The blueprint of... Galding's Runesmith Armor

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By Myana
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The blueprint of... is an article serie where we’re taking a closer look on an Artisan Crafts deviation and how it's made.

Today we are dissecting Galding's Runesmith Armor by farmerownia

Galding's Runesmith Armor by farmerownia Galding's Runesmith Armor by farmerownia Galding's Runesmith Armor by farmerownia

First off, please introduce yourself?

Hi. My name is Adam Chodaczek but more recognizable is my nickname Farmer and I am leather craftsmen. I live in Europe, more specific in Poland in a small town called Prudnik - but you can treat me like an earth dweller with no roots in specific place.
To this moment I have passed 27 springs and 28 winters (that is something between 27,5). Astrological Pisces and Cock in Chinese astrology.

Please explain what we are viewing.

What you see here is Runesmith Armor - fully custom made stylized leather armor, made for a LARPing purpose. All handmade.

It also include some additional equipment like belts, weapon hangers, goggles and "safe" axe made of latex technology (which was especially ordered in Germany).

The armor and all its parts were mine productions as well as the equipment. But the latex axe was made by Mind-Forge, I supported only the project of it.

Can you describe for a layman how it’s made?

As always everything starts from idea... then I do a concept drawing
Dwarf Runesmith sketch by farmerownia
which is the most difficult thing in whole process.
When the sketch is made I must solve most of the technical problems, the construction of the armor, every layer of it as well as most of decisions where to rivet things or not - all that have place on a piece paper!! ;) (later on Photoshop)

Second and most mind-devastating thing is to create patterns. Of course new patterns appear constantly while working, but they always came before leather parts.
In case of this armor, transferring patterns was not so hard and cutting leather was slightly and easy.
Runesmith paterns working by farmerownia

The armor consist of two very different parts: One is a very soft padded belly (chrome tanned leather with soft pig hide lining). The rest is made from thicker 4,5mm (11oz) vegetable tanned leather.

The belly part was most boring and dull to do. Firstly I prepared two same shape layers of leather and put synthetic wadding between.
Next, the whole surface was regular riveted with bigger and smaller rivets. (especially for those smallest I made my own rivet setter which is not provided as normal)
Runesmith padding working by farmerownia

The harder parts like pauldrons was shaped by gluing few layers of same leather to achieve appropriate stiffness.
But before this, they were tooled: tooling is a technique of putting impression on leather using metal stamps and bevellers. As you can see the whole pauldrons and most of armor parts was covered by square design, copper finishing and marble-texture adds on edges. All of this was made with simple small stamps and hammer. Face of dwarven ascendant and belt as well as bracers was crafted from single piece of leather using this very technique. Part of tooling process often consist of cutting shapes with swivel knife.
Runesmith tooling working by farmerownia

After most tooling was done, the next step was to paint surfaces with different colors. The metallic colors was done by acrylic base, the rest of the colors was based on spirit (its not so important what you chose to paint the leather with: water colors, ink, dye – important is to finish it (close) with some kind of wax). Normal, small and medium size brushes come to hand.
Runesmith shoulder working by farmerownia

Main theme for this armor was Runes, so according to this I made a few dozens of decorative cuts of runes. The biggest were cut separately and riveted to the surface of the armor.
Trims – I love them, hand sewed and stuffed with wadding. Whole stitches was hidden and covered inside. For trims I used very soft velour from pig hide. It’s a delicate thing easy to sew by hand.
Runesmith trims working by farmerownia

Since the wearer had normal human size wrists ;) I had to glued thick layer of felt inside bracers to make him look more sturdier and wide.

Galding's Runesmith Armor by farmerownia Galding's Runesmith Armor by farmerownia Galding's Runesmith Armor by farmerownia

What tools did you use?

I have a workshop - working with leather needs lot of space, especially with armors. Sometimes there is a need to look at bigger patterns from above... a single desk can be not big enough. :D

I use small simple knives for cutting leather. Any good quality knife will do but only small knives are good for varied shapes cutting.

For tooling cutting I use swivel knife which is the most important in the whole beveling process. Its a small one handed tool, a straight edged knife with moveable handle.

