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J.W. Peeters




Location: Netherlands, where it all used to happen
Joined: 19 Dec 2012

Posts: 7

PostPosted: Fri 05 Jul, 2013 12:58 pm    Post subject: Metal sword belt?         Reply with quote

Hello guys,
Reading a fantasy novel, someone received a ceremonial outfit, with the sword belt being made from chainmail.
I realized I've never read about such a thing actually.
Heck, even Worff will have a baldric made from chainmail in a coupld o' hundred years from now lol.

Anyway, it raised me the question if a sword belt made of chainmail would actually have existed.
Afterall, chainmail was a widely used item, although more expensive than leather of course.
Yet very flexible, easy to hook a scabbard onto, or suspension from a thinner horizontal belt, etc, although more heavy.
Pro's and con's I'd think.
It just feels ever so esthetically pleasant to me Happy

Anyone ever seen/read anything about this?
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Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
Joined: 11 Jun 2007
Likes: 7 pages

Posts: 2,225

PostPosted: Fri 05 Jul, 2013 1:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It would blunt the sword. But over the leather or wooden core, it would look cool.
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Mark Griffin




Location: The Welsh Marches, in the hills above Newtown, Powys.
Joined: 28 Dec 2006

Posts: 801

PostPosted: Fri 05 Jul, 2013 1:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think the clue is in the word 'fantasy'

I've gone through a pretty well known authors historical adventure novels at their request after I met them doing some publicity in kit for a book launch and pointed out areas where items of kit simply couldn't have functioned or worked in the way they had written and they have taken them on board. They were so keen to get things right we gave them some lessons in combat, they have had handling and experience activities for all sorts of medieval life and they have taken themselves off to learn some horse skills and even falconry so they are not all made up... and they nicely gave me a credit in their next couple of books. :-)
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J.W. Peeters




Location: Netherlands, where it all used to happen
Joined: 19 Dec 2012

Posts: 7

PostPosted: Fri 05 Jul, 2013 3:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Luka, sword belt, not scabbard Happy
Basically either the horizontal belt just like the plated belt, so for the scabbard to hang vertical on it by a hook,
or the more low hanging belt type with the smaller belt strap in leather that holds it in position.
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Michael Parker




Location: United States
Joined: 21 Sep 2011
Likes: 2 pages

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Posts: 92

PostPosted: Fri 05 Jul, 2013 4:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I can see one main drawback: I'd be concerned that if you made a maille belt and you didn't back it with a leather or textile belt, the mail would tangle, bunch up, or sag in undesirable ways. A maille hauberk or shirt is made if sheets of rings that are basically woven together into tubes, a big tube for the torso and two thin tubes for the arms. This has a lot of surface area, and is held taut both by being stretched horizontally around the wearer's body and pulled down vertically by its own weight. It basically drapes over the body. When not being worn the links tend to contract or bunch up, and it will usually contract either horizontally or vertically depending on which way the 'grain' of the weave goes.

Unlike a hauberk, a sword belt is usually a thin piece of material, well over 30 inches long but only about 1 inch wide. Since the links of maille have a certain amount of wiggle room to expand and contract against each other both horizontally and vertically--sometimes both at once--a belt of maille might be too flexible to hold its shape well. I imagine that it might slip off your waist if it wasn't high and tight enough, or the weight of the sword might cause the belt to sag in an aesthetically or ergonimically displeasing manner. If you think about it, a leather belt is most flexible on its long axis and not at all as flexible along its width. To be flexible along one axis but not another is, I think, a necessary quality in a belt meant for suspending something heavy like a 2-4 pound sword and scabbard.

I hypothesize that long, thin strips or belts of maille fabric can be useful if integrated into a composite defense. There's fingered renaissance dueling gauntlets, http://www.myArmoury.com/othr_gaunt.html but the key thing is that the links are sewn to the fabric. Ottoman maille and plate armor like this http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...ht=yushman has maille links holding together pieces of plate like hinges. In both these cases, the maille provides flexible protection while the more rigid elements allow the garment to hold its shape. when these strips are not yet sewn together into a larger garment they are quite difficult to handle and disentangle, which is most apparent when a maille artisan is putting the garment together and has to frequently disentangle tiny pieces of maille fabric in order to thread in new links.

If it were more like six inches wide, similar to a roman balteus, the problem might be lessened, but the thinner you made it the more troublesome it would be, and you'd still have the problem that it flexes both vertically and horizontally.

"This is a sharp medicine, but it is a physician for all diseases and miseries."
-Sir Walter Raleigh, upon being allowed to see the ax that would behead him, 29 October 1618
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Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
Joined: 11 Jun 2007
Likes: 7 pages

Posts: 2,225

PostPosted: Sat 06 Jul, 2013 4:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Luka Borscak wrote:
It would blunt the sword. But over the leather or wooden core, it would look cool.


I just realized I talked about scabbard, and you asked about belt, sorry...
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Dan Howard




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

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,162

PostPosted: Sat 06 Jul, 2013 4:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Parker wrote:
There's fingered renaissance dueling gauntlets, http://www.myArmoury.com/othr_gaunt.html but the key thing is that the links are sewn to the fabric.

Just noticed that those gauntlets have the mail weave running the wrong way. Mail gauntlets need the weave compressing when the hand is opened and stretching when the hand is closed. Here is a pic of the duelling gauntlets in the MET. A belt would hang differently too, depending on which way the weave ran.



 Attachment: 76.81 KB
MailDuellingGLove005.jpg

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