My specialty is in designing and delivering custom shield projects for discriminating living history enthusiasts and collectors. Custom shield designs are developed through a close collaboration between me and the customer. I provide updated artists renditions incorporating chosen design elements until the customer is fully satisfied with the design and appearance of their shield.
All prices quoted include installation. Some items may be available individually, please contact.
The best constructed shields act as composite structures combining properties of differing materials into a single unit light enough to easily maneuver, tough enough to take a beating, and flexible enough to absorb the energy of a weapon strike without disabling the bearer. A cover with a fibrous material like cloth, leather, or rawhide, firmly glued to the shield body, acts as a binder similar to modern fiberglass, holding the shield body together even if it is cracked or pierced by a weapon. It would take several direct strikes from an axe to fully render my shields unusable. Proper fighting techniques, using the shield to deflect blows rather than directly blocking them, will significantly prolong the life of the shield AND the warrior.
I will, hesitantly, provide shields without any face covering if you can convince me you have a good reason for requesting it. Please be aware that bare wooden shields will lack the necessary structure to hold up to any prolonged weapons strike. If you wish to purchase a bare shield core for your own shield projects, they are available on my Shield Kits page.
My Basic Shield comes with a 100% pure linen fabric face securely affixed and impregnated with glue. My fabric covers are always tightly stretched, and free of wrinkles, bubbles, and bulges. Linen fabric can also be used as a backing for rawhide or leather, adding even more strength. If you wish to purchase a fabric covered shield core for your own shield projects, they are available on my Shield Kits page.
Linen covered shields can be coated with gesso, if you're planning to apply paint, especially in complex designs, to the surface. Gesso makes the surface a little stiffer. It prevents paint from soaking into the linen fabric, and it gives the surface a little more texture (called "tooth"), so the paint sticks better. I will apply gesso to any shield that I paint for you.
Rawhide makes a very tough and handsome shield face. Applied wet, it shrinks and hardens as it dries. I use a special form to control shrinkage and assure a secure bonding to the shield core. The hard surface resists cuts, punctures, and scuffing. Not recommended for wet environments.
I am very proud of the high quality leathers that I'm able to offer. My Leather Upgrade shields come standard with 5 - 7 ounce bark tanned and chrome tanned cowhide in a variety of colors and textures. The leathers are rich and full of character, and may include fat wrinkles, insect bites, scarring and/or branding. Many colors are non-standard and no two hides will be exactly the same or always be available. The examples shown below are only a small sampling of what is available. Just let me know what you're looking for, and I'll do my best to satisfy. Other species such as bison hides, elk hides, water buffalo hides, etc. are also available. Please contact for more information.
All face and back materials shown also apply to any kite shield.
Shield coverings on the back side of a shield function the same as the front cover, except that it is less likely to be directly impacted upon by your opponent. Shield face materials shown above can also be applied to the back side of your shield.
100% Wool Felt - available natural, or in a variety of colors and in two weights, 13oz, and 16oz.
Felt making is a simple process. Wool is exposed to a combination of moisture, heat, agitation, and a change in pH, and it will felt. It is so simple that many archeologists believe it could be the first textile ever made, even older than spinning and weaving.
Because of the simplicity of felting, it would be reasonable to assume that not only was knowledge of felt making passed from culture to culture, but also felt making was probably independently discovered and developed by many cultures. Felt Color Chart
Woven Straw - Saturated and coated in clear linseed resin. Several patterns available. Natural colors.
Suede - 3.5oz cowhide split buffed to a buckskin-like suede ensuring that it is soft, supple, and has remarkable wearability. A standard option on my Leather Upgrade shields. Several color options available.
Shield edging is HIGHLY recommended, and is available in deer, steer, or bison rawhide, or in wax hardened leather. Mix and match materials, colors and textures to compliment or contrast with your face and back. Edging material is applied wet, and shrinks and hardens as it dries. I've seen many examples of how badly this is done by some. My edging is always tight and even. No bulges, wrinkles or folds. Shield edging is usually in two pieces, but never more than three, and are overlapped where they meet.
Shield edging can be attached either by riveting, nailing, or stitching. In addition, edging can also be glued in place for a permanent attachment.
