There have been some changes to the plan but the shields are coming along nicely. In terms of timing it took quite a bit longer to buy materials, and cut materials, than anticipated. Because of that we’re dropping the cloth covering due to drying time. We’re going full on boffer construction, instead of historic. But the trip to Home Depot, although long, was very fruitful. Modern retail building materials offer some amazing short cuts in the construction of larp gear.
Home depot has a section of pre cut plywood. Which they call “Project Panels” instead of “plywood”. This makes them very hard to search for either online or in the store, unless you know what they are called. They have 24 x 24 inch sections, and 24 x 48 inch sections of varying thickness. Although smaller than the dimensions we planned on, they make nice first time shields. The logistics of getting the full plywood sheet into the car was really daunting.
Some Home Depots will cut the material, but stores are changing their policy on cutting on a case by case basis. Some do, some don’t. We didn’t get a chance to ask at ours. Future versions of these shields should be cut from a full plywood sheet to get the 30 inch diameter that is more historically correct. But we’re larping, so we’re forgoing historic accuracy and just learning how to make these things.
Additionally we noticed the larger size board, and that made me want to build a kite shield. So instead of building two round viking style shields, we’re building three. It’s going to be a good shield though, so in the end very much worth it.
First measure, then cut. In fact measure twice. Cut once. Using twine and a pencil draw a circle on the project panel as a guide for the jig saw. From the same center point on the board measure out the circle for the boss. There are plenty of ways to measure incorrectly! The easiest of which is to trace the outer edge of the boss on the panel, then cut it out. Don’t do that! You’ve just cut off the area of the shield needed to attach the boss. Use the inner distance of the boss to cut the hole.
Our boss haven’t arrive yet. So no pictures yet. Also we didn’t want to cut the inner circle without knowing exactly the dimensions of the boss (for exactly the reason just mentioned). We can’t really do too much more for the round shields before the 2 boss arrive. But we can continue with the kit shield, as that will have a different kind of grip.
Then cut the boards. Being a modern urban home we have no workbench. Which is a shame. There have been so many times where I would rather be crafting something, but cannot for lack of a place to do it. One extension cord, and my parking space solved the problem. Also two buckets from borrowed from the building made for a handy work area.
This took all afternoon. Way longer than I thought. Purchasing and cutting the materials one day, then finishing up the next day made a lot of sense. With this practice attempt out of the way, things will go much quicker. There was no small amount of ‘figuring stuff out’. Which essentially means standing around and analyzing our options. Or wandering home depot isles.
Next slice one 10 foot plastic tubing from end to end. When slicing take care not to cut the tube in half. You want the tube in one piece. Then using tape wrap the tube around the outside edge of the shield. This tube is needed to prevent the board from cutting the foam during play. Adding this vastly increases the lifespan of your shield. If you just add foam around the wood, strikes by weapons will quickly shred the foam from the inside.
That’s how far we got on the first day. Well that and a trip to the dollar store to buy cheap ‘leather’ dog collars. Next we’re going to add the foam insulation, and cover with duct tape. Perhaps in some form of interesting design or pattern. Or maybe we’ll just get them done and get to fighting.
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