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Old 12-12-2019, 02:51 PM   #48
Join Date: Apr 2005
Default Re: [LT Armor Loadouts] Expensive Greaves

Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
Yes, this is a big part of why plate costs more than scale. What of this is different from making iron armor?
One factor which hasn't been mentioned yet is that rolling mills are TL5 technology.

In ancient and medieval times the way that you got metal sheet was by having people beat thicker ingots of metal flat. This took a lot of time and was a semi-skilled trade which occupied many people, many English surnames like Platner, Hammer, Green (for greensmith - AKA coppersmith), Black (for blacksmith) attest to this. They were also called "iron beaters" resulting in the German surname, Eisenhower.

So, even though low TL labor is cheap compared to high tech labor, it's still a tremendously labor intensive job.

All that hammering had the beneficial effect of helping to drive impurities (silica inclusions mostly) out of the steel, so hammered steel stock was slightly better quality than unhammered ingots.

Another factor is that to make big sheets of metal you need big ingots, which means that you must have bigger smelting and metal puddling facilities and huge amounts of fuel to feed the kilns. At some point, the mass of fuel, the size of the crucibles, and so forth gets so big that it's beyond the scale of what artisanal smelters can produce.

Technically, it's possible to forge weld sheets of steel together, but getting a good, strong, consistent forge weld across a large area is a tricky task even for the best smith. And, until the invention of brazing, it's impossible to join multiple sheets of brass, bronze, or copper.

The later Romans and the Chinese got close to producing steel and bronze on an industrial scale, but most places it was smaller scale artisan operations.

Finally, don't forget fuel costs. Smelting ore or heating large metal items is very fuel intensive. Entire forests were cut down to feed smelters and forges, which required the services of foresters and charcoal burners. The latter was semi-skilled seasonal work, but it was still artisanal hand labor. Industrial scale metal production had to wait until the widespread use of coal as a fuel.
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