Hardware options include:
Rose head copper rivets - A very permanent placement, more difficult to remove and replace.
Brass dome head escutcheon pins - Good placement, fair removal and replacement
Iron or copper cut tacks - Good placement, very easy removal and replacement
Other decorative clavos are also available. Ask.
Stitching options include:
Artificial sinew - Standard on all my Basic & Leather Upgrade shields, Excellent placement. Easiest stitching to remove and replace.
1/8" rawhide lace - Applied wet, it shrinks and hardens as it dries. Excellent placement, A bit more difficult to remove and replace.
Animal gut - Applied wet, it shrinks and hardens as it dries. Excellent placement, A bit more difficult to remove and replace.
Rawhide edging material, along with a supply of artificial sinew and stitching needles is available in kit form for use on your DIY shield projects on my Shield Kits page.
a. Round Profile Ash
b. Square Profile Plywood, rounded edges.
c. Square Profile Plywood, with optional brass terminals.
d. Wrought Iron & Ash
e. Wrought Iron & Ash, offset from center.
f. Wrought Iron & Ash, with triple banding.
All grips secured to shield with riveted copper rose head nails and roves. Grip section is tightly wrapped in deerskin. Optional off-center positioning creates additional room for a gloved hand, and a slight mechanical advantage.
Triple banding provides ultimate reinforcement to shield, but at a weight penalty.
Spun Steel Shield Bosses are 14 gauge mild steel, spun on a lathe, then polished to remove the spinning mark. My most economical option.
Small shield boss is perfect for Norman Kite Shields, or for kid's shields. 5 3/4" across at flange. Inside is 3 1/8" across and 1 1/4" deep. Weighs 9.5 ounces.
Medium shield boss comes standard on my Basic Shield and Leather Upgrade. 7 1/4" across flange. Inside is 5" across and 2" deep. Weighs 1 pound .
Large shield boss, a truncated cone shape. 7 1/4" across flange. Inside is 5" across and 2" deep. Weighs 1 pound, one ounce .
Hand Hammered Steel Shield Bosses are 13 gauge mild steel. Large size only, 7 1/4" across at flange. Inside is 6" across and 2" deep. Weighs one pound. Also available in blued finish.
Other premium hammered iron shield bosses also available, ask.
Guige & Attachments
I attach guige straps to the shield body in two different ways, a set of footman loops, or permanently attached buckles.
Brass or nickle finish footman loops make excellent low profile guige attachment points. A large button hole is provided at either end of the guige strap. The strap is then passed under the footman loop and passed back through the button hole. The guige strap includes a center buckle to adjust it's length.
Enarmes & Forearm Padding
Regardless of design, my forearm pads are constructed of 100% premium deerskin, hand stitched with artificial sinew, and quilted with 100% natural American wool batting. Despite its soft, supple feel, deerskin is more
abrasion resistant than cowhide, goatskin, lambskin, pigskin, or horsehide. Deerskin is naturally water repellent, can be hand washed when soiled, will not shrink, and will remain soft even after air-drying.
All of the wool batts are 100% natural. No dyes or heavy chemicals are used in the processing of the wool batts. Wool is mildew resistant, and like the deerskin cover, will air-dry and return to it's original loft. My forearm pads are attached to the shield back with decorative clavos and are easily removable and replaceable. Tabbed attachment points allows for full lofting. For authenticity weenies, I offer a waxed linen thread stitching as an option.
Basic Kite Shield Enarme - Standard size is 14" X 6", and lofts to 1" thick. Available with adjustable single or X-straps . Can be placed at any preferred angle.
2-Way Kite Shield Enarme - Standard size is 14" X 12", and lofts to 1" thick. Available with adjustable single or X-straps . Can be placed at any preferred angle. Easily change shield angle by grasping either hand grip. Left hand or right hand options.
4-Way Kite Shield Enarme - Standard size is 14" X 14", and lofts to 1" thick. Available with adjustable single straps only . Can be placed at any preferred angle. Naturally ambidextrous design offers multiple grip options with either arm.
Colors & Devices
Burlap Color Chart