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Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > my chainmail keeps falling apart Reply to topic
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Hendrik De Coster




Location: Belgium
Joined: 20 Jan 2007

Posts: 115

PostPosted: Thu 02 Oct, 2008 9:08 am    Post subject: my chainmail keeps falling apart         Reply with quote

I'm a reenactor for about 3 years now and during the last year my chainmail became so dammaged with plenty of holes in it so i had it repaired(somehow,i never seem to get the rings right myself=( ) by a guy i know who makes chainmail.
However, now,6 months later the holes are back(on other placed though) but most important,the mail under my arm is pulling itself out of eachother if you know what i mean.
Having the chainmail repaired is an option but since this reparation would only be temporate i would like some permanent solutions.Moreover i want them to be usable for 15th century reenactment.

Today i class i thought about sewing(?) My chainmail between 2 thick cloths of canvas,thus protecting it,however i have some doubts about it.Would this be historical?Can you give me any examples of it?How would it look like?

Another though i had was to use a thick leather kitchen like skirt like a tabard used by 13th century knights,but then laced to the sides,would this be historical?

And even another thought i had was to open my chainmail on the sides and use leather laces(?) to bind the back to the front?
Please note i'm a student and financially i would like things to be cheap since i recently bought myself my own medieval tent

below you'll find some pictures of what armour i already have


http://i210.photobucket.com/albums/bb281/amor...ng5309.jpg
http://i210.photobucket.com/albums/bb281/amor...ng5310.jpg

I'm the one sitting on the ground, i was killed there when i stole the burgundian flag.
On that time i wore a tabard that was off my previous reenactment group.

Thanks in advance =)
Hendrik




PS: sorry about spelling,i'm from belgium
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Jonathan Blair




Location: Hanover, PA
Joined: 15 Aug 2005
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PostPosted: Thu 02 Oct, 2008 9:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Likely what you have is butted maille. By this, what is meant is the two ends of the ring butt together without a permanent joint such as a rivet or a weld. Butted maille experiences this problem due to the weight of the maile pulling the rings apart, and you'll likely have to repair it from time to time.

Now riveted maille doesn't experience this issue as the two ends of the ring are flattened and riveted together. This makes a more secure ring (sometimes the rivets can pop out), but also makes it more expensive.

"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword." - The Lord Jesus Christ, from The Gospel According to Saint Matthew, chapter x, verse 34, Authorized Version of 1611
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Hendrik De Coster




Location: Belgium
Joined: 20 Jan 2007

Posts: 115

PostPosted: Thu 02 Oct, 2008 10:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

yeah i know,but since i already have the mail i figured i did better try to use it to make something more durable
sort of like a mailbrigandine to speak
or a leather tabbard over my mail to protect it,however i want my armour to be historical correct so i can use all the advise i can get
yet, thanks for the information;)
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C. Gadda





Joined: 20 Aug 2007

Posts: 135

PostPosted: Thu 02 Oct, 2008 10:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ah, yes, the infamous "maille moths"!

I have a hunch that your plan to protect the maille will not work out, though. The problem you're having is not entirely due to blows landing on the maille, I believe. It is my theory that the rings, even in normal walking around the encampment wear, tend to rotate around a bit. What I think happens is that the butted ends of two interlocked rings will meet and at that point slip apart. I further suspect that as one ring goes, it puts more strain on the neighbouring ones, and those too start to give way. Just a hunch, but I think that may be what is happening. Thus, simply covering it with a leather tabard is not going to address the root problem.

Here are your options, as I see them:

1. Ignore the problem and simply repair the holes as they appear with spare rings.

2. Retire your current butted hauberk and buy a new rivetted maille garment from GDFB or some similar supplier. Frankly, the stuff made in India is at least acceptable in terms of appearance, generally affordable, and certainly more historically accurate than a butted shirt. Not to mention more durable!

3. Rebuild the butted hauberk by obtaining punched solid rings of the appropriate diameter and weaving these into alternate rows. I do not know if this will work, but in theory it should be much harder for the remaining butted rings to work themselves loose. I have contemplated doing this with a Viking byrnie I made many years ago.

