Do it Yourself Back of the Head Protection

Historical arms and armor, as well as modern replicas and HEMA training gear (including new books and DVDS), are reviewed and discussed herein.
User avatar
A Froster
HEMA Alliance Member
Posts: 725
Joined: Sat Jan 23, 2010 8:41 am

Do it Yourself Back of the Head Protection

Postby A Froster » Wed Nov 10, 2010 2:50 pm

I am going to try to demonstrate how to make a functional "Back & Top of the head" protector yourself.

The pattern was provided to me free of charge by Terry of That Guy's Products http://www.thatguysproducts.com/ who makes some of the best fencing helmets on the market. This back of the head protector was designed by him to supplement his steel sparring helmets but he soon found out that they also work well with fencing masks. His only condition for providing us with the pattern is that we not try to make money off his design. He also asked that we consider his sparring helmets when we're in the market to buy a good fencing helmet.

I will demonstrate how to make this in several phases (posts) so that anyone can stop me and ask questions along the way. Below is a picture of the back of the head protector off of Terry's website:
Image

Below is a picture of the all of the items (numbered) that I gathered to construct my "back/top of the head" protector.
Image

1. 3 weapon fencing mask
2. Minimum 7-8 ounce thick oak tan leather (from Tandy Leather Store)- You only need enougn to cut one piece from the center pattern and 2 pieces from the side pattern.
3. Pattern for "side" pieces of Back Head protector (I can email you pattern)
4. Pattern for "Center" piece of Back Head Protector (Included in above pattern)
5. Strip of 3/4" belt or strapping at least 3 feet long (for mask strapping)
6. Copper rivets male and female ends (from Tandy Leather Store)
7. 2 brass buckles for 3/4" strapping (from Tandy store about $1.34 each)
8. Belt Buckle Slot tool (makes a long oval slot for the buckle nib tip to fit through) - About $10 but u can us a other tools for this
9. Copper Rivet "Set" tool about $10. (There are other cheaper alternative ways to do this other than use rivets & ass. tools
10. Awl for making stitch holes about $7 and well worth the price for the trouble it eliminates
11. Leather hole punch kit (any craft store about $4.50)
12. Waxed leather thread and leather needle (from Tandy store)
13. Hammer (ball peen hammer works best) used for leather hole punch kit and rivet setting.
14. Ruler for spacing buckle holes apart.
15. Pen or Pencil used for marking off pattern and marking off buckle and rivet holes.
16. (not shown) a good set of shears for cutting the pattern out of the leather or an exacto knife.
17. (also not shown) closed cell foam for extra padding.

Next post will deal with marking, cutting and preparing the leather using the email pattern.
Last edited by A Froster on Fri Nov 12, 2010 8:20 am, edited 3 times in total.
Opposing trolls and shills everywhere for the betterment of HEMA ( hyperbolically speaking that is) otherwise, welcoming to everyone.

User avatar
John Harmston
Site Admin
Posts: 735
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2010 3:27 pm
Location: Utah
Contact:

Re: Do it Yourself Back Head Protection

Postby John Harmston » Wed Nov 10, 2010 3:20 pm

Wow, I can already tell this is going to be an awesome thread.

Thanks in advance! :D
John Harmston
Senior Instructor - True Edge Academy
HEMA Alliance Forum Admin
Lifetime Member, HEMA Alliance

Philip Fox
HEMA Alliance Member
Posts: 152
Joined: Mon Oct 11, 2010 6:45 am
Location: Fairfax, VA

Re: Do it Yourself Back Head Protection

Postby Philip Fox » Wed Nov 10, 2010 5:20 pm

Is there a way to subscribe to threads? That's pretty cool.

Edit... never mind, found it.

User avatar
A Froster
HEMA Alliance Member
Posts: 725
Joined: Sat Jan 23, 2010 8:41 am

Re: Do it Yourself Back Head Protection

Postby A Froster » Fri Nov 12, 2010 6:07 am

Part II - marking, cutting and preparing the leather using the email pattern. I'm sorry this will be image heavy but a picture's worth a thousand words :geek:

So the problem with emailed templates is that they print off on thin paper which is sort of hard to trace around.

To solve that problem I cut out the patterns of my printout with scissors then spray the back of my cut-outs with “3M” spray adhesive purchased from the craft store. Then I stuck the cut-out patterns onto the lid of card board box and cut the pattern again from the box giving me a template that I can use over and over again. Since the pattern already has the holes marked, I used my Awl to go ahead and punch the stitch holes thru the templates.

