Elven Archer

Caught the boat.

 That boat I have been waiting for has come in.  It's just a boat right now, but when it grows up, it will be a ship.  My medieval quiver designs are now being marketed by 3Rivers Archery! :)  The three exclusives for them are the Lockesley quiver, the Huntsman quiver and the Medieval Bracer (armguard).  You can check them out at www.3riversarchery.com  in their SCA/Medieval section.  I will still be doing custom orders for armor, and weapons as well as the standard Studio Kensai catalog items.  Those you can get at our new webstore at www.studiokensai.com.   

I have to figure out a way to be able to do regular posts while making all this stuff, as my current updating is ridiculously few and far between.  

An apology goes out to my friend Kris.  I have been in manufacturing mode for the last month, but should be freed up to chat for a little while (at least until the next project).  Email me at my comcast address Kris, I check that one regularly.
Elven Archer


Well, no, I'm obviously not.  And this armor is Viking not 6th Century Geatlander.  But they are both Scandinavian.  Anyway, this is a new  Studio Kensai design featuring a two-tone dyed leather scale armor with removable pauldrons (shoulder armor).  The pauldrons are water hardened, articulated, and removable.  The vambraces (armguards) echo the scale pattern.  The hardened spangenhelm (helmet) also carries through the scale motif and features an adjustable suspension system.  The chainmail  and sword are sold separately.  This is one of the styles of armor which I will be selling at ConNooga.  A special edition of this armor will be the prize for the Costume Contest.  Hope to see you there :)

There are more images of this armor and accessories in the Studio Kensai Gallery, link at left.

Elven Archer

Finally returning to the world

Hello Friends, Romans, and Countrymen.  

It has been a crazy time since my last last post.  I have missed a lot during my absence from lj.  A belated birthday goes out to lorofhaladin.  It would take too long to discuss the hectic that has been my existence since December.  So instead I will post pics of new projects.  I wll be going to ConNooga this year (Feb. 22-24)  in Chattanooga, TN.  Got me a table and everything :)  Hope to see some of you there.  

Well this is a mosaic mail shirt with a bronze Celtic Cross.  It didn't sell on Ebay so hopefully someone will pick it up at ConNooga.  I will post more pics of my wares at the show as they get finished.


Elven Archer

Unleash Your Inner Barbarian!

 Well here is a brand new Studio Kensai design available for purchase.  The Fantasy Barbarian Armor is available in Small/Medium and Large/XL Sizes.  It is available in Dark Mahogany Brown (shown), Tan, Red, and Black finish.  The thick saddle grade leather is sturdy yet supple, and left unhardened to mold to the body for a fitted look with the adjustable straps.  It will work for anything from a Viking to a post-apocalyptic wasteland wanderer.   The Fantasy Barbarian Armor is designed for rough and tumble use, and is covered by a limited lifetime warranty.  The complete set including vambraces costs $225.00 US.  The curass and the vambraces can be sold separately for $200.00 US for the cuirass and $50.00 US for the vambraces.  Custom tooling is available for $20.00 US more on the complete set, or $10.00 US on the cuirass or vambraces alone.  Custom colors are available for $5.00 more on the complete set or on the cuirass or vambraces alone.  

Please excuse the use of the uber-pale Asian guy in the photos.  I am finding a distinct lack of barbarian models in my area. :)

Michael Cook

Elven Archer

Custom Armor. . . For Dolls!

Studio Kensai understands the need to make armor available for people of all sizes, including the extremely small...and plastic.  The popularity of ball jointed dolls has been growing and very few artisans offer armor and weaponry to the resin warriors out there.  Well that all changes today.  Studio Kensai is proud to offer armor and weapons for the Volks SD13 ball jointed doll, a high end Japanese model.  The armor is made with the same care and attention to detail as our full size armor, hardened in the cuirbouille technique and exquisitely tooled.  We even offer super fine mosaic chainmail in a wide variety of colors.  The pauldrons are even articulated like their full size counterparts.  If you own or know of someone else who owns a Volks SD13, let them know that now they can properly equip their dolls for battle.

Elven Archer

Post Halloween Crusade

Since I am a costumer, I guess it makes sense that Halloween would be my favorite holiday.  Well, here is this year's costume.  The chainmail shirt is made of 16 gauge 1/4 inch aluminum rings.  It took more than twice as long to make using the smaller rings than when I use the standard size 3/8 inch rings, but the density of the rings makes the shirt look better in my opinion - as well as being as strong as steel chainmail with 3/8 inch rings.  The leather vambraces are attached as are the leather yoke and hem.  The shirt weighs about 7 pounds.  

