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Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Opinions or experience with modern chainmaille? Reply to topic
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Foster Day




Location: Ottawa
Joined: 30 May 2013

Posts: 23

PostPosted: Tue 23 Jul, 2013 5:35 am    Post subject: Opinions or experience with modern chainmaille?         Reply with quote

Hello, I was wondering if anyone could give me a comparison between two of the more affordable lines of chainmaille; the battlemerchant chainmaille and the GDFB chainmaille.
I have heard about how people with the dome or round riveted maille get cuts and have their gambesons pulled apart over time due to the rivets catching threads and such, and that wedge rivets are more comfortable and less destructive. It would be nice to hear if anyone has some firsthand experience with this ^_^
If you could recommend a brand for someone who can't really push more than half a grand without going into debt troubles, what would your recommendation be?
Thank you for your time and patience.

Function over fashion


Last edited by Foster Day on Tue 23 Jul, 2013 9:33 am; edited 1 time in total
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Dan Howard




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

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Posts: 3,190

PostPosted: Tue 23 Jul, 2013 5:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You get what you pay for. You are better off starting with a good soft kit and then saving up for decent mail.
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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
Joined: 17 Sep 2003

Posts: 1,302

PostPosted: Tue 23 Jul, 2013 10:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

For me, the first question would be which type was appropriate for the time and place I wanted to represent? For instance, I would not consider getting wedge-riveted mail for a Viking kit, because that's not how Viking mail was made. Once I knew which construction method was appropriate, then I'd worry about which company did a better job at making that style.

I know there is a lot of concern about the details of ring construction on reproduction mail these days, and that's a good thing. The closer it is to the real thing, the better! I've also heard some folks say that such-and-such a reproduction is "nothing like" historical mail, because of the shape of the ring overlap, or the size of the rivet heads, etc. I'm afraid I start losing my fanatacism at that point--plenty of folks out there are still using BUTTED mail, for heaven's sake, and I still remember the days long ago when actual soda can pull-tab mail was in use! So if we are actually able to get mail with a choice of round rivets (with alternating rows of solid rings!) or wedge rivets, sometimes for not much more than we used to pay for *butted* mail, I'd say we're in heaven.

As for mail rivets snagging on clothing, it sounds like you already found the thread about that. I don't recall that very many people reported a problem like that, so it may have been mail from just one manufacturer, or whatever was being worn under that mail, etc. I doubt it's something inherent to round rivets, though. I also haven't really kept up with the various manufacturers of mail these days, so I can't help much, there. (I tend to think of it as a scale with "Made in India" at one end and "Erik Schmid" at the other, with nothing in between...)

Good luck!

Matthew
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Foster Day




Location: Ottawa
Joined: 30 May 2013

Posts: 23

PostPosted: Tue 23 Jul, 2013 10:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew Amt wrote:
For me, the first question would be which type was appropriate for the time and place I wanted to represent? For instance, I would not consider getting wedge-riveted mail for a Viking kit, because that's not how Viking mail was made. Once I knew which construction method was appropriate, then I'd worry about which company did a better job at making that style.

I know there is a lot of concern about the details of ring construction on reproduction mail these days, and that's a good thing. The closer it is to the real thing, the better! I've also heard some folks say that such-and-such a reproduction is "nothing like" historical mail, because of the shape of the ring overlap, or the size of the rivet heads, etc. I'm afraid I start losing my fanatacism at that point--plenty of folks out there are still using BUTTED mail, for heaven's sake, and I still remember the days long ago when actual soda can pull-tab mail was in use! So if we are actually able to get mail with a choice of round rivets (with alternating rows of solid rings!) or wedge rivets, sometimes for not much more than we used to pay for *butted* mail, I'd say we're in heaven.

As for mail rivets snagging on clothing, it sounds like you already found the thread about that. I don't recall that very many people reported a problem like that, so it may have been mail from just one manufacturer, or whatever was being worn under that mail, etc. I doubt it's something inherent to round rivets, though. I also haven't really kept up with the various manufacturers of mail these days, so I can't help much, there. (I tend to think of it as a scale with "Made in India" at one end and "Erik Schmid" at the other, with nothing in between...)

Good luck!

Matthew


Thanks Matthew, you raise some really good points ^_^
I'm working on a 1350-1380 German style kit right now, so I need to know which type of maille to use :P
Thanks for clearing up the round rivet issue, that thread made it sound as if it was practically un-usable.

