The cuisse

During the 16th.C armour made under the German influence was often heavily fluted, a style typified by the Maximillian armour of the period. In the case of Italian armour the plates had a smoother contour and the cuisse for this armour is made to conform to this fashion.

In order to produce the smooth curved effect of the larger plates for this armour I needed a more shallow depression in the stump. In Fig. 27 this is being formed using a disc sander. I have found that this has been invaluable in shaping the larger curved plates such as the cuisses and pauldrons.

Fig. 27

First the cuisse is cut from the sheet steel and Fig. 28 shows the flattened piece prior to any shaping being carried out ( the other two deeper dishing areas in the stump can be seen in this image ).

Fig. 28

The sheet is curved around a wooden stake initially ( Fig. 29 ) and the domed shaping that will conform to the outline of the thigh ( in this case for the right cuisse ) formed from the inside of the piece using the rawhide hammer and the shallow dish on the stump ( Fig. 30 ).

Fig. 29Fig. 30

The top of the cuisse is to have a pronounced turned out flange. This imparts strength to the piece and would have acted to deflect glancing blows of edged weapons from the vulnerable groin area. In Fig. 31 the top edge of the cuisse is being finished against the tapered end of the anvil horn.

Fig. 31

The lower end of the cuisse is to articulate with the upper lame of the knee defense. To facilitate this the end of the cuisse is domed using the heavy ball-ended hammer, producing what is essentially an additional lame ( Fig. 32 ). After doming the end is planished to produce a smooth outline ( Fig. 33 ) -

Fig. 32Fig. 33

- and finally the piece is polished. Fig. 34 shows both cuisses finished ready for articulation with the knee defense, which is the next stage in the construction.

Fig. 34

On to the next stage - the knee defense or poleyn.

Back to start of project.