Image 1 the email pattern
Image
Image 2 Cut out patterm
Image
Image 3 Spraying 3M adheasive to the back of pattern
Image

After this you stick the paper pattern onto cardboard; cut out the cardborad pattern and use the awl to punch out the stitch holes and there you have a template you can use over and over again (see below)
Image

The next step is to trace the pattern onto your leather with a pencil or pen.
Very Important: Please note that the two side pieces must be a reverse of each other so that the stitch holes line up with the center piece. That means after you trace the first side piece, flip the template over and trace the second side piece. Huh?
Image

After that, use either a pen, pencil or the awl to mark each of the holes in the pattern onto the leather.
Image

The last step is to use your heavy shears, scissors or an “Exacto” knife to cut out the patterns from your leather. Finally use your “Awl” or "portable drill" as an alternative to make the stitching holes into the leather. Do not do this until you read the note below about working with leather. Image

Finished pieces - Ready for stitching.
Image

Note about working with leather: It is necessary to thoroughly soak both sides of the leather with water in order to make the leather soft and pliable to work with. Doing this is especially important when you are using the Awl or stitching the leather. This is because trying to stick an awl through dry leather is dangerous in that you can end up sticking yourself and because dry leather has the reputation of breaking leather sewing needles. Don’t worry about getting the leather wet because cows were made for outdoor use and therefore the material won’t be hurt by moisture.

The next post will deal with stitching the leather together.
Opposing trolls and shills everywhere for the betterment of HEMA ( hyperbolically speaking that is) otherwise, welcoming to everyone.

User avatar
A Froster
HEMA Alliance Member
Posts: 725
Joined: Sat Jan 23, 2010 8:41 am

Re: Do it Yourself Back of the Head Protection

Postby A Froster » Sun Nov 21, 2010 7:39 am

Part III Stitching the Back of the Head Protector.

As I mentioned previously you will need some heavy duty waxed thread and leather needle for this phase of the project. I have also included the awl because it’s sometimes easier to push the needle through the leather if you open it up the holes a little more. Keep the pliers handy to help pull the needle through if it gets stuck.

Image

Step 1 Thread the Needle:
Use a double thread span about the length of your open arms.
Image

Image

Step 2 Wet the leather panels on both sides

Image

Instead of butting the edges together when sewing, I like to stitch with the inside of the two pieces flat against each other. The reason for this is that it leaves a “raised” seam where the two pieces meet providing an added measure of protection when struck in that weak area.

Image

Step 3

Start stitching the first piece from the bottom to the top. I always stitch through the first hole twice for added strength.

Image

Image

Image

Step 4
Stitch on the second piece on the other side of the center piece.

Image

Step 5
As you sew the pieces together the leather will start forming a cupped shape. After you have tied off the thread securely, turn the head protector inside out and push the seams with your thumb to help shape the piece a little more.

Image

Step 6
Wet the head protector on both sides again and form it using your cupped hands around the back of your head.

Image

Once you are satisfied that it is shaped adequately, Leave overnight and to let the leather dry and harden.

Image

At this point in the process you can get an idea of how one can improve, customize or change the back of the head protector. For example: You can extend the bottom of the protector pattern to also protect the back of the neck. I have thought of placing a thin sheet of metal and creasing it to cover the neck and upper backbone area. Then sandwich the metal between two pieces of leather to better protect that vulnerable area in a series of articulated pieces to allow for better movement. I recommend that you experiment with this until you are satisfied with your own level of protection.

Next segment will deal with Making buckle straps and riveting them to your fencing mask.
Opposing trolls and shills everywhere for the betterment of HEMA ( hyperbolically speaking that is) otherwise, welcoming to everyone.

User avatar
A Froster
HEMA Alliance Member
Posts: 725
Joined: Sat Jan 23, 2010 8:41 am

Re: Do it Yourself Back of the Head Protection

Postby A Froster » Thu Nov 25, 2010 1:48 pm

Part III

Preparing Straps and Buckles


Pictured Below:

Hammer
Leather Hole Punch Set (Use Portable Drill as Alternative)
Buckle Nib Punch (Use Portable Drill as Alternative)
Leather Screw Posts
35.5 inch long strip of 5/8” leather strapping (use two old belts as alternative)
Two Buckles

Image

Cut the strip of leather into four pieces:

Back Strap 12.5 inches long
Back Buckle 9.6 inches long
Top Strap 9 inches long
Top Buckle 4.5 inches long


Image

Prepare the back buckle (the 9.5 inch strip) by folding the end over and marking where the buckle nib will go through the leather.

