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Corey Skriletz




Location: United States
Joined: 27 May 2011

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PostPosted: Mon 04 Jun, 2012 1:29 pm    Post subject: Help selecting a maille hauberk.         Reply with quote

For the past year, the myArmoury community has been extremely helpful in answering questions I've had. I just got a job and I can finally afford a riveted maille hauberk. I don't want to get too fancy a hauberk, because my budget cannot exceed $450.00. I found a couple on an e-Bay store that are really well priced. He said he specializes in customization, so I can get one that actually fits instead of one that's much too big. The only problem is that I'm not sure which one to get. So here are the questions I have:

1) which of these two hauberks is more accurate for a late 12th century Norman knight kit?
Keep in mind, I can get the sleeves lengthened, it's the ring and rivet style I'm curious about.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/8mm-MS-Flat-Riveted-w...41665aee18

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Chain-Mail-Shirt-Roun...4166732d87


2) I seem to recall hearing that maille could be laced up the back, which would make for a better fit, but I've never seen any pictorial evidence. Is there any historical evidence of lace up maille hauberks? If so, does anybody have a lace-up hauberk that they could post pictures of that I can send to the maker so he has a reference?


Thank you all for your time.
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Robin Smith




Location: Louisiana
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PostPosted: Mon 04 Jun, 2012 2:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'd go with the top one. The smaller 8mm diameter and alternating row construction is more appropriate for the period.

I don't believe I have ever heard of a laced up hauberk. The mail chausses (leg pieces) were often laced up the back, but not the hauberks.

A furore Normannorum libera nos, Domine
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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Mon 04 Jun, 2012 7:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There are various Eastern styles of mail shirts that are laced/tied/toggled/pegged. From mail shirts that open at the front and lace up, through to armoured kaftans (think bathrobe or karate gi top with a mail lining/cover//inner layer). All that I know of open at the front, not the back. Some of them overlap at the front.

You can put one a closer fitting mail shirt that does up at the front than if you have to pull it over your head like a T-shirt.

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Corey Skriletz




Location: United States
Joined: 27 May 2011

Posts: 118

PostPosted: Tue 05 Jun, 2012 12:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Robin Smith wrote:
I'd go with the top one. The smaller 8mm diameter and alternating row construction is more appropriate for the period.

I don't believe I have ever heard of a laced up hauberk. The mail chausses (leg pieces) were often laced up the back, but not the hauberks.


The chausses must have been what I was thinking of. So the flat ring construction is appropriate for that period?
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Luka Borscak




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PostPosted: Tue 05 Jun, 2012 2:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Round maille is more appropriate for the norman period.
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Robin Smith




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PostPosted: Tue 05 Jun, 2012 2:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Luka Borscak wrote:
Round maille is more appropriate for the norman period.

Thats kinda iffy. Flat ring certainly isn't appropriate, but the round riveted rings that are called "round ring" in modern maille ain't right either, particularly with the giant dome rivets they use and the poor transition to overly flattened ends. The overall look of the modern riveted round ring maille just isn't right at all.

Truth is, none of the modern maille is right. I personally feel a alternating row with wedge rivets is the best compromise. Even though wedge rivets were not in use in 11th c, they are still closer than the modern dome rivets used on most of the round ring maille.

So yes, in period non-flattened rings (I won't say round rings) were being used, but what passes for round ring in modern maille isn't any closer than the first choice up there as far as accuaracy goes IMO.

A furore Normannorum libera nos, Domine
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Corey Skriletz




Location: United States
Joined: 27 May 2011

Posts: 118

PostPosted: Tue 05 Jun, 2012 4:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Robin Smith wrote:
Luka Borscak wrote:
Round maille is more appropriate for the norman period.

Thats kinda iffy. Flat ring certainly isn't appropriate, but the round riveted rings that are called "round ring" in modern maille ain't right either, particularly with the giant dome rivets they use and the poor transition to overly flattened ends. The overall look of the modern riveted round ring maille just isn't right at all.

Truth is, none of the modern maille is right. I personally feel a alternating row with wedge rivets is the best compromise. Even though wedge rivets were not in use in 11th c, they are still closer than the modern dome rivets used on most of the round ring maille.

So yes, in period non-flattened rings (I won't say round rings) were being used, but what passes for round ring in modern maille isn't any closer than the first choice up there as far as accuaracy goes IMO.



Thank you. You've been an immense help.
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Randall Moffett




Location: Northern Utah
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PostPosted: Tue 05 Jun, 2012 5:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Robin,

Not sure I understand your comment. Are you saying that the maille was indeed round but since the current round maille listed here is not the same, besides being round, so it is better to go with something that has flat rings that was certainly not used as no matter what one uses it is wrong?

