Category: Armor



This mail shirt is made of dome riveted round rings and alternating flat rings (no butted rings). But for full disclosure, this is the first (and only) piece of armor not made of carbon steel — this is aluminum. Aluminum is about half the weight of steel, but that’s not why I went with aluminum.

When I was researching all this stuff (weapons and armor), I learned about how much upkeep carbon steel requires — polishing, oiling, moisture control, etc. I can polish and oil blades and plates, but chainmail is more complicated. I learned the way to keep chainmail* armor safest (from rusting) is to keep it stored wrapped in an oiled towel. I didn’t want to keep my armor stored away. I wanted to display and wear my armor. So I chose to go with aluminum chainmail for this reason.

Now, although my reasoning for aluminum was not the weight consideration, I must admit the lighter weight is probably a good thing. I’m well over 50 years old. I already have various aches and pains in my joints and back without wearing 50 pounds of armor. So the lighter weight for this piece is helpful — it’s saving me upwards of about 10-12 pounds strain on my body that I don’t need just for a hobby.

*I know the proper, technical name for this is “mail” or “maille”. But I’ve known it as “chainmail” for 40 years (because of D&D), and that word just comes to mind and rolls off my tongue naturally.

The Old Adventurer

Bracers, Greaves, Cuisses

I now have all my arm and leg armor pieces:

Bracers, greaves, cuisses

As you can probably tell, I’m piecing my armor together from a limited supply off-the-shelf selection. The pauldrons and vambraces match each other, and the greaves and cuisses match each other, but the top doesn’t match the bottom. I’m ok with this. I’m building an adventurer’s kit, not a nobleman’s gear. But even though I’m putting together a “Frankenharness”, I’m still choosing real, strong, protective armor pieces. Everything is between 18 and 16 gauge thickness, and the plates overlap in several places, so I’m well protected. Now I just need my torso armor — I’ve ordered a mail haubergeon and a breastplate.

Oh, and this sword is new to my collection, also. But unlike my other swords that are battle ready and sharp, this is an unsharpened weapon for sport combat. I’m planning to wear this armor for Halloween (and Ren-faires in the future), so I figured I should get a safer sword to wear (and wield) when around people — especially, potentially, children. This sword is a spadona: almost 47 inches long, and under 3.5 pounds. The point of balance is only 4 inches from the hilt, so it is easy to wield even with the weight. It’s designed for battle — blade-on-blade and blade-on-armor contact — so it’s strong and solid. I really like this sword, a lot.

The Old Adventurer

Pauldrons & Gorget

My pauldrons and gorget:

Pauldrons & gorget

I like the shoulder and arm coverage these pauldrons give me, and the collar protection the gorget gives me. The gorget is two pieces (front and back) that attach together with thick leather straps, and the gorget has thick leather straps with which to attach the pauldrons. I’ve managed to find the best positioning for both sets of strappings so I can put on and take off the whole group as one thing. That is, I don’t have to assemble and disassemble all the pieces to put on or take off. I can even don and doff it all by myself (no squire needed).

The Old Adventurer

Gambeson & Visored Barbuta

My gambeson and new helmet:

Gambeson & visored barbuta

As much as I like the look of the German sallet it’s not as comfortable to wear as I’d like. So I ordered a second helmet: this visored barbuta. This helmet is more comfortable as it balances better on my head — it has a chin strap, but it’s not as necessary to have as tight as it is for the sallet. Like the sallet, the visor of this helmet is hinged so it can be raised for better vision and communication. It’s also not quite as thick as the sallet, but still, no blade is going to cut into this helm. It doesn’t feel “bulletproof,” but I don’t at all feel vulnerable in this.

The gambeson I actually ordered through Amazon. I usually wouldn’t trust Amazon sellers for real, protective armor, but I got this gambeson more just for an comfortable layer under armor than for an actual armor piece. It fits well: snug across the chest, a bit more room (to grow 🙂 around my middle. The leather straps are thin, but that’s alright — they’ll be under other metal pieces.

The Old Adventurer

Heater Shield

This is my heater shield:

Metal heater shield

I wanted a shield that could deflect bolts and arrows, even though it will never have to [probably, hopefully?]. This metal shield is 2mm thick, and weights 7 pounds. It feels damn solid.

I’m considering painting it in some way. Maybe two colors with some device in the center. I have some ideas, but I’m going to let them simmer a while before deciding on one.

The Old Adventurer

German Sallet

This is my German Sallet:

German sallet

I think the sallet is a very cool looking helmet, and this version of it with the articulated tail to protect the back of the neck is extra cool. I’m not planning on getting a bevor because I like being able to see down towards the ground (see where I’m stepping), although I am considering getting a mail coif.

But that tail makes the helmet a bit back-heavy. If not for the chin strap, the eye slit rises up too much for me to easily see through it. Fortunately, wearing the chin strap tight isn’t uncomfortable unless I swallow. The front faceplate is hinged so I can rotate the faceplate up and over the top of my head to let me see better. But doing that just makes the whole thing even more back heavy, and so makes the chin strap even tighter.

As a piece of protection, this helmet is solid. It’s thick and sturdy, and even though I know it’s not, it feels freakin’ bulletproof. A hard strike to the head might ring my ears, but no blade will get through this metal.

The Old Adventurer

DIY Round Shield

This is a round shield I put together myself:

DIY round shield

While walking through Lowe’s Home Improvement one day, I found that they sell 24″ unfinished round table tops. But I didn’t see a table top, I saw a shield. I bought the table top, then went to Walmart to buy a cheap leather belt. I cut the belt, and fastened two straps to the back of the shield, and viola, I had a basic shield. I found a dragon stencil on Etsy. I sanded the shield smooth, then used some spray paint I already had around the house. The end result is as you see here.

Having never made a shield before, I just did this as a proof of concept. Could I actually make a functional shield for about $35? The stencil paint job isn’t as precise as I wanted, but the straps are strong. The wood is 1 inch thick, and it’s heavy — 7 pounds. I will probably one day take it out and whack it with some weapons just to test how well it would actually hold up, but for now, it’s just a little DIY concept among my Wall of Awesome.

The Old Adventurer