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Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Building safe mail gauntlets Reply to topic
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Sander Marechal




Location: The Netherlands
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PostPosted: Fri 30 Apr, 2010 3:55 pm    Post subject: Building safe mail gauntlets         Reply with quote

Well, I did it. I busted my right index finger during some friendly freeplay with rebated steel longswords. I was wearing padded gloves, but those were really training gloves, not sparring gloves. The doctor says it's badly bruised but I suspect it's broken after all. It's been a week and the swelling hasn't started to dimnish, so I'm going back for X-rays.

Anyway, this incident has put "proper hand protection" a lot higher on my list. As in, the next thing to buy. I am looking into the period 1050-1300. Something like mail mittens or gloves probably. I'm open to suggestions. I know that the standard would be integral mittens on a hauberk but I would like to use separate mittens or gloves instead.

I have been looking around various websites but most mail hand protection seems to be just for decoration or protection against accidental grazing. Not something you'd want to wear during free play. So instead I am contemplating on building my own. But how would I go about it? Mail is flexible so I'd still need padding, but how much? What kind? I don't want something that ends up looking like a mail-covered boxing glove or baseball glove.

I found a post from someone here on this forum who built (butted) mail mittens using an 8-in2 pattern instead on 4-in-1, so the mail would be thicker and more rigid. It sounds like a plan though the gloves become heavy. As an compromise, could I perhaps use 6-in-1 riveted mail? I guess that would be more rigid than 4-in-1.

The only other thing I found so far is this guide on safe gloves (PDF) by The Vikings, who participate in the Battle of Hastings reenactment. They call for gloves padded with 6mm leather or 2mm leather plus maille.

Thanks in advance for any advice!
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Thom R.




Location: Tucson
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PostPosted: Fri 30 Apr, 2010 4:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

ouch, sorry to hear about that but don't fret - we have all been there and done that Blush ...... I was trying to warn another mA member who recently has been asking about gauntlets about this. really if you don't have to be true to an early period then you should really use full plate mitten gauntlets when playing with steel even rattan or wood for that matter

but i realize you want to be true to your period. so..... are you open to using modern padding material? provided it is hidden? if so try to find some eva foam sheet. like this

http://www.windrosearmoury.com/zc/index.php?m...ucts_id=93

for your period i would get or make a good mitten glove, then make a sandwich over the fingers and back of the hand, glove, eva foam, leather cover and then mail. eva foam or padding will be completely hidden. if not eva then some kind of quilting with many layers of fabric (linen or wool) will work but it is a lot more effort. the eva foam is used by folks in the sca here in the states for a good reason, it is dense enough to provide a good cushion, but is still flexible enough to be used for something like this. what won't work is to quilt with modern polyfill stuffing like for pillows, it simply won't give you enough protection. there is another thread here that showed some good glove alternatives too. tr

ps if broken make sure you get it set properly. i have learned that the hard way too.
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Sander Marechal




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PostPosted: Fri 30 Apr, 2010 5:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thom R. wrote:
are you open to using modern padding material? provided it is hidden? if so try to find some eva foam sheet. like this

http://www.windrosearmoury.com/zc/index.php?m...ucts_id=93


In this case I have no problem with modern padding materials. I like to avoid it where I can (i.e. no blue closed-cell foam inside helmets) but I don't see how I can build gloves or mittens that adequately protect my fingers and that don't look too bulky without it.

That eva foam looks really interesting. I'll have a look and see if I can find local suppliers.

Quote:
there is another thread here that showed some good glove alternatives too.


Do you remember which thread by chance?

Quote:
if broken make sure you get it set properly. i have learned that the hard way too.


I will Happy
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Scott Hrouda




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PostPosted: Fri 30 Apr, 2010 5:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ouch Sander Sad Been there and done that.

Even though my area of interest is mid-thirteenth century, I wear anachronistic clam-shell gauntlets when fighting for this very reason. I can predict the weather by how bad my right thumb throbs to this day.

You might want to look at DarkHeart Armoury's Stealth Gauntlets that "resemble leather gloves from a distance".

...and that, my liege, is how we know the Earth to be banana shaped. - Sir Bedevere
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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Fri 30 Apr, 2010 5:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Our reenactment combat group is based in the 13th c. We don't use mail mittens a lot, but rely on open palm padded gloves. Typically 5-6 layers of woolen carpet covered with linen will do the trick.
The difficult part, as you have allready expericenced, is covering the top of the index finger. This is done by making the leather palm piece a bitt narrower than the padding, so that the padding curves. The thumb piece also needs to be stitched far enough forward for the padding to close tightly around the crossguard.

We use these padded gloves for full speed sparring, so they can be plenty good enough.

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
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Sander Marechal




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PostPosted: Sat 01 May, 2010 3:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Scott Hrouda wrote:
You might want to look at DarkHeart Armoury's Stealth Gauntlets that "resemble leather gloves from a distance".


