# Thread: How much time would it takes to cobble together enough steel for a full plate?

1. ## How much time would it takes to cobble together enough steel for a full plate?

A full plate requires more or less 50 lbs of steel. How much time would it takes for a blacksmith apprendice to recuperate enough steel splinters, chips and shavings in order to forge a full plate made of recuperated steel?
( without stealing )

2. ## Re: How much time would it takes to cobble together enough steel for a full plate?

There's technically zero waste/scrap unless someone is failing their Craft check by 5 or more, but in that case half the raw materials is wasted/unusable.

When making steel there's a lot more than just the raw materials. You need fuel for the forge, for one thing. Steel is made by combining iron ore with carbon (coal dust, burned animal bones, etc.) and including a bit of glass or similar that the impurities will stick to. The whole thing is melted in a very, very hot furnace, sometimes taking an entire day to get it hot enough to melt the metal so it combines properly. Once that's done you have an ingot that can be hammered into a flatter sheet, which is then shaped and cut into one or more pieces of the armor. Any pieces cut away are added to the crucible for the next ingot. You wouldn't be finding any scraps because they always get used.

In modern machining there's a lot of cutting and drilling, resulting in a lot of chips and scraps that will be recycled if large enough to collect, or swept up and thrown out. In older times a saw wasn't used to cut metal, a tin snips was used which doesn't really result in any type of scraps or chips.

When a blacksmith strikes the metal with a hammer, the sparks you see comes from the impurities being knocked out of the metal. No useful chips or shards result from that.

There's basically no way to accomplish what you've suggested. You're not going to backstory a free suit of armor.

3. ## Re: How much time would it takes to cobble together enough steel for a full plate?

Originally Posted by Biffoniacus_Furiou
There's technically zero waste/scrap unless someone is failing their Craft check by 5 or more, but in that case half the raw materials is wasted/unusable.

When making steel there's a lot more than just the raw materials. You need fuel for the forge, for one thing. Steel is made by combining iron ore with carbon (coal dust, burned animal bones, etc.) and including a bit of glass or similar that the impurities will stick to. The whole thing is melted in a very, very hot furnace, sometimes taking an entire day to get it hot enough to melt the metal so it combines properly. Once that's done you have an ingot that can be hammered into a flatter sheet, which is then shaped and cut into one or more pieces of the armor. Any pieces cut away are added to the crucible for the next ingot. You wouldn't be finding any scraps because they always get used.

In modern machining there's a lot of cutting and drilling, resulting in a lot of chips and scraps that will be recycled if large enough to collect, or swept up and thrown out. In older times a saw wasn't used to cut metal, a tin snips was used which doesn't really result in any type of scraps or chips.

When a blacksmith strikes the metal with a hammer, the sparks you see comes from the impurities being knocked out of the metal. No useful chips or shards result from that.

There's basically no way to accomplish what you've suggested. You're not going to backstory a free suit of armor.
You can work with colder forges, but then you have to work with a much more impure metal and fold them for way too long (the process removes impurities and homogeneizes their distribution, so you have to do it just enough to get on an acceptable level).

So, going back to d&d:
Use the metal's sales value to calculate, accounting for waste and recycling, if you have enough to craft (a full plate costs about 500g in materials to craft) and do it. Fluff it however you want.

4. ## Re: How much time would it takes to cobble together enough steel for a full plate?

How much time would it takes to cobble together enough steel for a full plate?
Originally Posted by Biffoniacus_Furiou
You're not going to backstory a free suit of armor.
If your DM is open to Pathfinder material, you could modify the Rich Parents trait. Ordinarily this gives you a hefty bonus to starting gold, but it could be tailored to your backstory to cover the price of full plate. Requires a DM willing to work with you, but if so it could be a good option.

5. ## Re: How much time would it takes to cobble together enough steel for a full plate?

Usually... I play d&d alone XD
And I constantly argue with myself.

6. ## Re: How much time would it takes to cobble together enough steel for a full plate?

Usually... I play d&d alone XD
And I constantly argue with myself.
Maybe on this occasion you could set aside your differences.

7. ## Re: How much time would it takes to cobble together enough steel for a full plate?

