Introduction: Leather and Wood Shield With Metal Plating

I often make some very strange and unusual things in my Welding class at school to test the limits and see what I can do. So one day, I decided that I wanted to make a Leather covered wooden shield. Use this instructable as a guide, and you too can have an awesome barbarian leather shield! 
This project was inspired by Fantasy books and videogames, in particular The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. 
Note: I would really appreciate any votes for the "Game.Life 4"contest if you think my project deserves them :)

Recommended uses-
-LARPING (depending on the rules)
-Protection in the event of a zombie apocalypse
-Prop for a movie or play
-Wall decoration
-Costume prop
-Looking BA

Step 1: Locate a Proper Location for Working

I used my Highschool's Metal shop (and wood shop). You could use your garage if needed, or any other space available. The basic design requires minimal tools. However, some of the more aesthetic parts and the metal components will likely require access to some machinery, which I will outline in the next step.

Step 2: Make Sure You Have Access to Some Tools

You will need the following tools;
Strong, sharp scissors or shears
Marker or chalk
Hammer-tacker (or a heavy stapler)
Staple remover- if you're experience is anything like mine, you'll be using this tool a lot!
A band saw or jigsaw (or other kind)- to cut out your circular shield base.

Optional- (for crafting metal components)
Plasma cutter
Oxy-Acetylene torch
Large Ironworker (It's a big machine with a blade for shearing through thick metal.)
Heavy short-handled hammer (for shaping heated metal)
Drill with metal boring bits

Other optional-
Another option to attach the leather on the shield is by sewing. You'll probably have to purchase very heavy thread and a specialized sewing needle which may be pricey or hard to find. However, this might give the shield a more interesting and rustic/barbaric look. 
Grinder- (to polish the metal bits if you choose to do so) You can use soft, usually blue Velcro pads for the best polish. I would recommend starting with a more abrasive wheel and moving  to softer ones to get the best polish with minimal scratching. 

Step 3: Gather Materials

Since I was using old recycled materials found in the shop, I paid a grand total of around $0.00. You may be required to purchase some or all of the materials.
The list is as follows:
-Some source of leather- I used old welding jackets and an apron.
-A piece of wood- I used an old 2 inch thick cabinet shelf. I would recommend a thick, sturdy, solid piece of wood instead of OSB or sheet wood. 
-A few pieces of chain link- for the adjustable arm strap
-A large circular object about the size you want your shield to be- I used a medium sized trash can lid.

Roofing nails- to attach parts and cover up ugly staples
Angle iron- (metal in a L shape) cut into pieces- to cover up the staples on the shield's front and give it a cool look.
Sheet metal- to cut emblems or make plating.

Step 4: Begin Construction

To begin, take your piece of wood and lay it on a flat surface. Take the round object (the size you want your shield) and place it on the board. Trace the round object with chalk or marker. Cut out the circle with a band saw or jigsaw. Smooth down, or round out edge or shape of circle if needed with a file or grinder.
Note: Use lots of staples. You can always remove any that you don't really need later, and the more you use, the stronger your connections will be.

Step 5: Cut Leather Components

Take you piece of leather and place it on a flat surface. Lay your round wooden piece over it and trace around the circle with about 2 inches of extra clearance all the way around the wood. ( you will be trimming this later ) BE SURE TO LEAVE LITTLE TABS AROUND THE SIDES EVERY SO OFTEN SO YOU CAN STAPLE THE LEATHER ONTO THE SHIELD EASILY. 
Cut the leather out with scissors. Set it aside. Now place another piece of leather on the table and repeat the process. 
Attach the leather front of the shield onto the wooden base by pulling the tabs over to and stapling them. Repeat the same process with the back piece, but pull the tabs over to the front. In the picture, the tabs are covered by angle iron. This should give you a basic idea of their placement and spacing. ( And put the leather on the back obviously, but I shouldn't have to say that )
Trim around the tabs on the front after they have been stapled. ( I recommend double stapling each one of the tabs, both on the front and back ) 

Step 6: The Metal Components

You can take a lot of artistic liberty on the project in general, but this part especially. I cut 1 1/2 inch pieces of angle iron for the edges, and to make the emblem, I printed a picture off of the internet, cut it out, taped it to some sheet metal, traced the outline with a marker and cut it out with a plasma cutter. After that, I buffed and polished each piece with a grinder. The angle iron as well as the emblem have holes drilled in them in so that they could be attached using roofing nails. 

Step 7: Making the Handle and Adjustable Straps

To make the handle and adjustable straps, I would recommend using some of the scraps from your cut up leather if possible to save resources. The actual handle was made by taking a strip of leather about 1 1/2 inches across, (Make it long enough for a good sized hand. Better to be a little bigger than you need than smaller.) stapling it onto the shield and then cutting a very long strip of leather so you can use it to wrap around the first piece (Stapling the starting end on top of the original leather piece.) around it and then stapling it down and cutting off any extra. I cut some small slightly octagonal chunks of leather, which I then nailed on to each end to cover up the staples. 

Now for the adjustable strap. You'll need two chain links for this part. (To remove two links from a chain use a plasma cutter to cut a small space out of each link you wish to remove so that other links can slide out of it.) Cut a fairly long strip of leather about... yep, you guessed it! 1 1/2 inches wide. Place the two links stacked on top of one another and then placed about 2 or so inches from the end of one side of the leather strip. Now fold the leather through the two links and staple it to itself. This should look reminiscent of a buckle-less belt. Now nail the strap onto the shield, making sure to leave it big enough for a forearm. To tighten the strap just thread the other end of the of the strap own through one link, up through the other and pull tight.

Step 8: Be a Boss

Enjoy your shield! If you found this project interesting, please feel free to favorite, follow and vote :)

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