Making your very first piece of armor. With the basic tools and skills you need.
The Simple leather ďdog collarĒ gorget.
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.
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
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 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
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
††††††††††† Straight lines
††††††††††††††††††††††† By hand
††††††††††††††††††††††† Using a strap cutter
††††††††††† 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
††††††††††† 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)
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
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 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
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 Modified Kein
The Rigid lobster
To be done later