Armour fitting: How did a knight get measured for his armour? (We try a modern technique)

hi everybody we are here because Graham

is going to measure me up for summer

armor we're not sure whether they would

have done this in medieval times

obviously would have had the same

fantasy equipment here there's sort of

modern stuff we're going to try using

yeah for the first time so but we think

it's possible that they would have made

mannequins as it were especially of high

status individuals so let's have a go

let's have a go we're gonna do the arm

let's see what happens


is that the idea so this is the under

layer it's because you're gonna have to

snip me out of this on you yes that's

very kind of you this is used for bones

resetting so is this basically a

hospital thing so what we're doing here

we so can get in water it was warm water

it's not warm anymore and this goes on

lightly doesn't it so we're going to

just drape it over again that one little

tie just there and then we'll ease it

off it's difficult to judge that doesn't

feel particularly tight which is good


Gregor said I'm feeling through your

fingers so this stuff is amazing I think

this is replacing plaster casting I

think this is need to stick to yourself

certain injuries and do you need my arm

slightly bent like that yeah because I

can see your elbow got your own cap down


so if anybody knows any historical

reference for nights being actually what

mannequins being made of knives you

could imagine with a decent sort of

fitting set of clothes yeah it could be

stitched on and then unstitched and a

stitch back up at the sculpting schools

the exhibition

yeah mystery so they certainly knew how

to to sculpt quite what they did don't

know sort of received knowledge is that

they could cast but as soon as you try

and find out whether primary sources for

that you can never find it or least I

haven't been able to write there might

be might be lost in the museum somewhere

well there might be those sort of

acquisition roles somebody's accounts

have got plaster but the Masters yeah

for the Lord's hotness receipts yeah

it's amazing how much we know because

we've actually kept the receipts so yeah

so the taxman has actually allowed us to

know an awful lot about the past we know

how much people were paid we know how

often they were paid all that kind of

stuff don't we did that get soaked all

the way through enough it's quite

tempting to pull that tight but yeah I

think so that's quite tacky so now we

just wait 15 minutes or so this is

actually strangely kind of chill but not

that cold it's a slightly weird feeling

I wonder if that's the chemicals setting

it's not hmm

yeah so if I was so I could be doing

that I could be like this we do one

piece at a time but it might make sense

though because you you said this could

be very useful for you when you're

making my arm harness you've got an

instant reference exactly or to remove I

like if I can do two fittings and this

will remove the need for one of those

fittings because I've essentially got

the bit I'm building yeah right there

and in a bit when this is dried we can

draw on here actually

measurements pick out pieces that I need

to know where they are so these are key

points you pointed out so that what's

that on the cap down here so that's the

end of the ulna bone yeah and the arm

harness doesn't really want to go beyond

there okay it's perfect example if it

does go beyond there you can't flex your

wrist because it held and equally most

gauntlets early ones anyway

they can't go beyond it that way because

you're just locked right see if the

owner cap there yeah the CRL both is a

key point because you want to be able to

bend the end of your arm but also it

gives me that nice measurement there to

be able to work too so when we make the

cutter the names and the vambrace that's

the measurement I'm making them to in

the middle of the crook of the arm but

you'd still need to see me and fit to me

because this is a it's very useful but

it's not a substitute for fitting I mean

if I was to never see you this would be

the best we could do right but as I can

come up and make the journeys and we can

take measurements as well this is just a

ready reckoner in the workshops I'm a

mannequin era right measurements so I

can quickly check it and be certain that

way and when it's roughed out I can

check that it's going to fit a Jason

Kingsley shaped object and then we can

come along with all nut and bolt it

together mm-hmm

and just check so it's removed one of

the fittings I like to do we can just

tweak if it's catching and so this isn't

this a perfect solution but it is really

useful for you in the armor and it gives

you confidence that you're not miles off

because everybody's it

most people are different shapes yeah

and also scooped because a lot of

customers for me perhaps throughout

country they could do this themselves

yeah then I can get their arm in the

post leg whatever and so my work surface

of carnal house she'll have all these

limbs hanging hanging from the workshop

but it just means I'm good to go because

what happens if you ask me for two

measurements themselves they interpret

what that means so if you're talking

waste for example where we're talking

about more of a medieval waist up yes so

natural waist as opposed to low-slung


so this just removed and also there is a

tendency when you're measuring yourself

to want idealized measurements I mean we

all go right let's stand up a bit and

pull our bellies in and that kind of

stuff and and of course the arm has got

to fit you when you're fighting yeah

that's the idea

there's like a soup as well you you go

and get measured somewhere and you have

your suit made and it looks fantastic

you could just look like a guardsman but

then when you're wherever you are and

your suit three hours later and you're

like this yeah nothing works properly

yes the same same process this removes

that because you can yes it takes yes

it's a set and one of the things we

notice when you've been measuring me up

is that because of the amount of riding

I do and that uses a lot of static

tension on your arms you're holding your

arms quite it could be light handed I

can't do the movement you got to be

light handed here for a horse but you

also got to be firm enough to sort of

former base so the my back is

substantially bigger than people expect

I'm not a bodybuilder or anything but my

back muscles

disproportionately larger than one might

expect which is interesting because we

can tell that medieval archers had

disproportion of bodies from some of the

apparently from some of the skeletal

stuff so that sounds quite interesting

and I wonder whether we could tell where

the Knights had connections on the back

which would show that they'd be riding

right because of all the things are

obviously moved by these muscles up here

right so a different shape there to say

a farmer yes and be a different shape

you know just on profession as they did

a full osteo archaeology on a night yeah

look at them so I think where the

muscles insert and so on the bone is

