[Northkeep] For new fighters

Cody Chezem bolverk187 at yahoo.com
Thu May 27 19:29:52 PDT 2010

Fighter Gear
So, with this document in hand, it is assumed that you have been participating in armored combat using borrowed gear. We will also assume that you have found the fighting to your liking and wish to start obtaining your own equipment. 
Let us start at the top. The helm will be the most expensive piece to obtain. If you are very lucky you may find someone selling a used helm for as little as $50.00. Most likely, one will need to be purchased from an armory. EBay is a source that may be the best place to start. At the time this was written, a good helm could be purchased for around $140.00, which includes S&H.
The next piece is a gorget. This is one of the items that can be easily made by yourself. Leather, plastic and/or metal can be used.

For the arms, elbow and forearm protection is required. Elbows need to be covered with a "cop" made of rigid material, like metal 18 gauge or better, heavy plastic or "hardened" leather. These can be purchased for as little as $15.00 a pair. The forearm must be covered by heavy leather or better. This is referred to as a vambrace. Vambraces are easily made, but I personally recommend that the cops be constructed out of metal. 
The hands must be protected with a "sword basket" and half gauntlet or full gauntlets. These are items you will most likely purchase from an armorer. The sword basket is the most common and least expensive method to cover the hands. You will also need at least one pair of well fitting leather gloves. Calf skin work gloves work very well for this. Gaunlets can be expensive and may be one of the things to be purchased later on down the line.
The next piece, called the kidney belt, can be easily made with heavy leather or plastic. The attached illustration shows the area of required coverage.
We will assume that since you have already started fighting, that you have obtained and have been using your own personal groin protection. Don't leave home without it. 
The last required pieces are the knee cops. Like the elbows, these will need to be constructed of rigid materials. Again, I recommend metal. These too will cost around $15.00.
  If you choose to make most or all of your gear, it is recommended to consult with some of the veteran fighters. Take a look at what they use to get an idea of what you want. You will find that most of them wear a bit more than is required. From there you will want to gather the materials you plan to use. Once you have them, you may want to arrange a time to get with a veteran fighter who builds their own gear. They will know some ways to best build your kit, and they will most likely have some tools and patterns that will make the job easier.
Should you decide to use leather for your armor, a “side” will be sufficient to make all of the pieces detailed above. Side leather is typically 10 oz or better. Shoulder leather can be used, but it tends to be lighter, 6-8oz, which means that you would need to double it up or reinforce it in some other way. There are two local sources for leather: Mid-Continent Leather at 11150 S. 265th E. Ave. between Broken Arrow and Coweta on Hwy 51. 486-2900 www.midcontinentleather.com  or E C Leather at 1924 E. 6th just east of Utica on 6th St. 583-0292. Both of these suppliers will have other parts and tools that are useful in making and maintaining your gear.
If plastic becomes your material of choice, there are several sources that can be used. Five gallon paint buckets are a useable source, and with a bit of scrounging, can be found at little or no cost. Plastic barrels or drums can be used (I have seen them in 15 to 55 gallon varieties) or sheet plastic can be purchased from a plastic supply company. You will want to check the thickness of the plastic; believe it or not, the weight can become a factor. A 4'x8'x1/8" sheet of ABS plastic will be sufficient for all of your needs. There are two sources for these: Plastic Supply and Fabrication at 7743 E. 38th 622-8430  www.plasticsupplyandfab.com  and Tulsa Plastics at 6112 E 32nd Pl. 664-0931  www.tulsaplastics.com.
The best way to choose an armory is word of mouth. Speak with the other fighters to find out what sources they like or search the internet, though I will caution anyone that unless you are looking for custom work, make sure that your order is in stock. If not, this could cause some very frustrating delays in getting your kit together. The very best way to purchase pieces of armor is at an event where you can buy the piece right from the armorer's booth. Rather than try to list all of the armories here, I will provide this link: www.geocities.com/scaarmor/armorlist. This is the Zorikh's SCA armor links page. Caution: It is best to speak with the experienced fighters before making any orders.
It is my hope that this document is supportive in helping you start to obtain the gear you will need to take the field. At first, it may look like a daunting task, but with a bit of help from those of us who have been doing this for awhile, it is really not very difficult. I think I can speak for the other fighters and say we look forward to you joining us on the Field of  Honor                                                                                                              
Heavy Leather: stiff, oak-tanned leather at least 11/64 inch (4.4mm) thick. Heavy leather is often referred to as belt leather or 11oz. leather.
Rigid material: a. Steel of no less than 18 gauge, or aluminum of no less than 0.075 inch (1.9mm) 
b. Other metals of sufficient thickness to give similar rigidity to those listed above to include treated steel or aluminum 
c. High-impact-resistant plastics such as ABS or polyethylene of sufficient thickness to give similar rigidity to those listed above 
d. Heavy leather (as defined above) that has been hardened in hot wax, soaked in polyester resin (properly catalyzed), or treated in such a manner as to permanently harden the leather 
e. Two layers of untreated heavy leather 
f. Other materials equivalent to those items listed above (Any armor of unusual construction or material must meet the approval of the Kingdom or Principality Earl Marshal or their designated deputy.)
The problem with today is: They just won't let you load the boys (and girls) up in the boat and sail down the coast to burn someone's damn village down.


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