All this talk about shields on the blogosphere has inspired me to post about my dear old shield. It's plywood, padding, leather straps, nuts, bolts, a bunch of duct tape and bit of cloth. The cloth is to conceal the massively outdated heraldry that was only significant for a year or two back in the mid 90's. The cloth cover has changed often as I've only repainted the shield three times in it's life and have dragged the shield to lot's of LARPing events. The padding gets changed depending on use and age and standards of the game I'm using it in, it hasn't always been there. A strap broke loose once in combat, the leather gave, typically a bolt comes loose and I don't discover it until I dig the shield out for practice or maintenance. Currently the shield weighs about 4 lbs.
Poor old thing has a loose strap currently. The bolt and nut holding it in place have slipped free. I tightened the others by hand as I fetched it.
I've used it in LARPs and other fake fighting that had lightest touch combat rules, no head strikes, one strike to head to torso and you are dead rules (but still juts a touch), silly hp based damage rules, only significant hits count, you can hit hard but not to harm and anything goes. I've actually knocked a man out of the air with it who leaped towards me with both feet to knock me down. It's been part of battering ram called me which all told was about 240 lbs of self, armor and shield knocking people on their asses. I've seen plenty of swords snap on it's edge and plenty of shields carried by others splintered or broken in half. Granted the weapons were typically pvc piping and pads, but also rattan and fiber-glass cores typically weighing in about 3 lbs, so they were soft clubs.
I've had this shield in one form or another since 1985. I don't know if the three other shields made at the same time as it still survive. When I was young and ill practiced it was often a disadvantage and did really not serve me too well, if i'm a bit out of practice or using a new weapon it feels like it's in the way for an hour or so, I've also stood armed with a sword and shield and haven't suffered a single hit for more then an hour of combat. It has blocked a hell of a lot more than the occasional blow.
Some day it will break for good and I'll lose an old friend.