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With the narrowing of the breastplate, it would be easy to panic and think that the whole piece is ruined and only hours of reworking would save it. But what would a German armourer in the late 15th century do? If the original armourer was trying to use influences from Italian craftsmen from the south, so should I. Italian craftsmen at this time were obsessed with the mathematical and geometric understanding developed by the Ancient Greek and Roman scholars. Its understanding was the basis of the Italian Renaissance. So, it makes sense to examine this problem from the view of Classical Greek geometry using the Pythagorean Theorum.
The depth of the breastplate (A) has to remain constant. The width(B) needs to change from 11.4” to 14”. Using the theorum, I postulate that the distance of C (from the breastplate’s front to the side) must move 1.1”. I cannot hammer along the sides of the breastplate’s curve because that area has already been formed to the proper shape. Therefore, I need to hammer along the front and lengthen out the curve along the top. In short, it’s time to do some bouging and planishing! I match the needed curvature to a corresponding mushroom stake and carefully mark and hammer the necessary region.
The change is subtle, but it results in just the right curvature for the piece. The breastplate is now in its final form. With a small bit of final planishing, the piece is soaked overnight in vinegar, given a light hand sanding using a sanding sponge and the piece is marked and trimmed to its final shape.
The next step will be the creation of the plackart.
to be continued...