Wooden boss thickness

Wooden boss thickness

Postby Dan DSilva on April 20th, 2017, 8:31 pm

Hello everyone.

I'm working on a small La Tene-style shield which will have no metal over the boss. I'm wondering how thick the walls of the boss should be at their thinnest points so that the boss is decently strong without being too heavy.

The wood I bought is 3x6 inches (76x152mm) and is some kind of ash, probably white ash. It's long enough to make a long-spined boss if I so desire.
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Dan DSilva
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Re: Wooden boss thickness

Postby Joe E on May 29th, 2017, 4:10 am

Hi, Dan,

Without the metal umbo, the joint where the edge of the wooden boss meets the edge of the grip hole in the planks is the weak point. It's the most likely place where a spear point might slide along tghe shield, hit the boss and slip between the boss and shield plank, right into your hand. I surmise this was, in fact, the reason for the addition of a metal umbo over the spine boss in exactly this area, epecially with common 'wings' on them, to prevent just such a thing. With that in mind, the boss thickness would be most critical on the edges of the concave grip recess, where the boss lays flat against the edge of the grip hole in the board.

My point is that if I were building a wooden boss with no metal umbo, I would make that edge thicker than the rest of the boss. For example, you might make the center of the boss over the grip 3/4", increasing to 1" or even 1.25" at the edge where it meets the board. The idea being to reinforce the spot where a spear is most likely to "find a way in."

On my 2 shields, I made the boss approximately 3/4" thick, but I made metal umbos for both my shields. Here is an old pic of one of mine: Image
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