If you fight round shield in SCA Armored Combat you will probably need to make one at some point. Yes they can be bought but that is one of the more expensive ways to go about having one. You can actually make one fairly inexpensively and it will suffice for your fighting and training.
Start with a 3/4″ or 1/2″ piece of plywood. You don’t have to measure it to be perfect but it can help with balance and set up if it is. Make sure you don’t have any bad spots such as knots in the wood. These can weaken the shield. If you can not find a piece of wood without one, try to get the knot near the edge where you will not need it to be as strong. Cut a good size circle that you will be able to weild and will protect you. Of course if you have been fighting round shield prior to this, you will know about what you can use comfortably.
Once you cut out the shield you will need to find the center of it and cut a hole big enough for your shield boss to fit. This you should measure so you do not waste the wood. Measure twice and cut once. You can use either metal or plastic for your shield boss. These can be purchased at fighting events, online, or even at thrift stores if you use old dog bowls for the shield boss. And don’t laugh about the dog bowls, two of them together makes a solid center shield boss for protection.
You can also buy a handle in the same places you get the center boss. If you don’t want to do that or can’t wait, you can make one form a thin piece of flat steel. Cut it down so you can hold it easily, but cover it so a bare hand will be protected. You will have to connect the handle and center boss to the wood. Screws that fit just through everything with nuts are good. You can also get a special kind of wood nut called a T nut that will bit into the wood and is flat on one side. The actual screw will be hidden in this “wood” nut and then you have nothing to worry about sticking out. You will need longer ones to go through the handle and center boss than just around the center boss.
Lastly you have to cover the outer edge of the wood shield. The best thing I’ve found is water hose. The kind that is black and holes all through it to water a whole area at once. It is fairly inexpensive and each to work with. Measure your outer shield and cut your hose about 2″ longer. This way if you miss calculated, you should still have enough. If you calculated right you can overlap it. Drill small holes all the way around the shield and use zip ties to attach the hose to the wood. Make sure you cut the zip ties long ways so there are not sharp edges. Then test out your shield.
This is where I purchased my center boss and shield handle. They sell at Pennsic War or you can go in with other people who need to purchase the same items to cut down on shipping charges.
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Warm weather is upon us and summer is fast approaching. Depending on where you live, it can get very hot and miserable just being outside, let alone in heavy weapons or fencing gear. Practicing and fighting in the summer can be brutal if you are not careful and you can dehydrate yourself if you do not get enough fluids or electrolytes. So here’s what to do to stay in the fighting.
Dress in cotton layers if possible. Cotton will help get the sweat away from your body faster so you can cool off. You can also wear clothes made to pull the sweat away from your body. The most famous of this type of clothing is UnderArmor but Nike and Adidas also make clothes like this. Wear light colored clothes if possible. It will keep the sun from glaring down on your and making you even hotter as you just stand there.
Drink plenty of fluids in more frequency than normal. Water, gatorade, sqwincher, etc. If you don’t drink something with electrolytes in it like the gatorade or sqwincher, make sure you take electrolyte tablets or something with salt in it to help you out. Also I would recommend drinking a mixture as any one thing can make you sick in heat. Avoid milk, pop, or anything else carbonated. These can dehydrate you quickly and then you will not be able to fight anymore.
Take breaks often! Fighting too much or for extended periods of time can hurt you so that you may not be able to keep fighting. During a practice get there early and gear up quickly. Find someone to fight with and then take a break for ten or fifteen minutes to rest and get your strength back. Then fight again. Try and fight in shade if possible, this will help keep the sun off you as much as you can. No matter what kind of armor you wear, it is all hot once you have in on. The sun will just make it feel worse.
Wear cool clothes to and from practice. This will help cool your off faster when you get out of your fighting gear. Don’t overexert yourself just because you want to seem like you can fight all the time. You can make yourself sick and then you will not be able to fight at all. Above all remember that fighting in the heat is practice for those attending the Pennsic War in August.
