For your enjoyment, may I present the construction of a shield for Jugger. What is Jugger? The bastard offspring of Tag football and gladiatorial combat; think of it as tag football, but everyone is armed. Which brings is to the task at hand: THE SHIELD
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Step 1: Materials
You will need two sheets of EVA foam, typically used in exercise floor padding. You will also need 3/4" pipe insulation (pre-split, self-sealing for preference), scissors, a sharp knife, some adhesive (either a hot glue gun, or spray adhesive), fiber packing tape, velcro strapping with adhesive backs, a thumbtack, some twine, a black marker, a belt and two rolls of duck/duct tape.
Step 2: Cut the EVA Foam to Shape
- Take one of the foam mats and measure a length of twine so it spans the edge of the mat and an inch beyond the center. Tack the twine to the center of the mat such that the other end reaches the edge of the mat.
- Hold the tack into the mat with one thumb and use the taut twine as a guide to draw a circle with the marker.
- EVA foam can be hard to cut, so cut a rough circle around the marked circle, leaving around an inch of excess foam.
- Trim the excess foam off.
- Use the first circle as a template to draw an equivalent circle on the second mat.
- Perform steps three and four on the second mat, which should result in two equivalent discs of EVA foam.
Step 3: Make the Straps and Install Them Onto the Shield
- Using your forearm as a template, mark on one of the mats where the two straps should be. One should be where the palm of your hand is, the second should be on your forearm just after your elbow. The placement of the straps should be such that either a left-handed or right-handed user can use the shield. This can be achieved by centering the slits so that each are the same distant from the edge of the shield.
- Cut two slits into the foam both above and below the marked positions. The distance between the slits should be enough so that the forearm can fit through either of them comfortably. It is a good idea to add a few inches of distance between them, as we will be making the straps adjustable via velcro strapping. Optionally, cutting longer slits into the foam will make adjusting the distance between the forearm and the hand possible.
- Measure the straps by running the uncut belt through both slits at either the hand or forearm position, and pulling it through enough so that, when both ends are folded over the hand or arm, both of the tips reach the other slit. Cut the belt appropriately. Perform the same task using the other pair of slits.
- Install the straps by running them through each pair of slits. PLEASE NOTE if your EVA foam has a textured side, the textured side should be INSIDE the shield; duck/duct tape does NOT stick well to the textured side. This can be achieved by running the straps through the slits such that both ends are sticking out the non-textured side.
Step 4: Reinforcing the Straps
- Cut 16 two-inch lengths of fiber packing tape and set them aside (stick them to the edge of your worktable, for example).
- Stick a piece of fiber tape to either end of each of the slits to reinforce the slit, and make it less likely the slit will widen itself through use. There should be eight pieces of tape used per side; four slits with two sides apiece, reinforcing each slit on both sides of the mat.
Step 5: Attach the Mats to Each Other
- Line the mats so that the TEXTURED side of each mat is AGAINST each other; the non-textured sides should be on the OUTSIDE of the shield. The textured sides should be INSIDE the shield.
- Once they are lined up, stick the two mats together with adhesive. Please note the strap will lift the mats away from each other around them, so place something heavy on the shield to keep the mats together while the adhesive dries.
- Stick several lengths of fiber tape along both sides of the shield, from one edge to the other. This will provide additional structural support to the shield, and make it less floppy. The more the merrier.
Step 6: Install the Edge Guard
- If you do not have pre-split pipe insulation, cut a slit along the entire length of the insulation, creating a split.
- Run the pipe insulation around the entire edge of the shield, spreading the insulation over the edge of the shield by opening the split in the insulation and shoving it over the edge of the shield.
- When the shield's entire circumference is covered, cut off any excess. If the pipe insulation is self-sealing, remove the plastic protection strips and press the uncovered epoxied edge of the pipe insulation onto the edge of the EVA foam, making sure the edge of the shield has been completely pressed into the pipe insulation.
- Where the two ends of the pipe insulation meet, stick them to each other, and the shield, with a length of duck/duct tape.
Step 7: Cover the Shield in Tape
Cover both sides of the shield in duck/duct tape. Two different approaches can be utilized on this step:
- Use lengths of tape that will run from the center of the shield to the outer edge
- Use lengths of tape that will run from one side of the shield to the other
If you use lengths that go from one side of the shield to the other, all strips of tape will overlap in the middle. This will use a lot of extra tape, but will have the added benefit of reinforcing the center of the shield (which will be hit the most), as well as providing more structural support to the shield, making it less wobbly.
Whichever method is used, apply each strip of tape so that the entire circumference of the shield is covered. When applying tape over the edge guard(the pipe insulation), make sure to follow the contour of the guard. Exercise caution when taping the inside of the shield (the side with the strap edged poking out); make sure the slits are not covered up.
Step 8: Finishing Touches
- Apply the velcro strapping to the straps. Measure the velcro strapping so that the entire length of one of the straps poking out from the shield is covered. BE CAREFUL; when applying the velcro strapping, make sure you place the hooked portion on one side of the strapping, and the fuzzy portion on the OPPOSITE side. When folded onto each other, the velcro strapping should touch.
- The center portion of the shield may not look so nice where the tape overlapped. Feel free to add any decorative designs to the front of your shield.
There you have it! Your own shield. Adjust the straps to the length of your forearm by sliding the straps in the slits so that, when worn, the elbow strap rests just on the inside of your elbow; not directly on it, nor too far up the forearm. When the proper distance has been determined, rest the forearm against the shield and fasten the straps to each other using the Velcro.