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cathyn: (Johnny!)
[personal profile] cathyn


I'd like to brag a little bit about one of my best friends, and possibly the greatest armorer I know. Duke Steingrim Stallari has been a professional armorer for over 35 years, and has been admitted into the Order of the Laurel for his skills, but that accolade has done little but fuel his desire to make amazing armor, and incorporate as many period tools and techniques as possible in a modern production armor shop. He doesn't have access to a stream, so he can't set up a water-wheel trip hammer, and is forced to make do with a 30-ton press. He doesn't have a fleet of apprentices to do his polishing for him, so, like all of us, he uses grinders, stone wheels, and sanding belts. OTOH, he has a very nice forge, a couple hundred hammers (and uses them ALL), and anvils and stakes galore. He strives to make his pieces as period in appearance as possible, as well. Have you seen anyone since 1974 wearing a Norman conical helm with curved cheekplates? Virtually every one of these in the SCA is either his work, or a copy (or a copy of a copy of a copy) of his patterns. He didn't invent it, the Normans did, but he brought it forth into our game, and was plagiarized countless times in the decade since. He's not especially grumpy about this, in that the wide-spread utilization of his patterns made the whole SCA look better. Here's one that he built 1979 or 1980:

helm1980

But, I digress.

I was inspired to write this up to bring your attention to his skills in the display of a single simple object, a shield boss to be exact. Here it is:

Shield22

shield21

"What's so special about this shield boss?" you might ask. Nothing, really. Not from its look. Many people make them. They're documentably period. You can even order a similar one online for a modest amount. That that modest amount buys you a lathe-spun steel boss, made entirely in modern techniques with modern tools, and may well satisfy your needs, but it looks like a spun steel thing, somewhat modern, and to the discerning eye, it's just not right.

Other armourers make a similar bosses, using techniques that are peri-oid, piecing the boss together from a pointed disc (very easy to make, there are dies that will press them in a single pass, even). They then cut a strip of steel, bend it into a cylinder, weld it, weld the disc to it, weld that to a circle of steel to make the flange, grind all the welds et voila. They look good, but there were no MIG welders in period, and I am pretty certain the guys taking the short-cut described above are not forge-welding theirs together. Not that there's anything wrong with this, the end product looks good, looks period, and they protect your hand quite well.

The amazing thing, to me, about this boss that Steingrim made is that it is a single piece of steel. It started life as a flat sheet of 16ga mild steel, and was laboriously hand forged (raised) into the shape you see. No welds, one piece, simple. It might not be bullet proof, but I'd be willing to test that with my own hand inside it, because I think it is. I am quite certain I do not have the skill to do such a piece, nor do many other armourers.

I'm proud to know him, and exceedingly happy he's been teaching me some tiny bit of what he knows. He's a good egg.

Date: 2016-07-17 04:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rustmon.livejournal.com
One piece? Daaaaamn!

Date: 2016-07-17 07:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] helblonde.livejournal.com
Love that guy!

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