Armour Making Tutorial - How to roll the edges of armour

Introduction

This tutorial was written in response to emails I have received asking "How do I Roll an Edge?" My hope is that this will help teach and instill confidence in those who are new to the art of historical armour reproduction.

In this tutorial I focus on rolled edges of the style seen on pre circa 1500 originals where the edge is rolled outward. Most armour crafted after 1500 had its edges rolled inward. This is not a rule but seems to be the general practice of these respective eras.

Shoulder armour with a rolled Edge

What not to do

When I first started working with metal I was amazed to see the perfectly formed rolled edges on Medieval and Renaissance armour. I thought it would take such immense skill to shape a roll so evenly that I would never have the ability.

Trying to achieve this look I experimented with a lot of crazy methods. I even once tried cutting a slit in steel automobile break line then welding it to the edge of a piece of armour. This was very difficult and the end result looked far worse than if I had just left the plate with a raw edge hehe.

It's easier than it looks.

Finally I decided to just try forming a rolled edge using a hammer. To my surprise it was not nearly as difficult as I had imagined. While far from profound, I had a few revelations in my early years of making armour which I feel greatly contributed to my skill improving. One realization was that original armour was made by normal people with hand tools and if I just had confidence and patience I could make armour too.

Having practice and good control with a hammer does help but that will come in time. The most important quality when rolling edges, if not all aspects of armour smithing, is to have patience.


Page 2 - Prepairing the armour.