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Which is looks 'better'; Plate armour or chainmail?
Why plate armour of course!
54%
 54%  [ 24 ]
It's chainmail naturally!
34%
 34%  [ 15 ]
I don't mind so long as I don't have to fight anyone in either!
11%
 11%  [ 5 ]
Total Votes : 44

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Sam Gordon Campbell




Location: Australia.
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PostPosted: Sun 23 Nov, 2008 11:03 pm    Post subject: Which uses more metal?         Reply with quote

I was wondering the other day which would use more metal, a stadard (if there is such a thing) chainmail vest/shirt (hauberk?) OR a breastplate and backplate (Cuirass?).
My thinking was thus, from my experiance chainmail tends to feel heavier (when worn without a belt) then a cuirass, as it 'moves' more and therefore makes one tip over (i'm a tad clumsy Laughing Out Loud ), whilst the cuirass tends to sit still and on ones waist without any repercussions.
However! A cuirass is a solid piece of metal whilst a hauberk consists of multiple rings, HOWEVER! It takes more rings to make a hauberk and therefore possibly more metal. And that's not including all the difference due to time, space, technology etc.
So I'm just putting this outh there for discussion, and I guess the pro's and con's of both might help ha.

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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
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PostPosted: Mon 24 Nov, 2008 1:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Breastplates vary in thickness from ~ 1mm to 8mm. Lighter ones would use less metal than mail. Heavier ones would use more.
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JE Sarge
Industry Professional



PostPosted: Mon 24 Nov, 2008 2:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The answer is simple. Which weighs more ergo has more mass?

A DUCK!

Sorry, had to slip a Holy Grail reference in there. Big Grin

Your results may differ depending on what you are talking about specifically, but my riveted steel hauberk weighs in at 37lbs vs. 16lb lorica segmenta. Gauge and material will play a difference, but it all comes down to the weight/mass compared to coverage area of what you are talking about in the end.

J.E. Sarge
Crusader Monk Sword Scabbards and Customizations
www.crusadermonk.com

"But lack of documentation, especially for such early times, is not to be considered as evidence of non-existance." - Ewart Oakeshott
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Will C




Location: Brisbane, Australia
Joined: 22 Nov 2008

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PostPosted: Mon 24 Nov, 2008 3:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would hate to wear an 8mm thick breastplate.....

I'm inclined to think that 'if' the hauberk and the cuirass (I'm assuming u refer to a simple Breast and back plate - no tassets, Gorget etc etc) cover the same area ie upper body, no sleeves thigh etc then the plate should win hands down.


ok being bored (and about as scientific as mythbusters):

I took measurements from my breastplate and calculated the Surface area and then assuming a thickness of 1.8mm calculated the volume to be 1.188L of metal (not including brass trim rivets or anything else - just the steel)

next I calculated that each link in my hauberk contained just 0.0314ml (31.4 cubic mm if you're interested) of metal and that there were approximately 26500 links that were covering the same area as my breast plate. simple maths brings the total to 832ml or 0.832L of metal
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Mon 24 Nov, 2008 8:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I voted for mail but then it depends on the period one likes the best and I sort of like the transitional armour period best around 1380, but each period has it's charms aesthetically.

A kite shield, spangenhelm, type X sword, winged spear and a medium or large Danish axe is sort of a " classic ".

The hounds snouts bascinet with a short haubergeon and varying amounts of plate coverage plus a heater shield has it's appeal also.

Later sallets and gothic armour is another favourite.

For actual fighting I would prefer mostly mail + plate for main battles and mostly maille and little plate for a chevauchée if travelling light and with little or minimal assistance in putting on plate: A maille shirt can be taken out of a storage bag and put on by oneself in seconds or minutes at most, ajusting all the plate needs some help do do it right and do it fast and if I had to wear armour all day long I would stick to just maille plus helm and plate gauntlets and maybe a breast plate covering the chest only down to the naval.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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D. Austin
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
Joined: 20 Sep 2007

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PostPosted: Mon 24 Nov, 2008 10:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Will C wrote:
I would hate to wear an 8mm thick breastplate.....

I'm inclined to think that 'if' the hauberk and the cuirass (I'm assuming u refer to a simple Breast and back plate - no tassets, Gorget etc etc) cover the same area ie upper body, no sleeves thigh etc then the plate should win hands down.


ok being bored (and about as scientific as mythbusters):

I took measurements from my breastplate and calculated the Surface area and then assuming a thickness of 1.8mm calculated the volume to be 1.188L of metal (not including brass trim rivets or anything else - just the steel)

next I calculated that each link in my hauberk contained just 0.0314ml (31.4 cubic mm if you're interested) of metal and that there were approximately 26500 links that were covering the same area as my breast plate. simple maths brings the total to 832ml or 0.832L of metal


I hate to be the one to state the obvious, but maybe try them on the scales (granted, mythbusters wouldn't have thought of thiis either). You'll probably find that weighing the whole will be more accurate that weighing one link and multiplying it. Big Grin
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Will C




Location: Brisbane, Australia
Joined: 22 Nov 2008

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PostPosted: Mon 24 Nov, 2008 11:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I didn't weigh the link - I didnt weigh anything

The diameter of the link is approx 1.1mm and the length of the link was 32mm from memory. I used this to calculate the volume of each link to be 31.4 cubic mm or 0.0314milliliters then I calculated the approximate number of links that covered the same area as the breastplate to be 26500 then multiplied 0.0314 milliliters by 26500 to get 832.1 milliliters or 0.832 Liters.

