Before warfare included gunpowder and bullets, one of the most useful protective items to help in combat was the shield. Shields were used by the Roman warriors, Greek soldiers, and everyone else in between. The shield can be used both to protect the user from swords blows and projectiles such as arrows. The edges of the shield can also be reinforced with steel to make it an offensive weapon as well. Here are the steps to making your own round shield.
- Cut out the plywood. The first step is to cut plywood into a circle. Use a piece of string at least a foot in length. Attach this to the center of the plywood, and attach a pencil at the other end. Rotate the pencil to create the outline of a circle with a two feet diameter. You can make a bigger shield, but round shields are generally designed to be light and easy to carry. Use a saw to cut out a circle from the plywood sheet. Use a sandpaper to polish and smooth out the edges.
- Add the handle. To add the handle, you need a leather strap that can be fastened into the interior of the shield. Use metal fasteners to clamp the leather strap into place. Or, you can use industrial strength glues and adhesives such as Loctite, which will fasten the leather strap in place. Make sure that the strap is big enough and wide enough to comfortably fit your arm. Most shields are used with the arms, instead of with the hands.
- Create the iron edge. To make your shield useful for offensive moves as well, you will need to reinforce the edge with shelving iron. This iron is malleable enough to be bent using pliers. Run the iron strip along the edge of the shield, with half the width of the iron strip overlapping off the edge, and use plumber brackets to fasten it in place. Once this is done, you can use pliers or a soft mallet to hammer the overlap into the edge, to cover the sides of the shield. Fasten the newly bent and newly formed shield cover with brackets as well. To make the iron edge even more useful for offensive moves, you can add pointed metal cones that can be nailed or screwed along the edge of the shield.
- Bend the shield. Take a rubber bicycle tire that is slightly smaller than the shield. Fit the tire into the shield, and use the leather strap to pull the shield inward. This will create a hollow inside the inner portion of the shield, and will give the shield a concave shape. Leave the tire in place for a couple of days, until the plywood has been permanently bent into shape.
- Add the centerpiece. To finish off the round shield, add an iron plate in the center. Use brackets or small nails to keep this in place. The iron plate can be decorated using iron cutters, to create whatever design you want. You can also paint the exterior of the shield with a crest or a logo.
Once the shield has been created, you can use it for games or for display. Make sure, however, that the shield is kept away from children, especially if you have attached spokes into the rim of the shield.