Of course, you could also commission an expert to make you a historically accurate reproduction, but that is pricy! You could also learn how to do it yourself, get the appropriate tools and supplies, and make your own, but that is time consuming (and will cost a bit, as well, though not as much as buying a pre-made hauberk). Good luck with whichever path you choose!
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Hendrik De Coster




Location: Belgium
Joined: 20 Jan 2007

Posts: 115

PostPosted: Thu 02 Oct, 2008 10:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

i know i could buy a new one but i lack the funds+ if i were to buy some new bodyprotection i would emediatlly go for a breastplate
hence why i ask for methods to get the best out off my chainmail while it still is needed,i pressume a year or 2 at least.
since i only wear the chainmail while fighting i pressume this can be the only way the rings could snap ,my rings cant snap while i transport them can they?=/
would a tabard with a leather tabard underneed be a good alternative?would it be historical?
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Christopher VaughnStrever




Location: San Antonio, TX
Joined: 13 Jun 2008
Reading list: 1 book

Posts: 382

PostPosted: Thu 02 Oct, 2008 11:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here is all the metal you will need for chain mail www.theringlord.org

Go here, and the people there are quite advanced, well some of them at the least www.theringlord.org/forum

For about $120 USA dollars you could afford rings to make a stainless steel, either 1/4 hard temper all the way right up to full spring steel metal. Even butted this metal is quite durable I would venture to say for the environment you are speaking of. If you wanted to go a step further you can always weld the butted rings together. As for historical, of course stainless steel is not accurate, although neither is butted. Of course as you may know, riveted is alot more expenisve, yet is historically authentic.

Experience and learning from such defines maturity, not a number of age
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Thu 02 Oct, 2008 1:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Christopher VaughnStrever wrote:
Here is all the metal you will need for chain mail www.theringlord.org

Go here, and the people there are quite advanced, well some of them at the least www.theringlord.org/forum



Or you could look at their welded stainless shirts: http://theringlord.com/cart/shopdisplayproduc...l+Clothing

Much finer mesh with small rings but they are welded shut. Wink Big Grin I like mine in XXlarge and it only weight something around
8 pounds ...... and it won't rust. Big Grin

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Thu 02 Oct, 2008 1:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You are wearing a riveted mail kit. Big Grin Assuming your rings are perfectly round, you could simply separate all the rings, overlap the ends of each ring, flatten, pierce and rivet. IIRC, this is the way at least some mail was made, resulting in slightly oval rings.
-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Hendrik De Coster




Location: Belgium
Joined: 20 Jan 2007

Posts: 115

PostPosted: Thu 02 Oct, 2008 1:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

thanks for the advise but it isn't really what i'm looking for
i'm more looking for evidence that in the 15th century some warriors used a leather skirt or such over their chainmail to prevent dammage? or that they sew it between 2 cloths of canvas
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Bram Verbeek





Joined: 27 Mar 2007

Posts: 217

PostPosted: Thu 02 Oct, 2008 2:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

15th century, that seems awfully late to rely on mail at all.
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Thu 02 Oct, 2008 2:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mail was worn into the 16th c. German paintings of the period are full of the stuff.
-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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C. Gadda





Joined: 20 Aug 2007

Posts: 135

PostPosted: Thu 02 Oct, 2008 2:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hendrik De Coster wrote:
thanks for the advise but it isn't really what i'm looking for
i'm more looking for evidence that in the 15th century some warriors used a leather skirt or such over their chainmail to prevent dammage? or that they sew it between 2 cloths of canvas


I've never heard of any such thing, but that doesn't mean it didn't exist. That being said, since they invariably used some sort of either all riveted or riveted alternating with solid ring construction, they had no need to protect the maille from damage - a concept which seems a bit daft on its face, given that the purpose of armour was to provide protection, not demand extra materials to protect it (save from rust, I suppose). Rather defeats the purpose, don't you think? Happy

However, if you are going to cover it up anyway, why bother with the maille at all? Simply wear a leather skirt or whatever and be done with it.
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Hendrik De Coster




Location: Belgium
Joined: 20 Jan 2007

Posts: 115

PostPosted: Thu 02 Oct, 2008 2:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

[quote="C. Gadda"]
Hendrik De Coster wrote:
thanks for the advise but it isn't really what i'm looking for
i'm more looking for evidence that in the 15th century some warriors used a leather skirt or such over their chainmail to prevent dammage? or that they sew it between 2 cloths of canvas


I've never heard of any such thing, but that doesn't mean it didn't exist. That being said, since they invariably used some sort of either all riveted or riveted alternating with solid ring construction, they had no need to protect the maille from damage - a concept which seems a bit daft on its face, given that the purpose of armour was to provide protection, not demand extra materials to protect it (save from rust, I suppose). Rather defeats the purpose, don't you think? Happy

quote]

i actually never thought about it,really,thanks for your help!
does someone knows any 15th century specific leather skirt templates/drawings/plans/pictures/paintings/whatever?
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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

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PostPosted: Thu 02 Oct, 2008 3:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

C. Gadda wrote:
Hendrik De Coster wrote:
thanks for the advise but it isn't really what i'm looking for
i'm more looking for evidence that in the 15th century some warriors used a leather skirt or such over their chainmail to prevent dammage? or that they sew it between 2 cloths of canvas


I've never heard of any such thing, but that doesn't mean it didn't exist.


