How to make lamellar armor with your own hands

How to make lamellar armor with your own hands
How to make lamellar armor with your own hands

Lamellar armor is considered one of the most effective types of ancient armor. The first mention of it refers to biblical times. It is known that this armor surpassed armor in its effectiveness. She took second place after chain mail, which gradually began to lose ground. In the 13-14 centuries, lamellar armor completely replaced it and became widely used by nomads, Byzantine soldiers, Chukchi, Koryaks and Germanic tribes.

lamellar armor photo

Name history

The “lamellar” armor got its name due to a peculiar design consisting of many metal plates (Latin lamella – “plate”, “scale”). These steel elements are interconnected with a cord. Lamellar armor in each state had its own distinctive features. But the principle of connecting the plates with a cord was common to the deviceall ancient armor.

Bronze armor

In Palestine, Egypt and Mesopotamia, bronze was used to make lamellars. This metal was widely used in the east and in the center of Asia. Here, warriors were equipped with lamellar armor until the nineteenth century.

What was the armor in ancient Russia?

Until the middle of the twentieth century, among scientists who studied ancient Russian weapons, there was an opinion that our ancestors used only chain mail. This statement remained unchanged for a long time, despite the fact that lamellar armor was depicted on frescoes, icons, stone carvings and miniatures. Plank armor was considered conditional, and any mention of it was ignored.

Archaeological work 1948-1958

After the end of the Great Patriotic War, Soviet archaeologists discovered over 500 burnt lamellar plates on the territory of Novgorod. The find gives grounds to assert that lamellar armor was also widely used by the ancient Russians.

Rus. Mongol invasion years

As a result of archaeological excavations on the territory of Gomel, scientists discovered the largest workshop for the manufacture of armor. It was burned by the Mongols in 1239. Under the rubble, archaeologists found swords, sabers and over twenty types of ready-made lamellar plates. In a separate room, defective flake items and blanks were found: they had no holes and bends, and the edges of the plates contained burrs. The fact of finding a long awl, file, twist drill, grinding and grinding wheelsat first, he pushed scientists to the idea that it was here that lamellar armor was made, assembled and adjusted. Making armor, meanwhile, is only possible with a forge. But this equipment was not found either in the workshop or nearby. The researchers came to the conclusion that an ancient armory was discovered in Gomel, while the production process for the manufacture of armor was carried out elsewhere.

What is lamellar armor?

By connecting small metal plates with laces, the ribbons that make up the lamellar armor are assembled. The photo below shows the combination of steel flakes in the product.

lamellar armor

Assembly work should take place in such a way that each plate overlaps the neighboring one with one of its edges. After conducting studies of the reconstructed armor of different countries, scientists came to the conclusion that the plates that made up the lamellar armor of Byzantium did not overlap, but fit tightly to each other and were attached to the skin. The ribbons were tied together first horizontally and then vertically. Forging metal plates was a laborious task. The process of assembling the armor itself was not particularly difficult.

handmade lamellar armor


The weight of armor made of 1.5 mm thick plates ranged from 14 to 16 kg. Lamellar armor with overlaid plates surpassed chain mail in efficiency. A cuirass fashioned from a lamellar pattern,able to reliably protect against piercing weapons and arrows. The weight of this product does not exceed five kilograms. The impact force of the opponent's weapon is dissipated on the surface of the armor, without causing any harm to the warrior wearing the armor.

Mounting Methods

In order to prevent damage to the armor, the plates in it were tied with two special cords so that their length from the back was insignificant. If one cord broke, the steel elements in the armor were held by the second. This made it possible for the warrior, if necessary, to independently replace the damaged plates. This method of fastening was the main, but not the only one. Metal wire or rivets could also be used. Such structures were distinguished by high strength. The disadvantage of the second method is the low mobility of the armor.

At first, belts were used to connect steel plates. Over time, this practice was discontinued. This was due to the fact that with chopping blows of the sword, lamellar armor was often damaged. The armor, which used rivets and wire, was able to withstand the blows of various types of weapons.


