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Greetings all,

I'm currently working on making my first balteus. I started construction by fabricating the strap terminals and have worked my way up to apron studs. During the research phase of this project I stumbled across the legio XX page on the subject and took special note of the part indicating lines of "reinforcing stitching" along each side of the apron straps. I had to wonder at this a bit because a line of stitching through a single layer of leather doesn't reinforce the material, quite the opposite.

While I was pondering this I also noticed that the rivets and washers on the back of each strap look like they'd do a wonderful job of slowly eating my tunica over time. Which brings me to the question: are there documented finds of apron straps comprised of two layers of leather or is it documented that stitching was done on a single layer (in which case it's purely decorative)? My thinking here being a second layer of leather stitched on the back of each strap would do a good job of keeping any pointy bits left over from riveting covered and would potentially explain the otherwise anomalous stitching called for on these straps. Any information would be greatly appreciated as I'm quickly nearing the point where I'm going to want to rivet these straps to the main belt. Thanks in advance!
Hey Allen,

The stitiching may structurally weaken the strap a bit in terms of durability, but if you're using good linen (waxed) thread it'll probably also make it a bit stiffer.

Someone here in the last few months posted a picture of their balteus that they made out of 2 pieces sewn together...and I believe the back half may have hid the rivets and washers. Hopefully they'll post here.

As for the apron strap rivets bugging your tunic...not really. Even the washers on teh belt itself won't harm your tunic too much. If it does, you can always make a facia ventralis which is a wide sash that goes under the belt to protect your tunic.
I was thinking that as well, about the second layer covering the washer and rivets at the back, but have been told this was not so, and also have noticed that some of the better craftmen have the rivits through both layers...... :? Seemed like a good idea tho' but there you go!
If I may make a suggestion about the apron studs, these did not have washers and rivets but what are known as clenched rivets. This is where studs on the back of the discs were integral and were simply bent over at the back of the apron straps. Infact the decorative plates at the end of these straps also had the same system, this way no catching on under materials.
Quote:If I may make a suggestion about the apron studs, these did not have washers and rivets but what are known as clenched rivets. This is where studs on the back of the discs were integral and were simply bent over at the back of the apron straps. Infact the decorative plates at the end of these straps also had the same system, this way no catching on under materials.

Ah so! That makes perfect sense! Unfortunately I do not currently have access to casting or brazing equipment (hoping to rectify that in the next month or so) so I am reduced to the admittedly suboptimal approach of cutting components from sheet brass and filing to shape and of course then riveting. Being heavily caught up in the project I momentarily lost sight of the fact that the techniques I'm employing differ grossly from those employed in antiquity.

Thank you to all who have responded to this thread.
Is that how the originals were Brian? Even then, how do we know this stud was not simply peened instead of being bent? I know for myself that having bent a few shafts instead of peening with a washer has resulted in the item falling off eventually...

And Allen, the way you are doing it is not suboptimal. It is the way the originals were made.
Quote:I stumbled across the legio XX page on the subject and took special note of the part indicating lines of "reinforcing stitching" along each side of the apron straps. I had to wonder at this a bit because a line of stitching through a single layer of leather doesn't reinforce the material, quite the opposite.

Agree with it or not, one was found with stitching at the edges, as illustrated in RME2:
http://s129.photobucket.com/albums/p239 ... fig063.png
http://romanmilitaryequipment.co.uk/figures.htm

If you look at the belt plates drawings next to the apron strap drawing, you'll also see rivets with washers on the profile views.
http://s129.photobucket.com/albums/p239 ... fig062.png
Both methods of ataching items to the leather are used.

Looking some publications, you can see the caracteristic inverted "L" shape of the clenched rivets of the plates.
I would have thought that both techniques were use.
Brian, I thought you actually used a couple of different techniques yourself?
Quote:Both methods of ataching items to the leather are used.

Looking some publications, you can see the caracteristic inverted "L" shape of the clenched rivets of the plates.

Normal practice in the 1st century AD seems to have been to use roves (aka washers) when constructed but that repairs were done by simply clenching. The Mainz-Dimesser Ort strap was finished with small circular roves, according to Lindenschmit.

Mike Bishop
Quote:I stumbled across the legio XX page on the subject and took special note of the part indicating lines of "reinforcing stitching" along each side of the apron straps. I had to wonder at this a bit because a line of stitching through a single layer of leather doesn't reinforce the material, quite the opposite.

Goat skin leather is much stretchier than cow leather - stronger too, If an apron strap is made from goat leather, the weight of the metal appliqués will eventually stretch the leather. However.. If there is stitching running the length of the strap at the edges it prevents this stretching.

So, the stitching may not have been to strengthen the strap per se but to reduce the stretching/deformation of the leather if goat leather was used(?)
Ok, goat = stretchier.

Does any one have actual pictures of originals with stitching down the apron straps? I have never seen this before, to AFAIR :?
Quote:use roves (aka washers) when constructed but that repairs were done by simply clenching
Thanks, Mike. It's good to know that they had trouble with their rivets coming loose, too. Glad it's not just my riveting that's the problem. Of course, that's how we find a lot of the stuff we have from them, isn't it?

That would mean a balteus apron that's missing a stud or two would be just as accurate, historically, as one that's complete, assuming the reenactor was portraying a soldier out on campaign somewhere. In other words, when we lose a strap terminal or apron stud, we're just following along with a great Roman tradition...and something to confuse future archeologists who find them in OUR time stratum.
Probably, i'm wrong, but i think the stitching in the Mainz strap is made for avoid stretching but too for make a union between two layers of leather.

Frequently, as i have read somewhere, roman belts are maded with 2 layers of thin leather (goat) istead of one of thicker leather (cow).

But the use of lateral reinforcing stitching in thick leather are know. For exemple, the remainings in cavalry harnesses.

For the straps of one of my cingula, i have stitched the laterals of the straps, and in adition of be more strenght, there are beautiful, too.
I may follow this idea for my new belt too.
This is a very opportune thread! 8)
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