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Nathan Quarantillo




Location: Eastern Panhandle WV, USA
Joined: 14 Aug 2009

Posts: 279

PostPosted: Fri 23 Sep, 2011 1:11 pm    Post subject: Surcoats and maille.         Reply with quote

Hello all! I wore my maille with my surcoat, and the maille really did it's best to de-construct the surcoat.
It pulled on some of the threads in the fabric itself, and I came off with this awful grey/black stain under the armpits from the maille rubbing.

How do the folks here keep that stuff from happening? is there a special material that isn't so apt to be eaten alive by maille? (BTW, mine is made of linen.)

And how do I prevent the hauberk from rubbing gray into the surcoat? Is the armpit the only place this happens?

All help is appreciated, thanks Happy
-Nathan Quarantillo

"Id rather be historically accurate than politically correct"
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JE Sarge
Industry Professional



PostPosted: Fri 23 Sep, 2011 1:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

To be honest, you cannot prevent it. There is no type of coating or treatment you can do to the steel to prevent friction from wearing it off, and there is nothing you can do to the cloth which will keep it from taking the stains.

I have worn maille and surcoats for years. I am sure in antiquity, they had to replace the surcoats every now and then, as they do wear, tear, get stained, etc... - I have yet to have a surcoat made of any fabric which would not damage and stain over time - especially with ready-made riveted malle with rougher rivets peens and edges (I cannot afford the real stuff).

One other option would be stainess maille, such as that by Ring Mesh or Ring Lord - but this is totally out the window for anything which you want to look remotely authentic. I have a coat of it I wear on hot days, and it does not seem to stain or harm my surcoats.

This is just something you have to Oxyclean out or whip-stitch up after wearing it if you like the maille you have now. Then, when the surcoat gets too ragged, just replace it. This is what they would have done historically anyway. Happy

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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Aleksei Sosnovski





Joined: 04 Mar 2008

Posts: 313

PostPosted: Sat 24 Sep, 2011 2:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You can:
- replace your surcoat often. After a battle surcoat would probably be shredded beyond repair so replacements should have been readily available.
- make surcoat of other color so that stains are not so obvious
- make surcoat of multiple layers of fabric. Use some relatively thick and hard-wearing for the inner layer (like fabric used for workers' trousers) and whatever you like for the outer layer. Modern linen is usually not very dense and therefore not very wear-resistent.
- sew additional layer under the armpits where the stains are. Once it gets stained or torn-substitute this layer with a new, clean one.
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Sander Marechal




Location: The Netherlands
Joined: 04 Dec 2009
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PostPosted: Sat 24 Sep, 2011 2:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have no problem with stains because my surcoat is black. But after about a year of use it is in need of repair. Some of the people in my group made their surcoat of two layers of denser, rougher linen. They seem to last much better. That's what I'm going to do for my next surcoats.

I wouldn't worry about stains and such. Real knights probably looked a bit scruffy as well, with stains from maille, mud and grass, dents and gashes in the shield and scratches in the helmet paint Happy

The Knights Hospitaller: http://www.hospitaalridders.nl
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Nathan Quarantillo




Location: Eastern Panhandle WV, USA
Joined: 14 Aug 2009

Posts: 279

PostPosted: Sat 24 Sep, 2011 5:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yeah, I understand that the reality is that real maille will try to eat your surcoat, and knights weren't immune to wear-and-tear.
I was simply looking for anything to increase it's life-span.

BTW, I'm having a new surcoat made, one that I'm having designed in a way that will try to make it maille-friendly as possible.
It will have a thick black lining, and have sleeves that will extend just below the elbow. Almost 3/4 sleeves. I've seen period (13th century) images of this done, and this will prevent the rubbing stains from the arm. The maille for the mostpart will only come into contact with the lining.

"Id rather be historically accurate than politically correct"
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Bjorn Hagstrom




Location: Höör, Skane
Joined: 25 Oct 2007
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Posts: 328

PostPosted: Sat 24 Sep, 2011 12:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My first advice would be to change materials.
Use wool, preferably of a stamped quality so it is a bit felted.
A good quality wool will both resist wear much better than linen and handle the grease-stains better as well.

There is nothing quite as sad as a one man conga-line...
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Brian Robson





Joined: 19 Feb 2007

Posts: 185

PostPosted: Mon 26 Sep, 2011 1:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just to echo what some others have said here, I've always preferred woll for surcoats - they seem to repel the dirt better and just hang better too.

For Linen, you need 2 layers otherwise it just doesn't hang right. Also it keeps the edges much cleaner and less likely to snag - and also gives another layer to wear through. As mentioned a heavier grade and darker inner colour are always a good idea too so the oily stains don't stand out so much. (Although I always avoid black - I hear it's generally not viewed as a very 'manly' colour - being associated with the clergy)
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Sander Marechal




Location: The Netherlands
Joined: 04 Dec 2009
Reading list: 17 books

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Posts: 671

PostPosted: Mon 26 Sep, 2011 10:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Brian Robson wrote:
Although I always avoid black - I hear it's generally not viewed as a very 'manly' colour - being associated with the clergy


I do an early Knights Hospitaller, so I don't have much of a choice :-)

The Knights Hospitaller: http://www.hospitaalridders.nl
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