Function over fashion
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Kuo Xie




Location: Chicago, IL
Joined: 29 Feb 2012

Posts: 76

PostPosted: Tue 23 Jul, 2013 1:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have a round riveted flat ring mail hauberk from India that I am using as a base to build a 1250 knight's kit. There are authenticity problems with the Indian product which you can find with a forum search so I won't raise them again. Instead I'll focus on practical issues.

I bought it from eBay merchant all_beststuff and I highly recommend this seller. They are very good at returning emails promptly and answering questions well. You get the choice of 9mm or 8mm ring diameters, flat or round wire, all riveted or alternating rivet/solid, wedge or round rivets, and they have pieces with many combinations of these features in stock. So if you want an all riveted round wire 8mm shirt, for example, they can do it in a timely manner. If you are going to buy Indian riveted mail all_beststuff is a very good source.

My untailored hauberk and coif cost about $500 altogether, which I consider to be a great value, seeing as there is ample material left over from tailoring for side projects like gussets, aventail, etc. They also included a rivet tool and several thousand rings and rivets free of charge.

I have not noticed that the round rivets catch clothing, if you wear it with the dome side facing inward. They do catch on hair if you're not careful.
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Mart Shearer




Location: Jackson, MS, USA
Joined: 18 Aug 2012

Posts: 1,276

PostPosted: Tue 23 Jul, 2013 3:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Foster Day wrote:
Thanks Matthew, you raise some really good points ^_^
I'm working on a 1350-1380 German style kit right now, so I need to know which type of maille to use :P
Thanks for clearing up the round rivet issue, that thread made it sound as if it was practically un-usable.


1350-1380 you're almost certainly looking at all riveted mail with wedge rivets in Germany. There might have been some demi-riveted (half solid, half riveted) mail at the beginning of that time frame, but it seems to have been at the end of its life. The biggest problem with most of the Indian wedge riveted mail is that the rings have been excessively flattened, and the rings are on the larger end of the spectrum.

ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui
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Foster Day




Location: Ottawa
Joined: 30 May 2013

Posts: 23

PostPosted: Tue 23 Jul, 2013 3:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mart Shearer wrote:
Foster Day wrote:
Thanks Matthew, you raise some really good points ^_^
I'm working on a 1350-1380 German style kit right now, so I need to know which type of maille to use :P
Thanks for clearing up the round rivet issue, that thread made it sound as if it was practically un-usable.


1350-1380 you're almost certainly looking at all riveted mail with wedge rivets in Germany. There might have been some demi-riveted (half solid, half riveted) mail at the beginning of that time frame, but it seems to have been at the end of its life. The biggest problem with most of the Indian wedge riveted mail is that the rings have been excessively flattened, and the rings are on the larger end of the spectrum.


Thanks for the information, i'll look around the forums and try to find some higher quality maille makers ^_^

Function over fashion
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Dan Howard




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

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PostPosted: Tue 23 Jul, 2013 4:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Personally I still think that butted mail looks better than a lot of the riveted mail on the market. I can tell Indian mail from a long distance (even on TV) but I can't tell the difference between butted and round-sectioned riveted mail until I am close enough to tell that there aren't any rivets (sometimes I have to physically hold it and look closely). But butted mail is no good for smacking around with weapons. It depends on what you want it for.

Don't forget that the dimensions of historical mail is reported by measuring the OUTSIDE diameter, but mail retailers use the INSIDE diameter. If a museum says that their mail has a diameter of 8mm, you should be looking for a modern reconstruction with a diameter of 5-6mm.
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S. Sebok





Joined: 13 Jan 2011
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PostPosted: Wed 24 Jul, 2013 8:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'd suggest wedge for your period. Dome riveted does catch on stuff as well, especially linen gambesons, if you got a canvas one like my old gambeson you shouldnt have an issue though, personally I spent 300 on my gambeson which was custom made and buying a brand new one was out of bounds for me so I just sold my old maille and got wedge riveted, in the long run I dont regret it because it's easier to put on and off and I prefer the look of it better, it was first used in the 1200s in Germany and spread outside during the 1300s.
I have an Erik Schmid coif and the wedge riveted is closer than the dome riveted anyway, only real issue is the flat rings can be a bit abrasive and sharp when you handle them, I had even worse problems with the dome riveted links though. I NEVER wanted to touch the maille with bare hands because of how prickly it was. Historical dome riveted maille had a flat inside like modern wedge does, indian dome riveted however has that protruding rivet and personally I cannot stand it. I do suggest getting half riveted half non though as it's stronger and less likely to catch. While fighting in my old hauberk I had the rings catch on each other and lock up which I didnt have the problem with the half solid links.
I'd suggest Battle Merchant over GDFB cause the links are not only smaller but they got a better riveting job. I dont have a single missing rivet on my Battle Merchant chausses while my GDFB hauberk was missing maybe about 5 rivets. GDFB is OK with quality, about as good as Icefalcon in quality. I will however say wedge riveted links are harder to rivet than dome when you tailor it yourself, thats the price you pay for having the smooth inside.
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Patrick Kelly




