Monday, June 8, 2020

Greenwich Armour- One step at a time

   My Greenwich armour project is progressing slowly, but at least it is progressing.
I have been asked many times about the process for etching and plating, which I have mostly addressed in earlier posts. This is my first time doing anything like this, and as I have progressed, I have discovered better or more accurate (to the original armour) ways to do this. I have tried to update the techniques whenever I have found something that works better.
At some point, at the end of this massive project, I will have to post a synopses of the techniques I use and see how my experience over the course of a couple of years working on it, have changed my  approach.
For now, I have a list of all the steps from getting the heat-treated piece of armour, to the final assembled piece. (For those of you who make armour, some of these steps listed are obvious)

The decoration (etching, gilding & bluing) involves 40 steps for each plate:

Greenwich armour Decoration steps (after heat treat)

1. Polish with 400grit greaseless compound
2. Polish with white “stainless” compound
3. Pattern sunken areas for artwork with masking tape
4. Scan masking tape patterns
5. Draw or modify decoration artwork (on computer) for unique areas of the plate to be masked.
6. Cut vinyl decoration masks
7. Weed vinyl & add peel cover
8. Clean steel with acetone
9. Apply vinyl’s to steel plates. (Figure 8, wavy and vine patterns)
10. Adjust vinyl, trim overlaps
11. Clean surface with alcohol & window cleaner
12. Add dots and any missing artwork (averages 100 dots per inch of decoration)
13. Let dry 10-15 hours
14. Mix paste batch let sit for 3 hours, remix
15. Apply 1st paste batch- let sit for 2 hours
16. Remove paste
17. Apply 2nd paste batch- let sit for 2 hours (fix dots as needed)
18. Remove paste - rinse with water & dry
19. Apply 3rd paste batch- let sit for 2 hours (fix dots as needed)
20. Remove paste - rinse with water & dry
21. Apply 4th paste batch- let sit for 2 hours (fix dots)
22. Remove paste - rinse with water
23. Clean off vinyl decoration masks and dots (very hot water and soft metal scraper)
24. Dry part and remove large area masking
25. Assemble part to check artwork alignment
26. Power wire wheel etched areas (from all four directions)
27. Thoroughly clean with acetone, window cleaner and alcohol
28. Paint black paint (Rustoleum high temp black) onto specified areas (let dry for 12 hours)
29. Wet sand etched areas with 2000 grit paper removing over-paint
30. Mask areas not to be plated, with nail polish (dots and edges)
31. Electro clean surface to be plated (Heated to 160 degrees F.)
32. Rinse with distilled water
33. Nickle plate
34. Rise with distilled water
35. Gold plate
36. Strip nail polish masking with acetone
37. Tape off plated areas with masking tape
38. Re-polish areas to be blued
39. Put in oven at 290 Celsius until correct blue color is achieved then remove
40. Spray with surface protectant.

Part is ready for straps, linings & assembly

This requires
1. Cut buff leather strap (first find true "buff leather")
2. Split it to to half thickness
3. Cover with antique French burgundy velvet ribbon and sew in place
4. Make strap ends in brass
5. Solder brass 10mm caps on rivets
6. Scothbrite then wire brush surfaces of all (buckles, strap ends, rivets)
7. Rinse with distilled water
8. Nickle plate
9. Rise with distilled water
10. Gold plate
11. Rivet buckles and straps in
12. Rivet armour plates together (Also add articulation leathers)

Here is the size of the dots needed. (and the ones shown here are a touch larger than the original)
These are added one at a time with a needle bottle with a 27 gauge needle. (McMaster-Carr PN-1902T341)

I was using nail polish, but recently, I have switched to a marine paint made by Duralux (purchased - Home Depot-online)
The paint seems to be more durable (against the salt paste) and flows better with the needle bottle than the nail polish.

Here is the right arm complete. (The left is waiting for it's last 3 rivets, I can fit the mounting pin for the jousting Passguard)
I have added elbow straps, even though there seems to be evidence they did not originally, but since I am unsure of this, I added them. If they prove useless, I can cut them out at a later date.

Next, the Pauldrons....