For beveling I can only say there is a vast choice of different stamps, camouflages, bevellers and other metal tools.

For most tasks a hammer is useful (or mallet for beveling – its softer than ordinary metal hammer)
To make holes in leather I use hand punches, they crate a hole in the leather if you hit them with a hammer or mallet. I dislike Rotary Punch – those are crappy tools which I dissuade to every of you.

Riveting: the rivets are a matter of choice and possibilities... they can be just smashed by hammer with help of anvil below, but a better solutions is to use special setters and anvils. I use hand press with big lever (I dislike physical working with the hammer :P )

What was your inspiration in creating this?

It all starts like this: "Hey Farmer, I want an armor! It must have huge pauldrons, must be comfy, must have dozens of runes, and must be dwarven, can you do it?"

Then my work starts - first I needed to gather as much information as possible about dwarfs, runes, big guys and their clothing and so on. In this matter I decided to use a Warhammer style of dwarf armor. I tried to avoid copying any original concept, but keep the same feeling. I do like to create in all aspects but in this mater it was more important to be clearly to watchers (of armor) what they see. And the warhammer style of dwarf armor is very clear.
Here are samples of such great work from EA Mythics, I bow to them:… and…

My task was to redesign it on my own, keeping it functional (able to use by a human playing dwarf)
Effect of my work can be seen here: farmer-bootoshysa.deviantart.c…

How long time did it take you to make this?

This piece of armor was quick episode. I spent two week on thinking on project/drawing (practically it takes two days intensive thinking – I am too spaced out - too much coffee).

About 2-3 hour of drawing. And up to 10-15 days of work on armor and equipment. As you can see, a very important part of the work is outside the workshop.
Why I spent so much time for thinking? Because I solve (almost) all problems on the paper. When I go to the workshop, I take a cup of tea and work easy and with no stress.

Galding's Runesmith Armor by farmerownia Galding's Runesmith Armor by farmerownia Galding's Runesmith Armor by farmerownia

Did you run into anything unexpected while creating?

Of course ;)
Every bigger project has its own traps and riddles to solve. In this case it was the pauldrons... great and heavy. One of the main ideas was to make the armor comfortable with the torso part soft - but it was not possible to attach such heavy pauldrons to a chest part. The solution was to use a classic gorget like in later period medieval armors and so called "goose" the belly-armor-part to connect the gorget with a single strap.

It gives the ability to fix the gorget on place and hang huge pauldrons on side of them. It was not end of problem though...
The pauldrons did not lay nicely, they were flappy (because of the weight). So I placed a kind of inner crossing part inside them ...something like an arc in a bridge construction - to have stiffer construction. Those were the major problems of the production.

I also faced very difficult measurements. I had never before done such a "dwarven" dwarf armor like this :D
My client was instructed to take as many measurements as possible. And I spent lot of time analyzing them, watching pictures of my client (pictures from side, front, ect.)

The final solution of this hard belly-shape was partially my intuition and analytic skills. (we have no single fitting of armor if you want to know)

Are you happy with the result?

Hell yes I am, as much I can!!
I admit this set of armor was created after different dwarven armor even harder than a Runesmith. So realizing the concept was a little bit easier to me this time. Each barrier can be forced and with every next problem we are smarter.
If I could change something for my favor, I’ve done a much more detailed dwarf face on the belt part and every other tooled part. I could done this here... but such is the way of craftsmen - I had to stay with suggested budget and time.

Where have you learnt your skills in this area?

In Poland where I live, leather craft is a dying craft, and I mean it - its really dying! Any knowledge of leather craft does not exist officially. I was self learner (I am still ;) ) Most of my skills are a product of 9 years of mistakes.
In the last 3 years I have collected books of leather craft and materials from internet. Some books of old shoemaking, tooling, sewing. My craft started to live again when I bought some new tools and books from US - it was like a fresh breeze.

Galding's Runesmith Armor by farmerownia Galding's Runesmith Armor by farmerownia Galding's Runesmith Armor by farmerownia

Do you take your own photos? Any tips you want to share for presenting your work?

Even if I cant make a shots by myself I try to direct the photo session. Runesmith armor was presented on its owner, Galding (he is the customer and model here)

A good packshot (a photo of a product – or its packing ;P) is a half of success ;) I still have to learn much about good photography but, I can still share some of my experience.

