A Tudor to Commonwealth Period Archer’s Arm Guard
This is a simple multi-period project suitable for the beginner. I was looking for an arm guard design that I could use for the ECW period and noticed a similarity between those shown in the woodcuts of the archers in William Neade’s The Double-Armed Man (1623) and one found on the Mary Rose. The result is a more or less shameless rip-off of the Mary Rose one, with the decoration hinting more towards a slightly later London origin.
I’ve used the design of the one on the left, but based the decoration on the one on the right. Cut a rectangle of 4mm leather and two straps of 3mm leather. Split the end of the straps and dampen the intersection, then stretch to the desired shape. Decorate, stain, rivet, stitch and finish to taste. I has Alex from Talerwin Forge forge the buckle to match the one he’d made for my helmet, but a commercial one would also be fine.
A shield stamp is dead easy to make. Not being armigerous (Google it), I decided to use the arms of the City of London in the decoration. There’s a few reasons for this, the main one that there was a regiment of archers raised in 1642 within the Cripplegate Ward, the other was that the gentleman in the woodcut above was a member of the Gentlemen of the Artillery Garden and their shield is a bugger to carve.
The stamp is made from a piece of Tassie Oak curtain rod. I heat hardened one face using the bench sander, then shaped the shield using files. The cross was also done using a file to about half the depth and the sword with three cuts with a sharp 1/4″ chisel and a centre punch for the pommel.
The small star/flower shapes are a commercial stamp, but could have been made with some square-stock and a file. The border is embossed with the back of a butter-knife.
I’ve dyed it dark red as Roger Ascham recommends in Toxophilus, The School of Shooting (1545) that the best are of Spanish cordovan. Cordovan leather is dyed red in the tanning process. Finally, rivet the buckle and the straps on and finish with a beeswax polish to seal and help the bowstring slide off.
Ascham, R., Toxophilus, A School of Shooting, London, 1545
McKee, A., How We Found the Mary Rose, St Martins, London, 1983
Neade. W., The Double Armed Man, London, 1623