Making armour from steel washers?
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Joined: March 16, 2019
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Making armour from steel washers?
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Posted on Sun Mar 17, 2019 12:15 am
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This is maybe a bit of a stupid idea but I live in colourful Merseyside, UK where knifecrime is increasing and my mother is concerned about me being in the city after dark (knows someone who knows someone who got stabbed) but did seem less concerned when I mentioned the price of stab-resistant armour! Decent armour that protects the neck and sides and arms (all these areas make an appearance when searching Google images for stab wounds) as well as front and back torso is expensive so I was considering making something myself. I'm a maker-wannabe so I like making stuff but I don't want it to take forever so I'm not looking to painstakingly reproduce ancient techniques or anything like that - I hope this doesn't offend the mail connoisseurs of this forum; I was actually thinking of using washers like in this:

http://www.mailleartisans.org/gallery/gallerydisplay.php?key=7057

except I'd be using 40 mm zinc-plated washers with 6 mm holes (just £2 for a bag of 100). I'm not yet certain whether I'd want to sew them into some kind of garment a bit like this:

https://ae01.alicdn.com/kf/HTB1c_GYvKuSBuNjy1Xcq6AYjFXaR.jpg

or connect them to each other with steel wire, similar to the project I linked above. I'm interested in any shortcuts I could take; I don't want to spend months fashioning this thing!

I was wondering if anyone had any advice for the most practical solution to producing armour from steel washers? I have a sewing machine in case that's relevant but it doesn't need to be used.

Joined: June 20, 2012
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Location: France

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Posted on Mon Mar 18, 2019 10:16 am
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Hello and welcome.

I wouldn't wear zinc-plated every day, as it has a distinctive scent and can let black zinc oxide on cloths.
Stainless steel would be a better, but more expensive, choice.

It looks like what you want to do is a some kind of jack of plate: metal plates sewed on thick cloth. I doubt you'll be able to use a sewing machine for that.
Make sure the plates/washers overlap.

You should also consider weight and flexibility.
I think the most flexible and light metal armour would be European 4 in 1 chainmail, but you will need to weld (or rivet Razz ) the rings to get any real protection.
Some online shops sell welded mesh, saving a considerable amount of time: http://theringlord.com/cart/shopdisplayproducts.asp?id=95&cat=Sheets+of+Chainmail
Contact the vendor first to check if it can withstand a knife stab, but I don't have much doubt it would.

You can also try making a gambeson: it's basically two shirts sewed together, padded with scrap cloth. It's cheap, should be easy to build, and provide more protection than it sounds.

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Posted on Thu Mar 21, 2019 7:43 pm
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Look in protective chainmail made for butchers. It's fairly lightweight, machine made, welded rings, and designed for preventing cuts. You could wear it as a middle layer.

Joined: March 29, 2005
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Location: Plumstead, London

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Posted on Fri Mar 22, 2019 7:07 pm
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Ok this is a bit of a nitty problem.

In the UK a decent stab vest will set you back £300 quid. You can get cheap ones for £160. (that's layered Kevlar). Problem is people wearing (as the police say) "look as if they have a reason to wear". There is an argument that wearing armor attractants trouble (I'm unconvinced by this argument, armour is always good in my mind).

That said you have to think about practicality, metal armour slows you down, makes you a little less mobile. The few martial artist I have spoken with generally shun armor as it impedes movement. I just want to reiterate I'm not down on this idea, I like armor.

IF you were making armor out of washers (and remember this is NOT ballistic armor, and washer armor is positively DETRIMENTAL against low caliber fire arms. Then I would suggest linking the washers with metal and not fabric. (fabric bends and you can open up a fabric crease that will render your washers non-protective.)

If you can weld, the links between the washers then do so.

I can understand that you need this as cheap as possible. We're not made of money (or very few of us are). BUT believe me when it comes between you and a knife, there are no real, "cheap" options.

One other thing to think about: If you stop the edge of the blade you still have to deal with the force of someone jabbing the blunt end of a crowbar into you. For the price it is very very difficult to beat the protective qualities of a good quality, mid-range, low profile, modern Kevlar stab vest. When it comes to personal safety on a budget.

So with no financial alternative I would, on your budget of f-all, in a stab happy area....... Buy washers try and make a derivative of 4in1 or 6in1 using the washers as you "free links", make sure you can make this up with the I.D's of the links you've bought (I would suggest stainless steel as inter connecting links) . Use standard maille under your arms and for the sleeves to give you a high degree of rotational movement. And hope your not going to ever get caught in crossfire. This is far from ideal, in fact, it's more Mickey Mouse than Ironman. But as a squadie once said to me "a f**king s*it wall, in a s*it storm is better than f**k all"

On thinking about it, you could orbital link the plate/washers within a chainmalle mesh..... Still wouldn't be cheaper than a Kevlar.
.

Joined: April 02, 2008
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Posted on Sat Mar 23, 2019 1:06 am
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Interesting thought. Here are some gallery pictures that use washers. Some of it is clothing, some jewlery. enjoy.

http://www.mailleartisans.org/gallery/gallerylist.php?tags=Washer


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Joined: March 29, 2005
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Location: Plumstead, London

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Posted on Thu Apr 04, 2019 11:25 am
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I remember a leather washer variation used on LOTR

Can't find the original but this artist was nice enough to do a sketch:
https://www.deviantart.com/artigas/art/Dwarven-Weapons-and-Armor-467673144

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