This is not a cheap method for building a shield. However, if made correctly, you can get many years of service with minimal maintenance. After 5 1/2 years of use the only maintenance Kyrian had to do was a rebuild after a shield strap broke.
1. Measure where you want to put your arm in the shield. I suggest doing this wearing a layer of garb, your gloves (if you used them), and a layer of closed-cell foam between your arm and the inside of the shield. If the sled has cutout handles, make sure they're not in line with where your elbow is going to be. If they are, when you rotate the shield with your elbow as the pivot, your elbow will bump or get caught on the cutout. I used a sturdy dog collar for the hand strap and a wide piece of armor-grade leather for the arm strap. Take your time when measuring and drilling the holes for your shield. Once you start putting foam on the shield, you won't be able to readjust the strap holes without ripping out the foam.
2. Attach the straps to the sled. Use mending plates or fender washers to distribute the stress across a wider area of the sled. If you don't, the area around the drill holes will weaken and your shield strap will tear off.
3. You may use three different types of foam for the shield:
A) 1/2" closed-cell
B) 1 1/2" ensolite pool float foam
C) 1/2" rubber foam yoga mat.
The reason for the different types is to give the shield progressive resistance so when you shield bash, the shield will have some give.
4. Fill in the handle cutouts (if you have them). Cut pieces of closed-cell foam and secure them with duct tape and glue. Try to make the closed-cell pieces as flush as possible with the surface and the edges of the shield.
5. Lay the closed-cell foam horizontally on the shield and try to cover as much surface area as possible with a single piece. Measure and cut the foam. Leave a little bit of excess along the edge so that you can trim it down precisely. Apply glue and press it to the sled. Cut an additional piece of closed-cell to cover the area missed by the first piece of foam. Apply glue to both pieces of foam along the sides where they're going to be joined. This helps bond the two pieces of foam together. Trim the foam so that it's flush with the inside lip of the edge. Next, cut a strip of closed-cell foam the width of the lip plus closed-cell foam. Glue this to the lip of the shield. This helps secure the seam between the closed-cell foam and the core. It also provides cushioning if the plastic lip should hit you in the face. Apply full-width strips all the way around the edge of the shield. These duct tape strips should be long enough to start on the foam on the face of the shield, wrap around the edge, and then extend to the inside of the shield. Be careful not to compress the foam in any way. This step is critical and you want to make this as smooth as possible since the rest of the shield foam is going to be attached to this layer.
6. The next layer is the ensolite. Measure and cut the ensolite so that any joints in the ensolite layer are perpendicular to the layer of closed-cell. Don’t put the seam between pieces near the joint of the closed-cell layer. A serrated steak knife makes a very good cutting tool for this kind of foam. Glue this layer to the shield. Secure the edge using duct tape like you did in step 5.
7. The final layer is the yoga mat. It’s rubbery and a very sharp utility knife works pretty well for cutting it. Make sure that any seams are perpendicular to the layer of ensolite. In gluing all of the layers to the sled, take your time and make sure the foam is following the curve of the shield. That’s one of the challenges in making this type of shield—trying to make the two-dimensional sheet follow the three-dimensional curve.
8. To make the cover, cut a circular piece of fabric and then sewed a band of fabric about four inches in width all the way around the edge of the circle. I folded the edge over to make a channel and ran the drawstring through. Stapling the cover down really isn’t an option for a plastic shield.
Credit to Kyrian for creating this walk through.
- The use of Tee-nuts on shields makes the interchanging of straps possible without the deconstruction of the shield. Thurat 01:37, 18 January 2009 (EST)