Steel Mastery represents you historically correct, strong and very practical splinted and plate limbs’ protection of the XIV century. We tested it in battles - and now recommend it to you!
Splinted limbs’ protection was popular in Europe since XIII century. The main difference of splinted armour (from brigandine armour) was riveting of plates to few layers of thick linen to both inner and outer sides.
Gravestone of Günther von Schwarzburg (Saint Bartholomeus' Cathedral, Frankfurt, Hesse, Germany, 1349 year) is the best known historical verification of such armour’s using. Rivet heads are seen between the pedimental plates. This, in particular, suggest the existance of plates from the inner side of upper arm protection, bracers and greaves.
Effigy of Burkhard von Steinberg (Germany Hildesheim Roemer Museum, 1397 year) - splinted bracers are visible.
Plate limbs' protection was being appeared from the middle of XIV century. Originally, it looked like a little-curved metal plates, that were covering shoulders and hips. But in time, due to armourers’ skills development, plate protection was getting more unbeatable, one-piece bracers and greaves were hammered out.
Similar type of armour you can see on the effigy of Henry II the Pious Duke (Franciscan Church of St Jacob, Wrocław, Lower Silesia, Poland, 1350 year):
Sir Hugh de Prouz (St Cuthbert's Church, Widworthy, Devon, England, 1350 year):
We often receive questions like “What tunic is typical for such century?” or “Are these chausses acceptable for this period?” and so on, and so on… What is meant in this article is typical european man’s costume of the XII-XIII centuries.
Simple cut and multilayered type were peculiarities of medieval european costume. And as church was a keystone of society, it has been also a kind of “trend-setter”: long and baggy clothes were to hide a body completely. Cut and models of clothes of all social classes were similar, except of materials: base estate used cheap and hard-wearing linen or warm wool for sewing, but prosperous citizen and noble knights had their dresses made of silk, velvet or atlas, decoratied with expensive embroidery, pearls or fur.
Costume of medieval man consisted of such main items as:
-undershirt - chemise;
-short pants - braies
-chausses - kind of stockings with fastenings
-upper shirt - cotta or tunic
-cap - cale with lons strings
Military men were wearing different types of padded gambesons depending on the soldier’s form of activity.
Chemise is a type of underwear, that was being worn over the body under the tunic, and often it covered the braies and chausses. Peasants and base estate were sewing undershirts of uncoloured twill fabric, but knights and rich lords were wearing thin linen or silk chemises. Oftentimes, people used saffron and other herbs to odorize and color chemises. From the XIII century, chemises were even embroidered in such a way, that decorations are seen from under the tunic or cotta.
As pants were absolutely barbarian pieces of clothing in those days, for european man it was disgracefully to wear such garment. That’s why people became to use squares of linen to cover the thighs. In time, braies became longer, strings on the legs and on the waistband had appeared as well as holes for chausses’ fastening.
Chausses have being worn separately on each leg and fastened with strings to the wide fabric belt with holes or to the holes in braies. Depending on the purposes and worthiness of costume, quantity of strings could be varied and even decorated with bows. Short chausses were popular among both men and women (who hid chausses under the long dresses). People were fastening such model of chausses under the knees with strings or fabric straps. But long chausses were being used only by men, and despite of chausses were almost hidden under the overclothes, they were often sewn of silk or atlas and decorated with expensive embroidery.
Wide upper cloth named cotta was being worn over the chemise. Simple cut of cotta was unchanged for centuries: only length, materials and colours could be varied. Cotta’s sleeves were being made narrower to the wrists, often with lacings. Bright red, blue and yellow cottas with length to the calf or to the knee, they were the most popular in the XII-XIII centuries.
And sure, small headwear - cale - was integral part of men’s medieval costume. It had popularity among both peasants and upper class. It was a cap, usually made of white linen and with hanging strings. Usually, main headwear (chaperon, bonnet, hoods, etc.) were being worn over the cale, but it also could be a separate piece of clothing. Padded cales were used as a liner for helmet.
Each and every soldiers were wearing gambesons, only material, quantity of layers and length of gambesons were different depending on the status and activity. In such a way, soldiers were using short, slim-cut sleeveless gambesons, archers and crossbowmen were fighting is gambesons with length till the mid-thigh.
Padded armour was decorated with festoons on the bottom hem and sleeves, and had fastenings on the collar.
When choosing a costume for medieval event, please do consider social status of character you want to create. As noble knight in work-clothes has the same strange look, as modern business-man wearing cut-offs during the professional meeting:)
Dear friends, Steel Mastery not only makes durable and reliable armour, but also we create medieval-style interior designs. Chandeliers, stair railing, lampshades, various decorative armour, uniform for the personnel - it's not the full list of what we make.
