Fencing jacket or gambeson?

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Fencing jacket or gambeson?

Postby Alex B » 03 Nov 2010 17:27

I'm considering buying some form of body protection soon, and I'm torn between getting a fencing jacket or a gambeson. At practice, we mostly work with nylons, so I don't want to wear any extra padding there, but I do want something I can bring to the major events.
The only gambeson I've had much experience with is the GDFB gambeson, which I hated. Too hot and too restrictive. I find fencing jackets much more comfortable, but I don't know how well they hold up to blunt trauma as compared to the thrusts they're designed for.
Oh, and I got a fencing jacket, it would probably be an 800N jacket.
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Re: Fencing jacket or gambeson?

Postby admin » 03 Nov 2010 17:38

Master's fencing jacket from Leon Paul, PBT or Allstar. I'd recommend the first two makes personally.
http://www.antique-swords.co.uk/

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Re: Fencing jacket or gambeson?

Postby Fab » 03 Nov 2010 18:37

admin wrote:Master's fencing jacket from Leon Paul, PBT or Allstar. I'd recommend the first two makes personally.


And I would recommend the latter - in its all leather make. :)

Make sure to order it at least two sizes lager, as the moves we do require more range than sport fencing.
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Re: Fencing jacket or gambeson?

Postby Hindmost » 14 Dec 2010 14:59

How about a fencing jacket made with gambeson materials (or a gambeson tailored like a fencing jacket, if you prefer):

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=130671983660493&set=a.130671956993829.22164.122976854430006#!/album.php?aid=22164&id=122976854430006

It's the brand new prototype of this: http://www.costumbresmedievales.com/tienda/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=67&products_id=412

I, for one, have ordered one.
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Re: Fencing jacket or gambeson?

Postby Alex B » 14 Dec 2010 18:07

Ooh that does like nice. I do like the design. Do you know how much padding it has? It doesn't look like much, but it's hard to tell from a photo.
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Re: Fencing jacket or gambeson?

Postby Hindmost » 14 Dec 2010 18:35

Alex B wrote:Ooh that does like nice. I do like the design. Do you know how much padding it has? It doesn't look like much, but it's hard to tell from a photo.

Hi, to be perfectly honest, I'm not exactly sure. The site specifies a padding of "500 gr per square metre" but I haven't got the foggiest as to what that means. In any case, two things to consider:

1. The previous model (light colour one with the buttons) is very popular amongst Spanish HEMA practitioners (and not just the rapier crowd, but the hand-and-a-half folk as well) and been in use for 4 or so years with no complaints that I have been able to find on their forums. Some use extra bits under or over, but I'd suggest that is true of other gambesons and fencing jackets as well, depending on context etc.
2. This 'new & improved' design is actually a modification based on specs from GHFS, no just in terms of the zipper and velcro, but also as regards to extra padding. The facebook pics are the first prototype, so it is possible that the production versions after the Swedes review it may have further padding.

I'll try to get in touch with the chap that actually came up with the new design mods, see if we could get him to elaborate here.
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Re: Fencing jacket or gambeson?

Postby Roger N » 14 Dec 2010 19:54

First of all, credit where it is due. It is Fernando of Costumbres Mediaveles who has done this excellent work. I have only suggested a zipper instead of buttons and extra padding in certain areas. Judging from what I have seen thus far of Spanish Longsword, it appears to be more thrusting and winding oriented, and less focused on hard cuts in the style of for instance, the Eastern European clubs. I believe that the jackets are designed with this in mind.

The new jacket has two zippers. One that ties it together on the right "inside" and another that zips up the fold across the chest onto the left side. This gives an overlap over the whole chest area, which is good. Beyond this, I have suggested extra padding over the shoulders, the outsides of the arms and the whole lower arms. Fernando has asked me to take a look at the first prototype first, before working on extra padding. Eventually, I will be publishing reviews of these and other HEMA specific gear on the HROARR site.

In my opinion, these are an excellent blend of semi-historical design and functionality and I can very well see these becoming the standard for steel sparring, with some slight adjustments, since it is attractive to both sides of the historical vs modern "fractions". They are certainly well on their way with this new jacket.

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Re: Fencing jacket or gambeson?

