Weaver's Hand - Information Page

Samurai Armor in the Making by William Shetler

Click on the photo to see it enlarged. These pages will remain the same for some time to come as Bill has had to put this project on hold due to raising children!
This is the first attempt I have made at making a section of lacing.This is how the lacing should look. Notice how the thread itself seems to be rough and lacks the fine detail you see with silk? This is an issue for me. This lacing is made of cotton using loop manipulation and 26 elements. It is quite easy to do, just time consuming.
This is the front section of the same braid, For some reason the front and back switched places. I think I lost track of where I was in the braiding, but cannot verify that.

This is a picture of the roughed out upper body plates and scales. All that is visible is the back, left body trunk and half of the right. The scales will be laced together initially using leather strips, lacquered and polished several times. After the lacquering is done, the scales will be laced using the lacing made by the loop manipulation method.

On the right is what I started with. A flat plate roughly cut into the shape needed. Then with lots of hammering on a specially prepared Oak dishing stump, it was pounded into the shapes seen to the left. These will make up the helmet bowl itself. I need to make eight of these pieces and then rivet them together using mushroom rivets. I have four of these pieces made so far.

This is what the leather looks like before I cut out the individual scales.

These two are examples of the row of leather scales. The top row is turned to show the backside and expose the leather lacing. The bottom row is the front side. These two are ready for lacquering.

The scale on the left is leather and the one on the right is steel. Both are roughly 1.5in by 2.5in. The scale on the left is called a Kozane scale the one on the right is an Iyozane scale. The leather scales will be used for thigh, waist and shoulder protection. The metal is for the upper body only. With all of the scales (leather and steel) it weighs approximately 11 pounds. I still have to leather lace, lacquer, decorative lace, add brocade, chain mail and kumihimo braids. This does not include the helmet. After all of that is completed I expect it to weigh approximately 25 to 30 lbs. This is a conservative estimate.

This is what the steel portions started out as, a 2.5 foot by 3.5 foot sheet of steel.

Here is the upper body. Notice the empty space on the left hand side? This is the front/ chest section of the armor. I didn't put the scales in place there because they have not been filed down. They are very sharp and I didn't have time to clean them up. This part of the armour covers from the shoulders down to the waist. It is open on the right side and wraps around the wearer where he will tie it off using a cord made on the maru dai. I still have not successfully completed a single chord as of yet. I keep making major mistakes and become mildly discouraged. I'll pick it back up after the hardware is completed.

This is why I am making the armour. I am the fighter on the left. This is a full contact hobby and is not choreographed. We go out onto the field to win. All of the armour I am wearing in the picture I made myself. It is kind of blurry because we were moving pretty fast. If you have questions e-mail Bill.

September 14, 1999

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