Picture of Build a prop vintage baseball shin guard
Hiya allaya! We were asked to make a pair of prop 'vintage' shin guards for a documentary on the history of baseball. In the doc you won't actually see the props we made - they'll be filtered through post vfx grainy textures and stuff - and so we could have gone a little simpler, but we wanted to play with some scrap leather we had and ended up with the piece you see pictured. I've also included the photo collage that our client sent us to use as a reference.
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Step 1: Retrofitting existing shin guards

Picture of Retrofitting existing shin guards
Our first step was to take an old pair of modern shin guards and modify them so that they began to assume the shape of the vintage ones. This meant cutting off the hard plastic shell and cutting away some of the extra padding along the top of the knees.

Step 2: Build the new pads

Picture of Build the new pads
In order to get the shape of the vintage guards but still be soft and malleable enough to work with we decided to cut up some extra foam floor pads that we had lying around. The modern shin guards didn't go down far enough so we had to make extensions; I just roughed these out in pencil on the foam pads and then cut them with an X-Acto. Once they were cut out the final step was to round over the edges with a sander (all of this will eventually be covered in leather).

Step 3: Make the nubby bumps and start to glue the leather

Picture of Make the nubby bumps and start to glue the leather
Here we've turned the cut up pants inside out and contact cemented them to the modern shin guard. Tina then takes some medium-dense foam and cuts out/carves the two nubby bumps just below the knee. She finishes that by gluing leather on them.

Step 4: Make the vertical bars

Picture of Make the vertical bars
So apparently back in the old days these 'vertical bars' are actually made out of reeds! I used foam floor pads. I cut them into 1 1/2" strips and then routered a rounded edge on them. The next step was to contact cement them down to the black foam shin guards. Once everything was cut to size and glued I put them under a bunch of cinder blocks to set the glue.
DE4D POOL1 year ago
Dang... But that's a really good find lol
damianzuch (author)  DE4D POOL1 year ago
Yeah, it's nice when you're making something and you find exactly the part you need. In our shop we call it a "Yoda moment", that sort of 'eureka!' when everything falls into place.
DE4D POOL1 year ago
Where did you get those knee/shin guards
damianzuch (author)  DE4D POOL1 year ago
The original modern ones were secondhand, from a Goodwill.