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Tom King




Location: florida
Joined: 11 Sep 2009
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PostPosted: Sun 09 May, 2010 7:23 am    Post subject: How do you remove oil from mail?         Reply with quote

I just bought a GDFB mail shirt. It definately needs fixing but for under $100 its still worth it. My biggest problem is all of the shipping oil, which makes the shirt practically drip down here in Fl. Does anyone know how to remove all of the oil so I can actually handle and wear it?
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Martin Erben




Location: Germany, Düsseldorf
Joined: 10 Jul 2008
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Posts: 66

PostPosted: Sun 09 May, 2010 8:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Tom

I bought one two jears ago and was really annoyed by the heavy and dirty oil they put on the mail-pieces....
I washed mine in water several times, and cleaned it with old towels between every washing. I did this 4 times and dried it with my hair-dryer. After that, I put a lot of Ballistol-Oil on it, and now I can handle it without having problems with the old oil.

For the price of 100$ I don't think you bought riveted mail? I think unriveted mail might fall apart during this procedure?
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Scott Hrouda




Location: Minnesota, USA
Joined: 17 Nov 2006
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PostPosted: Sun 09 May, 2010 8:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I prefer to avoid using chemicals to strip the oil from steel. Just take an old towel or shop cloth and start rubbing and patting down the mail. Soak up and rub off as much as you desire. I like to leave a little oil on for protection.

After one or two training sessions, the mail shirt / hauberk will be nearly oil free and your gambeson / arming coat will look uber-cool and "broken in" like Todd Sullivan's.

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




Location: Podgorje, Kamnik, Slovenia, Europe
Joined: 26 Aug 2003
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PostPosted: Sun 09 May, 2010 8:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just rub it between two old towels or something similar. Don't try to wash it, a bit of oil helps, just clean it enough so it doesn't leave stains.

Extant 15th Century German Gothic Armour
Extant 15th century Milanese armour
Arming doublet of the 15th century
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Ozsváth Árpád-István




Location: Romania
Joined: 27 Apr 2008

Posts: 131

PostPosted: Sun 09 May, 2010 9:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Try isopropyl alcohol, it removes oil and grease, but after that you will need to protect it from corrosion.
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Eric Allen




Location: Texas
Joined: 04 Feb 2006

Posts: 207

PostPosted: Sun 09 May, 2010 1:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Simple Green will also take the oil right off. You'll likely want to add something back to prevent rust, though, especially in a humid environment such as Florida.
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Dan Howard




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

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Posts: 3,158

PostPosted: Sun 09 May, 2010 2:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Why not buy galvanised mail in the first place?
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Richard Schneider




Location: Des Plaines, IL
Joined: 07 Feb 2010
Reading list: 2 books

Posts: 31

PostPosted: Sun 09 May, 2010 7:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I just recently bought a "blackened" mail shirt and coif and it too came with a coating of oil.

I too bought it because it was cheaper.

To clean it I ran across an article about cleaning mail and it told the story back to actual days when you would put your mail into a barrel with course sand and have your squire take it to the top of a hill and roll it down a few times.

So what I did was I got a bag of play sand and made absolutely positive it was completely DRY by laying it out in the sun all day. Then I put the sand and the mail (the coif separate from the shirt) into a 5 gallon bucket with a lid that closes tight and I rolled it around the backyard. Kind of funny looking because I pushed it with my feet and because of the shape of the bucket I went around in a circle with my wife in the center trying to read a book. Good quad and calf exercise. But I digress.

I then hung the mail on a frame I made out of 2x4 and I used my compressor to blow off any sand. The oil was mostly gone.

Finally to protect it from corrosion I waxed it the way you would armour with Johnson Paste Wax. A bit of a pain but put down a drop cloth on a large work table (definitely not your heirloom dining table) apply a good coating of wax inside and out, let it dry and then wipe/buff wax off with disposable rags. I used terry and the loose threads catching the mail caused problems. Next time I will use old T-shirt rags to eliminate that.

So far all looks good. It doesn't stain a rag when I wipe it and there is no sign of corrosion. I suppose only time will tell. And yes I will need to repeat this process at least every 6 months or more depending on use.
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Tom King




Location: florida
Joined: 11 Sep 2009
Likes: 2 pages

Posts: 422

PostPosted: Sun 09 May, 2010 7:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Why not buy galvanised mail in the first place?
Because it was significantly cheaper. There's also a chance I'll be returning yet another item to KOA. I just don't have time for a major fix it project.
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