thickened and that's how they can tell

if there's a big muscle on that bit of

bone right compared to a weak bit so

they should have a fairly good idea how

is this is still a little tacky isn't it

yeah get in there

try the exciting bit in a minute and get

this cuddle feel we're not going to be

using a circular saw you'll be slightly

disappointed to know a grinder or

anything like that we're going to use

safety scissors safety in the loosest

possible form

obviously we're going to be cutting well

between this and me and ideally I don't

want me cutting no so supposedly these

are the these are the recommended sort

of hmm it's very good reference I mean

it's not far I mean the armor doesn't

fit to the millimetre and nor should it

because it's actually got to move around

you and you've gotta wear kit underneath

this would have to wear you know arming

clothes and your underwear and all sorts

of stuff so it can't fit to the

millimetre Hannah and doing things like

this on Greaves for example that's kind

of handy because what you have got a

muscle at the front of your shin you

want that front piece fitting a lot

nicer because there's a lot of bone

involved yeah it should just make sure

that you always take this off because

we're just getting it off me and then

presumably you can reconstruct my arm

and then all of this can come off yeah

another peek at the back and I can just

rebuild it yeah okay turn you into the

hole so to just fill the space and yeah

are you gonna mark the very points on it

I mean not that you can't see where they

are but

I can't see what he's doing on my arm so

hopefully it's nothing rude so you broke

your arm yeah sorry I tripped you up

yeah let's make a run for it yeah I'm

not gonna be able to drive in this to

try and get it off

measure to measure that space this is

that to the top you sit on top of the

shoulders because because the arm we're

doing is an integrated spaulder so the

spawn will be set up here and that's

taking the weight of the arm right I

just wanted to sort of gauge right I see

yeah because we haven't actually we

haven't done the the shoulder at all

yeah take your time for God's sake right

this involves my flesh shall I will I

will let you know all right let me just

move yeah there's a little bit of flesh

catching that okay I think that's fine

yeah I think what it does is it this

little bit like a snow plow it so it

pushes a mound of flesh ahead of it a

bit and I have to sort of slightly

adjust it like pulling your sleep back

down again so exactly where you're

cutting does that matter or is that just

a you're just getting the thing off

basically I've got the technology to

rebuild you six not pens man great I

mean I suppose this is this isn't an

exact thing this is this is very very

useful reference for you right so rather

than a set of measurements you've

actually got the three-dimensional shape

to look at and with your skills as an

armorer you curve this is something that

you learn in your craft there is

something quite disconcerting about the

sound of scissors very close to your

your own flesh now it's I think I think

the discomfort is actually more from

small hairs being caught in it so it is

an unfamiliar yeah feeling but it's a

bit like taking a plaster off

it's each time you hit a new layer of

the material hmm as I say take your time

brilliant that's right so we just find

that Wow Wow there you go Jason shaped

arm yeah so you see elbow was that

that's just missing too much muscle

muscle their own cap here on the end

there needs actual tape but that's okay

yeah and pull into that yeah fabulous

get the bit of tape on and secure it

yeah and I'm gonna get back to the

workshop I secure it properly and then

fill it with an expanding foam yeah and

it gives you a very very solid reference

point just thought you may think there's

been a couple of times where I look at a

measurement it doesn't quite seem true

to what I would expect so you have to

look back the customer but ring him up

but obviously doesn't look good even

better visit them again what do all of

that was this just removes that cuz I

can measure this and go out right I can

see where I am

then when I'm building and roughing out

your armor I can try it straight on you

so when we meet with for the first and

hopefully last fitting and what it will

mean is we'll go straight on and we'll

just find a little pinch where as you

knows not quite obviously ready for you

or whatever and then we just knock that

out move it around and you're done

hopefully fantastic well thank you thank

you very much so we don't know whether

this is a medieval well obviously this

isn't a medieval technique because is

using modern equipment and modern

materials but it seems quite likely

there would have been an equivalent of


the ones I've read and this is all

received not the giant been out to find

and you know sources on this is the the

hose being sent because they're worn at

the knee you can see the shape of the

guy because they were made very well

obviously for a wealthiest yeah so if

you could find someone that they fit

those being this sort of hard about head

they were very closely fitted and they

were actually stitched on

supposedly so they would be super tight

around your leg look at when they cut

the material they go across yeah on the

bias on the bias that's a bit of flex so

they so they could get it quite skin

tight if there was real money being

thrown of it

so they'd do that and I've also heard of

them again received taking the

measurements either when lengths of

knotting them and then that going and

again you find someone who's close to it

so when it gets sent back to say England

from Italy you've only got a few minor

adjustments to make but it's got most of

the way there and then when it comes to

the actual organic shapes of fitting it

that's just the sort of side up this

will just help remove that first step in

the process I can't wait to see the

actual harness right that's gonna do the

rest of it

so while Graham tied his things up and

fastest lean au artificial me behind us

we've got to do my legs as well which

we're not going to show you but it's

fascinating to think that this kind of

thing might have happened four hundred

five hundred years ago when people were

wanting to make the highest of high

status harnesses

I think munitions armor wasn't done this

way but if you were a lord and you were

effectively a billionaire and you wanted

the best possible armor from Milan and

you were an English Knight you wanted it

to fit you well so maybe something the

equivalent of this was done with the

hose maybe with clothes fitting clothes

and maybe there's a whole craft skill of

making the mannequin of very rich people

and sending it to the armourers I'm

going to keep digging to see if I can

find any information about this anything

actually written down contemporary

sources but it strikes me that by doing

this we realize how useful it is and you

know there were there were intelligent

and creative people back then so it's

not that much of a stretch to imagine

they were doing exactly this