Before this project, I had no experience working with sheet metal. In the past I made a chainmail shirt and did some basic blacksmithing but this was my first foray into plated armor.
What convinced me to attempt this was David Guyton's tutorial videos for the pattern that he sells. Mine is loosely based on his second version, though there are some obvious substitutions. I won't document in too much detail the process I used because it's thoroughly covered in his videos.
After buying the template from David I purchased a 24x48" sheet of 20 gauge steel from Shapiro Metal Supply. Two gauntlets fit easily on one sheet with room to spare. If I were to do it again, I would sacrifice some of the surplus and space the pieces farther apart to make cutting easier. Spray adhesive secured the paper pieces and I used tin snips to cut them out.
After liberating all the pieces, I had to flatten the edges that had curled up. I used my smaller 15# crafting anvil because at the time it was winter and I did not want to stand in the garage for hours using my ~30# anvil. Approximately the center of the top face of an anvil has a "sweet spot" that produces the best bounce and the small anvil's is barely big enough to accommodate the hammer I was using. In retrospect, I should have used a rawhide or plastic hammer for the task but the final product does not have obvious blemishes.
After flattening I had use to a series of files to refine the shape. I would use a sanding belt later for large sections but for most of it a power tool would remove metal too fast or not fit in smaller curves.
Once all of the pieces were cut and refined I had to drill the rivet holes and curve them. My initial thought was to drill the holes and then bend, but later I had to go back and enlarge them as the deformation shrunk them too much for my fasteners. A chunk of PVC, a center punch and a drill press vice would probably be the best way.
The instructions called for rivets but I substituted Chicago screws. I wanted the ability to disassemble and iterate and this would make potential future rust removal easier. The ones pictured below are much longer than what I would eventually use but the exposed head made assembly faster.
My biggest mistake was not taking my time on a tag board prototype to make sure that all the interlocking sections would work. While the sections in the pattern between the knuckle plate and vambrace barely worked I was not happy with it. Instead I substituted them for sheets of 6-in-1, 14 gauge chainmail. I have seen historical examples that are similar so it isn't unprecedented. I already have a winding mandrel I forged from a steel bar and a jig for winding coils quickly so fabricating the rings was not difficult. The first sheet you see below worked, but I was not happy with the gap when the hand was bent so I expanded it in the final version (pictured at the top).
I had a few options for the finish on the metal. I had to sand each one down to 320 grit to remove some surface rust and the remnants of the paper pattern. Being bare mild steel it needed some kind of protection. I could force a patina with an acid, paint them, oil them, use a Renaissance wax, or blue them. After looking at other examples, I settled on using a simple propane torch to form an oxide layer and an attractive coloring.
The last step was the forearm strap. This was a piece of 1.5" wide leather from Jo-Ann Fabric and the buckle was from Michaels. All I had to do was punch holes for the Chicago screws and notches and I was done.
I lost track of the hours I spent on this project because I worked on it periodically for two years. If I had to guess I would say 20 hours at minimum. If you are considering this, take your time and make a complete tag board template to fit you. Use that as your pattern and you'll have significantly less frustration. Take your time but also don't be afraid to screw up and toss out some pieces.