The components of the armor are rectangular steel products with paired holes evenly distributed over the entire surface. Some plates in it contain bulges. They are needed in order to better reflect or weaken the blows of arrows, spears and other weapons.

skyrim lamellar armor

Where is plate armor found?

When playinghistorical events of the Middle Ages in feature films, heroes often use lamellar armor. Skyrim is one of the popular computer games where a lot of attention is also paid to the topic of plate armor. According to the terms, these armors are worn by mercenaries, marauders and bandit leaders. According to the game, this heavy armor becomes available after passing the eighteenth level, when the hero needs a more serious level of protection. It can be provided by advanced steel plate armor, which in its characteristics significantly exceeds the usual set of steel.

lamellar armor

How to make lamellar armor?

There are two ways to become the owner of this heavy armor:

  • Use the services of workshops that make such armor.
  • Get the necessary drawings, diagrams and materials, and then start making lamellar armor with your own hands. You can carry out work with reference to any historical event. Or just make plate armor according to the pattern you like.

What do you need for work?

  • Steel plates. They are the most important element in the armor and must be shaped according to the assembly scheme. The thickness of the hardened plates should not exceed 1 mm. Lamellar armor made of convex plates, which, unlike flat ones, are expensive, will look much more effective. Given the size of the human body,it can be assumed that the armor will need at least 350-400 plates measuring 3x9 mm.
  • Leather belts. They are necessary for binding metal plates together. The optimal thickness of the belts should be 2 mm. Experienced users recommend not to purchase ready-made belts. It is better to get sheets of leather of the required thickness, and cut the belts yourself. This will allow you to correctly calculate the required length of the cords. It is recommended to cut the straps to a width of 0.5 cm. They are ideal for holes with a diameter of 0.3 cm. You will need 80 m of cord to work. Rawhide or silk cord can be used to make belts. The strips must be cut lengthwise so that they can hardly pass through the holes in the plates.

How is the process?

Cooked steel plates should have paired holes. They are made with a drill. Each hole is stitched with kapron threads. Before proceeding with the firmware, each plate should be sanded, after which its thickness may decrease slightly. Despite the fact that the reduction in thickness is not particularly noticeable, since the plates overlap each other, their thickness of at least 1 mm is initially recommended. When testing lamellar armor with 1 mm plates, four arrows fired from a distance of 20 m with a bow weighing 25 kg did not cause serious damage to the armor

byzantine lamellar armor

Beating plates. The procedure is necessary for the formation of bulges on products. Thiswork on a wooden base with a three-hundred-gram hammer with a rounded head

how to make lamellar armor
  • Painting plates. Vegetable oil can be used for bluing the product. Before work, the product is subject to thermal exposure. The surfaces of the plates are processed on both sides. It is recommended to cover the inner part with a special varnish for metal, and simply polish the outer part, and if necessary, tin it and cover it with gold.
  • Belt processing. Before passing the cord through the holes in the plates, the pieces of leather from which it is made must be processed. To do this, the cord is drawn several times over a piece of hard wax. If the belt is linen, then it is subject to the waxing procedure. From time to time, it is recommended to wipe the belts with a cloth soaked in vegetable oil. This will protect them from possible drying out. Steel plates are also recommended to be treated with oil. For edging, only a leather belt is recommended.
  • It is recommended to use leather belts for work. They are better than silk thread products, as they are able to stretch. This quality is especially important when creating lamellar armor, since the armor, bending around the body, must initially be very tight, stretching after a while.
  • At the ends of the plates, ribbons are passed through paired holes, which are then connected. It is necessary to ensure that the binding occurs freely. This will give the steel plates the ability to move over each other like segmented armor.
  • To prevent rust from forming on the plates, they must be treated with phosphoric acid. Dull metallic - this is the color that lamellar armor acquires after acid treatment.
  • You can use soft galvanized sheet plates to make homemade lamellar armor.

Handicraft armor made at home is primarily for beauty, not protection. It is mainly used as a souvenir.

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