If you want to a unique design for your hotel, restaurant, house or just living room, do not hesitate to contact us and we'll make your place inimitable!
Take a look at one of our interiour design projects we did for the hotel "Vezha Vedmezha" in the Western Ukraine:
See more of these photos here.
Good news for those who cannot pay for their order at once: we introduce the possibility to pay in instalments:
- If your order total is more than 500 EUR, you may choose to pay in two instalments: 50% upon the order placement, and the balance just before the shipping, having seen the photos of your items.
- If your order total is more than 1500 EUR, you may pay in 3 instalments (40%, 30%, 30%).
If you want to use this instalment payment possibility, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org before placing your order.
We offer steel rivets and brass rivets. They are both durable and will hold the blows well. It’s up to you what to choose. Many prefer the brass ones as they look better.
We offer steel buckles and handcrafted brass buckles. They are the same from the practical point of view. If the historicity is crucial for you choose the handcrafted buckles. For SCA steel buckles are fine.
We can include a padded liner for your helmet and we strongly recommend that you order it along with the helmet. The thing is that your helmet will be made bigger that your actual head, in order to accommodate the liner. If you order a liner we will make sure that it fits your head perfectly. If you don’t order a liner from us, you will need to use your own liner and its thickness must be carefully chosen so that your head feels comfortably inside the helmet.
If you order a liner from us, you can choose whether you want us to install into your helmet or just not. We can install it with steel or brass rivets or we can sew it on. The installation type is a matter of your choice. Sewing, unlike rivets, will allow you to easily unpick the liner, wash it and sew it on again.
Methods of finish treatment
We offer here satin polishing, mirror polishing and blueing (applicable only for normal steel).
We offer a wide range of decorative options, including etching, painting, brass plates and more. The may be added to your helm in almost any combination. It’s a good idea to discuss your wishes by email before ordering.
You may choose to install a standard visor for this particular model or a interchangeable visor (available only for some models).
Visor back fixation
Here you select the way visor is fixed on the back, which include simple knot, steel or brass buckles, or a push button.
Vervelles (price for 8pcs)
Here you choose if you want vervelles which are used to attach an aventail to the helmet. If yes, you may choose among steel and brass ones.
It’s something you choose according to your particular needs. If you are going to have a good fight, take
2.0 mm stainless steel or 2.5 mm normal steel. Hardened steel is also an option, but bear in mind that it doesn’t deform (like normal or stainless steel) and may crack after a very strong blow. Titanium helmet is a light and warp-free option.
You may choose to add aventail and select its type among padded cotton or padded wool aventail, or leather, or chainmail one.
You might be wondering: who are these people who make the Steel Mastry products? How do they look like and what brought them to doing medieval armour pieces? We have decided to uncover a bit this mystery :) and present you our team.
We'll start with the craftsmen who work in our blacksmith shop.
Mikhail, 36 y.o.
I’ve been working for the last 15 years with metal in general, and since 2012 with medieval armour in particular. I’m the captain of the Association of Historical Clubs of Kyiv, where I consult on history and armour manufacturing. My work at Steel Mastery is also a pleasant hobby, because I do what I like. I’m fond of making fool plate armours.
Sergey, 41 y.o.
My acquaintance with the metal had commenced in 1988. Since 2003 I work in smithy. I’m on close terms with metal. I also like to work with wood, but work with metal is more interesting and pleasant. What lovely handicrafts one can make with the metal! Every thing made by my hands bears a part of my soul. I forge helmets.
Gennadiy, 37 y.o.
I’ve been working with metal just for a few years, I had felt the desire to work exactly with this material. I like sledge-hammers:). I also like the creative approach we use in making handicrafts and their exclusivity. I’d love to comprehend that art of the medieval armourers with which they crafted their extraordinary products.
Igor, 48 y.o.
I started in 1998 with metal processing and forging. Now I’m specialized in making plates for brigandines, scale and lamellar plates. I like to work with the metal and I like the things which come out… unusual, magic in a sense. It’s a great feeling when you with your own hands turn a piece of metal into a reliable and convenient piece of armour.
Igor, 49 y.o.
I might say that I had inherited love to the metal working. My grandpa was a welder; my father was a metal turner. At 16 I started working as tool-maker, and later as shipwright. But I’ve always wanted to create something special of this material, so when I tried to work in the medieval smithy I realized that this is exactly what I want to do.
some new articles we have recently put online:
Painted kite shield can be seen on the miniatures starting from the IV century. The most popularity it gained in VIII-XII centuries and was used by cavalry and infantry forces. But in time, the body protection had got better and the main armour - chainmail - has been changed to brigandine or plate armour, so knights have started to use short triangle shields.
