Shield-Balanc-art - 6/23/99
"How to Balance your Shield to YOU! (or how to deal with that ten pounds of wood hanging on your arm)" by Master Sir Anluan Trelaine.
This article was submitted to me by the author for inclusion in this set
of files, called Stefan's Florilegium.
These files are available on the Internet at:
Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author.
While the author will likely give permission for this work to be
reprinted in SCA type publications, please check with the author first
or check for any permissions granted at the end of this file.
Mark S. Harris
AKA: THLord Stefan li Rous
stefan at florilegium.org
How to Balance your Shield to YOU!
(or how to deal with that ten pounds of wood hanging on your arm)
by Master Sir Anluan Trelaine.
This is being written in response to many inquiries to a reply by me to a new fighter on the Rialto. (posted public by mistake). Please remember that this is what works for me. YouÕre fighting style or stance may not allow it to work for you. If this does work for you, I'd like to hear about it. If it doesnÕt, hmmm,
As a newer fighter within the SCA, I'm sure that all of us at times wondered just why we had that ten pounds of wood and metal attached to our arms. Especially those of us that have less bulk than most. Well, I'm not going to try to answer that here, but what follows, is the experience of twenty plus years of fighting in the SCA in regards of how to make that wood seem a lot less of a hindrance, and more of a helpmate. This will work with most any shield type that has some semblance of corners. Though I have no clue as to whether it would work with the so-called bunny rounds. (I've never used one). It will work for heaters, scutas, possibly kites, etc. regardless of the size\dimensions of the shield. It doesnÕt seem to matter whether itÕs a large or small version, or whether it's flat or curved, or whether it be wood or aluminum.
There are many schools of thought in regards to what is the best position oneÕs arm should be in behind the shield. I’ve found for me, that if I bring my clinched fist to the opposite sides collarbone, (Roughly at 45 degrees), with my elbow tucked tight to my body, that this is the most comfortable and relaxed position for holding the shield. Your mileage may vary.
For this paper, I'll be doing a standard curved heater style shield shape. Begin by cutting out your shield shape. I measure from the shoulder point to shoulder point. I'll use 24 inches as a base for ease of doing the math. Divide by three, equals eight. Measure down eight inches and mark it. (left and right sides, not the top! sheesh! ). Using a string, cord or wire or something that is 24 inches long, with a marking utensil of some sort, attached to one end, hold the non marking end on your mark at one side, and placing the marking instrument on your other side mark, scribe your curve to the bottom point of shield from both left and right side marks. Wasn't that easy?? See! it's not so hard.! Walah!! instant shield shape. Now cut it out using whatever implements of mass destruction you have handy. (tip! saws work best).
Next mount whatever type of edging on your shield that you've decided to use. Whether it be steel, shelving brackets, aluminum flat stock, leather, garden hose, (another tip! don't use the new hose from the back of the house, Mom/Dad or Wife/Husband or S.O. will hurt you for sure! Find the one you ran over with the power mower last spring and hid in the garage.) Hey, it's beginning to look like a shield !!
Now comes the fun part. Holding the 'Lead' corner, (the one that will be closest to your shield hand), using a plumbob, or chalk line, mark your center line. (shield should be hanging at an angle at this point, the line should be vertical and NOT touching the ground, or still swinging.) This is the center line. Which will be the line your arm lays on when it comes time to set your marks for your arm hardware. Find the center of this line and mark it with an X. This weÕll call the center point of your shield. (It may or may not be the exact center of your shield. Probably not, since weÕre working the balance center.) Now measure your arm, Well, at least from the point of your elbow to your knuckles. Mark it! (tip! Do not use permanent marker to do this, a small piece of duct tape works very well for this, and saves a bunch of scrubbing with harsh abrasives later!) Lay your arm on the center line of the shield, matching up your center marks of the line and your arm. Remember, your arm should be centered on both sides of the line on the shield (Another tip! If youÕll be wearing arm armor behind your shield, you should put it on at this point, and your elbow fan should be flat against the shield!)
At this time you can go ahead and mark your spots for hardware attachments. (i.e. arm strap, and handle or strap.) Remember that the average human hand will NOT be comfortable if you mark your handle at 90 degrees to the shield centerline. Install your hardware and BINGO! one balanced to you shield. (note, it youÕre used to having forearm strain from your last shield, youÕll probably find that itÕs now easier to block your head, but different in blocking your leg, but thatÕs another paper perhaps. Nah! Not from me!
Good luck, I hope that what IÕve written is helpful to you.
In Service to Crown and Kingdom,
Master Sir Anluan Trelaine
Copyright 1997 by Larry D. McCoy, <trelaine at ix.netcom.com>. Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided the author is credited.
If this article is reprinted, I would appreciate a notice in the publication that it was originally found in the Florilegium. An email to me mentioning when and where it was published would also be appreciated and let me track which articles are being reprinted. Thanks. - the editor.