Location: Wichita, Kansas
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PostPosted: Wed 24 Jul, 2013 9:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Concerning yourself over the most authentic option is a bit like chasing down a rabit hole. In truth none of the mass produced mail, or its components, is authentic in appearance. With that in mind you might as well stick with a riveted version, as it won't require as much maintenance as butted mail. I find wedge riveted mail easier to repair than the round riveted variety.
"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Foster Day




Location: Ottawa
Joined: 30 May 2013

Posts: 23

PostPosted: Thu 25 Jul, 2013 5:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

S. Sebok wrote:
I'd suggest wedge for your period. Dome riveted does catch on stuff as well, especially linen gambesons, if you got a canvas one like my old gambeson you shouldnt have an issue though, personally I spent 300 on my gambeson which was custom made and buying a brand new one was out of bounds for me so I just sold my old maille and got wedge riveted, in the long run I dont regret it because it's easier to put on and off and I prefer the look of it better, it was first used in the 1200s in Germany and spread outside during the 1300s.
I have an Erik Schmid coif and the wedge riveted is closer than the dome riveted anyway, only real issue is the flat rings can be a bit abrasive and sharp when you handle them, I had even worse problems with the dome riveted links though. I NEVER wanted to touch the maille with bare hands because of how prickly it was. Historical dome riveted maille had a flat inside like modern wedge does, indian dome riveted however has that protruding rivet and personally I cannot stand it. I do suggest getting half riveted half non though as it's stronger and less likely to catch. While fighting in my old hauberk I had the rings catch on each other and lock up which I didnt have the problem with the half solid links.
I'd suggest Battle Merchant over GDFB cause the links are not only smaller but they got a better riveting job. I dont have a single missing rivet on my Battle Merchant chausses while my GDFB hauberk was missing maybe about 5 rivets. GDFB is OK with quality, about as good as Icefalcon in quality. I will however say wedge riveted links are harder to rivet than dome when you tailor it yourself, thats the price you pay for having the smooth inside.


Thanks, i'll bear that in mind when it comes time for me to place an order ^_^

Function over fashion
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Foster Day




Location: Ottawa
Joined: 30 May 2013

Posts: 23

PostPosted: Thu 25 Jul, 2013 5:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick Kelly wrote:
Concerning yourself over the most authentic option is a bit like chasing down a rabit hole. In truth none of the mass produced mail, or its components, is authentic in appearance. With that in mind you might as well stick with a riveted version, as it won't require as much maintenance as butted mail. I find wedge riveted mail easier to repair than the round riveted variety.


Thanks for the information, it certainly helps! To be honest, i'm more interested in which one will fall apart first than which one is more or less accurate.

Function over fashion
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Robert Rootslane




Location: Estonia
Joined: 06 Aug 2007

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PostPosted: Thu 25 Jul, 2013 8:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
But butted mail is no good for smacking around with weapons. It depends on what you want it for.

.


IMO Spring steel butted is rather good for full force fighting, and even mild steel shirts hold up properly if you repair them once in a few months or so. Even indian riveted mail will strart loosing rivets, and soon after that rings, after a period of intense figthing.

