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Possibly Constructing my First Lorica Segmentata
Hello all... THank you to those who have had mercy on me thus far as a "Newbie"

I have finally come to the conclusion of "Possibly" constructing my own Lorica Segmentata. But I have numerous questions. I have visited many sites with patterens and the how to's... So bare with me. I have a 49" chest while wearing a t-shirt. I know that I should take the measurement while wearing a tunic and a subarmalis. And I am keeping that into consideration while counting the cost. I am finding that there are no guarantees in the "Off the shelf" Seg. fitting me properly. I have heard that DSC and Deepeeka make largers sizes, however time... is a factor as well as shipping and restocking fees if it doesn't fit and the possibilities of not being able to return it at all if it doesn't fit. So with all that said... here are my first questions:

1. For most reenactors... do you make your own or do you purchase it?
2. Looking at around 40 a.d. - 70 a.d. what would be the common style of Lorica Segmentata for the Ephesis or Philippi area? (Helmets included... what type of Helmet may have been worn in that area?)
3. For those of you who have made your Seg. Do you suggest purchasing the brass parts or making them yourselves?
4. In fastening the brass to the 18 gauge mild steel, do you suggest brass dome or copper dome rivets? Which of the two tarnish faster? ( I know this may be a matter of prefference, but would they blth be historically accurate? Or one more then the other? And which in your opinion looks better?
5. What ounce of leather do you use on the interior? Thickness?
6. Are brass or copper washers (Round ones) acceptible as apposed to hand made square ones?

I know that this is a lot to consider question wise, but if I do end up making my own, I would be happy to take step by step photos and sources of suppliers I might be directed to use.

Foa a person like me... in the northern woods where there aren't and reenactor groups, I am relying strongly on RAT Members to help me out. If you would rather send me private message, I will give you my direct email there if you feel all this information is too much to post here.

Again... your help is greatly appreciated, welcome, and needed.

In His Service and yours...
Hello Patrick. Making your own segmentata can be very very exciting, to you and us!I suggest you make your own as you'll appreciate it more and learn and want to make other things. It's not something that requires lots of skills, but it's usually better to start with some rather than learn from your mistakes on the "real" thing. In other words, get some tape and cardboard, and with life size patterns, cut out all the pieces you'll need for your segmentata, and get it to fit you with a robe on. Or a cheat, make only one half of the segmentata, as it's fairly reversed on the other side. You might find that one of the half's shall have to be longer on the torso area so that the plates may overlap when you tie them together. This may or may not be a problem. I will show you a couple pics to explain easily from Legio xx. Hope you don't mind, educational purposes only.

"1. For most reenactors... do you make your own or do you purchase it?"
....We buy them mostly, or have someone else, another reenactor make them... :/

"2. Looking at around 40 a.d. - 70 a.d. what would be the common style of Lorica Segmentata for the Ephesis or Philippi area? (Helmets included... what type of Helmet may have been worn in that area?)"
I believe the Corbridge A and B types are fine, and I wouldn't worry too much about the provincial variations, other than the colors you use, and having a linen tunic rather then a wool for warmer climates. Helmets, too many types, go on some sites and they'll tell you what time eras the originals were from, but you should remember that armor etc, remained in service for maybe 50 years...or so...

"3. For those of you who have made your Seg. Do you suggest purchasing the brass parts or making them yourselves?"
I have done a fair bit of work, or compared to others here ( no offense) a lot of MEDDLING with brass, and it's one pain in the a%% IF you're not going to be professional about it, it won't look good. I suggest you make it!!! But be prepared to make a few cockups...Brass is really easy to work with, and you may have some great fun seeing yourself making hinges and buckles!!!

"4. In fastening the brass to the 18 gauge mild steel, do you suggest brass dome or copper dome rivets? Which of the two tarnish faster? ( I know this may be a matter of prefference, but would they blth be historically accurate? Or one more then the other? And which in your opinion looks better?"
Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but COPPER ALL THE WAY haha! Rivets had more of a copper composition I believe, than that of brass. Copper also introduces color Smile Copper is softer thus easier to peen, copper is more accurate.

