Making your very first piece of armor. With the basic tools and skills you need.


The Simple leather ďdog collarĒ gorget.


(Under Construction)


Why the gorget first


Cheap Ė Small amount of materials needed

††††††††††† - Few tools needed

Easy†††† - teaches lots of basic skills youíll need later

Useful†† - Important to have custom fitted, both for comfort and safety

Fast††††† - Can be finished in one session. (Donít discount the importance of this.)




Note: Iím adding links form several site, Iím not recommending any one companies tool over another, Iím just adding links to which ever I can find easier, Tandy Leather and the Leather Factory are roughly equal, Tandy is more user friendly, Leather Factory has more stuff. Itís totally up to you. If you have a local leather store, try there first. And just use these links so you know what to look for.


Leather cutting tool (Scissors, leather shears, Craft/box knife, Jig saw, band saw)

(Nothing cuts THICK leather easier than a power saw with a very

fine toothed blade) Youíll also want scissors for thin leather


All of the tools on this page are good stuff, I like the PRO SUPER

SHEARS for general cutting.


Punch set †††††††††††††††††† You can use a rotary punch, but this punch set can be used to

set your rivets too (if you remove the blade) so you donít have to

buy a special tool for that plus I just like these, as I find them easier to use on thick leather.


I believe the mini munch set will get you though this project, but

eventually youíll want a mini and a maxi


If you get a rotary punch, go ahead and spend the money one a nice one. Solid metal, etc Itíll be worth it in the long run. Be sure you get one you can replace the tips on.


Hammer††††††††††††††††††††† Just a hammer, claw, ball peen, whatever, just make it light enough

that you can control it.


Optional tools


Mallet†††††††††††††††††††††††† Much gentler on your tools than a hammer, use for everything but

setting rivetsÖThe head can be wood, rawhide, nylon, just not



The poly mallet here is best, my personal one is from Tandy, and

itís bright yellow so its easier to find.


Strap Cutter†††††††††††††† Highly recommended, if youíve ever heard the phrase ďevery job is

easier with the right toolĒ, after using a good strap cutter, you

understand exactly what they were talking about. If you buy ONE

extra tool, this is the one, I LOVE this toolÖ cut a few straps by

hand then ask to try one out in the store, youíll be sold. Belts

straps, these cut anything


Get the kind shown here with 2 pieced of wood going

perpendicular to the handle, the top piece holds the leather in place

and makes it 100 times easier. Also Be sure to get some extra

blades (mine came with them) as when you first use it, you can

break them occasionally


Punch block/pad†††††††††† Something to go under your tools when you hammer through the leather, but a piece of scrap leather works fine too. They have these at Tandy and the Leather Ffactory, but I could not find them on the site. Basically a flat square piece of ľ thick plastic.


Oblong punch†††††††††††††† Used to punch the slot in the strap that takes the buckle. You can use a bunch of holes close together, but this is a lot easier and only $10.



††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Bottom of this page.



Rivet set†††††††††††††††††††††† If you are going to use copper rivets, nice, but I use my punch set, I assume you are trying to do this on a budget, but if you have the cash, go ahead, itís the best tool for the Job.




††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Look at Copper Rivet & Burr Setter #811000 here


If you use the rapid rivets you just need a hammer or mallet.




Leather†††††††††††† 1 piece Thick enough to be legal (check your kingdom rules)

††††††††††† Usually oak tanned leather, just over 12oz.

Roughly 6 in wide and 20 in long, but make a pattern and lay

it out first


If you canít get 12 oz leather, get 2 pieces of 6 oz, and you can sew it together, or rivet it together. You can also insert a steel or aluminum plate at the front of the neck (which is nice) or at the back, for added protection.


††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Plus a piece of thin stuff for straps (scrap usually works)

6 in by 6 in is probably plenty


††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† (From 4 to 9 oz, I hate to say it but I judge it by site, thin enough to

go through the buckles is the real key, plus thick enough to not

stretch much)

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Leather thickness is measured in ounces (if memory serves correct

itís how many ounces a square foot weighs, eg 16 oz leather

weights a lb per ft^2)


Link to leather



Example of Ansteorran rules (mostly up to date)




Rivets ††††††††††††††††††††††††† Tandy /Quick leather rivets or copper rivets, if all you have is pop

rivets that works too(albeit poorly), just remember to turn them

over and hammer the side with the washer flat so they look nicer

and donít tear you to shreds, I recommend these, for this project.


Note that you will need various sizes (lengths) so if you can get an

assorted pack, youíll be much better off to start, since weíll be

doing small projects first.


