The palette

2nd. January 2006

At this time the arm defense was constructed so as to give a great degree of flexibility, which was necessary for the extreme quickness of sword-play that was required in combat, often after the lance had been shattered. The shoulder was covered by epaulieres formed by a number of lames or spaulders with the topmost forming the shoulder cop which was moulded to the shape of the point of the shoulder. Although this gave great freedom of movement, it did leave the armpit exposed. Consequently the vulnerable area around the arm-hole of the cuirass was covered by a circular fluted palette - also sometimes referred to as a besague. This was either attached by a leather strap to the shoulder cop, or was held in place by laces that encircled the shoulder. This later became enlarged and incorporated into the epauliere to form the pauldron.

The first image on this page, Fig. 112, shows the pattern for the palette being outlined -

Fig. 112

- and in Fig. 113 the shape has been cut out of the steel.

Fig. 113

I have marked the position of the decorative rivet holes and partially drilled them before any shaping so as to ensure they are accurately placed. Accurate placement is much more difficult if this is left until after the curving and fluting has been carried out. The palettes are now dished into the shallow depression on the stump using the rawhide hammer. Fig. 114 shows the dishing stage complete with lines drawn on the back for the fluting.

Fig. 114

To preserve the concave shape already formed fluting is carried out from the back of the piece using the curved blade of the adapted lawn edging tool over a large round wooden block. Only light hammer blows are necessary with the curved blade being moved carefully along the lines drawn. Fig. 115 shows the palettes with fluting complete and the rivet holes drilled through on one of the pieces.

Fig. 115

Domed central bosses are next soldered in place and the pieces polished. Fig. 116 shows the palettes finished and in Fig. 117 the rivets and strapwork are in place.

Fig. 116

Fig. 117

In the next image, Fig. 118, one can see how vulnerable the gap between the shoulder defense and cuirass would have been without the protection afforded by the palette, even with the arm held down by the side - and in Fig. 119 the palette is shown in place.

Fig. 118

Fig. 119

As I said initially, eventually the palette became incorporated into the epauliere forming the pauldron and by way of comparison Fig. 120 shows the pauldron from the armour made in 'Project 2'.

Fig. 120

The final image on this page, Fig. 121, shows both palettes in place.

Fig. 121

The armour is finally finished. All that remains is to clean up and paint the mannequin - make it some breeches - and reassemble the armour.

On the next page the completed suit of armour.

Back to the start of this Project.