A Proper Templar SCA Shield...

I have a love hate relationship with the Templars. Mostly love. Deep and long suffering. Since childhood. I do not, however, like how they are often portrayed in Hollywood. And this seems to seep into SCA combat a bit as well.

In an on-going effort to improve the historical accuracy of my current kit, albeit within the necessary guidelines of SCA combat, I have recently taken on a project to make the ultimate SCA Templar shield.

Not only did I want this to be thick wood, as historical as I could find, but covered in canvas and sewn with bolts and leather strapping. And resisting the desire to add colorful heraldry, I went with the standard Templar Black and white (pictured above from period manuscript resources).

The main catch to the shield was creating this look while still making one that could meet the requirements of SCA combat. This meaning edging, adequate hand protections and durability (as time will tell).

I started with a standard Museum Replicas wooden shield, wanting to purchase a pre-made shield and then add to it from here to create a more beefy SCA adequate version. This shield is made with heavy wood and padded with durable canvas. I purchased one unpainted, as I wanted to match the black to the same black used on other heraldry and shield applications already in-use. (*And really, how hard is it to paint a single horizontal black rectangle? Save the cash and buy the unpainted version in the same size).

 Once painted and sealed, I went with a black leather cowhide  edging over thick closed cell foam concussion padding (from Master Erik-Munitions Grade Arms)                         Concussion padding?
Concussion padding. I had a lot of extra left over from helmet  padding, & its thick, black, pliable, and takes a lot of abuse. I lined the entire shield in 1/4" thick black closed cell foam anti-concussion helmet padding, sealing it to the edging with small strips of black duct tape. This would then be covered over by the leather edging anyways, but still kept this to the minimum, both for weight and appearance.

After the foam padding was lined all the way around (and I do mean ALL the way around-even down to the very tip), I measured, sized, and cut the leather in strips that were long enough to overlap the front of the shield onto the back.
3 strips, with a bit of overlap.

I wanted to really make this edging tough, so I used black Shoe Goo brand sealant at the edges to ensure the leather stayed glued to both the shield and the foam, and sealed the edge gaps at the corners and the bottom point. This creates a thick rubbery layer of protection, blends well with the more matte leather cowhide edging, and adds a bit of protection all the same time. Remember though, this was done with the desire to really create a beast of a shield, not a lightweight fighter. Time will tell how I did though.

After the leather was cut and sealed down flat, the tough part came: keeping it that way. In the past, I have used round-head furniture tacks to varying degrees of success, but after seeing one fly out and almost get stepped on by a fellow fighter, and having to constantly replace ripped out tacks, I needed a stronger option. I found small black tacks that looked a bit like small forged iron nails and hoped these would work a bit better, as they have no real head to speak of once in place.
These were pounded into the leather and the wood of the shield at regular intervals, and when finished, provide a fairly seamless, if not almost win-noticable finish to the edging.

The compression on the edging is about 1/8" when really pushing, so it will be interesting to see two this plays out with regards to standard SCA rattan sword pressure.

Our current Master of defense is one fo the best teachers I have encountered, but seems able to break just about anything he puts his mind to. It was his hefty stroke that snapped the bottom point off my last heater (another repair tutorial on that coming soon maybe...) so facing him will be the ultimate test of this shields usage.


The next area to tackle would be the hand coverage for the back of the shield hand strap. 
On my previous heater shield, I had created a leather hand covering that works fantastic, but it needed a bit more sculpting and shaping as well as strapping. 
This was done with thick leather, and sandwiched with even thicker plates of leather in between, with a soft suede leather undercoat and a single 4-finger strap overlapping the main shield strap. This provides a good solid guard for the fingertips should a wayward blow come crashing down behind my shield onto the fingers.

Once completed, dried, a nd dyed to match the black leather, it was tooled with some crusader symbology, a nd riveted into place, then atatched to the main crossing shield handle straps with standard screw bolts to allow for removal if needed and because riveting at that angle seemed nearly impossible.

The result is a strapped shield that covers the bulk of the hand, especially when coupled with a  good leather vambrace. In some kingdoms Marshall's may require a demi-gauntlet on the shield hand as well. Mine does not thankfully, so I can shave a bit of weight and flexibility on the left arm. 

Total weight for the shield is just over 8 pounds, and the final look is clean, simples and hopefully, strong.

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