Image

And then mark holes where the Leather Screw Post will hold the buckle on and mark the holes where the strap will be riveted to the fencing mask.

Image

Next using a hammer and the Buckle Nib punch, make a hole in the leather for the buckle nib.

Note: If you don’t have this tool, you can draw off a long narrow slit and use a portable drill to make a series of holes then trim with a razor knife.

Image

Next using the Leather hole punch kit, make the holes for the Leather Screw Post and holes which the strap will attach to the fencing mask.

Note: If you do not have this tool, you can use a portable drill to make holes.

Image

Next use the screw on leather posts to finish the Back Buckle piece.

Image

Next mark and punch holes for the Back Strap piece (the 12.5 inch strip). I usually space the buckle holes about 5/8 “ apart.

Image

Make the top buckle piece and top strap the same way using the 9 inch strip for the top strap and the 4.5 inch strip for the top buckle piece. Do not use a post on the top buckle piece because this piece will be riveted directly onto the Back Head protector.

Finished Straps and Buckles ready for assembly.

Note: Another cheaper and potentially easier way to do this is to cut two old belts in half.
Image

Next Series:

Part IV - Final Assembly
Opposing trolls and shills everywhere for the betterment of HEMA ( hyperbolically speaking that is) otherwise, welcoming to everyone.

User avatar
A Froster
HEMA Alliance Member
Posts: 725
Joined: Sat Jan 23, 2010 8:41 am

Re: Do it Yourself Back of the Head Protection

Postby A Froster » Thu Nov 25, 2010 2:28 pm

Part Four - Preparing the Back of Head Piece for Final Assembly

Pictured Below:

Fencing mask
Finished Straps and Buckles
A pair of El Cheapo construction knee pads
Leather hole punch set
Rivet setting tool
copper rivets (nibs and washers)
hammer
Back of head protector.

Image

Step one: Attach the top buckle to the back of head protector
Using leather hole punch, make hole in the back of the back of head protector.

Image

Put Copper rivet "nib" through the inside of the back of head protector.

Image

Next put copper washer over nib and set with tool. This will hold the rivet firmly onto the back of head protector. Next place the top buckle onto rivet nib through the holes already made and use the tool to set another washer on top. This will secure the top buckle to the back of head protector. Finally use the tool to round off the remaining nib and perminantly set the rivet in place.

Image

Image

Step Two: Install Padding on the inside of the Back of Head protector.

I purchased some cheap construction knee pads for about $3.50 because they were made of sturdy "close celled" foam and they were cheap. I took one knee pad and cut it into three pieces.

Image

I am experimenting with glue for this so for this project I am using "Gorilla Glue" product from Home Depot. Not sure how well it will hold yet but I will let you know how good it works later.

Image

glue, clamp and let dry overnight.

Image

Image

Back of head protector ready to install onto fencing mask.

Image


Edit Change of plans. I decided that using the elastic/velcro strap built into the mask to hold the bottom of the protector in place was more practical than the leather straps I had cut. I also stained the leather brown to give a finished look.

See the finished product below:

Image

End of Presentation :)
Last edited by A Froster on Mon Jun 06, 2011 7:16 am, edited 2 times in total.
Opposing trolls and shills everywhere for the betterment of HEMA ( hyperbolically speaking that is) otherwise, welcoming to everyone.

User avatar
W.T.Heinz
Posts: 392
Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2010 8:43 am
Location: Spokane, WA
Contact:

Re: Do it Yourself Back of the Head Protection

Postby W.T.Heinz » Mon Dec 06, 2010 9:29 pm

Thank you for this. After a recent back of the head wound we've been seriously considering doing something along these lines and this is perfect.
Wayne Tiberius Heinz

Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.--Marcus Aurelius

Iron Crown KDF

User avatar
Marcos Ariño
Posts: 105
Joined: Thu Nov 18, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Haarlem, Netherlands

Re: Do it Yourself Back of the Head Protection

Postby Marcos Ariño » Mon Dec 20, 2010 1:34 pm

It works great with plastic too! Thanks for this thread, I look forward to the rest of it.

Image
Marcos Ariño

User avatar
A Froster
HEMA Alliance Member
Posts: 725
Joined: Sat Jan 23, 2010 8:41 am

Re: Do it Yourself Back of the Head Protection

Postby A Froster » Mon Dec 20, 2010 4:08 pm

That is totally awesome Marcos. Can you share what you had to do to make it out of plastic?
Opposing trolls and shills everywhere for the betterment of HEMA ( hyperbolically speaking that is) otherwise, welcoming to everyone.


Return to “Equipment”