Comparing weights as everyone keeps repeating is innaccurate as the different armours cover different areas (well mine do - My chain comes down to mid thigh and down past the elbows, it also has 8:2 link across the shoulders, my breast & Back Plates do not) my hauberk weighs almost twice my cuirass.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Tue 25 Nov, 2008 5:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My first post was answering the poll question that only asks " which looks better and I really didn't notice the question about weight !

Weight would depend on all sorts of factors specific to maille size of rings, thickness of wire, coverage and on the plate side similar factors.

I have a stainless steel maille shirt with very fine and small welded links with elbow length sleeves reaching to mid thigh that weighs in at only 8 pounds for an XXL shirt. ( Not historical materials or construction as welded maille must have been rare and expensive, but lots of light maille was worn in similar weights of wire and total weight ).

A cheap Indian made maille hauberk with long sleeves, much larger rings and heavier wire reaching to just below the knees at somewhere around 35 pounds. ( Heavier than typical in period I think but some heavier maille also exited including the ill-defined double maille that nobody knows for sure in what way it was " doubled ", but the assumption is that it was heavier and more protective ).

One can compare maille to wearing full plate coverage or partial coverage: Coming up with a single universal answer is impossible but if I decide first how much coverage I want I can choose to make the maille or the plate heavier depending on choices about what compromises I want to make to weight,coverage, comfort.

In the transitional armour period full hauberks or shorter haubergeon would be worn below the plate so the weights sort of add up.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Sun 30 Nov, 2008 3:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Will C wrote:
I would hate to wear an 8mm thick breastplate.....


Contemporaries hated them too, at least if de la Noue is to be believed. Wink

(Gordon Frye--a forum member here--actually has quite a nice blog post about it.)
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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Sun 30 Nov, 2008 9:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am guessing that soldiers who could afford to choose, order tailored...not munitions grade armour would have specified some approximate range of weight/wire diameter and weave that was appropriate for their athleticism and tactical function. Some individuals might have the strength and preference for 65 + lbs (30 kilograms or so) of kit, while others may not have or preferred more speed/ lighter weight. I remember looking at weights (posted for all the plate harnesses) at the Higgens Museum. It struck me at the time that if you ruled out the parade and joust armour, the majority of the collection described as "field harness" piled up inside a fairly narrow range (45 to 55 lbs, not necessarily with head to toe coverage, but 3/4 and 1/2 with helms.) By the time one adds up mail hauberk, chauses, helm, gambeson, some form of gloves, etc. it seems that historical mail ends up near the lower end of this range too.... if you go by historical wire diameter averages and experts extrapolations of what complete pieces of mail (such as Wallace Collection) appear to have actually weighed.
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Gary Teuscher





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PostPosted: Mon 01 Dec, 2008 8:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

What are weights of historical mail hauberks? And with these pieces, how much coverage to the arms (full or 1/3 sleeve). Do these include a coif?
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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Mon 01 Dec, 2008 9:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gary Teuscher wrote:
What are weights of historical mail hauberks? And with these pieces, how much coverage to the arms (full or 1/3 sleeve). Do these include a coif?


Short answer. Fragments have been used to estimate ring count and material volume, weight calculated by density,and comparison with some fairly complete surviving specimens, etc. A couple of fairly complete short sleeved open neck hauberks actually have survived in reasonably well conserved state. A light partial shirt of mail could be pretty light, around 15 to 20 lbs. A pretty full sleeve, long length, and coif style hauberk of average ring density and wire diameter comes out closer to 30 lbs if built similar to surviving mail fragments and surviving mail "shirts".

Reference The Verdal, Nord Trandelag (Reference Ring Weave by Vegard Vike of Oslo) shirt . It's a short sleeved "Tee shirt" style cut (stopped at the waist and had no coif.). It has a little over 20,000 rings, half solid, half riveted, judged to have originally been about 24,000 rings before some of them ended up missing. This one was judged to be 15th century German made based on wire properties, but the ring dimensions were close to average of a large number of other specimens from a wide range of centuries. Anyhow, it weighs 8 kgs even with some of the rings missing. This paper has a huge discussion of ring geometry metallurgy, chemistry, sketches of cross sections, etc.

A similar tailoried short sleeve open neck hauberk #A2 in the Wallace Collection is described by mail maker Paul Blackwell as weighing 8.84 kg and being all riveted, somewhat larger than average diameter rings(actually tends to make the overall weight lighter...but he did not give a ring count), but pretty average wire gage at around 0.99 mm diameter wire.

A more complete hauberk (I am assuming this means extending further past the waist, long sleeves, possibly with a coif) is quoted in similar papers as estimated close to 40,000 rings. I would scale this up to 13 to 15 kgs (28 to 32 lbs) in terms of the average ring dimensions of many different fragments .

(Understand that individual ring weights in Vike's paper ranged from 0.065 grams in heavily oxidized state to 0.37 grams....! Many of them had close to .8 to 1.2 mm diameter wire round, or equivalent flat cross section, approximate OD near 8 to 9 mm although they are typically not perfect circles. In actuality, the finest diameter wire riveted rings tended to be paired with massive solid rings he surmised to be punched. I would argue the smaller range diameter really only is identified in historical specimens best described as being of poor and highly inconsistent ring geometry construction. The all riveted specimens were of more uniform and average wire size. You have to account for rivets, and match ups of solid ring/ fine rivet, or all rivet, etc. for any of weight computations to even come close.)

My above extrapolations do not include helm, chauses, padded garment or any form of glove, etc. By the time you add all of it, I am guessing 40 to 50 lbs to be a credible estimate for a fairly complete kit based mainly upon mail

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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