Those look really good. I really like them. And it has given me another idea as well. I could buy/make some wisby-style gauntlets where the plates are on the inside (like these Wisby #3 gauntlets from Brian Brown Armoury and either paint the rivet heads to match the leather color, or stitch a thin layer of leather over the gloves, hiding all the metal. If I go the latter route, I could even cheat in construction using hollow speed rivets or pop rivets, since it's all going to be hidden anyway.

Quote:
Our reenactment combat group is based in the 13th c. We don't use mail mittens a lot, but rely on open palm padded gloves. Typically 5-6 layers of woolen carpet covered with linen will do the trick.


This sounds interesting as well. Do you have any pictures?
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Sam Gordon Campbell




Location: Australia.
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PostPosted: Sat 01 May, 2010 6:11 am    Post subject: Re: Building safe mail gauntlets         Reply with quote

Sander Marechal wrote:

... I found a post from someone here on this forum who built (butted) mail mittens using an 8-in2 pattern instead on 4-in-1, so the mail would be thicker and more rigid. It sounds like a plan though the gloves become heavy...

That may of been moi Laughing Out Loud
Besides, a bit of weight might just help make you stronger anyway!

Member of Australia's Stoccata School of Defence since 2008.
Host of Crash Course HEMA.
Founder of The Van Dieman's Land Stage Gladiators.
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David Teague




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PostPosted: Sat 01 May, 2010 10:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sander Marechal wrote:


Quote:
there is another thread here that showed some good glove alternatives too.


Do you remember which thread by chance?


I do as I've made plate & maille gloves.

The thread in question

Cheers,

David

This you shall know, that all things have length and measure.

Free Scholar/ Instructor Selohaar Fechtschule
The Historic Recrudescence Guild

"Yea though I walk through the valley of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou's sword art is with me; Thy poleaxe and Thy quarterstaff they comfort me."
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Craig Shackleton




Location: Ottawa, Canada
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PostPosted: Sat 01 May, 2010 10:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If you decide to build your own mail gloves and want a denser weave than four in one, I really think that the six in one looks and moves better than the eight in two. Your mileage may vary.

I honestly doubt the historical authenticity of either pattern, but if I had to choose one of them as a likely candidate for the so-called "double mail," I would favour the six in one. Again, YMMV. And there are tons of folks here that probably know more about it than me.

Ottawa Swordplay
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sat 01 May, 2010 4:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

6-in-1 definitely was used. The example in the British Museum was confirmed a few years ago.
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Craig Shackleton




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PostPosted: Sat 01 May, 2010 4:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wow! I didn't know that there was a surviving example. That's awesome!

I'll have to look into it!

Ottawa Swordplay
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Sander Marechal




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PostPosted: Sun 02 May, 2010 3:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the link David. That thread has some interesting ideas. Those 6mm icefalcon gloves look like a good project piece for a good price.

@Dan: Good to hear that 6-in-1 was used historically.
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Felix R.




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PostPosted: Sun 02 May, 2010 7:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You can also bzuy yourself maile patches with 6mm rings here in Europe. You just have to cut out the hand shape from those patches. That will be much cheaper than buying gauntlets from oversea, that you have to strip and midify anyway.
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K J Seago




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PostPosted: Sun 02 May, 2010 11:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

on a slight tangeant, anyone know of anyone who does three finger (or 2 finger 1 thumb) mittens?
been thinking about making some and can't find much, they look like they'd be quite good protection for someone out of the heavy armours.

just another student of an interesting subject, Happy
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Thom R.




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PostPosted: Sun 02 May, 2010 1:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Instead of 6:1 here is another alternative if you wanted to do it yourself..... I just got these punched solid rings in the mail (pun intended Big Grin ) two days ago and did a bit with them yesterday. This is a standard 4:1 weave with the solid rings and 18 gauge half hard wire. tough stuff for butted. good areal coverage with the solid rings. the rings are slightly dished for strength. I am happy with this for future do it myself mail. and would really work great with pre overlapped pre-drilled riveted rings of 9mm size (which I am trying to get a box of at the moment.) A shirt comprised of this would be awfully heavy, but for piece work, like mitten coverings, voiders, skirt, standard collar, aventail, this is definitely a decent option. just got them in and thought I'd share. tr

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Sander Marechal




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PostPosted: Sun 02 May, 2010 3:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

K J Seago wrote:
on a slight tangeant, anyone know of anyone who does three finger (or 2 finger 1 thumb) mittens?
been thinking about making some and can't find much, they look like they'd be quite good protection for someone out of the heavy armours.


I have seen them around somewhere but I can't remember which site. They do look good though. If I build my gauntlets from scratch I probably do it this way. Separate thumb and index finger and a mitten for the other three fingers. I think this might make it easier to handle a sword. I haven't tried fighting with mittens on yet. I'll dig up my woolen winter mittens when my finger has healed and try it out.