For sure most armors must be shown on a person. Its a matter of acting and feeling the theme. If you want to show the greatness of a costume you have to train yourself or your model a few basic stances. The worst thing you can do when showing an armor is just standing straight. Try to spread your legs stand like a warrior (you are wearing an armor, aren't you?)
Galding's Runesmith pose by farmerownia

Try to show the best things of your product.
Is it a shape? So make a clear background and show this shape.
Is it a complexity? Try to show it in many different settings and show from different distances. Don’t use too visible clothing under the armor, it will distract from main theme. Avoid showing full scale person for all costs. Sometimes is better to make a good close up to show arms, shoulders, or hips.

Keep in mind that every picture have its hot spots where attention is cached. Its always the same place in every rectangular picture (if you separate picture in three parts vertically and three horizontally those spots are on crossing). Try to place an interesting detail there, like buckle, ornament, whatever.…

Sometimes its a matter of takeing about 10-15 shots on a single pose from different angles and with little changes in camera settings.
In the age of digital cameras we can take plenty of shots in one session... use it. In a single session I take up to 150-200 shots of one piece of armor! From those I choose up to 15 best to show, and 2-4 are official.

Armor pieces are big things, its not easy to take a good shot at home. A studio of your own is rare thing too...
Go outside and look for good weather. Full sun and straight light (same as unnatural light at home) are bad. Leather have often a smooth surface and direct light only reflect very bright spots – its bad, avoid it. I’ve done my best pictures on light cloudy weather - light clouds in summer time can work like a blend.

For detailed pictures, especially makro I use a tripod, it gives comfort of stability and gives time to changes settings of light color and so on. Try to separate your product from other visually distracting things... even if its a session on outside.

What is the best tip you can give to others wanting to test this craft/material/technique?

Never stop, keep trying... a good craftsmen must know that failure make him smarter. Learn from other craftsmens – they made more failures than you ;)
You can start learning by buying some leather scraps and trying some home tools on them. Start from something small, then medium... and so on. Many get burned in the beginning, because they spent lot of cash on a "big project" and failed. US online stores provide lot of good and easy to use tools. They also have a vast amount of starting guides to leather craft, buy a book. Small starters tool are cheap, they are mostly a good choice for basic tooling.

Always plan you projects. Heaving schedule of you work is good idea. Most important thing is to know what you are doing so make a drawing first. First inspiration, then working. Improvisation while working is good from time to time and for smaller projects.

Are you selling your work?

Yes I do. I have an (un)regular offer ;) I present most of it in Farmerownia
All of you can see and custom order for costume/armor or any other smaller equipment.

I like to talk with you about your needs so ask me, please bother me I insist :D

I make and send my products worldwide… same as I customize the product same I do with delivery.
My offer can be found here:

Thanks for good questions and for the interview!

Orc Warboss Armor - Detail by farmerownia Mage Cleric Vest by farmerownia Eric's Dwarf Armor final by farmerownia Forest Elf Warior - closeup by farmerownia Thief Vest detail by farmerownia Canon Powershot G3 - softcase by farmerownia Dark Numenor Braces by farmerownia Dragon Armor by farmerownia

Thank you farmerownia for participating and taking the time to answer my question!

I'd love to recive suggestions for next "victim" to interview! Note me with a link to the deviation you'd like to know more about and I'll contact the deviant.

Also, let me know if there are any questions you are missing in this type of interview!

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The blueprint of... Leather corset
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WolfMoon85's avatar
Definately takes some talent to pull off! Wow.
BrokenEver's avatar
Hurray for the website link! His belts are just lovely! Really reasonable prices for such beautiful work. I bookmarked it and totally am going to have to send in an order someday. :heart:
cl2007's avatar
excellent interview, excellent craft! :clap:
50calWolf's avatar
who doesn't like leather armor? ^^
Trinitynavar's avatar
WOW....fantastic, found this very interesting and great pics!!
Yawa86's avatar
nono brawo :) trzymać tak dalej :)
Ninina-nini's avatar
Your works are really amazing :clap: My fav is still that G3 case :drools: :D
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