"5. What ounce of leather do you use on the interior? Thickness?"
This HAD been discussed here on RAT before, try searching it, but quickly off my head, ummmm thicker is better than too thin that it'll stretch and leave gaps in your armor! I think 8 oz is roughly it, but different areas have different strains, requiring thicker leather.

"6. Are brass or copper washers (Round ones) acceptible as apposed to hand made square ones?"
Just make your own!!! With making your own brass parts, you're going to have lots of extra little bits!!! You'll be able to get what you want from these parts, just draw out on your extra brass, even little squares and drill holes in them! Once cut out you can cut off the sharp corners, this is easssssyyyy and looks way better! Plus not a sharp hazard!

Anyway, I did the cardboard part and I'm satisfied, when I am finished with my belt I will decide what next. I'm a busy person, anyway hope to hear from you soon with some progress.

Good luck Patrick,


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Samuel J.
I have been in contact with a sheet metal company near home. Getting prices etc. I think once I get my working pattern, I'll have them cut out all the steel pieces. If that all works out size wise, I read somewhere that you can get 4 full suits of Seg. out of a 4' x 8' sheet.

I know that it isn't good to go by movies... but I did have a question... in the Movie "Centurion" there are Brass Pieces on the front plates of the shoulder portion where on most Seg. there would be a rosette. (See the pice I photo chopped below.) The pieces I am talking about are within the red circle. Whould this be a marking of the Century they were with? Rank? or an Award? Of just Hollywood?

Also... on the hinges. Is it possible that any of them were engraved to make them a little fancier?

I am going for the Optio Impression so I would like to have my Kit a little bit more tricked out then an enlisted Legionary. Any help in this area (Though I know there isn't a lot of information about the Optio and I have seen many portrayed with Hamata and not Seg.)

Would an Optio have received rewards or markings on their armor that would signify them as being a person of rank? A Torc? Anything? And if so... how would it attach?
ummm... did I do something wrong that my post was moved to here? It was originally posted in the New Beginners Section under Reconstruction... Did I accidentially move it somehow or did a Moderator move it? Help?
Hello Patrick. That sounds like you wouldn't be leaving any metal to spare. 4 by 8 sheet is huge but even then!!! ...Would you want to send me some of that? Smile of course if it's economic. I would have to buy one myself in a huge sheet too. Maybe we could help each other out. It's an idea!!! lol...

To the second part of your message, it's strictly Hollywood!!! I haven't seen anything of the sort, please, never consider things you see in movies... Sad

The hinge question though is useful and YES, around the rivets were sometimes ring circular stamp, punched a simple engraving ring around the rivet. Maybe even multiple... Please go yourself and try searching on the internet, " roman hinges originals" just take it from there! You'll find out so much! Now also, you have different hinges for every type of segmentata, don't get confused, very simple! Just make sure you know what era seg you want and make the type A or B hinges to go with Smile very small differences I think in those two, but the latter sometimes had triangular holes cut out the centers.

Here's a link to a useful post that you should read. Make sure to read all the comments! You'll learn some Smile

I can't really help you with your Optio question. You better just make your gear to look nice Smile combinations of brass and copper, a beautiful finish on your steel, a nice belt, and sword, and pugio, and a face mask is always spooky! I have seen Optio's in seggies before?? lol...

and for your last question I have no idea Smile

Samuel J.
With no disrespect to anyone who has made or would make their lorica Segmentata I think that 18 guage steel is too thick, for 18 is 1-2 mm and no thicker than 20 guage 0-9 mm is needed in fact it can even come down to 22 guage 0-6 mm.
For with 20 you loose 25 percent of the weight and with 22 the weight loss is 50 percent overall which is about what the Romans used.
The brasswork can be fitted with domed brass or copper rivets however the girdle plates can be fitted with what are known as Clout nails these are a nail used in roofing felt and have a larger head than ordinary nails.
The holes of the girdle plates need to be given a countersink on the outside and the nails put through the leathers from the inside and peened over into the countersink, this way the plates are closer together and the inside surface of the segmentata is neat and tidy, with these nails the cost of domed rivets for the job is also reduced.
What needs to be considered is reducing weight and most important the cost of production.
Brian Stobbs
Thank you Brian for your advice, it's been taken Smile Just I can feel 22 gauge being hard to believe that the romans could consistently produce that of such a thinness. I feel fine towards 20 gauge. 25% weight loss is amazing itself, and I know what people say about having it on their backs all day Wink I also think that yes, the originals that have been found have rusted, causing false judgement on the plate's thickness, but I don't believe that 22 gauge would offer much protection. Anyway I'll have to take a look at my gauge tool when I get home! Smile