Corey,

Here is an example of early medieval maille. Too early for Norman but I could not think of any other finds off the top of my head-
http://thethegns.blogspot.com/2011/10/valsgar...art-3.html


RPM
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Robin Smith




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PostPosted: Tue 05 Jun, 2012 6:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Randall Moffett wrote:
Robin,

Not sure I understand your comment. Are you saying that the maille was indeed round but since the current round maille listed here is not the same, besides being round, so it is better to go with something that has flat rings that was certainly not used as no matter what one uses it is wrong?

Corey,

Here is an example of early medieval maille. Too early for Norman but I could not think of any other finds off the top of my head-
http://thethegns.blogspot.com/2011/10/valsgar...art-3.html


RPM

Its not the ring section that I don't like, its the massively oversized dome rivets. Plus the alternating row construction is an important detail for this period. If you could get a "round ring" with alternating row construction and wedge rivets I might go with that, but I have not see a round ring with wedge rivets. I just feel wedge rivets give a closer profile to period maille than the seriously oversized "dome" rivets used on most round rings.

Also, I haven't maille shopped in several years, but when I was last shopping you could not get round ring with alternating row construction.

Now I know wedge rivets aren't right for this period, but they are more correct IMO than the oversized modern dome rivets used on most round ring maille.

There is no truly historically correct maille (short of going to someone like Mr Schmidt). As such its a matter of picking which compromises you want. I personally really don't like the modern dome rivets, and since I've only ever seen flat ring wedge riveted with alternating rows, I feel that is the best compromise IMO.

A furore Normannorum libera nos, Domine


Last edited by Robin Smith on Tue 05 Jun, 2012 10:46 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Jojo Zerach





Joined: 26 Dec 2009

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PostPosted: Tue 05 Jun, 2012 9:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think people can get to hung up over details on stuff like this. If you're on a budget, anything riveted is doing well.
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Brian Robson





Joined: 19 Feb 2007

Posts: 185

PostPosted: Wed 06 Jun, 2012 3:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jojo Zerach wrote:
I think people can get to hung up over details on stuff like this. If you're on a budget, anything riveted is doing well.


/Agree

Mail is a very broad area and there are often examples of multiple ring types/sizes and rivet types in the same period/region, so there arn't a lot of hard and fast rules.

Yep, mixed solid/rivited is good for that period - but so is fully rivited. Was also known so see round rings that were slightly flattened - nowhere near the flatness of modern flat-ring reproduction - but the modern flatring probably looks more like those than the modern round rings (unless inspected closely)

The question I would ask myself is 'what am I going to use it for?' and bear in mind that the round ring is a LOT heavier than modern flatring reproductions, but protects better due to more weight/thicker links/more inertia. Yet arguably looks more accurate for the period you're interested in on close inspection.
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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jun, 2012 4:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Agreed. Modern reproductions only superficially look like the original examples so you really need to work out what you need it for. If you want it for SCA then most riveted mail would be OK. It is a lot lighter than the butted mail that used to be worn. If you want it for live steel then smallish rings (6mm ideally) - probably alternating solid and round ring riveted would be best. If you just want a costume then look for the cheapest and/or lightest riveted mail you can find. If you want to test it against weapons then none of the commercial mail is suitable. I'd suggest paying a little more and getting galvanised mail. Iron mail doesn't look like the originals anyway and you are creating unneccessary work for yourself keeping it clean. Galvanised mail can be darkened so that it looks like iron and you don't have to bother keeping it rust free.
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Brian Robson





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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jun, 2012 5:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Galvanised mail can be darkened so that it looks like iron and you don't have to bother keeping it rust free.


How do you do that?

UK Re-enactment typically doesn't allow galvanised mail - simply because it looks galvanised, but on the flip-side, I get paranoid about rain at events because of the rust-risk, and tend to keep my mail fairly heavily oiled to combat that (which in turn makes anything that comes in contatct with it turn black)
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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jun, 2012 5:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Robin,

Recent riveted mail does have a much smaller head on the round riveted type. That said they tend to look more like later round links that have flattened sections for the rivet where as from what I have seen most earlier round mail is basically flush and round where the rivet is. That said as the Coppergate mail shows there are a number of link types of the round in use, including the larger flattened sections. CAS Iberia does indeed sell a mix of the round solid links and round riveted links.

I think Dan wraps it up nicely. I'd go with what is closest but please do not think this works for testing of how good period mail was.

I use a round link hauberk that is medium sized in diameter. The thing has a few links busted open on occasion by halbards and such but for single handed weapons it holds up with little to no damage. Just replaced a half dozen rivets and a link in it and two popped rivets on my coif. Took a few hours largely to find them.....

