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How accurate are leather gauntlets as armour?

Posted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 7:24 pm
by Bréifne-Ua Ruairc
Hi guys. I really want to make the armadillo type of leather gauntlets (like below). However, I want to know how historically accurate this type would be? Can anyone help?


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Re: How accurate are leather gauntlets as armour?

Posted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 7:48 pm
by guthrie
Which period are you after, then I can move the post there. This sub-forum is for stuff to do with the actual running of the forum, not questions.

Re: How accurate are leather gauntlets as armour?

Posted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 8:52 pm
by Bréifne-Ua Ruairc
Sorry, first post and clearly didn't explore that far :$ 14th-15th century

Posted: Tue Apr 14, 2015 7:21 pm
by Anthony of the MSS
No evidence

Re: How accurate are leather gauntlets as armour?

Posted: Wed Apr 15, 2015 9:10 am
by Brother Ranulf
In the absence of archaeological finds it is logical to look at the documentary evidence concerning gloves and armour.

Anglo-Norman French has the word gant, which is used for various types of glove, including a glove worn with armour. This turns up in 12th and 13th century texts describing leather gloves or gauntlets, for example in the Song of Roland. These would be either simple soft leather mittens, or covered on the outer surface with mail.

By the 14th century the term can also be applied to gloves forming part of the armour itself:

In Manières de Langage (written 1396 onwards) we find Et autre armure, c'est assaver baysnet ov l'ombrere et la ventaille, plates, pesynes et habergeons, vambras, rerebras, quisseux et gauntz de plate (. . . and other armour, that is to be noted a bascinet with visor and ventail, plates, pesynes[?] and hauberks, vambrace, rerebrace, cuisses and gloves of plates . . .)

Plates definitely means thin sheets of metal or armour plate. There are many such references in texts of the period, always in the form gauntz de plates - if the same thing existed in the form of hardened leather it would have to be *gauntz de cuir builli, which is not found in any document from the period.

Re: How accurate are leather gauntlets as armour?

Posted: Wed Apr 22, 2015 12:52 pm
by Colin Middleton
I'd say totally unknown prior to the 20th Century.

There was leather armour in use in the late 13th to early 14th C, but it was all made of boiled leather, which is quite different to that stuff. It only appears for s short Tim before being replaced by steel plates and is always highly decorated.

I'm not sure if they made leather gauntlets during that period, but if they did, they are likely made of scales of boiled leather riveted to a backing, or simple, soft gloves with some form of padding. Either way, nothing like those.

Best wishes

Colin

Re: How accurate are leather gauntlets as armour?

Posted: Thu Apr 23, 2015 8:29 pm
by Marcus Woodhouse
As above, so below. I cannot add anymore. Like the stargazer chair, the archers jack, etc this just does not appear to be any genuine artefact from the period. For all the reasons already given.

Re: How accurate are leather gauntlets as armour?

Posted: Tue May 05, 2015 11:37 pm
by Mark Griffin
Let me just clarify a few points that have been made about the examples shown in case anyone misinterprets them.

Utter B***cks. Just plain old made up rubbish. Ghastly fantasy crap.

Glad to be of service!

Cuir bouille is pretty comprehensively proved to be wet leather nailed to wooden formers and then dried artificially. Close study of existing examples shows how this technique works. If you boil it it looses shape and can crack up. Chris Dobson did an article in one of the Park Lane Arms fair journals on it plus there is a good Military illustrated issue that has a fair chunk about it.

Re: How accurate are leather gauntlets as armour?

Posted: Tue May 05, 2015 11:39 pm
by Mark Griffin
pesynes


possibly pisan or pisane, the french version of a mail stand or standard.

Re: How accurate are leather gauntlets as armour?

Posted: Wed May 06, 2015 1:32 pm
by Colin Middleton
Mark Griffin wrote:Cuir bouille is pretty comprehensively proved to be wet leather nailed to wooden formers and then dried artificially. Close study of existing examples shows how this technique works. If you boil it it looses shape and can crack up. Chris Dobson did an article in one of the Park Lane Arms fair journals on it plus there is a good Military illustrated issue that has a fair chunk about it.


