A new helmet has been peeking out on different photos on the blog (you can have a look at me wearing it in a previous post – the one about the chain mail). I have finally the motivation to publish some of its history here.
I wanted a helmet made from one piece, so I contacted Ralph Snel, an incredibly talented Dutchman who lives part time in Sweden. He made my earlier helmet, and I was happy with it. But that was in 2003, and since then I have become more picky, and Ralph has become a lot better. We met in the spring/summer 2008 and had a chat about how I wanted it to look. Ralph measured my head and we discussed various aspects of helmet making. I wanted a kettle that that looked like ones in Skamstrup church in Denmark. It is dated to 1350-1375, which is perfect (well, 1375-1380 would have been better :-)) for me. It’s the helmets on the topmost picture. I also looked up some other, similar helmets for reference. They are posted below. The two at the far left (top row) is from French manuscripts, while the right one (still top row) is from a Polish fresco. The photos in the next row is from a museum in Nürnberg, Germany. I am not sure about the dating, but it basically looks like the helmets in the top row.
So Ralph started working.
It’s really smashing, if you ask me!
As it was finished, I made a lining for it.
Altogether, I thought it was a bit big. It was too heavy. The brim was too wide, and if I was going to wear it with my ears outside it, it would look silly on top of my head. So at first I wasn’t as happy with it as I thought I would be. But as soon as the lining was put in, and I could wear the helmet with my ears inside it (it sounds a bit funny, but it looks alright, plus it’s really good when you want to conceal the earplugs you use when firing guns), I started to feel a lot better. The real turn came in Morimondo, where I could happily grin at archers doing their best to shoot me – their arrows just bounce of, as the brim is wide enough to cover my shoulders. When I came close and personal with other fighters, I only needed to raise my shield and duck down to be perfectly safe. The weight of it ”softens” the blows to the head, and when firing guns you can hear a faint ”clang!”, as from a church bell, as the boom from the gun resounds in the metal. It fits my needs, and I look sinister in it, as my eyes are always shaded from the sun. Probably I won’t need another helmet in my days, even if some people might think that I look like a giant mushroom!