Wisby #3 Gauntlets

This page documents my first "real" attempt at making a pair of Wisby #3 gauntlets.  I had previously made a prototype

The Wisby #3 is one of 5 gauntlets pulled out of the ground relatively intact during the Wisby excavations that occurred during the early 1900s.  The Battle of Wisby happened on July 27th, 1361.  I modified my design very slightly from the excavation drawing.  It seems to me that there are missing plates under the main thumb root.  I see no reason for the gap under plate 14, so I added two plates to continue the common theme of 4 rows of plates in each column of plates.

Archeological drawing of Wisby #3.

I lost track of the amount of time it took me to construct these, but I figure it's 40 hours at least.


The first step is to cut out and form the plates.  For this gauntlet I used 1075 spring steel.

Pieces cut and formed.  Click to enlarge

The next step was to heat treat the components.  This was done using a propane furnace.  Originally I tempered the components in a conventional electric oven to 545F, but later discovered during riveting that the plates were still too brittle as they cracked.  I subsequently tempered to 800F-900F and ended up with much tougher plates.  Some of the plates have the original temper.

The external plates were then polished.  The internal plates were left blackened from the furnace.

Pieces heat treated.  Click to enlarge

The next step is to rivet them into their leathers.  First, I had to dye my leather. 

Dying the leather black.  Click to enlarge.

Then I began riveting in the plates.  I started with the fingers.  I riveted the plates in per the archeological drawings.  The critical locations are the locations of the finger joints.  I deviated slightly from the archeological drawings because my fingers required slightly different numbers of plates between some joints.  On future pairs I will adjust this even more for my hand.

The fingers.  Click to enlarge.

I then assembled the thumb components.

Assembled thumb.  Click to enlarge.


The next step was to rivet the plates into the main hand shells.  I start by riveting the metacarpal and thumb assembly, and then I add the overlapping plates.  I start out with an over-sized piece of leather, which is then trimmed to size after the plates are all in place.

Assembling the main hand shells.  Click to enlarge

The next step is to construct the cuff.  No cuff was found with Wisby #3.  However, Gauntlet #2 is very similar in design, and had a surviving cuff, so I added a similar cuff to my reproduction.  As with the rest of the plates, these were made of 1075 spring steel and heat treated. 

Constructing the cuffs.  Click to enlarge.

The next step is to sew the cuffs to the hand shells.

Cuffs sewn to hand shells.  Click to enlarge.

Now we are ready to being stitching the shells to the deerskin gloves.

Finger and hand shells ready for stitching to gloves.  Click to enlarge.

First we start with the fingers.  It is important to align the knuckle with the exact location of the knuckle when the gloves are worn.  I created padding using polyester felt folded 3 times and whip stitched closed.   I tack the ends of the finger strips to the back of the glove.

Sewing the finger shells to the gloves.  Click to enlarge.

Next we start sewing on the main shells.  I placed a single layer of polyester felt between the shell and the hand.

Sewing the main shells to the gloves.  Click to enlarge.

Finally, I needed to make buckles and straps.  I made the buckles using Eric Dube's YouTube video instruction.  As an extra step, I tinned the buckles and the buckle plates.

Buckles.  Click to enlarge.

The finished gaunlets:

The finished gauntlets.  Click to enlarge.

The gauntlets fit extremely well and feel like wearing a pair of gloves.  Mobility is excellent. 

These gauntlets are for sale.  As this was my first pair, there are some deficiencies I will note:

1) Some of the plates were tempered at 550F.  Some of these plates cracked during riveting and I subsequently tempered the rest of the plates, including the cuff plates, at 800-900F.  However, some of the plates have the original tempering, such as the thumb assemblies and the overlapping plates of the hand.  It is possible that these plates might crack if struck a hard blow.  I've never made these before, so I can't be sure how they will hold up.

2) I stitched the right main shell a bit too tightly to the glove, so it's a tight fit getting through the narrow portion of the wrist when you put the gauntlet on and take it off.  It helps if you get stuck to just make a fist, which stretches the glove a bit, and then relax your hand to get it out.  I can fix this by re-stitching the shell to the gauntlet, but it will leave a visible line of stitch holes.

3) The left main shell is slightly crooked on the back of the hand.  This means that the root of the forefinger covering is slightly exposed.

4) I mis-stitched the thumb of the main shell on the right gauntlet and had to rip the stitch out and stitch it over again.  The original stitch holes are slightly visible in the webbing area of between the thumb and forefinger.

To see if this gauntlet will fit you, print out this tracing of my hand and print it out at 100% size.  Place your  hand over my tracing, and then trace your hand with a pen.  If your hand fits within mine, or is slightly smaller, the gauntlet should fit you.  Most important is the location of the finger joints.  You will need Adobe Reader to view the PDF file.

photo_gallery/wisby_gauntlets/Pair 1/wisby.pdf

These gauntlets have 1/8" total of leather covering the fingers, plus about 1/8" of padding over the fingers.  The hand and thumb have 1/8" total leather thickness, plus 1/16" of padding.  Plus the plates, of course.  My goal making these was historical accuracy.  These may or may not be legal for your combat sport.  Check with your marshal before purchasing. 

I will sell these with a 7-day right of inspection prior to acceptance.  If you are unsatisfied with them you may return them in as-delivered condition.  You must pay for return shipping, insured.  If the gauntlets are returned and lost in shipping, it will be your responsibility to file and recover an insurance claim.  Obviously if they were lost when I ship them to you I will immediately issue a refund and pursue the insurance claim on my end.

As this is my first pair, with the deficiencies noted above, I am going to sell these at a very reduced price.  Normally gauntlets of this style sell for $900 or more from other armouries, and my next pairs will be much more expensive. 

$400, plus $15 shipping anywhere in the continental US.  If you are outside the continental US send me an email with your address and I will let you know the price with shipping.  If you are outside the United States you will be responsible for dealing with your customs agency and fees.

  Gauntlets have been sold.





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