Saturday, February 07, 2015


With the arrival of winter snows I finally got the opportunity to try out the snowshoes I picked up last Fall. New to the sport I chose a soccer field to get used to the shoes and the gait.

It ended up being surprisingly easy once I got the bindings ratcheted to the proper fit. I actually didn't even need to adjust my stride at all. The benefit of modern shoe design.

Opted to head into the adjacent woods to try out the shoes on undulating wooded terrain. That was fun and the shoes were quite stable traversing through the brush and deeper snow drifts. Climbing was the hardest part and would have been easier had I used the poles.
Had a blast and I am definitely digging the mobility of snowshoes in snow covered woodlands. I love the woods in winter and having snowshoes will definitely make winter hiking far more enjoyable.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Medieval Heater Shield - Part Two

Having completed the basics of the build with the addition of the arm straps and cushioning it meant the project was nearing a conclusion.

It was decision time. Do I simply stay with unpainted fabric on the shield or do I add paint? I also needed to consider what heraldry design to add. Heraldry in the 12th century was at its simplistic early stages with basic geometric designs on the field. My surcoat is black and red so that will play a part in my decision.

To test the painting option I covered the grey belly of the shield with a black semi gloss.It looks better than the picture attests to but I should have left it a lighter color.
With the belly completed I added a date appropriate ordinary- a simple red chevron trimmed with gold.
The color choice was primarily based upon my surcoat but the chevron was choice. In heraldry the chevron was associated with a roof, of building something for protection or faithful service. Gold represents generosity , red the warrior and black constancy and often grief.



Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Medieval Heater Shield - Part One

Looking for a winter project to occupy the evenings I decided to make a heater shield as part of a 12th century knight/man at arms kit I am assembling.

The heater shield evolved in the late 12th century from the Norman kite shield.It was smaller but more manageable for cavalry and armored infantry whose limbs were now covered in chain mail and early medieval plate armor.

Having researched the dimensions of historical shields I opted for a 3-1 ratio; 21 inches across the top, 7 inches straight down the sides at which point I used a 21 inch ruler to pivot out the sweeping curve to the bottom point. First step was to create a paper version to use as a template to outline the shield on a sheet of 1/2 inch plywood.

Finished cutting out the shield and sanded round the edges

Measured and plotted the projected arm cushioning on the back of the shield in preparation to add the arm and hand strapping.
After priming the back of the shield I sewed a padded gambeson style forearm protection from an old coat liner.I then mounted it to a piece of hardboard to facilitate attaching it to the shield.
Added the fabric....
The basic form is now complete.