I haven’t used aluminium for a while and when reading a book on prop techniques, I spotted a picture of a simple buckler.The boss in the center of the buckler was hammered and having not tried this on aluminium, I wanted to give it a go. I wanted to finish it in a day so it would basically be a flat plate with dished boss attached to the front.
I started with a bit of research and found on a wiki page that they were around 45cm in diameter. I rounded this down to 40cm for no other reason than to have a round number.
The tiny compass I normally use was too small so I improvised with a ballpoint pen, marker and several lengths of thick wire. This worked really well as shown in the picture below. It was used to draw a second smaller circle where a hand would go.
This was cut from the sheet using a pair of straight cut tin sips. To cut out the center circle I drilled holes around the circumference of the circle and then used my scroll saw with a metal cutting blade. Any sharp edges and places where I had not cut up to the edge of the circle were filed and sanded smooth.
The boss was dished using a conveniently sized metal container that used to hold body filler. A 2cm rim was left around the edge so I could attach it to the body of the buckler. The plastic that covered the metal was left on while hammering to stop any scratches from the hammer.
I left it pretty rough as I like the finish of hammered metal, I’m also unsure of how to get it really smooth by hammering – something I may look into. Overall I’m happy with how it turned out; especially the even curve of dish.
A few scratches managed to get on the the rim of the boss. To try and removed them I experimented with using sandpaper, emery cloth, steel wool and a brass wire wheel on my Dremel. I found a sanding sponge lessened how noticeable the scratches were, but also removed the shine and left a light pattern. I had a play with this and found that rubbing in a circular motion left a really nice effect. I liked it so much I used it on both sides of the the body of the buckler.
To work out where I wanted the rivets to go I made a paper template, folded it 3 times and the marked the lines. I made a small hole a centimeter from the edge of the template on each line. This was placed on the back of the boss and pencil was used to mark the positions. The holes were done on my drill press. This was then placed on the body and a power drill was used to transfer the holes. All but two holes were riveted with blind rivets; the final pair would be where the grip would attach. This was simply a 2.5cm strip of aluminum. After being riveted some faux brown leather was glued onto it with hot glue.
I’m happy with the way it turned out and would like to try some more metal working before I start my next replica weapon. Something like a more complicated helmet.