Forming a Milanese Gauntlet with Pictures
Pattern 16g mild steel cut roughly to the pattern. The shape is a bit odd looking. Extra metal has been left around some areas to allow for error or cracks and will be trimmed after forming. Because of the stress the metal will be subjected to in the raising process cracks tend to appear in areas with sharp inside angles. To deter this, a round hole is punched between the thumb area and back of the hand. This helps disperse the shock over a greater area and make cracking less likely.
A gauntlet at the beginning of forming The piece is bent into a tubular shape and temporarily riveted together on the back side to prevent it from bending back out during the raising process. The picture shows the gauntlet after the wrist has been pushed inward while worked hot.
Initial hot raising The metal is pushed inward most drastically in the wrist area then tapering towards the top of the cuff and back of the hand. the right hand gauntlet cuff is formed from two pieces and of a thinner metal as it is less likely to be struck in combat. Often the right gauntlet has greater articulation as it is the "offensive" hand holding the sword or lance.
Raised gauntlet At this stage there is still a lot of shaping to be done. Forming from this point on is more subtle so the work can be done cold. Despite my efforts to prevent it some cracking did begin to form between the back of the hand and thumb so a second hole was punched at the inside end of the crack. The force of hammering can also transfer into my left hand as I hold the piece. I wear a glove to help cushion the blow but often still get small fractures in the bones of my hand and wrist which can be painful enough that I have to set the piece down and work on simpler stuff for a few days. It feels a lot like "shin splints" from running on hard surfaces.
Rough formed gauntlet The manifer is now rough formed and has been trimmed a bit. Some refinement is still needed but can be done during the planishing process.
Gauntlet prepped for polishing The surface is now lightly sanded to prepare it for future polishing. A reference line is drawn at the top for trimming and another near the knuckles to indicate where the original has a recessed line.
Gauntlet with fluting The cuff is now fluted and a recessed area has been formed near the knuckles. To achieve this a raising hammer is used to strike the outside of the gauntlet while it is supported over a rebated, chisel shaped stake. More on fluting can be found here.
Polished Gauntlet cuff The cuff has now been lightly sanded again and polished. It is now close to being ready to have the lining and additional components attached.
Unfortunately it appears I may have made the wrist area just slightly too small for the customer to easily get his hand in and out of the gauntlet :-( He has notified me that he would also prefer a pair in stainless so this pair will be set aside until a later date. It may be some time before I can finish these but will try to update this page when I have pictures of the completed manifer.
A big thanks goes to William Hunt for this magnificent tutorial.