As my collection of historical arms and armour expanded to include very valuable pieces, I logically began to think about making or buying one or more stands for the collection. I had the following requirements for the stand:
- it must be disassemblable so that it can be transported to markets, events or e.g. when moving.
- it must have a historical(ish) visual.
- must have storage space for a complete arsenal, i.e. mail, helmet, swords, axes and spears. Ideally also a shield.
- it must be well crafted and made of quality material. The total amount invested in my equipment exceeds into thousands of EUR, and therefore the equipment needs to be stored and presented in a dignified way, so it does not get destroyed and everything is conveniently in one place. At the same time, the stand should be strong enough to support the weight of the equipment (tens of kilograms). Weapons must be stored safely in it so that there is no danger of them falling out.
As a professional reenactor and former weapons dealer, I have seen many stands in my career, but none matched the idea I had in my head. Even a more detailed search on the Internet did not bring results – none of the stands combined storage space for weapons and mail at the same time.
Therefore, I was forced to design the stand myself. Two identical side panels, which serve as legs, became the basis. These side panels have two rectangular holes on the two levels and a hook is attached to the front side. A long rectangular part serving as a bottom is inserted into the bottom rectangular holes, which is secured by wedges. An identically shaped part with holes for weapons is inserted into the upper rectangular holes:
- At the back, there are six circular holes for spears, axes or bows. I chose a diameter that would easily accommodate most early medieval shafts. The ends of the shafts rest on the bottom of the stand.
- Sword slots are located in the foreground. These are of two widths, with the larger slots intended for sheathed swords. Swords hang on their guards. For faster handling, the slots are located on the edge of the board and widen towards the inside of the board.
A bar is placed on the hooks, which is used to hang the mail. The width of the bar and thus the stand is defined by the length of the mail so that the sleeves are well distributed and the armour does not deform due to its own weight. The hooks must be placed high enough above the floor so that the mail does not touch it. At the same time, the weapon slot panel must be placed above the hooks, thereby demarcating sufficient space for one-handed swords.
In the centers of the tops of the legs there are notches ground on both sides, in which the forked helmet holders can be placed. These holders are finished with a circular plate, which ensures the stability of the helmet. Unfortunately, I was not able to come up with a solution that included a shield holder at the same time. You can see the number of parts of the stand and their dimensions on the following chart, which I have prepared for you.
Diagram of the stand in the unfolded state. Drawn by Michal Havelka, baba_jaga_atelier.
Photos of the stands. Photo author: František Poch.
Production was undertaken by a friend, František Poch (Medieval furniture), who came up with some functional details and to whom I am very grateful. He made two stands for me, using pine wood treated with linseed oil. Since František made my stands, the model has gone through several modifications – today František also offers a model with many more slots and hooks and a bottom that is equipped with small dimples to fit polearms. Currently, one piece of the stand sells for 330 EUR.
Despite the weight of the product, I am satisfied with the stands. This is a very functional and aesthetic long-term solution. For example, oiling armour is very simple now. In addition to taking better care of my equipment, it allows me to arm and disarm very quickly. The bottom of the stands can also be used as a storage place, for example, for oils required for cleaning. I use a row of spears to prop up a long knife, and I hang belts and flasks from the wedged protrusions on the sides of the legs. The shields rest either on the front side (they lean against the armour) or on the side of the leg. If the stand is close to the wall, it is theoretically possible to lean the shield against the wall and the inserted spears.
Stand when used at a historical event. Photo author: Susan Sümer.
Stand when used at a historical event. Photo author: Zuzana Janů.
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The Stribrny Stand!