Leather Arm Guard (archery)

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I'm completely new to archery and currently assembling my equipment to begin with. One of the most basic protective gear needed is the arm guard, and as it is so simple i thought about making one on my own. Even though this instructable is fairly easy to do, it might be easier, cheaper and faster to just order the arm guard from some online store. Nevertheless I am happy with my result and whenever I use it I will have that good feeling of having made it myself.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

I used some imitation leather and a plastic sheet along with some round elastic cord and metal lace hooks (I don't know if this is the correct english term for it, see the pictures below.

Materials:

  • 1x 2mm thick (0.08 inches), approx. 170x120mm (6.7x4.7 inches), imitation leather, brown
  • 1x 1mm thick (0.04 inches), approx. 170x120mm (6.7x4.7 inches), imitation leather brown, feel free to use the same thickness for both sides
  • 0,5mm thick (0.02 inches) approx. 170x120mm (6.7x4.7 inches), plastic foil, I used a plastic folder i found in my drawer, this is just to add a little more stability
  • some waxed yarn
  • 1,5m (60 inches) of round-profile elastic cord
  • 3x lace hooks
  • some glue

Tools:

  • scissors, sharp knife, leather awl, needles, pliers, cutting pad (or old book), hole punch, tool to add the lace hooks

Step 2: Pattern and Fabric

I started by doing a little research in some online stores and was most convinced of the design I've choosen and also of leather as a material. Having decided on the design, I downloaded a product image und printed it (a few times, until it had the right size) on paper. I will not mention the brand or product name of the original but the result looks very much like the original.

After having decided on the size of my arm guard, I cutted out the piece of leather that will end up being the top of the guard. In between the two leather sheets there will be a piece of PVC plastic foil to give the guard more stabillity. As a result the guard only bends in one direction at a time (around my arm). The plastic part was cut a bit smaller (about 5mm/0.2inches) to save me from having to sew through this material. I used a folder that was lying around but feel free to use any material that is some kind of waterproof (as you might sweat) and has a suitable flexibility/stability.

Then glue all three parts together. I didn't cut the bottom layer of leather until all parts were sewn together in order to prevent everything from slipping and afterwards not matching up and it turned out to be a good idea.

Step 3: Sewing

There are some other instructables which describe in detail how to sew leather. I stuck to some advice given to me by the same friend who provided the leather. The process I used was as follows (don't refer to this as a definitive guide, it was the first time I ever made something with leather):

1. align the parts and glue them together

2. draw a line at the position of the future stitches

3. use the awl to punch holes

4. start with waxed yarn and a needle on one side of the seam and pull the yarn half way through the hole

5. use another needle on the other end of the yarn and then always pull the yarn from both sides through the next hole (take care that you don't accidently push the needle through the yarn that is already in the hole, because this will prevent you from tightening the yarn afterwards)

6. at the end of the seam, stitch back one hole and then tie the two ends of the yarn together on the non-visible side of the fabric

I sewed all around the leather part and then cut it out. Be prepared that the sewing will take a whole evening.

Step 4: Holes and Hooks

After the sewing I struggled with the lace hooks. In the beginning i was planning to order them online and also get the required tools for it. However for the sake of simplicity I decided to outsource this job to a local shoemaker. Therefore I can't give you advice on this.

The holes for the elastic cords were made with a leather hole punch. Straight forward, three holes in the desired size per cord, nine in total.

Step 5: Straps and Finish

The round-profile elastic rubber cord was cut to the approximate correct length (being generous), tied together and adjusted to the right length directly on my arm. You can hide the knots somewhere and cut the cords to exactly the right length afterwards (I will do it after some hours of using the arm-guard, because i fear that the cords will stretch a bit).

Edit 2019-04-23: After using my arm guard a few times, the fear that the cords would stretch a bit turned out to be wrong. Instead the elastic cords constricted the skin a bit, so I think replacing them with a bit less elastic cord or a bit wider band would be a good idea.

I hope this gives you some helpful advice and you have fun making your own. Thank you for reading this instructable.

Thanks to my friend Marko for providing the fabric and some tools.

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