Postby Wolfgang Ritter » 15 Dec 2010 10:59

Hmm, seems to be a good try to actually ask HEMAists.
I see one design-problem 'though: the movement of the arms. Both german and italian longsword-systems contain guards/cuts where the arms are rather outstretched or raised high above the head. From the design of the shoulder/body-connection I see the problem, that raising the arms above shoulder-level will result in lifting the whole jacket upwards.
That's the major problem of all fencingjackets, gambeson or textile-armour in general. It doesn't really fit for movements HEMA requires.
(Late) medieval doublet-design is usually different, the upper joint between sleeve and body is more on top of the shoulder, not on the upper side of the shoulder as with modern jackets.
Apart from that it does look good and a good bargain.
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Re: Fencing jacket or gambeson?

Postby Roger N » 15 Dec 2010 11:06

Yep, we have discussed this problem and I have actually sent him a few images of the guards that require you to reach up with your arms, like Ochs and Zornhut. It is problematic, but my suggestion is to not add extra padding on the insides of the upper arms, and only on the outsides and the whole lower arms. And with "loose" and slightly thinner, puncture-proof fabric in the arm pit, this problem may be lessened.
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Re: Fencing jacket or gambeson?

Postby Wolfgang Ritter » 15 Dec 2010 11:28

Roger N wrote:Yep, we have discussed this problem and I have actually sent him a few images of the guards that require you to reach up with your arms, like Ochs and Zornhut. It is problematic, but my suggestion is to not add extra padding on the insides of the upper arms, and only on the outsides and the whole lower arms. And with "loose" and slightly thinner, puncture-proof fabric in the arm pit, this problem may be lessened.

From my experiences in sewing those medieval clothing it's really about two points: the upper joint between sleeve and arm and the cut of the armhole.
If you place the upper joint not on top of the shoulder, but on the upper side (as with modern jacket-design) any more "exxagerated" movement of the arm will result in a movement of the whole jacket. Simply because you lift your shoulder over body-level.
It's more eminent with a short jacket as with a longer gambeson, but the principle is the same.
You can add more space by simply having a larger piece of fabric at the armpit. But this will result in a bulk of fabric in your armpit whenever you lower the arm.
A lot of the late medieval doublets have rather small and narrow armhles or arms.
The 14569 Talhoffer (the Copenhagen ms) shows that, have a look: http://www.flaez.ch/talhoffer/teil5.html; you'll find that the lower arm reaches very high into the armpit, whereas the joint between sleeve and shoulder are on top of the shoulder. This is a good description of that "grande assiette" design: http://www.cottesimple.com/blois_and_sleeves/grande_assiette/grande_assiette_overview.htm
I haven't found a much better design yet for HEMA.
But then again it is of course a design question as well. Not everybody goes for the late medieval style - indeed, the modern fencing jackett design loosely basing on those 17th ct doublets does look flashy....
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Re: Fencing jacket or gambeson?

Postby Roger N » 15 Dec 2010 11:50

From what I understand, the basic design of Grand Assiette means that you make the armpit very snug and tight and move the seam closer to the neck, and that this means that arm movement will not pull the fabric. The only problem I see here, is that it requires custom tailoring and simply cannot be done with off the rack jackets. So although it is a good design, I don't really see how it would be practical for the manufacturer.

The idea with extra but thinner fabric in the armpit is more akin to the open armpits of some gambesons, but with added "puncture proof" fabric to avoid puncturing the arteries in the armpits. As long as it is not too thick, it shouldn't be too bulky.

Most padding is, in my opinion, needed on the chest, the shoulders, the outsides of the upper arms and the whole lower arms. Also some padding on the ribs would be good. Jack chains protect the shoulders, the elbows and the outsides of the arms and reportedly block about 80% of all strikes. Along with splintered vambraces your upper body is pretty well protected this way. That is what I have had in mind when discussing with Fernando at CM.

So, the idea is to use those principles, but hiding it into a regular good-looking jacket and working only with padding and no leather or metal. We''ll see how far CM decides to explore this.

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Re: Fencing jacket or gambeson?

Postby Wolfgang Ritter » 15 Dec 2010 12:30

From what I understand, the basic design of Grand Assiette means that you make the armpit very snug and tight and move the seam closer to the neck, and that this means that arm movement will not pull the fabric.
Yes, exactly!
The only problem I see here, is that it requires custom tailoring and simply cannot be done with off the rack jackets. So although it is a good design, I don't really see how it would be practical for the manufacturer.
And yes as well.....I totally see the problem.
But the question for good textile protection pops up on a regular basis and I also frequently read reviews about gambesons/Fencing-Jackett and the like mentioning exactly the problem about the freedom of movement and the ift in the shoulder area.
Maybe it has just turned into a reflex for me, something like my own Pawlow's Dog....