Thom R wrote:
Instead of 6:1 here is another alternative if you wanted to do it yourself..... I just got these punched solid rings in the mail (pun intended Big Grin ) two days ago and did a bit with them yesterday. This is a standard 4:1 weave with the solid rings and 18 gauge half hard wire. tough stuff for butted. good areal coverage with the solid rings. the rings are slightly dished for strength.


It looks sturdy, but it also looks very, very different from normal riveted mail. Interesting nonetheless.
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Thom R.




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PostPosted: Mon 03 May, 2010 10:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Honestly, I know some of you will argue with me, but imho I am not sure what the mail does for you in this context other than "look good" "look period". The main thing is to make gauntlets that can cushion the force of a blow and yet remain flexible so you still have good control of your weapon. If we were fighting with sharps, well sure you need mail. But for blunted weapons and wood, mail doesn't really do much to shed blows. If you want to distribute the force of a blow you need plates, finger bucklers, good padding. If anything I could make an argument that mail has disadvantages in this context (sparring, contact play) in that a glancing blow can catch on the mail whereas it would just glance off a simply padded glove. I have had that happen many times with my mail sleeves and I don't spar in mail hauberk as I see no reason to do that. A good quilted arming coat and some plate is lighter, better. But I know you are trying for a period look. sorry, as usual your mileage may vary. tr

as for the fingered mittens....... $tee1 M@$tery sells them (check their store on eb@y) but peoples experience with them tends to be, highly variable. i myself have had good experiences and never had a problem ordering from them, but it would appear many others have.
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Sander Marechal




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PostPosted: Tue 04 May, 2010 12:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thom R. wrote:
I am not sure what the mail does for you in this context other than "look good" "look period". The main thing is to make gauntlets that can cushion the force of a blow and yet remain flexible so you still have good control of your weapon. If we were fighting with sharps, well sure you need mail. But for blunted weapons and wood, mail doesn't really do much to shed blows. If you want to distribute the force of a blow you need plates, finger bucklers, good padding.


I'm not so sure. As a test I have been making a patch of 6-in-1 mail from 8mm round butted links to see how it deforms. The 6-in-1 weave is pretty tight. When I push down on links, a lot of neighboring links go down as well, spreading the force over a larger area. I imagine this effect would be even greater when I use flat, riveted rings because the weave would be even tighter.

I agree with you that it would not help much against wooden swords or rattan sticks, but rebated steel blade edges are much thinner than those kinds of weapons. If I can distribute the force of a 2mm wide blade edge over an area 2-3cm wide then I am already helped. It's not enough of course, but much better than receiving that same force on a 2mm wide area.

So, my plan so far is this. Either I buy some lightly padded gloves like these or I make some lightly padded mittens with a separate index finger (probably using eva foam like you suggested earlier). Then I cover the back of the fingers, hand and cuff in thick (possibly hardened) leather, about 3mm thick. Next I cover that leather in flat-ring riveted 8-9mm 6-in-1 maille.

I hope that the maille will spread the force over the leather plate, preventing it from simply folding or cracking. The leather then distributes the force over the entire area it covers. Because this is a fairly large area I only need light padding under the plate.

So, that's the plan. What do you think?

One point I'm still thinking about is what the cuff should look like. Should it flare out so my gambeson and hauberk sleeve go inside it? Should it snake my arm so that my sleeves go over it? Should I make the cuff shorter and lace the end of the hauberk to the end of the maille on the cuff, giving the impression of integrated mittens? Ideas are more then welcome!
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Craig Shackleton




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PostPosted: Tue 04 May, 2010 4:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I mentioned in another thread that my experience has been that mail disperses force over a wider area, and that this effect is significantly compounded with plate over mail. I suspect that mail over leather will have a similar effect, although my guess would be that it will be somewhat lesser. This will be balanced a bit by the slight cushioning of the leather, and of course you will have more flexibility and range of motion.

You'll also be ahead of me in that you are using six in one which should give greater dispersal and absorption of force on its own.

I'd love to hear back about your results when you are done!

Edit: As far as the shape goes, if you can make it look like these are integral mittens, I think that would be really cool. If it doesn't work though, it may just look a little goofy. My personal second choice would be to have the cuff of the glove over top of the sleeve, because if the sleeve is over the glove it creates a forward facing seam that swords can catch on or slip into.

Ottawa Swordplay
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Greg Mele
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PostPosted: Tue 04 May, 2010 8:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Teague wrote:
Sander Marechal wrote:


Quote:
there is another thread here that showed some good glove alternatives too.


Do you remember which thread by chance?


I do as I've made plate & maille gloves.

The thread in question

Cheers,

David


Yes, and I still covet them... Wink

Greg Mele
Chicago Swordplay Guild
www.chicagoswordplayguild.com

www.freelanceacademypress.com
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