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Ian S LaSpina




Location: Virginia, US
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PostPosted: Thu 29 Jul, 2010 3:38 pm    Post subject: Stainless vs Mild Steel Mail         Reply with quote

I'm working on a late 14th / early 15th century European plate harness. I'm not necessarily going for 100% historical accuracy, but I would like to try to be reasonable. I do have a question in regards to mail though. I'm planning on purchasing a mail haubergeon for wear underneath the plate, and I want to know how much maintenance goes into mail made of mild steel.

My plate pieces are mild steel (a majority of which are done by Allan Senefelder of Mercenary's Tailor, and they are spectacular!), and they get rust now and then, but it's easy to polish a plate of steel and keep it oiled. It sounds like it's more of a nightmare to get the rust off of mild steel mail. I'm looking at a flattened-ring mild steel, wedge-riveted haubergeon and comparing it to a dome-riveted flattened ring stainless haubergeon. I realize the dome-riveting is not as accurate as the wedge, but wedge riveting is not available in the stainless version. Would it be relatively easy to keep a mild steel piece maintained, or is the stainless worth the maintenance-free aspect? Any opinions would be greatly appreciated. The specific items I'm looking at are the GDFB mail haubergeons. Thank you!

-Ian
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Brawn Barber




Location: In the shop
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PostPosted: Thu 29 Jul, 2010 4:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

GDFB chainmail is still made in India, and as such is both not historically correct in its riveting and also subject to some doubt as to its integrity. IF you manage to get a haubergeon from there that actually has enough structural integrity to handle the sand blasting/tumbling which regular maintenance of mild chainmail requires, you'll still need to do such and keep it oiled. I suspect from the price range that these fall into I would be wary of the durability needed. I'm sure more feedback from others who have had exposure to GDFB products will be forthcoming as well.
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Reece Nelson




Location: Overland Park KS
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PostPosted: Thu 29 Jul, 2010 4:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I too asked the same question myself. A few friends of mine told me that you can clean up a mail shirt by using really fine sand and using a cement mixer. There is also the option of painting the mail, which I'm still trying to find out how that's done Mad (ice falcon armory Wink )

my personal opinion is that it wont really matter. Ask yourself if you're gonna take it out a lot, if you're going to expose to the elements. Besides you have a majority of armour in plate...ppl's eyes are going to be drawn more towards that then the mail Big Grin
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Romulus Stoica




Location: Hunedoara, Transylvania, Romania
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PostPosted: Thu 29 Jul, 2010 9:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There is another way to clean a rusty mail. It works better with smaller parts tough (voiders, mail gorget, etc). You can submerge the rusty mail in a solution of vinegar and salt, about a teaspoon of salt to every 4 litres (or about 1US gallon) of vinegar. You leave the mail submerged in that solution for 3 days ... up to a week (depending on how rusty it is). After that, you rinse it with warm watter, dry it quickly with a piece of cloth or an old towel and oil it. It will get a gray-silvery shine.
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Gabriele A. Pini




Location: Olgiate Comasco, Como
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PostPosted: Fri 30 Jul, 2010 12:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Personally for my mail I prefer galvanized steel, it's not so shiny as stainless and is a lot more durable than mild steel.

Another solution is the one a person that I met at an event suggested me: he has an agreement with a big galvanizing factory, and about every year he buy what mail he need and then the factory galvanized them with nichel. I don't know how it work, and if it's feasible at all, but maybe you can buy your mild steel mail and then work on it.

I have tried hot bluing a coif, but it's not a good solution, as the blue peel off to easy where the links scrap together.
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Mark T




PostPosted: Fri 30 Jul, 2010 4:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There have been lots of posts about the question of cleaning mail here:

http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...clean+mail

http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...clean+mail

http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...clean+mail

http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...clean+mail

Hope that helps!

Mark T
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Ian S LaSpina




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PostPosted: Fri 30 Jul, 2010 6:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you all for the replies and the great information. It's much appreciated.
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Michele Hansen




Location: Seattle, WA USA
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PostPosted: Mon 02 Aug, 2010 9:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Brawn Barber wrote:
GDFB chainmail is still made in India, and as such is both not historically correct in its riveting and also subject to some doubt as to its integrity. IF you manage to get a haubergeon from there that actually has enough structural integrity to handle the sand blasting/tumbling which regular maintenance of mild chainmail requires, you'll still need to do such and keep it oiled. I suspect from the price range that these fall into I would be wary of the durability needed. I'm sure more feedback from others who have had exposure to GDFB products will be forthcoming as well.