Samuel J.

What I do when making a Segmentata is to hammer out all the plates into shape and they all become stressed metal where a 22 guage can be as strong as even 20 or 18, in fact the curves of the girdle plates I make are permanent strong shapes that cannot be straigtened out again.
Having seen the Corbridge segmentata it is correct what you say about rust on the metal it gives a false idea of thickness.

Having worked 22 years with Aircraft you find that all or most of the curves of an airframe are of this nature and have great strength, most of the airframe is only 20 G and that takes you off on holiday at around 500 miles an hour and if you took away the inside padding and plastic it would scare the hell out of passengers.
Brian Stobbs
Great information in this topic guys. I may have to attempt a segmentata in my spare time. This is with out a doubt the most informative forum I have seen anywhere. I'm getting too old so the 22ga steel sounds like the best bet for me.
How would you suggest beating the 22 gauge sheet without making damage to it's smoothness? Does my question make sense, or will I find out what to do when I start hammering at the metal ? Bases ...wood? how to get a good curve...only from an anvil? Could I use the round part of a sanded tree trunk? Just ideas for all of us, I'm sure we all would like to know just howw it's done properly, but also easily for us all.

Very good tips Brian, thank you again Smile

Samuel J.
With Roman iron I don't think it would have any smooth surface finish to it at all however having said that, the way I hammer out the plates is to cut the pieces to the size required less about 1/8th of an inch in length for the hammering of the girdle plates will increase the length by about that amount.

What is needed is a block of metal that has a slightly rough surface but not too severe and one starts at one end of the strip and work with hammering as much as one can of the surface the more area covered gives an effect that is roughened, just moving the strip along as needed and one finds that it begins to curve upwards and by the time the work is finished the strip cannot be straightened it is stressed and very strong and of course it is light weight, this is indeed a slow process however the result is a lorica that looks like what it would have been in Roman times not the polished Hollywood effect we see modern re-enactors wearing the metal can be given a polish afterwards but then it looks so much more authentic and not looing like a mirror.

This kind of hammering is done for any area that has a curve to it which is of course is all parts of the Segmentata including the front and back plates, however with the lesser curves only gentle force on the hammer is needed.
I have even used stainless steel for Segmetata where some would say you can't do that but then modern mild steel is not what the Romans used so are we not all cheating, however with this method the stainless looks grey when completed as it should look.
Brian Stobbs
I understand very well, other than how rough this block metal surface might be, and how large. Do you have a picture of something that'll look like the finished product? I ask of this because I can't measure how rough you mean, small dents? I'm sorry. So what could this rough metal hammering base possibly be of?

Samuel J.

Search for some youtube video on planishing armor. It should show the hammers, stakes, and what it looks like to do. My armor guy planished my greaves with a leather-covered hammer. Look for steel - my greaves are bronze (different heat-treating and working animal).
Cheryl Boeckmann

I'm sorry but I don't have a picture of such a metal block however just a block that does not have a fine finish will do, it just needs to be very slightly rough only enough to take away the polished surface of the sheet metal that you are making the lorica from.

The point I am trying to make is that doing it this way helps to curve and stress the metal and makes it a harder surface than just bending the plates to shape and polishing them to a mirror finish which they would not have been.

There were two ways that the Romans could have made sheet metal and that was Roll it or Hammer it out, indeed the hammering would have helped to remove much of the Charcoal from the iron after the smelting.
Brian Stobbs

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