Copper rivets are by far the best for this kind of work, and youíll wear

the leather out before you break one of these (except if you articulate to

steel) but they are more expensive and harder to use



Just go to the Tandy site and type in copper rivet. If you use these I

recommend getting a rivet setter and a small bolt cutter. Iíll write

this up in a project where we use copper rivets later. If you get an

assorted set of different lengths you can skip the cutter, and just

use the setter, by using the right length. Personally I just buy the

biggest kind and cut them off to length.



Buckle††††††††††††††††††††††††† I use what are called sandal buckles, and the size I prefer is the one

that uses the 3/8-1/2 inch wide strap, any buckle you like of about this size is fine.


Closed cell foam†††††††††† Camping pad works great for this, you can get it at most camp

stores in various thickness and densities. I prefer the really soft

white stuff, and the heavy duty Army issue green stuff.


This is the first place I found it on the web, it comes with no other recommendation.


Contact Cement†††††††††† Paint both sides, let dry, sticks together instantlyÖ What more can

you ask J


Barge brand is great, but there are tons of different brands out




Optional Stuff


Leather dye††††††††††††††††† Add some color, USMC black is hard to beat.


Daubers†††††††††††††††††††††† Disposable giant q-tips for putting on leather dye, works

fine but hard to get a nice even coat.


Preval sprayer,†††††††††††† More expensive, put the dye in the bottle and spray it on nice and

evenÖ this is what I use, except for small stuff where I use a dauber and black dye.


First place I found them on the web.


Varnish/poly coat.†††††††† Paint on or spray on. I like spray , low gloss.



The Skills you need


Bartholomew has a nice discussion of the basic skills and steps here.. Take a look



Cutting leather

††††††††††† Straight lines

††††††††††††††††††††††† By hand

††††††††††††††††††††††† Using a strap cutter

††††††††††† Straps



Punching holes

††††††††††† Screw in the appropriate sized punch in the Punch handle.

††††††††††† Set 1 or 2 pieces of leather, on top of a Punchblock or a scrap piece of leather

(Some people use a piece of plywood too, but I think it dulls the tips)

(The scrap/block is so the punch has something soft to cut into, if you go too far,

instead of breaking the tip of the punch)

Set punch where you want the hole

Pound the punch with a mallet

(A hammer works, but over time will mushroom the end of the handle)

Be sure the punch goes all the way through.

With practice you should be able to feel the punch cut through the first piece

and start on the second


Setting rivets

††††††††††† If you are using the rapid rivets, punch a hole in both pieces of leather. Get a rivet slightly longer than the height of the 2 pieces. Slip it through, put on the cap, and pound it flat.




Glueing padding to leather.

††††††††††† Follow the instructions for contact cement, basically, just paint both sides with glue, allow to get partly dry. Then stick them together. Be very careful when aligning the pieces, because the cement sticks on contact when dry (thus the name)


The Steps.


Measure length for neck strap

Measure your neck

Cut out a padding prototype collar

Try it on with tape

Measure around the outside of padding

††††††††††† Mark strap that long

Measure the width of the neck strap

††††††††††† Start at the little scoop in your collar bone in front of your larynx and directly

under your chin.

††††††††††† Measure up the larynx to the base of you chin when looking slightly upwards.

††††††††††† Make sure you can look down with something that thick at your throat

without choking.

Mark a strap with that length and width

††††††††††† Alternately you can cut it a little wider than you prefer and then cut out a small

scoop at the front for your chin.



Cut the neck strap (collar)

Cut the front and back tabs

††††††††††† Decide what shape

††††††††††††††††††††††† Straight easy uses extra strap

††††††††††††††††††††††† Half circle more protective

††††††††††††††††††††††† Asian layer lobster tail nice but is better with rigid material

Cut straps

††††††††††† Cut the straps to length, 5 of the short ones, one long one.

††††††††††† Cut off all the corners to make the straps look neater when on. You donít actually have to cut them round to to a point, just take about 1/8 of an inch off each corner.




Punch holes for buckle to close collar

††††††††††† One on each end of collar

††††††††††† Cut the buckle holding strap

††††††††††††††††††††††† Punch holes



††††††††††† Cut the other strap with all the holes. (tongue?)

††††††††††††††††††††††† Punch holes

Put on Buckle



Put on strap with all the holes (tongue?)

Put on, buckle and align with buckle on your shield (left?) side

††††††††††† (opposite side as your good hand)

Mark the center front and back

Line up front and back tabs and punch matching holes

Cut straps long enough to hang tabs

Punch straps long enough to hang tabs when bent 90 degrees to collar

Rivet the tabs on



Dye leather


Glue on padding

††††††††††† Cut tabs over rivets, or pad around them, this is because you might have to

replace them at a later date and itís easier to do if there is not padding glued over

them.††† I like to use stripes of padding to allow air in and heat out.



Volia! Itís a gorget


Other very good patterns


The Kein

The Modified Kein




The Rigid lobster

To be done later