Gorget / Neck Armour / Neck Armor




Second ible, here we go. still a work in progress(finished for now because of my deadline(fantasy fair) but the back piece isn't finished yet)

Im building a neckarmour piece(gorget) and wanted to share on instructables, to my surprise there is not a single one for neck armour so here's the first. For the decorations in the center you can check out https://www.instructables.com/id/etching-large-metal-items/ .

Step 1: Tools and Materials

For this project you'll need basic metalworking skills like sawing drilling and sanding.

clamps(if you need them to secure the metal for sawing)
some drillbits(the size of the rivets)
sandpaper(i used a range of 240 -600 gritt)
boltcutters or hacksaw
grease or oil(i used silicon spray)
scotch tape
anvil(or something hard like a barbell)

Optional tools:
gloves(my hands are full of small cuts so gloves are recommended)
eye protection(recommended,but I already wear glasses so there's a smaller chance of anything getting in my eyes)

metal sheet
8 large nails(rivets)
8 washers(same inside diameter as the large nails)
2 straps with beltbuckles(from a watch or thin belt, I got mine from a hobbystore)
a box of small nails(rivets)

Step 2: Design

My apologies, I didn't take any pictures of the drawing or the cutting process.

First of take a look around the internet to get an idea for your design, I googled; neck armour, neck armor, gorget. My design consists of a front plate and a backplate, both have reinforcements around the outer edge. The front and backplate are connected with 2 small straps on top of the shoulders.

When you decided on a style draw a rough shape onto your cardboard in pencil and cut it out. Once cut out fold it in two so you can cut it symmetrically. Try it on now and again to make sure it fits.

Step 3: Tracing Your Design

Now puzzle your way to the best fit within your metal sheet(I used a plate from an old washing machine) so you are left with as little scrap as possible. Be sure to leave enough room to saw the pieces.

Tape everything down using scotch tape and start tracing everything using your marker. 

After you traced everything take off the tape piece by piece and fill in the gaps created by the tape.

Step 4: Cutting the Parts

Take your metal sheet to your sawing bench and start cutting out all the parts. Because I used a piece of metal that had curved edges I had to hammer them flat to be able to saw the outer pieces.

Step 5: Shaping

OK so now you have all your parts ready and its time to shape them. Take one of your parts and just bend it slightly using your hands and knee. You might want to use gloves for this considering the edges can be sharp.

Go slow, just gradually bend each piece until it looks right. Test the main plates(front and back) from time to time to see if they fit.

This is where the (optional) magnets come in, use them to stick the front and backplate together so you can see if they fit together.

Keep shaping the plates until it fits snuggly on your chest and back. When the two main plates fit, start to shape the(optional) reinforcements so that they fit over the edges of the plates.

Now you can stick everything together with some magnets to see how it looks.

Step 6: Sanding (and Optional Fire)

I did this step before drilling the holes (wich i normally do first) because I first wanted to do this: 

Alright so we got everything together now we need to remove any paint from the parts. I used fire, just build a fire in the backyard and when its going chuck in one part at a time and wait till the paint is gone.

When you're done or didn't use painted metal you can start sanding everything. I don't think this really needs an explanation, just keep going till its shiny enough to bite(R.I.P. futurama)

Step 7: Drilling

Ok so normally I do this step before sanding because any screwup now is basically permanent(especially with my large etch) but I wanted to etch first. One more sidenote, I know it is better to center your holes before drilling, but I find that it leaves a dimple around the hole so I chose to not center . This makes drilling quite a bit harder(especially with a hand drill) but if you go slow it can work. (dimples look strange in armour)

I chose to secure the straps with 2 rivets on each side(so 2 front left, 2front right, 2back left, 2back right) so 8 in total. For the reinforcements I ended up using 8 rivets on each side (16 total).

You need to find some drillbits that are close to(but not under) the size of your nails(rivets). I used 1.5 mm nails for the reinforcements and about 4 mm nails for securing the straps, so I used a 2mm and 5mm drillbit.

So start out by taking your cardboard cutout and figure out where the holes need to be. Fold your cutout in half and drill holes at the correct positions to get all the holes symetrical. Now take a fineliner / pencil and mark the holes on your metal.

