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A shield boss, or umbo, is a round, convex or conical piece of material at the centre of a shield. Shield bosses are usually made of thick metal but could also be made of wood. The boss was originally designed to deflect blows from the centre of round shields, though they also provided a place to mount the shield's grip.
As time went on and heater shields with curved bodies became more popular, and enarmes superseded the bar grip, the boss became more of an ornamental piece. Often, bosses are not present on non-circular shields due to the differences in technique; with a round shield, one makes a punching motion towards an oncoming blow, while with a heater or kite shield, attacks are blocked by pivoting the shield about the body. A boss provides a significant advantage for deflecting blows when using a punching motion, but is not very effective when using a pivot to block an attack.
In the case of hand-forged blades, our blacksmith takes the already rolled spring steel and forges it by hand on the anvil or under the drop hammer. The steel gets more solid (denser) by forging. In the case of industrially rolled spring steel blades, the sheets of steel plate is cut to strips under drop snips, then ground or milled and immediately forged into the annealing furnace and oil-quenched. The properties of both kinds of steels are not very different, since industrial rolling is already very good! On forged blades are usually blacksmith marks, which give them an authentic and unique look.