It was called jazerant in Europe and a kazaghand in the Middle East. The armour consisted of riveted mail sandwiched between two layers of light padding. Osama talks about his kazaghand being made of two layers of mail layered between padding. Japanese weaves utilised butted mail and they reinforced it by attaching it to cloth.
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Hendrik De Coster




Location: Belgium
Joined: 20 Jan 2007

Posts: 115

PostPosted: Thu 02 Oct, 2008 3:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
C. Gadda wrote:
Hendrik De Coster wrote:
thanks for the advise but it isn't really what i'm looking for
i'm more looking for evidence that in the 15th century some warriors used a leather skirt or such over their chainmail to prevent dammage? or that they sew it between 2 cloths of canvas


I've never heard of any such thing, but that doesn't mean it didn't exist.


It was called jazerant in Europe and a kazaghand in the Middle East. The armour consisted of riveted mail sandwiched between two layers of light padding. Osama talks about his kazaghand being made of two layers of mail layered between padding. Japanese weaves utilised butted mail and they reinforced it by attaching it to cloth.

you have any historical paintings of this?and was it still used in the 15th century?
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Chuck Russell




Location: WV
Joined: 17 Aug 2004
Reading list: 46 books

Posts: 936

PostPosted: Thu 02 Oct, 2008 6:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

no not that i know in the continental Europe during the 15thc. but then again with mail you should be at least wearing a jack, brig or breastplate over it instead of must mail alone. your not going to find any real historical solutions to your mail moth problem because butted mail isn't historical for the time frame on the field. your best luck is to make some rings and keep them and a couple of needle nose pliers handy to fix it. i know it stinks but you did ask for a historical help and there really isn't any other than some other kind of body armour over the mass of mail. Sad
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Carl Goff




Location: Florida
Joined: 27 Sep 2005
Reading list: 1 book

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PostPosted: Sat 04 Oct, 2008 7:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Also a student, so I understand the money worries.

What's the inner diameter of your shirt's links? I've got a 1/4" inner diameter butted shirt I'm working on assembling, and I've never had any problems with the links slipping out of each other -- on the other hand, I haven't put it to hard use.

Are you having to pay for these repairs, or is it just a friend doing you a favor? If you're having to pay, I'd say stop putting money towards it, hold off from reenactment for a few months, and use the savings to put together a coat of plates or brigandine -- perfectly acceptable for 15th century, and a lot less time-consuming than mail. (Frankly, I wish I'd done this. I'd be DONE by now.)

Oh, East of sands and sunlit gulf, your blood is thin, your gods are few;
You could not break the Northern wolf and now the wolf has turned on you.
The fires that light the coasts of Spain fling shadows on the Eastern strand.
Master, your slave has come again with torch and axe in his right hand!
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Chase S-R




Location: New Mexico
Joined: 31 Jan 2008

Posts: 166

PostPosted: Sun 05 Oct, 2008 6:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi I understand your problem, this used to happen to mine. My advice would be paying someone to teach you how to repair your own, or buying a rivited shirt next time you have the money. That said here is an Ottoman fabric covered maille shirt from 1474


 Attachment: 61.33 KB
[ Download ]

Charles Stewart Rodriguez
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Hendrik De Coster




Location: Belgium
Joined: 20 Jan 2007

Posts: 115

PostPosted: Sun 05 Oct, 2008 1:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

the guy in question who repairs my mail asks 5 euro for it,i'll proudbly just leave my chainýmail,try to fix it as good as i can and buy a breastplate although this will hurt my wallet:(
about the wearing of the gear,i've been using mine for about 3 years now,getting very intensivly used in combat with steel weapons,not like those SCA stuff in america
i don't know about the size,it's a centimeter ,don't know what's that in inches?
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C. Gadda





Joined: 20 Aug 2007

Posts: 135

PostPosted: Sun 05 Oct, 2008 6:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hendrik De Coster wrote:
the guy in question who repairs my mail asks 5 euro for it,i'll proudbly just leave my chainýmail,try to fix it as good as i can and buy a breastplate although this will hurt my wallet:(
about the wearing of the gear,i've been using mine for about 3 years now,getting very intensivly used in combat with steel weapons,not like those SCA stuff in america
i don't know about the size,it's a centimeter ,don't know what's that in inches?


Shop around - you might be able to find a cheap breastplate. It probably won't be incredibly accurate, but should be good enough for your needs. I mean, if you could afford the mailshirt in the first place, you ought to be able to get a decent breast (and maybe even back) plate for not too much. Alot of the stuff out of India is really quite inexpensive.

Keep in mind that even the SCA combat, with rattan weapons, is every bit as abusive (perhaps more so) than steel combat.

As for the ring diameter, all of us here are pretty conversant with the conversion formulas, even if a few of us bitter enders (i.e., me) detest metrickery. FYI it's 2.54 cm = 1inch. The important thing is to specify whether it's an inner or outer diameter, and the thickness of the wire used.
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