As I wrote, I think it's a good idea in general. Two more concerns would be the elbows and the shoulder, i.e. the clavicula; with both I think some more substantial protection than just padding is reqired because both areas are vulnerable (with bad consequences). An injury in the shoulder area can be rather longlasting; any injury of the elbow is rather nasty, this is something I'm really careful about.
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Re: Fencing jacket or gambeson?

Postby Roger N » 15 Dec 2010 12:38

Well I sort of agree with you. The shoulders may be a concern, and especially the clavicle which is a complicated injury if broken. Then again, I haven't heard of anyone really sustaining any serious injury in that area and I myself have never been hurt especially there. Maybe the throat protection and the bib of the fencing mask protects enough?

For the elbow, if we cannot create something that is incorporated into the design, then perhaps some simple cup attached on the outside would be enough. We will discuss this though. One idea is to make inserts on the lower arms for plastic sticks, similar to some escrima arm guards. And a an insert for a simple elbow cup as well.
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Re: Fencing jacket or gambeson?

Postby Motley » 15 Dec 2010 21:00

I saw this design on the other forum it was being discussed. I am pretty interested in them as my cheapo gambeson has nearly worn out and I want a replacement. These, to my eye, look ideal and a good price even with shipping.

Looking at the picture here I had the same comment as Wolfgang and the arm seam. Appart from that I really like the idea of a fencing jacket with a nod to historical/late medieval tailoring.

I don't kow itf it is of interest but I stumbled upon this yesterday from Campnay St George. It is totally living hostory focussed but they detail the styling for a late 15thC doublet and how the arm hole works there (a bit later and strick grand assiette I think), havign eh top arm seam liek that migth help solve the riding problem without havign to do a full grand assiette. But then I know nothing about tailoring :-)

http://www.companie-of-st-george.ch/cms ... e_Download

I am going to watch this space with interest, but try not to get my hopes up too much.

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Re: Fencing jacket or gambeson?

Postby Motley » 15 Dec 2010 21:10

oh I don't think there is too much need ot add hard protectiontoe h jacket itself. A bit more padding as suggested (but not too much) is a good idea but hard protection on elbows etc would be better added as required.

If it is kept a clean jacket then i has uses for all aspects like light grappling etc with out stuff gettig in the way.
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Re: Fencing jacket or gambeson?

Postby Magnus Hagelberg » 15 Dec 2010 23:51

ooh.. chanse to add hard plates in arms? that sounds great.

Now, instead of pulling some hard plastic cup on the articulation of the elbow joint, perhapps, you could ask them to put a tube of 11mm neoprene on the inside of the jacket? this won't show on the outside, so the looks will be the same. But, I have found 11mm to dampen a shittload of dmg when being hit. it should be loosefitting, as a tight neoprene sleeve will strangle bloodflow (from experience) and that is hard when you flex your arms.
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Re: Fencing jacket or gambeson?

Postby Roger N » 16 Dec 2010 07:06

I'll see what Fernando says about some plates or tubes. :)

As for changing the seam at the shoulder to improve the articulation of the joint, I think the most important change is a tight fitting armpit and not the moving of the shoulder seam inwards, although less bulky and stiff material over the shoulder probably gives better articulation on behalf of loss of protection. BUT, again, this would require custom tailoring, which is not really what we are talking about here.

CM can do custom tailoring if you are prepared to pay for it, though. But basically, we are looking at getting a jacket for about 100-120€, so we cannot add too much modifications or custom work.

And to be clear, the idea is to have channels and pockets where this type of extra protection can be inserted (and removed if so desired).
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Re: Fencing jacket or gambeson?

Postby Andreas Engström » 16 Dec 2010 09:21

I honestly can't see why moving the shoulder seam further up the shoulder would require "custom tailoring". Is it really impossible to move the seam inwards equally much for everyone?

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Re: Fencing jacket or gambeson?

Postby Roger N » 16 Dec 2010 10:04

Well, your misreading me a little. Moving the seam does not require custom tailoring in that sense, but I do not believe it changes the articulation that much in itself, especially if the padding is thicker there. It is the combination with a tight fitting arm pit that gives better articulation and that requires custom tailoring.
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Re: Fencing jacket or gambeson?

Postby Andreas Engström » 16 Dec 2010 12:19

Roger N wrote:Well, your misreading me a little. Moving the seam does not require custom tailoring in that sense, but I do not believe it changes the articulation that much in itself, especially if the padding is thicker there. It is the combination with a tight fitting arm pit that gives better articulation and that requires custom tailoring.

Well, every little bit helps, doesn't it? "Doesn't help that much" is the same as "at least helps a little", which might be the difference between tolerable and intolerable discomfort..

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