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Joined: August 12, 2012
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Padding
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Posted on Sun Oct 21, 2012 4:15 pm
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As I've seen pictures recently of modified pliers, I decided to copy them with a bit of grinding and the application of padding to the pliers. Now I had some spare memory foam so I decided to use that as the padding attached to the pliers using simple electrical tape (not too slippy and fairly tactile).

This got me thinking about a subject I've been pondering for a while... Gambesons. You need one for wearing a chainmail hauberk and until now I've seen suggested as the ideal components moderate to heavy duty linen (strong enough and cooling) and simple cotton for the padding. I've been toying with ideas of how to use memory foam for this.

The biggest problem I've seen with this is that memory foam isn't very washable (an important thing for an article of clothing you'll be wearing while stinky and sweaty). It's also not the coolest of materials.

My question is how you think it would fair?

My mind while grappling with the problem has found waterproof sleeves that you could compress and then place the memory foam in. This could then be sewn together into a garment of linen. This would solve the bulkiness and the washing problems.

Would the memory foam under compression provide suitable padding under combat conditions? I'm looking for opinions.

Joined: August 30, 2008
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Posted on Sun Oct 21, 2012 4:21 pm
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Uncertain... However:

Memory Foam toppers when used on spring mattress beds have a finite lifespan, as the springs eventually cut and damage the foam.
Quality ($$$$) mattresses have layers of other materials between the springs and the memory foam to prevent this.

Food for thought.



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Posted on Mon Oct 22, 2012 5:00 pm
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Do not use electrical tape, after five to minutes of use the adhesive loosens up and starts to move around on you.

Joined: May 08, 2010
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Posted on Mon Oct 22, 2012 5:57 pm
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stry wrote:
Do not use electrical tape, after five to minutes of use the adhesive loosens up and starts to move around on you.


Or just learn how to have the proper grip and never need padding at all. ...unless you're talking about the handles. Very Happy

Joined: February 22, 2009
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Posted on Mon Oct 22, 2012 7:11 pm
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I've had some success with using Sugru, especially on my knipex sidecutters, since those get more continueous use than my flat-noses.

Edit: Oh, I didn't read it through, but that's what works for my pliers Smile

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Posted on Mon Oct 22, 2012 11:23 pm
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Foam is also a highly effective insulator -- and you have a metabolism and release heat. You'll slowly steam-cook yourself, and at best you'll be running sweat. Even in chilly Scotland -- it'll just take a little longer.

No, break out the sewing machine and quilt linen. You'll be glad you did.

What we armor-clankers have found repeatedly is that really, the period methods from the old days often work rather better for that task than the Space Age ideas we're used to coming up with... ideas that work great on cars and airplanes, but don't necessarily improve upon what they did then for metal body armor.


'The Minstrel Boy to the War is gone...'

Joined: November 10, 2011
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Posted on Tue Oct 23, 2012 3:29 am
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Under combat conditions memory foam isn't the best option unless you want to look like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Under compression it looses most of its absorbency and in order to get the most out of it the foam needs to be of a certain thickness. Long time ago I had a girlfriend try SCA combat archery and we tried memory foam. She called it her fat suit.

For under my chain I use a padded Gambeson over a coat of plates style lifting belt made out of 1/8" kydex plastic with a thin layer of closed cell foam that covers my kidneys. Konstantin has it right about the heat too. As a fighter who sweats so much that it's impossible to drink enough water even during a simple practice, I take great pains to make armor that doesn't smother. That's why I like my chain. It breaths so well and half the time acts like a heat sink.

Joined: August 12, 2012
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Posted on Tue Oct 23, 2012 10:53 am
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Seems the memory foam idea has been nixed. Razz

I'm still open to the traditional measures, I just want to make sure I've exhausted all avenues before going traditional as I'm looking more for efficiency then authenticity.

Has anyone tried using a kevlar jacket underneath for padding? I ask because it could be a two birds with one stone kind of scenario. Protect yourself against projectile as well as melee.

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Posted on Tue Oct 23, 2012 5:08 pm
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Um, have you worn a kevlar jacket? At least, I'm presuming that you're talking about something like a balllistic vest (aka body armor). I have one for work and I really, really don't think it's going to do what you're thinking it will. Also, I tend to sweat to death while wearing it if I'm doing anything very strenuous.

