"Crusader Knees"
Well, these elbows and knees go by several names. I guess it all depends on what you wear them with. Most historical examples are not dished as deep as these, nor do they protect the sides of the rear portion of the knee joint. Due to SCA requirements, these are both deeper and wider than their historical counterpart. These are and excellent piece to learn several armouring techniques. Dishing, fluting, flaring...etc, it's all here. Now, onto the methods:.

1.) Something to cut metal ( I use B1 shears).
2.) Something to flare metal over (flat surfaced with fairly sharp even edge)
3.) Some way to dish metal
4.) large diameter ball peen, medium flat faced hammer
5.) chisel or other item for fluting/creasing.
These pics are what I use.

Start with the patterns. These fit me great. Since there are no articulating lames and such, this pattern will fit most "average sized" people. If you are very skinny, or very wide, you'll have to adjust the pattern pieces. Cut these out of posterboard and wrap around your knee/elbow. They should come level with the back of the elbow/knee while wearing padding. The dotted lines are where you should mark the metal for reference points to flare and flute.


Lay out your patterns on metal and mark everything. Before you cut everything out, use a 1/4" drill bit and drill a hole at the end (outside edge) of each of the flares. This prevents you from cutting into the "good" portion of ther piece when cutting it out. Cut the pieces out of metal. Mark all the reference line by scratching them in on one side.

Now dish the pieces. Dish them as deep or shallow as you want. I use about a 8" diameter for knees and 6" for elbows. remember, when you go back and put a center flute in, your dishing will shallow out a bit. I dish the whole piece, and then go back and flatten the side portions slightly. It's ok if the edges aren't dished totally since you'll be bending them backwards anyway.

Once they're dished to what you want, you'll start the flaring process. I hammer the edges down over the edge of the stump. All you want to do is beging to stretch the metal. I use the large rounding hammer for this (4 lb). Take a little at a time to start and do it in passes. It will start looking like the pictures.

Now you'll start to define the flare better. This is what makes these stand out. I've seen many that leave a undefined flare and they look crappy. It's also a spot where you'll screw up the most. I use an edge of my anvil for this. You should see the line you scribed earlier on the inside of the cop. You want this line to be directly over the edge of the anvil (or whatever you're using). LIGHTLY tap the cop along this line. Hit it hard enough to slightly leave hammer marks. Once again, I use the large rounding hammer. After the first pass, look at the other side. if your line is pretty straight, start doing several more passes with heavier blows. You should begin to get a nice crisp flared edge now. The first pic shows the placement on the anvil. The second shows the beginnings of the line forming.

Now, go back and hang the flared edge off the edge of the anvil. LIGHTLY tap along the lower edge of the flare line. This takes out any irregular lumps and straightens the line. If everything still looks good, set it again so the flared edge is on the anvil and use a fairly flat hammer. Now, beat it until smooth. Take your time and don't try and do it all in one pass. Here's the second placement on anvil and the piece after flattening and smoothing.

Now I clean up the lines with a fine file and put a decent satin finish on it. It's just easier to do most of it now.

Now, put your center flute in This should be more of a crease, and not a high, deep raised gothic flute...unles you just particularly want it that way. After chiseling in from the rear, go back with a planishing hammer and sharpen them up from the front. Now clean up all the stray marks and such and apply whatever polish you want to it.

Here's the finished pair..minus strapping..

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