DIY Low Cost Targe for HEMA

Low Cost Scottish Targe: Front and Back

Fun little project if you want to make your own Scottish Targe for low cost and low effort. If you happen to have an old belt and some fabric (like an old sheet) you can sacrifice to the cause, you can make this for less than $12. If not, keep an eye out for bargain fabric at your local craft store and leather scrap bundles from Amazon or hobby stores.

The main part of this design is based around a 1.5 foot round unfinished table-top that is for sale at Home Depot for about $7 (Link Here). I have made a few targes out of this as a base and have been very happy. While you can use it without a fabric covering, the cover makes it much stronger and I highly recommend adding this if you plan on using the targe in sparring. 


Here is how you make it:

  1. Stain or paint the wooden table and let dry. 
  2. Cut out a section of fabric that will cover the face of the table with enough extra to fold to the back edge. Any type will work, but the stronger the fabric, the stronger the targe will be. 
  3. Cover one face and the edges of the wood with wood glue. I use this type. Don’t be shy with the glue. Spread the glue out so the entire face and edges of the wood are covered. 
  4. Cover the glue side of the wood with the fabric and work out all the bubbles. You want to really work the fabric into the glue so that the glue soaks into the fabric. Make sure to pull the fabric tight and work out any bubbles. Use tacks or a staple gun to secure the fabric on the back of the wood and then let dry. 
  5. Cut the belt or leather scrap into strips. Use your arm to lay out the strips on the back of the targe to make sure you have enough length to go around your arm. I like to use the buckle part of the belt to make the rear band adjustable (see picture) so that I can use the targe with or without the bulk of my fencing coat. TIP: Make sure to measure with your HEMA gloves on if you plan to use this in sparring.
  6. Secure the leather strips to the targe using wood screws with washers. The washers will help distribute the load on the leather. 
  7. If you like, add padding to the area where your arm with touch the targe to absorb shock. In my example above, I just used some left over leather. This is optional.
  8. Done! 

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