Medieval gauntlet fingertips were often much less shaped than we expect, and many gothic gauntlets did not even have fingertips – check out this one from Wade Allen’s collection, noting these have no actual fingertips, and also do not have any coverage for the second finger joints.
While the ends appear to be domed, other photos from the side (click the gauntlet above to go to the page for the gauntlet) show that these are almost flat. Some gauntlets have considerably more shape to the fingertips, and many of these have chased and embossed fingernails. Since I am making gauntlets which are often used in combat, having protective fingertips is a definite advantage. This post details how I make finger (and thumb) tips. The major difference is that thumb tips use a larger plate, and slightly different tooling. My default finger tip plate used to be 1 1/2″ x 2″ which is now the size that I use for thumbtips, and are currently 1 1/4″ x 1 1/2″. The difference in size is important, since these are ground to shape once they are formed, and minimizing the amount of “extra” grinding saves a lot of time.
Taking a bit of a side trip from the string of gauntlet specific posts to discuss the significant differences between polishing techniques between Carbon and Stainless steel – Carbon steel polishes in a similar manner to mild steel, so if you want to polish mild steel you can use this methodology – but Mild steel is a pretty horrible material for armour (other than costume armour) so I’d recommend spending the extra time and going to a carbon steel, since this will drop your weights by half AND increase the durability. It also doesn’t scratch if you look at it funny, which Mild (and to a lesser extent stainless) do.
Stainless versus Carbon steel – what’s the difference?
One of the major differences between stainless steel and other steels is actually how heat conductive it is. If you have welded these, stainless steel is only hot at (or very near) the point of contact, while other steels spread heat much faster. This may seem like a weird tangent, but when you are polishing steel, two things are happening: some abrasive action by the fine material that composes the polish, and heat, which is melting the surface layer. This difference in thermal conductivity is actually a big deal and makes stainless steel vastly easier to mirror finish than other steels.
This is an article outlining the process to add the gothic flutes and embossing to the main body of a gothic gauntlet. Another post will follow outlining how to build the gauntlet cuff (including fluting and embossing) since this is a significant amount of work as well. Once these are done they should move easily through their entire range of movement with minimal effort – just a flip of the wrist.
Video of the movement – sorry WordPress won’t allow a local video Embed anymore, so I may be looking for another alternative…
Before I get into the details, be aware that this is a non-trivial amount of effort – this work is on the order of a full day for a pair of gauntlets if you are fairly experienced in the techniques, and considerably more (and more frustration) if you are new to this kind of shaping. If you haven’t done fluting or embossing before I would STRONGLY recommend that you practice by making a pair of Besegews (link).