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 How to build a  
  Basic Amtgard Shield A brief tutorial by Baron Sir Gorin              
MATERIALS  PLASTIC SAUCER SLED This will form the core of your shield. You can find one of these at Wal-mart and The Toy Quest.        2 POOL NOODLES OR 10FT OF PIPE INSULATION This foam will be used to pad the edges of your shield. I'm using pool noodle in this tutorial but pipe insulation works just as well, in fact, for some people it might even work better. For padding the edge, the foam must be at least 1" thick, so you'll have to get some thick pipe insulation or layer it until it meets this requirement. OPEN CELL FOAM and CAMP PAD This foam will be used to pad the rest of your shield. You'll need a piece of Open Cell Foam that's large enough to trace a circle as large as your sled onto. It only needs to be 1" thick. You can purchase this foam at Fred Meyer and Joann Fabrics. The camp pad will be used to add some extra safety padding to your shield. You can find it at Fred Meyer. FASTNERS (Nuts, bolts and washers) These are used to attach the straps to your shield. I recommend:  1/4" Bolts x 4 (1 or 1.25 inches long)  Nuts for your bolts x 4 (Locking nuts are preferred)  Fender washers x 8 (The larger the better) STRAP MATERIAL We'll be using leather in this demonstration but other materials will work as well. Some examples include:  - Multiple layers (4+) of a heavy fabric such as denim,  canvas, or even an old towel. These will need to be sewn or  taped together.  - Nylon strapping. You'll want it to be fairly wide (2"+). FABRIC and ROPE For the cover of your shield. The fabric should be light and durable such as broadcloth. For rope, you'll want something that's not too thick (about a quarter inch). A strong nylon rope works well, such as parachute cord.  DUCT TAPE To hold it all together. 3M / Scotch brand recommended. You can purchase it at Home Depot or Lowes
TOOLS   DRILL You'll need this to put holes in your sled so you can attach the straps. You younger guys might want to get your parents' help when using this. Use a drill bit that matches your bolts.
   UTILITY KNIFE OR STRAP CUTTER For cutting out leather straps. If you're using another material (such as fabric or a towel) you won't need these.
RETRACTABLE UTILITY KNIFE You'll need this for cutting your pool noodle / pipe insulation.
WRENCH An adjustable wrench will work just fine. You'll need this for putting your straps on.
SCISSORS When you need to cut your open-cell foam, these will be the tool to use.
MARKER You'll need to make some marks on your shield.
 PART 1 - Preparing the sled   STEP 1  The first thing you want to do is decide where your arm is going to be positioned when holding  the shield. The easiest way to do this is to have a friend hold the sled against your arm while you  position it. If you don't have a friend to help you, just lay the sled down on a table and decide  where you want your arm positioned.   With a round shield, if you place your arm in the center, it will allow you to use the shield both  right and left handed.                          
STEP 2 Draw a line on either side of your arm to show where your arm will be placed. Draw a perpendicular line where your hand will hold the strap and another about three quarters of the way up your arm.
 PART 2 - The Straps   STEP 1  With your arm on the shield, use a cloth measuring tape to measure how long your straps will be.  Measure first across your hand, starting 3" above the top line, over your open hand and 3" past  the bottom line. Do the same thing across the second dotted line, except measure 4" above and  below.                                            
 STEP 2 Cut out your straps. The strap going across your hand should be wide enough to fit comfortably when you close your hand. The strap that goes across your forearm should be fairly wide (2-3").
STEP 3 Mark an "X" about 1 inch from the edge of each of your straps. Using your drill, make a hole in each end of the straps.
 STEP 4 Place your arm back on the shield and lay the straps over your arm where they will later be attached. Now is the time to make any adjustments to the straps so that they fit your particular arm size. Once you have the straps where you want them, use your marker to mark where the holes are going to be drilled in your sled.
PART 3 - Putting Straps on the shield    
STEP 1 Use your drill to make holes where you just marked.
STEP 2 Cut out a piece of camp foam that is a little larger than the outline of your arm.
STEP 3 Roll some tape and place it between the lines you drew for your arm outline so that you can stick the piece of foam to the shield. The tape down the edges of the foam. This piece will create some padding for your arm to help absorb impacts and keep your arm comfortable.
STEP 4  Put the bolts and washers through the face of the shield.
STEP 5 Place the straps onto the bolts, followed by the washers and finally, the bolts. Tighten the bolts using your wrench.
    When the straps are in place, slide your arm through to make sure that it's comfortable. If you need to make adjustments to the straps, go ahead and do that now. When you're finished, it should fit as pictured.                       PART 4 - Padding the Shield  S  TEP 1  Place your shield, straps-down, on your open-cell foam and trace around the shield. Cut out the  open-cell foam and set it aside for later.                   
STEP 2 Cut out 4 small pieces of camp foam and tape them over the bolts on the face of your shield. This will rovide some extra safet on the face of your shield.
STEP 3 Take your pool noodle (or pipe insulation) and your retractable knife. Set the blade at a depth that is just long enough to cut through one side of it. Cut a straight line down the length of the foam so that it can be opened up as pictured.
STEP 4 Place the pool noodle over the edge of the foam and take the end down.
 STEP 5 Continue setting the noodle on the edge of the shield. Once you connect a second piece of noodle to the first with duct tape. Continue running the second piece of noodle around the rest of the shield Cut any remaining noodle off and fit it snugly against the first piece of noodle. Tape the noodle down to the shield as pictured below.
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