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Friday, January 20, 2006

Kettle Helm

We spent two whole days with the blacksmith of Manning Imperial, learning how to manufacture his own 13th century kettle helm based on the Maciejowski Bible. It was a lot of fun and we learnt a lot through the process.

Difficulty: Medium
Total Time: 25 hours

This kettle helm is based on the one as seen in the Maciejowski Bible worn by Goliath and various other men throughout.

The kettle helm is made of four pieces that are riveted together. We began by beating the four parts into their correct shapes using a variety of hammers and tools. Of course it helps if you have access to a workshop designed for this purpose as we were at our friends place!
kettle helm kettle helm

The four pieces were fabricated out of flat sheet metal, cut with a grinder and then hammered. I am unsure of the exact pattern for this type of helm however I hope from the images you can see how it came together. The hardest part is getting each of the pieces to fit together snuggly for riveting. This was the most time consuming part, however we are told that with experience it gets a lot easier.

The ridge on the top of the centre piece was formed with a special tool designed by Manning Imperial for that explicit purpose. I did not see the tool in action to be able to give an account of it although if you read up on your blacksmithing books perhaps you can discover a method for this step.

The riveting was a game of getting the pieces lined up, temporarily join them with screws and then carefully rivet when everything was fitting right. Late on the second day the rim was finally attached along with leather straps to hold the helmet on your head. In this last photo you can see one of the Manning Imperial kettle helms which they make to order (see their website) in front of the helm is being finished off in the background.
kettle helmmaciejowski bible