A bar grill is a type of face guard found on helmets. It is a structure composed of metal bars (either round or flat), attached to one another in any number of configurations, the goal being to cover the face opening of the helmet. Bar grills are often attached to the helmet via a hinge located at the top and center of the face opening.
While bar grills are widely considered a modern invention, the device existed in period in a variety of forms and places. Although not incredibly common, there is evidence that bar grills did exist.
Bar Grills in the SCA
Because combat with rattan weapons allows participants to be less concerned with personal safety, bar grills are common because of ventilation and sight advantages. Generally, construction requirements mandate that at least 1/4 inch bar be used, with less than 1 inch gaps between bars.
Commonly seen configurations include multiple vertical bars with a single horizontal support, and multiple horizontal bars with a single vertical support, generally centered. More complex configurations also exist. Occasionally the grill may be constructed from a single heavy gauge sheet of steel with appropriate holes cut out. This allows for more complex patterns as well as a more pleasing design.
Bars are fastened together via welds. To attach the completed bar grill to a helmet, several approaches can be taken:
- Attach bar grill to a hinge located at the top of the face opening on the helmet. This allows the grill to flip up, or be replaced with a different face plate. To secure the grill, pins may fasten it near the bottom of the grill, or a leather strap may attach to one side of the grill, wrap around the helmet, and buckle to the other side.
- Weld the grill to the helmet.
- Rivet the grill to the helmet. This will require the tips of the bars that are to be riveted to the helmet to be flattened to some extent, and a hole drilled through each.
NOTE: Depending on the Kingdom laws and the type of arrows being used, a bar grill may not be sufficient for a helmet used in SCA mixed combat involving archers. Additional protection may be required like arrow-proof mesh.