I’ve been working on building myself a new set of spaulders – articulated shoulder armour, for my non-SCA friends. They’re a pretty simple first-time armour project, basically three simple overlapping lames suspended from a dished shoulder cop, which protects the point of the shoulder. The lames are strapped loosely to the upper arm and, ideally, are long enough to overlap the rerebrace, the upper-arm armour attached to the articulated couter which protects the elbow.

Parts of 14th C armour.

Here’s my problem: I can easily bend the lames for the spaulders, but I’ve never dished any cops before… and I don’t have a proper dishing hammer. So I got my hands on Master D’s old dishing stump, and used by my biggest ball-peen hammer to try it. And it worked. I’ve now got two perfectly dished shoulder cops… except that they’re rough as hell. Without a planishing hammer or a ball-stake to planish against, they look like the outside of a bagful of marbles.

Unfortunately, the rest of my kit doesn’t look like that, so pending the purchase (or loan) of a planishing hammer and ball-stake, I can’t really use these spaulders… and I need spaulders because I’m now authorized for Great Weapons and I don’t plan on either putting my longsword fighting on hold indefinitely or learning to live with a constant state of yellow-purple bruising on my upper arms and shoulder.

Enter the “14th Century Mafia.” The nickname is one of those SCA almost-jokes-that-sorta-stuck; basically they’re an SCA subsubculture (a sub-subculture, if you will) which is very focussed on the 14th century, particularly the Hundred Years War between England and France. They’ve got a Facebook group which I joined on a whim about a year ago, mostly for the access to articles and discussions, but also for the occasional want ad. And just as I was getting frustrated with my spaulder project, along comes a used pair of spaulders on the Facebook group at just the right price, even including the shipping. Plus they’ve got besagues on them, which should protect the gap between breastplace and spaulder a bit better than before, which might save me some bruises to the chest and nipples.

So now I’m happily waiting for my new spaulders to arrive… but I’ve still got a half-built spaulder project in the shop. What to do? Well, obviously, I’m going to finish the spaulder project eventually, and then I’ll probably just gift it to somebody. And gods know we’ve got enough new fighters building their first kits around here: somebody’s bound to need a pair at some point.

I just hope that the new spaulders arrive before our annual demo day at the local folk festival. I like looking pretty for the locals, and it’s a great way to draw attention to the SCA. The festival isn’t for another four weeks, so hopefully the gentleman I bought them from will be able to ship it in a timely fashion.