In search of the perfect cheap, tough, strong armor I came across cuirbouilli. Cuirbouilli literally translates to "boiled leather". So I decided to try it out. I found out that the leather must first be soaked in cold water for about 10 minutes, or until air bubbles finish leaving the leather. Then it must be placed in hot water between 140 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit. It will begin to curl, thicken, and shrink. At the desired size and thickness it can be removed. It is stretchy for a short time in which you can mold it to your desired shape.
My first experiment with cuirbouilli was with an old leather belt and hot water (140 degrees) from my house's hot water heater. I then sewed a gauntlet shaped mitt and sewed on the strips of cuirbouilli. After breaking two needles trying to puncture the thick leather I decided to just glue them on. This worked quite nicely with Elmer's Glue. I then stuffed the top of the gauntlet with cotton padding.
More to come soon (as soon as I do more)