Now for the Crusade portion of the journal entry.  I urge everyone to watch the documentary films, The Corporation, Kilowatt Ours, and An Incovenient Truth.  I try to be as much of an activist as I can.  That also means trying to make my business as environmentally friendly as I can.  I am phasing out the use of chrome tanned leather because the chrome tanning process is very toxic and produces waste which pollutes our lakes and rivers.  Luckily, all of the major components in the armor I make are and have always been vegetable tanned leather, which produces the least amount of ecological damage.  I will be substituting oil tanned leather for the chrome tanned leather in most applications.  I now exclusively use Eco-Flo dyes and finishes which are non-toxic and biodegradeable.  Though I am trying to limit my impact on the environment, the business of making armor and weapons still does harm to our planet.  I will be seeking new methods of making armor and weapons which will be safer, less wasteful, more energy efficient, and ultimately renewable.  I will also be urging my suppliers to start selling post consumer recycled metals and materials , and to pursue new ways to produce leather which do not pollute. 

I hope those of you, who feel inclined to do so, will help me persuade manufacturers and suppliers to change the way they do things in order to preserve our world.  I will post links to take action as soon as I gather them.  Until then, let's reuse, recycle, use compact fluorescent light bulbs instead of incandescent, and make the effort to conserve.  Thank you.

Michael Cook
Studio Kensai, Makers of Eco-Friendly Armor and Weapons

Elven Archer

New pic in Philip's gallery

Here's a new pic that was just finished today.  Pencils by Philip Smallwood, Inks and Digital Painting by Michael Cook.  The character was created by our friend, Kelly.  Mike is particularly happy about how the hair turned out. :)

Elven Archer

Illustration Galleries

The Illustration Galleries for myself and Studio Kensai staffer, Philip Smallwood have been posted.  We are always taking commissions for illustrations and paintings as well as armor.  Please feel free to browse, the link is in the sidebar to the left.

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Elven Archer

New Blog

     Well here it is, the official blog for Studio Kensai, my multimedia art studio.  My name is Michael Cook, and I'm a full time armor and weapon maker.  I'd like to thank my good friend, Jo, for setting up Livejournal for me.  This is my first actual blog so I'm sure it will be an interesting experience. :)   I've never really been into the whole blogging thing, mainly because I never really knew what to write.  In the grand scheme of things, my day to day life doesn't have a whole lot of excitement going for it.  
     However, I do make pretty cool armor and weapons.  That's something fairly interesting to write about.  I recently went into business for myself, making armor, costuming, and weapons.  Before then, I was an armor maker for a costume manufacturing company for three years.  Way before that, I was a martial arts instructor and close quarters combat instructor for Sullivan County Sherriff's Department.  So I bring all of those experiences and my historical research to my armor and weapons.  Even my fantasy inspired pieces are based on principles used in real armor.  Therefore, they are actually more comfortable to wear than one might think.  This was a video made for DragonCon where I get to explain some of what goes into what I do.   The Inside The Con documentary has me at  2:22 into the video.   So there is the shameless plug portion of the blog.  ;-p  I am still working on the official Studio Kensai website where people can order the goodies I make.  Although anyone who comes across this blog and sees the pictures, can feel free to contact me by email and order stuff.  I do a lot of custom work, so the sky's the limit.  My email addy can be found in my Bio, but here it is just in case - studiokensai@comcast.net.
     I'd like to take this opportunity to give a wave to those near and dear to me.  Thanks again Jo, and good hunting to Anna ;).  Hey Daniel, the mini helmet is going to help me a lot.  :)  Thanks to Mel and Chris and all of you at Arms of Middle Earth, hope to see at least some of you at ConNooga!  To my best friend, Hey Kris, I'm finally back online!  To Anna W., it's all your fault - thank you again. :)  Hello to my friends at The One Ring.net, and AlleyCatScratch.com.  A big hey goes out to my friend, Nate.  Wishing the best for Les, Steve, Jon S., Jon F., Kevin, Ryan, and James V.   To Jadd, Chad, Aaron, Josh, and Mike - wherever you are, I hope fortune smiles upon you.  To Brandi, I hope life finds you happy and well.  A special thanks to Durwin Talon, one of the best professors I have ever had the privilege to learn from.  To Jason in Savannah, it looks like we're still going to be here for a while.  To my new friends, Blue and Relay, you guys rock my face off.  Hugs to my little sister, Becky, one of the bravest people I know.  Can't forget to mention my local gang.  A rocket punch to Philip, who's always got my back.  A stiff drink to Kelly, my sister foodie.  A KOL salute to Erik.  Special thanks to Charles and Maria.  Sympathies to Pat for his unforgiving work schedule.  Yatta! to Jessie for introducing us to Heroes.  A Can't Thank You Enough For Everything to my parents-in-law.  And finally to my partner in crime, Abi, my wife of twelve years,  WHHHEEEEEEE!