If PF were allowed, the Nature:Metal Sphere can get you mining pretty damn well. Otherwise you could extrapolate the Profession: Miner checks into raw materials instead of direct pay. If you wanted to be simple about it 1:1 prof income to raw usable material.

8. ## Re: How much time would it takes to cobble together enough steel for a full plate?

In real life, using Medieval techniques, you need to start with about twice as much iron as you intend to finish with. Melting the iron and combining it with carbon produces a large chunk of bloom and some smaller bits. You take the largest piece and then it's a long process of beating off the slag and refining it until it's usable. A large chunk is necessary to start with, you can't take a variety of smaller pieces and make a breastplate. You'd have to start fresh and try to get all the little bits melted together, even then you're introducing more impurities and you'll have less than you started with.

You wouldn't really be able to accumulate enough waste metal to make full plate. Perhaps you could reforge some scrap into a smaller piece, but for the larger pieces, particularly for the torso, you need to start with a large bloom of steel since half of it isn't usable and just gets hammered off as little particles and hot sparks.

If you look at the actual development of armor you'll see that iron/steel breastplates come along pretty late. Before that you have mail hauberks and small plates on the arms and legs. Then you have coats of plates, which are small pieces of metal riveted between layers of cloth. The technology to make large pieces of armor happens at the tail end of the period, you need to start with a large amount of raw materials, and if you're lucky, you'll get a usable chunk that's hammered down to about half of what you started with.

9. ## Re: How much time would it takes to cobble together enough steel for a full plate?

The Iron folding process is to homogenize the carbon in the steel. Some of the steel have more carbon, and some have less carbon. Thus, the homogenization process is to fold the steel block to a maximum of 12 times. European steel is of higher quality so they do not need to fold as much, but Japanese steel is lower quality so they have to fold 8 to 12 times to homogenize the steel.

Yes, with Medieval technology, always start with twice the target. Thus, most full plate armor are 40 pounds (50 is a fantasy exaggeration, and 60 is for Knight Jaunt) would need 80 pounds of iron. You're going to get over 40 pounds of appropriate level of carbon steel, so 10+ pounds of brittle high carbon steel, and some 10+ pound of soft low carbon steel.

Most mail are 60 pounds. Yes, mail are heavier, have worse weight balance, and provide less protection, but it is more flexible. Mail still allow users to sprint, while plate armor only allows them to run but not sprint. Mail during the Medieval Era are riveted. Butted Mail are paper, literally because any sword and any arrow could go right through butted mail.

10. ## Re: How much time would it takes to cobble together enough steel for a full plate?

Does bronze manifacturing with ancient techniques leave scraps?

And, is it possible to manifacture a bronze full plate?

11. ## Re: How much time would it takes to cobble together enough steel for a full plate?

Does bronze manifacturing with ancient techniques leave scraps?

And, is it possible to manifacture a bronze full plate?
Bronze breastplates were usually cast to a rough shape and then hammered to fit. Bronze is actually more difficult to work with than iron, but it requires less heat to extract the ore. Also iron is much, much more common than copper and can be worked repeatedly until you get what you want. Bronze is also denser than iron so if you had similar breastplates the bronze one would be heavier. It's also the case that you usually don't find copper and tin in the same area, while iron is everywhere.

You have less waste material while working with copper and it can be recast, but since bronze is an alloy of copper and tin you might not have the same type of bronze and it can be difficult to combine them. Earlier types of bronze were actually copper and arsenic, which made working with it harmful.

It's not possible to get a lot of junk together and just melt it down and then make what you want. In the Classical period the main difficulty was in getting the material, trade routes were necessary to bring copper producers and tin producers in contact. Being an alloy, bronze was more difficult to work with than copper alone, but it was much harder than pure copper. You didn't waste bronze, the raw materials were hard to get.

Iron ore is extremely common and though much higher heats are required to work with iron, it can be reheated and reworked many times before it's finished, something that's not possible with bronze. Besides rust, the main drawback in working with iron is that you had to have a large quantity to begin with, much of it was wasted or rendered unusable through the entire production process. No matter which metal you're working with you don't have enough pieces left over to make anything useful. If you didn't make enough metal the first time, you'd use it to make something smaller, it was too valuable to waste.

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