Thanks for that Mark. Last I'd heard, they were still arguing about baking, boiling in water, wax or oil for cuir bouille. I'm glad that they're finally settling on a method.

Colin

Re: How accurate are leather gauntlets as armour?

Posted: Wed May 20, 2015 11:13 pm
by Graham Ashford
Hi there

Thought I'd throw in a couple of pictures of some original leather fingers that have been found, although I believe the jury is still out on whether they are domestic or military for use. Also, a picture of some leather armour I made recently based on a Lithuanian vambrace find made using the wet, nailed to a former technique Mark mentioned, very strong stuff, but I think most of that strength comes from the specific type of leather used (the rerebrace and couter are based on contemporary pictures).

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Hope this is useful.

Re: How accurate are leather gauntlets as armour?

Posted: Wed May 20, 2015 11:22 pm
by Mark Griffin
You are totally right re the leather type and quality Graham. Chris Dobson's article contains a lot of info on that side (or even hide...) of things.

Re: How accurate are leather gauntlets as armour?

Posted: Thu May 21, 2015 7:26 pm
by Colin Middleton
I'm a little skeptical about this scabbard leather stuff that Chris talks about. I may well be wrong, but it just doesn't fit with everything else that I've heard about Medieval leather.

Colin

Re: How accurate are leather gauntlets as armour?

Posted: Fri May 22, 2015 6:26 pm
by Medicus Matt
Colin Middleton wrote:this scabbard leather stuff that Chris talks about.


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Re: How accurate are leather gauntlets as armour?

Posted: Sat May 23, 2015 7:06 pm
by Colin Middleton
Medicus Matt wrote:
Colin Middleton wrote:this scabbard leather stuff that Chris talks about.


??


From International Arms And Armour Conference 2003: Art And Arms Florence, City Of The Medici, edited by Christopher Dobson, page 89:
To return to the leather itself, one needs to start with a partially-tanned hide (vegetable tannage). Today this material is sold as 'scabbard butts'xciv This is because it is the type of leather which could be wet-moulded and the heat-treated to create a very hard scabbard for a sword. This leather is very hard a stiff when dry (Fig 59), and has a characteristic cream layer running through the middle. This is where the lubricants have failed to fully permeate the leather. It is difficult to find scabbard-butts of sufficient thickness, since it is naturally denser and so thinner than fully-tanned leather, but it can be obtained in 3-4mm thicknesses. When it has been soaked for several hours, it is very elastic (Fig 60), and can easily be tooled or moulded over formers.

Note xciv reads
A similar leather is known as 'brown rawhide', but this is a misnomer - it is not true rawhide.


In the Acknowledgements section of this article, Chris thanks
Roger Birkin, General Manager of Joseph Clayton & Sons tannery: for explaining the nature of vegetable-tanned leathers and scabbard-butts.

Re: How accurate are leather gauntlets as armour?

Posted: Sat May 23, 2015 9:26 pm
by Medicus Matt
He's talking half-tan, which is a proper pain in the *rse to get hold of in this country but it's lovely stuff which is used for the manufacture of Puuko knife sheaths and anything else that requires pauted decoration (because you can only do pauting with half tan/rautang.

I have never, ever heard it referred to as 'scabbard butt' but it's inherent rigidity would make it ideal for making a thin, light scabbard with no additional rigid core.

Re: How accurate are leather gauntlets as armour?

Posted: Sat May 23, 2015 10:00 pm
by Colin Middleton
Apparently you can get it from Claytons in Chesterfield.

Re: How accurate are leather gauntlets as armour?

Posted: Sat May 23, 2015 11:21 pm
by Medicus Matt
Really?
I wonder if they sell it for orthopedic shoe inserts. That's about the only thing it's been used for in this country in recent years.