Last week I posted about the lost of the current king and queen of the Midrealm. This week I have the priveledge to show the last fight that King Lutr won to become the king again.
It might help to understand how armor works for Heavy Weapons to delve a little deeper into it. Helms can be just about any shape and style that a fighter wants. The big things about them is no big gaps for a rattan sword to get in between and actually hit someone in the face, a chin strap to keep it on, the minimum thickness, and padding. Some people have very elaborate helms while others get a basic one they like. Some have a front that flips up so they can take a drink during rest times without having to remove their helm. Of course the front must be secured so it does not flip up during combat or practice as well. Nothing can protrude from the helm that could harm someone. You can have a pointed top helm and even have a neck cover on the back, but no spikes or such things that could harm a sword or person if they were knocked into the helm.
Since two weeks ago I talked about SCA wars, I thought putting some videos up to show just how big they can be would be educational.
Pennsic 36 (2007)
When you get to a little over 3 minutes, watch for the fighter on the personal mobility scooter. Shows you that anyone can do this.
Estrella 24 (2008)
Gulf War 17 (2008)
This is a good one to see a lot of what goes on besides fighting at a war.
Great Western War 10 (2007)
SCA heavy weapons helms are the most important part of your armor in combat. While there are rules about the minimum to wear, this one protects your life more than any other piece you wear. But helms are not all created equal. In fact in the SCA the rules are the gauge and how the face is protected. Beyond that, it is personal preference as to what it looks like. Some people where helms that have a front grill with bars going all the way down the front. There does have to be a metal piece at the bottom for the helm to look complete so all the way down the front is not worn. The bars can not be any more than one inch apart but how many or few is not a law. There are even some fighters in the SCA who have partial bars going down. These only go across the face or have a nose guard in the middle to protect the heavy weapons fighter’s nose. Some fighters in the SCA have a helm made out of steel and other metals to give it a unique look. The contrasting colors can let them create a design or “face” on the helm. One guy I fight with even has his with just open blocks on the helm to allow air in. It is created such that when he wears it, you think he is a very mean guy due to the expression on the mask. Finding a helm can be interesting too. One that looks neat may not fit your head very well. Or it’s possible as you fight in heavy weapons, it moves too much for your tastes. Try on as many as possible to see what you like. As people where they found their helms, who made it, or if they dislike anything about the one they currently wear. Many people will let you put their SCA helm on so you can make an educated decision. I was told this is the one decision you want to make right, although some people still purchase a new helm when they find something later they like better.Whatever you decide on an SCA heavy weapons helm, my suggestion is to purchase it first. This is the most expensive, single piece of armor you will purchase at one time. Get what you like and splurge for it that helm. You will not regret it later.
War in the SCA is the biggest event you can ever attend. There will be hundreds of thousands of people at one along with every kind of merchant you might desire. War is usually between two kingdoms but members from other kingdoms can and do go to fight as well. These are not only neighboring kingdoms either. “Bribes” are made to get one kingdom to fight on the side of an SCA kingdom over another. This can be as simple as 20 dozen cookies to three kegs of alcohol. It is up to the kingdom being asked to fight as an ally to another to make their demands as mercenaries known. So just how many SCA wars are there and what kingdoms to each involve?
Did you join the SCA and now your child wants to participate with you? Do you fight in armored combat and they are trying to pick up your weapons and use them now? Well what levels of SCA youth combat are there? Actually there are only three levels before a child fights in full contact armored combat. Rapier fighting does not have youth availability since the weapons are live with padding to cover the major sharp ends. Youth combat is also referred to as boffer.
The rules for Rapier fencing in the SCA are standard for all kingdoms so that anyone can fight in any combat tournament, war, or melee there is. Only the rules of which weapons are allowed can be different from one kingdom to the next. So if you wanted to fight what would be required in SCA fencing?