steel seems to work very well for our purposes. Does anyone know
                            if you can get iron to use to make the plates? I would be very interested
                            in what light more research might shed on this.

                            -Ii
                          • Arthur Raymond
                            I ll put in my 2 koku for aluminum. Its light and strong, plus a little thicker than steel, so it makes a nice built up effect without any work. Togashi Ichiro
                            Message 13 of 23 , Aug 24, 2002
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                              I'll put in my 2 koku for aluminum. Its light and strong, plus a little thicker than steel, so it makes a nice built up effect without any work.

                              Togashi Ichiro
                              ----- Original Message -----
                              From: jim e grunst
                              Sent: Wednesday, 21 August, 2002 12:40
                              To: sca-jml@yahoogroups.com
                              Cc: sca-jml@yahoogroups.com
                              Subject: Re: [SCA-JML] Re: armour making too

                              I found some great ALUMINUM at work, cut a dozen plates.
                              Looks like it'll work, total Do will weigh about 22-25 Lbs

                              Takeda Tochiro

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                            • James Eckman
                              ... Finding wrought iron is a bit difficult, the Japanese toolmakers mentioned earlier salvage pre-1890s anchor chain for theirs while I ve heard rumours that
                              Message 14 of 23 , Aug 24, 2002
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                                > From: Ii Saburou <logan@...>

                                > However, steel seems to work very well for our purposes. Does anyone
                                > know if you can get iron to use to make the plates? I would be very
                                > interested in what light more research might shed on this.

                                Finding wrought iron is a bit difficult, the Japanese toolmakers
                                mentioned earlier salvage pre-1890s anchor chain for theirs while I've
                                heard rumours that a mill in Europe makes small batches every once in a
                                while for speciality markets. Old buildings can be a source as well as
                                old artifacts, most of which are approaching or have obtained
                                collecter's status since they are over 100 years old.

                                Here's one supplier, the web's a great thing!
                                http://www.realwroughtiron.com/
                                Includes a nice history and explanation of wrought iron.

                                Jim Eckman
                              • Anthony J. Bryant
                                On the whole steel vs. iron debate, we need to go right to the source: Japanese armourers. Sakakibara Kozan says this: The method of forgin armour plates must
                                Message 15 of 23 , Aug 24, 2002
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                                  On the whole steel vs. iron debate, we need to go right to the source:
                                  Japanese armourers.

                                  Sakakibara Kozan says this: "The method of forgin armour plates must first
                                  be considered. A plate should consist of an outer surface of steel and an
                                  inner of iron, the former being half the thickness of the latter. ...
                                  Disused hoes and spades afford the best inner iron for plates. Any steel
                                  remaining at the edge of the implement is stripped off and the part that
                                  remains, being very flexible, must be folded and forged for its new
                                  purpose."

                                  Kozane, however, were apparently primarily iron or leather, not steel.


                                  Effingham
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