Butted is ofcourse out when one wants to do proper experiments or tests against the armour.
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Ron Reimer




Location: Australia
Joined: 16 Aug 2010

Posts: 53

PostPosted: Thu 25 Jul, 2013 2:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My butted link is around 10 years old, and its going strong. Its made of spring steel links in a 4 in 1 weave, and has stood up to fighting with rebated steel weapons for that entire time.It has needed the odd bit of repair , and a bit of enlargement(owing to middle age spread) but there are hauberks in the group I'm a member of that are still sound after nearly twice as long.So if the butted link is well made it is quite durable.
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W. Scott Brown





Joined: 20 Jun 2013

Posts: 39

PostPosted: Thu 25 Jul, 2013 9:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If your main concern is durability and second is maintenance, with history a distant third, then I suggest welded stainless steel mail. There are at least a couple reputable sources for it, I suggest Icefalcon:

http://store.fastcommerce.com/icefalcon/top-q...183-c.html
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Philip Dyer





Joined: 25 Jul 2013

Posts: 494

PostPosted: Thu 25 Jul, 2013 10:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

W. Scott Brown wrote:
If your main concern is durability and second is maintenance, with history a distant third, then I suggest welded stainless steel mail. There are at least a couple reputable sources for it, I suggest Icefalcon:

http://store.fastcommerce.com/icefalcon/top-q...183-c.html

He makes wedged riveted stainless if you want to lower the durability slightly and move the history part slightly closer.
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Tom King




Location: florida
Joined: 11 Sep 2009
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PostPosted: Fri 26 Jul, 2013 7:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ron Reimer wrote:
My butted link is around 10 years old, and its going strong. Its made of spring steel links in a 4 in 1 weave, and has stood up to fighting with rebated steel weapons for that entire time.It has needed the odd bit of repair , and a bit of enlargement(owing to middle age spread) but there are hauberks in the group I'm a member of that are still sound after nearly twice as long.So if the butted link is well made it is quite durable.


Second (insert scruffy here)

I bought my mail shirt about a year ago from a fellow Adrian empire member, and he bought it originally from the guy who made it. It was HEAVILY used (which is why i got it for 50 bucks) but after some minor modifications and repairs it has stood up as my main chest defense for about a year now. As long as your shirt has enough give in it and you have sufficient padding a butted mail shirt will work fine for armored combat with rebated weapons
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Philip Dyer





Joined: 25 Jul 2013

Posts: 494

PostPosted: Fri 26 Jul, 2013 10:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Tom King wrote:
Ron Reimer wrote:
My butted link is around 10 years old, and its going strong. Its made of spring steel links in a 4 in 1 weave, and has stood up to fighting with rebated steel weapons for that entire time.It has needed the odd bit of repair , and a bit of enlargement(owing to middle age spread) but there are hauberks in the group I'm a member of that are still sound after nearly twice as long.So if the butted link is well made it is quite durable.


Second (insert scruffy here)

I bought my mail shirt about a year ago from a fellow Adrian empire member, and he bought it originally from the guy who made it. It was HEAVILY used (which is why i got it for 50 bucks) but after some minor modifications and repairs it has stood up as my main chest defense for about a year now. As long as your shirt has enough give in it and you have sufficient padding a butted mail shirt will work fine for armored combat with rebated weapons

Where do ya'll get your chainmail and what gauge is it? The only experience I've ever had with chainmail is friend slipping his seeming brand new habergoun over his padding, walking into duel having a ten rings instantaneously knocked out and fly through the air.
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W. Scott Brown





Joined: 20 Jun 2013

Posts: 39

PostPosted: Fri 26 Jul, 2013 2:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Philip Dyer wrote:
W. Scott Brown wrote:
If your main concern is durability and second is maintenance, with history a distant third, then I suggest welded stainless steel mail. There are at least a couple reputable sources for it, I suggest Icefalcon:

http://store.fastcommerce.com/icefalcon/top-q...183-c.html

He makes wedged riveted stainless if you want to lower the durability slightly and move the history part slightly closer.



My bad!

If you do a quick google you can find a few sellers of actual welded stainless mail.

Sorry!


Scott
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Philip Dyer





Joined: 25 Jul 2013

Posts: 494

PostPosted: Fri 26 Jul, 2013 3:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

W. Scott Brown wrote:
Philip Dyer wrote:
W. Scott Brown wrote:
If your main concern is durability and second is maintenance, with history a distant third, then I suggest welded stainless steel mail. There are at least a couple reputable sources for it, I suggest Icefalcon:

http://store.fastcommerce.com/icefalcon/top-q...183-c.html

He makes wedged riveted stainless if you want to lower the durability slightly and move the history part slightly closer.



My bad!

If you do a quick google you can find a few sellers of actual welded stainless mail.

Sorry!


Scott

I'm not refuting that, I'm just stating he sells that as well. The Duke even jokes to himself that he is Walmart of armour because he sells damn near everything .
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