What is more protective, a breastplate of boiled leather, or one made from hardened leather with a rawhide center? Cow rawhide, or Horse? A buff coat of sueded leather, or a cloth armor made of equal thickness in linen layers? Does it make a difference in protection if you put four layers of cloth over top of mail, or whether you wear it underneath? How about if the mail is sewn inside two layers of cloth?
And what do we mean by protective?
After having a conversation with my two more science-oriented buddies, I think I have a system (and due to the Bear and WhistlePig, a potential device) that will allow me to test impacts, shearing cuts, cuts with a large and small slicing component, piercing attacks, and resistance to bludgeoning.
Now all I have to do is get the stock, the welds done, and the holes bored into metal...