I travelled to India in 2007. At the military museum in New Delhi I snapped a quick photo of a mail shirt worn by an Indian warrior as late as 1700. Indian armies held on to the practice of wearing mail long after military units in the West had abandoned its use. I suspect well-knitted, and riveted mail from India can be found. India is considered a "developing country" within the British Commonwealth, which means prices are lower than those charged in the USA, Canada, UK, or other Western states. And consider this little tidbit--high-end products imported from there will likely be "duty-free" like the gold jewelry, and Kashmir rug I bought while there.



 Attachment: 42.86 KB
India Mail.JPG
My photo of the mail described above.

Il est apelée de Montfort. Il est el Mond, et si est fort. Si ad grant chevalrie; Je vois et je m’ acort. Il eime le droit, et het le tort. Si avera le mestrie!
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Brawn Barber




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PostPosted: Tue 03 Aug, 2010 8:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Could be, Michele.
However, Ian was specifically referring to the maintenance of mild steel maille manufactured by GDFB.
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Michele Hansen




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PostPosted: Wed 04 Aug, 2010 9:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Brawn Barber wrote:
Could be, Michele.
However, Ian was specifically referring to the maintenance of mild steel maille manufactured by GDFB.


Thank you, Brawn, for your clarification: I actually had to do a bit of checking on "GDFB", and learned it is short for the Indian armor manufacturer Get Dressed For Battle. Now I know where that comment about maille (love that spelling!) being made in India and Pakistan originated.

I read somewhere on this site, that a suit of mail could cost around $20,000 US. That is about the same price as a new car, and the mail would last a whole lot longer (like a lifetime if well maintained). Makes the investment in well-crafted riveting, and high quality mild steel a bargain in my book. Cheers!

Il est apelée de Montfort. Il est el Mond, et si est fort. Si ad grant chevalrie; Je vois et je m’ acort. Il eime le droit, et het le tort. Si avera le mestrie!
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Sander Marechal




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PostPosted: Wed 04 Aug, 2010 12:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michele Hansen wrote:
Brawn Barber wrote:
Could be, Michele.
However, Ian was specifically referring to the maintenance of mild steel maille manufactured by GDFB.


Thank you, Brawn, for your clarification: I actually had to do a bit of checking on "GDFB", and learned it is short for the Indian armor manufacturer Get Dressed For Battle.


It's more complicated I'm afraid. There are two companies. One is called GDFB and the other one is called "Get Dressed For Battle" (somewhere in the past the one split off from the other). One of them is selling indian-made maille. The other one is selling maille from Ulfberth, a German shop.
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Brawn Barber




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PostPosted: Wed 04 Aug, 2010 1:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't know how you'd tell the difference then, by looking at CAS hanwei's site. They refer to the maille being made by "GDFB" , but I just checked a gambeson tag that says, "Get dressed for battle" "made in India". You'd probably tell the difference once you received it, especially if its made in a German shop Big Grin
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Sander Marechal




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PostPosted: Wed 04 Aug, 2010 2:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Brawn Barber wrote:
I don't know how you'd tell the difference then


No idea. The problem is compounded by the fact that Get Dressed For Battle is still often shortened to GDFB. One thing I did notice is that maille produced by Ulfberth is usually clearly marked/marketed as Ulberth maille. Also, I don't know if Ulberth actually produces it in Germany. They may still outsource it to India or some such place. But their maille seems different from most other cheap riveted maille shirt from India that I've seen in shops.
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Michele Hansen




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PostPosted: Sat 07 Aug, 2010 2:18 pm    Post subject: A Spotlight topic you might want to read         Reply with quote

I found a really well written and comprehensive discussion: "Riveted" does not equal "Historical" started by Dan Howard that gives a ton of insight into mail quality, and time frames for various riveting techniques. It addresses many of the issues in this thread, especially concerning quality vs. cost, and how hot you want to look for your close-ups. It addresses mild steel, and possible plating that armourers used to make an haubergeon rust-resistant. Big Grin
Il est apelée de Montfort. Il est el Mond, et si est fort. Si ad grant chevalrie; Je vois et je m’ acort. Il eime le droit, et het le tort. Si avera le mestrie!
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R. Connors




Location: Canada
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PostPosted: Sat 07 Aug, 2010 6:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you for that first hand info. on Indian maille Michele. I appreciate it.
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