Work this week has been Carving Medieval Brigandine armour onto the figure of the Azincourt Archer.
The belt and details of the equipment have been finalised so that detailed work on the Brigandine can begin. The outlines of the ridges of the hidden plates have been carefully drawn onto the whole of the figure, in ridges that follow the shape of the Archers posture.
This has been drawn in soft pencil. (8b) Hard pencil lines tend to bruise the timber and can be difficult to erase, sometimes needing to be carved out afterwards. The pencil lines are then defined in a very shallow way by undercutting both bottom and top, leaving the pencil line, (rubbed or carved out later) to indicate they are buried under soft leather or stout fabric.
Carving a cloth badge of St George
At this stage the cloth badge sewn across the Archers heart is drawn in and defined. The King commanded that his army wear the cross of St George. In this case I have done the stitching but left one corner as though the stitching has come undone and curled away, also carved a loose thread to indicate this.
Rivets have been added to some of the plates to check the effect, the ones in plain sight are easy, but the rivets that remain tucked under equipment are much more difficult to achieve and by the time this is done, I’ll know how to carve a rivet….
Undercutting to create definition
Undercutting the Brigandine where it meets the shirt is the next stage, followed by the Archers face, helmet and numerous other details which can be finalised at last. The end is in sight, the trouble is that with such a work you are never satisfied and if not careful it can go on forever. You have to know when enough is enough and it takes great discipline sometimes to just walk away.
Patterns for the next Archer, the incredibly powerful Mark Stretton will also be done in tandem with the painstaking detail work and the process begins yet again with all its idiosyncrasies, caused mostly by the nature of the timber.
Although Yew wood is very beautiful when finished, it is not easy to get sound, workable pieces in any great size however, this is a battle I enjoy and the concept and symbolism of an English Archer being made of Yew wood will be worth the extra struggle in the end.