How to make armor, by Arador.
This guide will teach you how to make armor but I strongly suggest you grab a copy of this fantastic book by Lorelei Sims, it makes a great companion for this guide.
If you’re anything like me, chances are you’ve had this unexplainable attraction to things medieval since you were a kid. Maybe it was spawned from a childhood toy, a fairy tale, or perhaps a movie. One day you happened upon a demonstration put on by some re-enactors, or perhaps you were just surfing the web, when you made a monumental discovery: “Wow! People still MAKE THIS STUFF!” This is usually closely followed by the thought, “Hey! I want to do this, too!” So in a glorious rush you have searched the Internet high and low, and found an armoring bulletin board, where you feverishly post to your newly discovered world of armorers something to this effect:
“Hi guys! I’m new to making armor, and I want to learn how to do it! Any help would be appreciated.
– Armor Newbie”
To your dismay, a week later there are no responses. “What gives?” you ask. “Doesn’t anyone want to help out?”
Well, the problem is the question. You see, asking “how do I make armor” is about as nebulous a question as asking, “How do I write a book?” or “How do I build an airplane?” A proper answer could fill volumes, which most folks aren’t willing to type up on a bulletin board. Why not? Well, the experienced folks who are capable of answering your question can tell right off, from the way you worded it, that you don’t know much, if anything, about making armor. That’s O.K., of course – all of us started out not knowing anything about making armor. However, before the experienced folks are going to invest the necessary time to compose well researched and cited responses to your questions, they want to know that it’s going to be worth it. In other words, they want to see from your questions that you have done some homework already.
This article about how to make armor was written to help folks like you get started!
The nice thing about most “hobbies” that revolve around an ancient craft, such as making armor, is that if they had the technology 500-1000 years ago to do it, the chances are that it can be done relatively easily today, assuming you have the skill. So the good news is that YES, you too CAN make armor. The bad news is, boy is there is a lot to learn before you can say that you can “make armor”. You see, the skill of “making armor” is actually a whole family of a bunch of other skills. Some are fairly easy, and require few tools. Others are fairly difficult, and take many, and expensive, tools. The armorer is a combination of artist, scientist, toolmaker, metallurgist, chemist, and engineer. A good armorer will have an understanding of mathematics, geometry, metallurgy, woodworking, and leatherworking, just to name a few skills. The modern armorer is also highly skilled at the art of improvisation, for nearly every tool at his disposal started out as something else and was converted to his needs.
Not only is there much to learn, but the prospective armorer should also know that armoring is an extremely expensive hobby. Now you don’t always have to pay with money – sometimes you can pay with time. Either time or money, you can be guaranteed that you are going to invest a considerable amount of both into this hobby, especially if you have dreams of constructing that full suit of gothic armor that we all have buried in our heads.