Plastic for Armor

dennis guy grace amazing at
Mon Oct 14 09:49:32 PDT 1996

Sir Lyonel here.

At 11:38 AM 10/14/96 +0000, Scot Eddy wrote:

>I don't know what the official name for the plastic is (I've heard it 
>called Kydex, but I'm not sure whether that's correct or not) but it's 
>obtained most commonly from 55 gallon barrels bought from any car 
>wash. They are used to transport the detergent so be sure to wash them 
>out thouroughly in a carwash bay (the easiest way)
>The plastic is formed on of two ways that I know of. If there are 
>gentles who know of other ways please feel free to add those. Here is 
>how I have made shield baskets, elbows and knees, and other bits of 
>body armor.
>Heat your kitchen stove to 350 degrees, fill your sink with cold 
>water, cut your plastic in the desired shape, and place it in the 
>oven. WATCH it until it begins to droop (sorry there is no exact time 
>to leave it in) Using leather work gloves pull out the plastic and 
>form it. "Quench" it in the sink until it regains it's original 
>rigidity and hardness. A Drill and sabre saw are sufficent to work the 

Sorry to nit-pick, but I consider this an important safety matter.  First, I
think most of the detergent bottles are ABS.  Kydex is a bit expensive for
such mundane uses and generally gets saved for things like furniture and
truck beds and the like.  Just on the (not so) off chance that I'm wrong,
though, don't set your oven that high.  Kydex exudes HCN before reaching
that temperature.  ABS doesn't put out the toxins, but it still smells worse
at a higher temperature.  Double checking my notes on the two plastics, I
find that ABS will soften in a 250F oven and Kydex takes about 280 to 300F.
Not much margin for error.  

Also, you can cut ABS on a beverly shears.

>If you get black plastic it does a draned good job of imitating 
>leather courbuillie (sp?). See my klibanion that i wear on the field. 
>It definitely passes the 10 FT. rule.

And, unlike real courbouille, the plastic won't absorb sweeat stench or
soften when it gets wet.  Unlike the SCA courbouille (wax-hardened), the
plastic won't soften, sweat wax, or smell like honey on hot days.  I've
fought in my black ABS armor on 102F days (please, let's not get personal in
the responses) and noted no consequent deformation.  

If the appearance bothers you, you can also cover the plastic with thin
suede or cloth--glue them on with 3M marine cement or a similar compound--or
hide them  undera cyclas, tabard, or skarta.  

Yours in Virtual Service

Sir Lyonel Oliver Grace
Dennis G. Grace
Postmodern Medievalist
Assistant Instructor
Division of Rhetoric and Composition
University of Texas at Austin

For every wight that lovede chivalrye
And wolde, his thankes, han a passant name,
Hath preyed that he myghte been of that game.
                --Jeff Chaucer's Knight  

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