RPM
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Robin Smith




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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jun, 2012 7:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Randall Moffett wrote:
Robin,

Recent riveted mail does have a much smaller head on the round riveted type. That said they tend to look more like later round links that have flattened sections for the rivet where as from what I have seen most earlier round mail is basically flush and round where the rivet is. That said as the Coppergate mail shows there are a number of link types of the round in use, including the larger flattened sections. CAS Iberia does indeed sell a mix of the round solid links and round riveted links.

I think Dan wraps it up nicely. I'd go with what is closest but please do not think this works for testing of how good period mail was.

I use a round link hauberk that is medium sized in diameter. The thing has a few links busted open on occasion by halbards and such but for single handed weapons it holds up with little to no damage. Just replaced a half dozen rivets and a link in it and two popped rivets on my coif. Took a few hours largely to find them.....

RPM
Like I said, I haven't been maille shopping in years. I still use an old Forth Armoury flat wedge riveted hauberk. Not really correct for my period, but it works. If I get another one day it will be an alternating row construction, but when I bought my maille, alternating row was not available yet. Your only options were butted, or round ring with oversize dome rivets, and wedge riveted flat section from Forth Armoury. And at that time Forth Armoury was unquestionably the best quality.

I am amazed at how much the prices have come down

I still think that out of his choices above, the smaller ring diameter and alternating row construction of the first choice is the one to go with.

A furore Normannorum libera nos, Domine
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Corey Skriletz




Location: United States
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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jun, 2012 8:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

These are all excellent points. In the end, I will only be using this for videos and renaissance faires as there are no reenactment groups (at least that I am aware of) near my area. So not too many people will be looking at it too closely, and those that do, probably wouldn't be able to tell if it's inaccurate. The definite bonus of the $400 hauberk is that it comes with a riveted coif for thirty-five more dollars, which would probably save me a bundle in the end.

Dan: You said it's easy to darken galvanized maille, how would one go about that?
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Jojo Zerach





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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jun, 2012 8:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Robin Smith wrote:
I'd go with the top one. The smaller 8mm diameter and alternating row construction is more appropriate for the period.

I don't believe I have ever heard of a laced up hauberk. The mail chausses (leg pieces) were often laced up the back, but not the hauberks.


Not Norman period, but in a book I have, there is a photograph of a hauberk (probably 14th century, possibly English) that opens full length in the back.
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Brian Robson





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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jun, 2012 8:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Fastening up the back reminds me of the point below (mainly because I see no point in it because of the amount of 'stretch' in a suit of mail)

Be wary of sizes when buying mail.

Most give sizes based on the mail fully expanded (which is exactly how you don't want it when wearing it). Make sure you have plenty of room to let it rest properly without being stretched. If I remember correctly, mines was either a 52 or 54 inch chest hauberk, to go over my 40" chest with thin aketon - and it was a shade too tight, so I had to split and expand it at the shoulder blades.

Whenever you move/breathe, the mail stretches to accomodate, and it needs the leeway to do that.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jun, 2012 4:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Corey Skriletz wrote:
Dan: You said it's easy to darken galvanized maille, how would one go about that?

Didn't say it was easy. It depends on the wire. I had a few shirts that darkened naturally. Others I darkened in a weak solution of vinegar and salt (dip it in, take it out, and expose it to the air for a while before rinsing it). Some galvanised wire wouldn't darken at all. I've noticed that the wire that tends to darken has more of a shine than the wire that doesn't. I've made a haubergeon of dull grey links with a large cross on the chest made of dark shiny links. The effect looked good.
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Corey Skriletz




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PostPosted: Thu 07 Jun, 2012 11:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Corey Skriletz wrote:
Dan: You said it's easy to darken galvanized maille, how would one go about that?

Didn't say it was easy. It depends on the wire. I had a few shirts that darkened naturally. Others I darkened in a weak solution of vinegar and salt (dip it in, take it out, and expose it to the air for a while before rinsing it). Some galvanised wire wouldn't darken at all. I've noticed that the wire that tends to darken has more of a shine than the wire that doesn't. I've made a haubergeon of dull grey links with a large cross on the chest made of dark shiny links. The effect looked good.


I'm sorry, I misread it. The price thing is still my biggest problem, and I don't know how much galvanized maille would cost. These are the best-priced hauberks I was able to find, and the guy is willing to tailor them. I don't know what really goes into galvanizing something. Would I be overstepping my bounds if I asked him to galvanize it, or is galvanizing something relatively easy? If asking him to galvanize it is out of the question, what method would I use to clean it? Just scrub it down with a oiled rag after I use it each time? Thanks again for all your help.
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