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Posted on Tue Oct 23, 2012 10:03 pm
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I know this is counter productive for a mailler , but if you want to protect against more then just slash attacks I would look into using plate armour.

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Posted on Wed Oct 24, 2012 12:45 am
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I had a knight tell me recently that there comes a time in every fighters journey when he has to choose if he wants to play the game or strive for realism. I don't know what kind of combat you are doing but as an SCA heavy I've found this to be true. There is a balance to be had between protection, weight, speed, and authenticity but it just depends on what you're playing for.

Now back to questions. I have many friends who are raving about a new thing called zoombang. It's light, protects very well, and is low profile. I'm saving up for a set myself.

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Posted on Wed Oct 24, 2012 5:26 am
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Zoombang is downhiller biker armor, which is always low profile. See, it's proven itself to be a good idea to be protected about the time you get throwed and then get mixed up with the boulders and the brambles, but it's even better if your protection doesn't show under your biking clothes. It's a fashion macho thing.

Gorog of the Magnetic Abs, you raise a good point regarding examining padding options. It's also one that the armor nerds that swarm around The Armour Archive have been at addressing these many years now. They're trying various Zoombang crash products, shirts or pants, and seeing how they work against getting pounded with taped sticks. So far, they think it has excellent potential from an impact performance standpoint, but needs some redistribution of its protection to deal with stick threats rather than crash-into-terrain threats. In a word, ongoing evolution, and not yet complete. And there's all the other stuff that those guys and their swordplaymates have used, from foam rubber to things like nice springy horsehair, wool, fleece, raw cotton, and linen tow when they can get it -- medieval FiberFill. You've gotten the idea by now that they find quilted linen, and they're not ashamed to use discount linen in fairly ghastly prints and colors if it's at a good low price, an excellent material indeed for their needs.

Closed cell foam makes quite a good flotation material, but it is ghastly hot too. And it's rather stiff. It's still popular for putting inside helms. Nowadays the state of the art is to use it in an open, fairly airy framework sort of way, with at least as much open air as there is closed-cell throughout the helm, and perhaps using an open framework of closed-cell set in the helmet skull and covered over completely with a quilted-linen liner and padding, as an ultimate last-ditch defensive layer against hard hits with big sticks, in combination with better ventilation and the fabric's wicking sweat off you, which is good in fighting -- a very hot and aerobic endeavor with all four of your limbs threshing about very hard, particularly with armor on.

You do need to work with linen's properties. 100% linen wrinkles so easily it's ridiculous that way, and so it gets mucked with using poly fiber. I've seen it blended with silk at a favorable price if that's still in stock, which blend sounds good for this kind of work. Wash linen a lot and it gets nice and soft -- new linen isn't quite as comfy. (Renaissance-era writings on making linen jacks recommend getting old used linen for them, as giving the best padding.) Washing it before sewing with it calls for running an overcast stitch or such along any cut edges of the fabric, as linen frays a lot. You needn't do this with the selvedges; they are already taken care of.

@Thunderbolt: if you train hard enough to get leaner, you may find that sweat and dehydration problem actually decreases through dumping body heat more easily, and thus literally not having to sweat as hard. It will take training and diet, though -- the hard way is the only way. I should take that way myself, I should...


'The Minstrel Boy to the War is gone...'

Joined: August 12, 2012
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Location: Scotland

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Posted on Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:06 am
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*goes looking for the magnetic abs he lost when he had 4 soon to be 5 kids*

--Until now I hadn't heart of zoombang. It looks interesting and hopefully I'll get a chance to see some in person (not via ebay) when I go back to the States for a visit this Christmas. It looks like it might work, but could need some cannibalizing. Or at the very least combining with a more traditional gambeson.

--Never touched a kevlar jacket, so I would have no clue of it's appropriateness or lack thereof. I'm taking it as a no from your comments.

Due to my profession, I also have access to the gel padding they use for gel insoles and have been toying with using that. Or at the very least seeing how it works. It's thin and fairly shock absorbent. Also it's very washable due to its intimate association with feet. Razz


I'm the kind of personality that likes to over think everything, exploring every aspect before I throw myself into it head first.

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