If you chose to add reinforcements like me you'll need to figure out where to place the holes on the front and back plates. This is done by first drilling the holes in the reinforcements and laying them over the plates in the correct position and marking, through the holes, the plates.(if a pencil / marker wont work use a nail to scratch the metal)

I marked and drilled the holes by starting in the center, marking the holes, drilling the holes, putting a nail through and securing it with a magnet from the bottom. Then I would mark the next hole and secure it with a nail and magnet, keep this going till you have all your holes marked and drilled.

After drilling the hole for the straps I drilled a hole in the strap and secured it to the lower hole with a bolt an nut and then drilled the second hole using the hole in the metal as a guide.

Step 8: Riveting

I have an old shoe anvil thingy(don't know what its called) wich I use for riveting, but you can use any solid surface that fits. Use a small hammer for this step, it takes longer but the results are better. Before you start riveting grease up all your parts, this makes riveting a little bit harder but it makes sure that there wont be any rust forming on the inside of your armour!

Now starts the hardest part of this instructable, the riveting. Start by cutting some small nails to size, double the thickness of your metal plate plus the diameter of your nail. So if you used 1m thick metal sheet and 1.5mm diameter nails its 1mm+1mm+1.5mm=3.5mm long from the bottom of the head to the end. Just make a test piece by taking 2 scrap pieces of the same metal, drill a few holes and rivet until you find what works for you.

When you have enough start by riveting each hole alternating between the left and right side. rivet by softly tapping the top of the nail in circles so it mushrooms out. Keep doing this until all the rivets for the reinforcement are done.

For the straps you need to take your large nails and figure out how long they need to be; the metal + the strap + the washer. for me it was about 5mm. Cut your nails to size using boltcutters / hacksaw and put them through the correct hole, add your strap and washer and rivet it down. Just remember that the strap will give a little, so its better to have a rivet that is a little short in stead of one that is too big.

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    18 Discussions


    Tip 1 year ago on Step 8

    Auto body dollies are excellent for this (forming metal is what they're for) as they have a variety of shapes including flat and curved facets and usually come in complete kits with an assortment of very useful ball pein hammers of different profiles for relatively cheap.

    Practice on scrap until you get a feel for it.

    For even more specialized work in inaccessible places on complex jobs there's also a variety of things called body spoons or spoon dollies to get it done though because they're specialized for auto body repair, they can get pricey if you don't shop around but you can always make your own out of practically anything if you own a grinder (dollar store crowbars are good for this because you can use different points on the curved end depending on where you need to reach).

    I got my wooden handled dolly set 20 years ago at the local Pep-Boys type place on sale for under $15CDN, as a comparison, I found this nicer fiberglass handled set with case on E-bay for $24USD plus shipping. http://www.ebay.ca/itm/Auto-Body-Set-7-pc-Heavy-Du...

    Long curved spoon dolly example: http://www.ebay.ca/itm/NOS-STREAMLINE-USA-Made-AUT...

    1 reply

    Reply 10 months ago

    thanks for your comment, at the time of building this I didn't really have any money to invest in tools, but I had a lot more time to learn how to work metal by hand, now that I do have money to invest, I still prefer to teach myself how to make things by hand "ye olde" way so to speak.

    thank you! but looking back my technique was quite novice, but just keep at it and you get better right?


    4 years ago

    Love the concept of using sheet metal from an old washing machine. But there is a way to get more metal on the dollar. If you have a junk yard around or a metal recycling plant you can buy destroyed cars and use the scrap from that. it requires a bit more shaping but my master and I were able to craft full sets.

    1 reply

    Good idea! however, I was throwing out and old washing machine so I stripped it before if went to the junkyard;) Its surprising how much you can get out of it! I already got a helm an armguard and this gorget out of two panels! Thanks for the comment


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Great this is really interesting and you have done a good job. The shoe anvil is called a 'cobblers last'

    1 reply

    5 years ago on Introduction

    That's really good. Love the recycling aspect.

    Regarding centre-punching before you drill, you wont get the dimple if you lay the sheet on a reasonably resistant surface, such a lump of wood.

    3 replies

    Thanks for the comment,

    I did try to center on a piece of wood and on the anvil thingy but it still dimples. I couldn't get it flat enough(because of the curves). I did consider trying to do it on something round like a pipe but I didnt like the idea of it rolling away.


    Ah, I see.

    Perhaps a curve-conforming pad, maybe a leather bag, filled with sand? But, that's a plan for another day, I think.


    5 years ago

    Really impressive final build, and nice clear instructions! Thanks!

    1 reply