Saturday, October 14, 2017

Armoury Pictures 2016-17

Armoury Pictures 2016-2017

Easter Armour Collection

Keeping armour at a high polish requires constant work. In the time before major events and shows an armoury becomes a hub of activity as pieces of armour of my manufacture and manufactured by many others need a skilled Frobisher (metal polisher) to return them to high presentation standard.
My reputation earned as the primary Frobisher at Von Becke armour and Costume keeps me in constant demand for this kind of work.
I took this photograph just before all of the pieces were about to go back out to the customers.

Goliaths shins from the Maciejowski Bible 

In July 2017 a client advised that he would like some replica shins inspired by the Maciejowski Bible rendition of the armour of Goliath from the Biblical story. The client wished to do the strapping attachments himself.

A simple curved shin took longer in the fitting than the construction, and the polishing took longer than both. I was exceptionally pleased that I could fit the shins snuggly to the client without strapping just by quality of the fit.

My creations from Tharwa Forge

As an armourer I had previously only done cold work – beaten sheet steel into shape without the application of heat. To expand my skills, I knew I would have to do more work with heat. In January 2017 I took advantage of the Beginners Blacksmith course at Tharwa forge to learn more about this heavily armouring associated trade.
From left to right: A fluting hammer to help me in my armouring; a pair of basic tongs; a coal scraper (taught to show each basic technique); a spear head (partially completed); and a notch driver.

Fluting System

In the previous photograph I showed the freshly created head of the fluting hammer. This photograph shows the hammer I attached to the head; the modified railway track with fluting groove; and several sets of knees that I fluted using the tools pictured. The hammer lying below the fluting hammer is a polished face plenishing hammer.
I would rate the work on the knees as munitions grade. Putting a sharp flute on a knee rounded in two directions is a skill that takes time to master.
I achieved a quality line by the fifth and sixth knees (not pictured) that I created using this method.
From another armourer in South Australia I learnt of a jig that holds the fluting hammer and I will investigate this method before my next commission involving extensive fluting. 

Mechanically achieved pattern

This distinctive pattern was developed by insufficient mobility of the work under the mechanical belt sander part of polishing. I kept it as a technique reference photograph for ideas for modern pieces.

Manual Hammering Patterns

Repousse and chasing with Douglas Pryor

Strathnairn Bronze Foundry Course

Over ten weeks in 2016 at Strathnairn Arts Association I:  learned about bronze casting; I created my own wax; invested the wax; attended the pour as an observer; removed the plaster from the wax; researched multiple ways of finishing a wax, and then taught a quick session on how I used my skills as a Frobisher to put an extremely high polish finish on my piece using modern means, and how those means could have been replicated using the hand powered methods of 500 years ago.
My understanding was that I could use a mould to create a precise replica of a spear, but I was fascinated by the bandage method, and made a more primal version. The end result looked like an archaeological grave goods find. 

Workstation design and construction

Armouring, Blacksmithing and Frobishing all require the creation of highly customised and specialised workstations. The repetitive motions can cause injury if you don’t have a sound understanding of ergonomics. Of course, this understanding is useless unless you can execute the designs you have conceived.
Pictured above are the stations I have crafted using my knowledge of woodwork. Wood was chosen over steel for wood’s noise deadening qualities. I have supplemented the woodwork with mechanical plates. I also intend to blacksmith iron hoops once I have used these items for long enough to be certain the dimensions are correct. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

HA - Repair and Re-polish Service

Repair and Re-polish Service

Hedgehog Armoury provides a premium armour repair and re-polish service. After five minutes of instruction (likely another blog post later) I can point you out what to get at Bunnings and you can do a beginners level job.

Pricing is dived into two models-

Set Price: Set price is designed to be the most expensive option. I will say a number, after I imagine everything that could go wrong, and cost it off those numbers.

Line of credit (open and closed limit): You advise which types of repairs and which level of polish you want, and then advise at which point you want your line of credit to stop, or advise to go until it is done.


An assessment of the armour will be made, and an estimate of what needs to be done will be made. Possible activities: Remove dints; re-strap; remove and replace rivets; re-articulate.


Even estimating the cost of a re-polish needs a physical inspection, and can sometimes need the start of the process to see through rust to see if the armour will ever be usable again. Significant damage to the surface can mean armour will never return to it's original condition.

The client needs to determine how many processes are used, which will determine cost.

Wirebrush only: Cheap and very nasty: The only thing going for it is that it is fast and cheap. It gets a low stain finish at best, and actually damages the metal and almost ensures more rust sooner rather than later. Not even a good paint preparation as the scouring pits rust underneath the paint surface, so it does that badly...

Black rouge only: inexpensive, slightly protective, low visual appeal. The black rouge can be quickly applied with the wheel and will cover the surface and protect from rust a small amount. The dull dark semi buff looks quite 'military' but not pretty.

New Armour - What is full polishing?

Current as of Jan 2017.

Hedgehog Armoury full polish starts after planishing is finished.

40 grit belts are used all over the piece.
At this point, areas that need more planishing can be attended to,
and the 40 belt repeated.

After this, I work through the belts in order 40, 80, 120, 160 grit.

Then come the wheels. These wheels are 40, 80, 220 and 400 grit.

Why the overlap? The 40 grit wheel must undo some of the work of the 160 grit?
Yes it does, but wheels can get into areas unreachable by the belts,
so we go a little backwards in the hard to reach areas in order to go forward.

Mild steel then receives the grey compound,
then the white compound, then the bare fluff wheel.

Since 2016 have also used a product called
“Liquid metal polish” with a mop afterwards for a final pass.