Scale armour can be found on the Byzantine miniatures in the V-VI centuries, and later - in the XIII-XIV cc. - on the paintings in slavonic churches. This armour protects the body perfectly and provides freedom of mobility.
Brigandine short bracers were popular in VIII-XIII centuries and were used together with long-sleeved chainmail. The bracers are made of thick (4-6 mm) croupon leather with installed and rivetted metal plates.
we're delighted to announce our participation in the Visby medieval market on Gotland, Sweden!
We heartily welcome you to visit our stand! You will be offered a great selection of our 100% natural gambesons, protective and durable brigandines, medieval clothes and other products from Steel Mastery.
Apart from that we will offer you a possibility to make a custom order from our website with a discount!
Please note that we'll be present ONLY during the last 4 days of the market: from Thursday 8 August to Sunday 11 August.
See you there!
Yours, Steel Mastery
We continue our series of articles which explain all the available options in our main product categories. After the brigandines we come to the gambesons. Gambeson is an under-armour padded jacket. As cover fabric we use linen, cotton, wool and other materials. For the padding we take the mixture of cotton (50%) and wool (50%). All the materials are 100% natural, no synthetics, so your body is not overheated and can breathe.
How to choose the right gambeson model and its options?
If the historisity is your main concern, check carefully the gambeson’s historical period in the description. If the practical side is more important, then take something durable and convenient for your goals. If you are going to fight, choose a model with long sleeve, if you need it more for a show or you are an archer, take a short sleeve model.
Now let's go through all the gambeson options:
Here you can choose your outer material: linen, cotton, wool, velvet, silk or lether. Choosing fabric for your gambeson, consider your historical image’s social status and historical period. If you re-enact a knight, don’t take cotton or linen (it’s too cheap), but take velvet or silk. If you are a simple soldier, take linen, wool or leather.
If your re-enactment period is before the 13 century then linen , leather or wool are a good choices. Starting from the 13 century silk, velvet, leather for the rich people, and linen, wool, leather for the poor.
From the practical point of view, the best choice is a gambeson made of leather or wool.
As for the cotton, in general it is not very historical fabric, it was available only in the south.
Layers of padding
We can make a gambeson with 2 to 6 layers of padding. If you wear good plate armour or brigandine, normally 3 layers of padding are enough. If you are not so sure about the strength of your armour or you wear just a chainmail, we recomment to take a thicker gambeson – 4-6 layers.
Fastenings may be of 3 types: leather laces, leather straps with buckles and buttons. The laces may end with either steel points or brass points. The buckles may be nickel-clad (more durable) and handcrafted of brass (more historical). The buttons may be normal or covered with fabric. Rich people normally used buttons, the poor used leather laces.
Fastenings for steel arms
These are leather laces which you will use to fasten your armour (spaulders, arms) to the body. We can sew them on the gambeson or just put them separately into your shipping parcel, so you can do it yourself specifically for your armour.
We offer machine sewing and hand sewing. If you care a lot about the historicity of the gambeson then you should choose hand sewing (handcrafted manufacturing).
Design of the bottom edge
Here you can choose to have either a plain bottom edge of your gambeson or pick one of the numerous scallops designs. Choose one the patterns displayed or offer your own one.
You can choose to have two-color design: left side of one color, right side of another. Or even make it chess-like: left top and right bottom in one color and right top and left bottom in another. The colors are up to you, of course.
The inner fabric for your gambeson. It may be cotton, linen or silk.
Our products’ price depend on the size, as amount of work and materials differ considerably. We ask your size (XS, S, M, L, XL, 2XL…) for our made-to-measure products only in order to make the price correction; the products will not be made in the standard size you have selected. Once you have placed an order we’ll get in touch and request all your personal measurements we need to make the products fit you perfectly.
Attaching of the sleeves
Sleeves can be of 3 types: standard (normally sewed), laced with leather straps (so can be attached or detached at any time), and “half-sewed” sleeve, with a hole under the armpit (provides better mobilty than standard sleeve).
The options Color and Leather for fastening are pretty self-explanatory, here you choose the color.
Our customers are not only medieval re-enactment associations, interested in precise historical replicas, and HMB clubs, asking for strong and durable armour for fights, but also hotels, reastaurants and even movies, whose demands vary greatly. Apart from the standart things like gambesons, tunics and helmets, we at times make rather unusual things :)
A few month ago a Ukrainian TV channel was shooting a comic political TV show in the “Lord of the Rings” fantasy style. Steel Mastery developed and created costumes for the personages on the TV show. We present them below.
Every created image was easy to guess, so both director and viewers remained satisfied with the work done.
And we discovered of ourselves – and for you, dear friends, a new niche in our production. Now you to try on any fantasy image, like a wise wizard, bellicose elf, brutal viking or a funny gnome.
Our masters will make your image unique and admirable!