click on the images to enlarge.
One of the things I do is research my trade as much as possible. There are so many people who think that just because they can do a little body work that they can make a suit of armour. Okay, I was one of those people. However, going to the trouble of actually measuring the real suits of armour goes a long way to providing the credibility that you need if you want to call yourself a "professional". The top picture is of me demonstrating real techniques I have picked up from medieval books. Doing live steel fighting in full armour, in this case, chain mail armour, is very illuminating! I am certain that without actually getting into real armour, you cannot really know what it is like to actually fight in it. How does your body move, how does the weight drag down arm, what can't you do in armour that you would have no diffiulty doing in street clothes.
Similarly, to measure the real armours in a real armury is so worth while doing! The bottom four pictures are of my "direct measurement" session in the Palace Museum in Malta in 2005. Just as you should not fight without learning how they did it in the "old days", you should not make armour without at least holding a couple of real pieces of armour in your hands and absorbing as much as you can during the inevitable short session. Not like I can make a psychic connection with the armourer from 1675, but rather, to know that what one man made once can be made by another man now.
I learned how big the hammers were that he used to dish that metal out. I learned how he scrubbed all the hammer marks off the face of the armour with abrasive bricks which left deep scratches that not even subsequent passes with grit could totally remove. I learned that the guy who made the armour is very unlikely to be the one who decorated it. And I learned where the armourer put his leather straps to allow the armour to hang properly. And I learned that it is not a one person job; that somebody has to hold the chisel!
So looking forward to another trip sometime in May.