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Stanley Hauser





Joined: 17 Sep 2013

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PostPosted: Tue 17 Sep, 2013 1:50 pm    Post subject: Introduction and my new maille project         Reply with quote

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to begin by introducing myself to the forums. They have been an invaluable source of knowledge for me and I wanted to start by thanking everyone for their very informative discussions.

I'm a dabbling hobbyist layman who is interested in historical accuracy. I am currently working on making early medieval riveted mail and wanted to ask for some advice before I made and then posted a test patch.

I'm currently trying to reproduce a mix of round rivets with solid punched rings. I understand that this was a different style from the later medieval "wedge" rivets. I'm using 16 gauge mild steel wire with a flattened overlap which is then pierced. My question is this...

I keep hearing about "cone" or "pyramid" style rivets, but have yet to see an example of them used. I've made some prototype conical rivets using a grinder and a length of 16 gauge wire but I hardly think that the ancients had access to that. Wink Could someone kindly point me in the right direction as far as learning about these "cone" rivets? Maybe what they look like and how they could be made historically?

Other than that, I'm simply piercing the rings so that just the tip of the drift is poking out through the front. I then insert the "cone" that I made from the same length of wire and peen. The back ends up flush with the ring, and the front rivet head ends of being a mix of the point of the cone and material from the ring itself. It is a very strong hold and looks very similar to some examples I've seen here. I simply don't know how to make the rivets in a fast and historically accurate way. Should I maybe use 18 gauge wire for the rivets if the rings are 16 gauge?

Thanks so much in advance, and I hope to become a contributing member of the community.
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Mart Shearer




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

Posts: 1,280

PostPosted: Tue 17 Sep, 2013 5:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Your question is, in fact, difficult to answer. The European round rivets seem to have been cut from a length of wire which deforms when set. The base flares, but the rivet isn't quite conical or cylindrical after shaping. There is no "head" on the base like a nail head per se, and the head is formed on the point from both rivet and ring as you describe.

I believe the Tofta coif from the 13th century has wire about 1.5-1.6 mm in the riveted rings, but the rivets were only about 0.6-0.7mm in diameter. An 18 or 20 gauge mild steel wire should work for rivets on 16 gauge rings.

ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui
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Mart Shearer




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

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PostPosted: Tue 17 Sep, 2013 5:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thought I'd add a couple of line drawings from Vegard Vike. The Gjermunbu mail might be earlier than your interest, and the rivet is deformed into an oval section (perhaps filling the shape of the drift hole). It always reminded me of a pellet from an air gun. The second example from a chausse is almost a straight section of wire.

Both are from mail of demi-riveted construction.



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Vike Rivet.png


ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui
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Stanley Hauser





Joined: 17 Sep 2013

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PostPosted: Tue 17 Sep, 2013 6:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This is amazing, thanks so much Mart. I had feared that a rivet that was smaller than the diameter of the wire would make for a weaker ring. I'm actually glad to see that I'm wrong.

Frankly I've been finding it very hard to use the same 16g wire to rivet a 16g ring...the pierced hole tends to rip out the sides of the overlap. A smaller pierced hole should fix that problem right up. It also means that I don't have to flatten the overlap quite so much to accommodate the rivet.

I take it that the subject of round rivets is full of debate?
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Mart Shearer




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

Posts: 1,280

PostPosted: Tue 17 Sep, 2013 6:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Not so much full of debate as lacking in study. AR Williams and Vegard Vike have done some metallurgical studies. The Tofta coif is fairly well examined. Current theory seems to show a replacement of round rivets by wedge rivets in Europe during the late 13th through early 14th centuries. Most of the old "pin" riveted mail is of demi-riveted (half-riveted, half-solid ring) construction, which seems to have disappeared in Europe after the mid-14th century. Mail made with round-section rivets and half solid rings continued to be made in the East until modern times, but the round rivets seem to have heads on both sides.
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Stanley Hauser





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PostPosted: Wed 18 Sep, 2013 4:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Awesome. At this point my only question would be whether or not the overlap is supposed to be flattened more than the rest of the ring. Or is ONLY the overlap supposed to be flattened?
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Mart Shearer




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

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PostPosted: Wed 18 Sep, 2013 6:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Seen it both ways. A lot of the earlier mail seems to be of round, or nearly round section where only the overlap is flattened, but flattened oval sections up to 3:1 ratio width to height aren't uncommon either. Tofta's riveted rings are 1.4-1.5mm wide and 0.5-0.6mm thick, though the rivet overlap is flattened more than the ring. Punched rings tend to be more square to rectangular in section, or sometimes D-sectioned with the inner hole squared and the outer edge more rounded.

If you're using 16g wire, an external ring diameter around 1cm-1.2cm seems reasonable. It's not uncommon for the punched and riveted rings to differ slightly in diameter, so a 10mm outer diameter punched ring and 12mm outer diameter riveted ring in the same garment is quite acceptable. It's also not uncommon to find shirts where the rings over the chest are heavier than those in the skirt or sleeves, so a certain amount of conscious placement of heavier mail over critical areas was done.

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Stanley Hauser





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PostPosted: Fri 20 Sep, 2013 12:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for all the help Mart. What I'm currently doing is cutting my rings with an overlap and then flattening with a piston after annealing. This flattens the rings overall just a little, and I then take a hammer and edge of the piston and flatten the overlap a bit more...this makes it easier to punch and ensures that the rivet hole has plenty of room to be drifted.

I've read many tutorials in which people bend the rings into an overlap AFTER flattening. Is there any advantage that this would impart structurally, other than making a smaller inner diameter?
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Jonathan Fletcher





Joined: 04 Mar 2004

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PostPosted: Fri 20 Sep, 2013 1:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Not much help with your project, not the correct period I know, perhaps of uncertain provenance but a must see for any maille lover...

Just over half way down.

http://www.bolk-antiques.nl/index.cfm?page=co...d%20Armour


Next, to find a spare 5000 Euros.
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Mart Shearer




Location: Jackson, MS, USA
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PostPosted: Fri 20 Sep, 2013 2:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stanley Hauser wrote:
I've read many tutorials in which people bend the rings into an overlap AFTER flattening. Is there any advantage that this would impart structurally, other than making a smaller inner diameter?


None that I know of. Erik Schmid seemed to always wonder why people use a set or piston, but he made so much mail that he was simply good with a hammer, I think everyone should be cautious of looking for "the one true way" to make mail. The stuff was in active use for a millennia over several continents, so there were doubtless many different nuances in making it among various people, places, and times. Most modern makers use some sort of black tie wire, which is mild steel, while a lot of mail was made from nearly pure iron. Other mail contains high amounts of phosphorus which adds it's own properties. Tofta has high phosphorus punched rings, but the riveted rings are more of a pure iron though the rivets contain high phosphorus levels too. Sometimes it seems they used whatever wire was available to them.

Williams, The Manufacture of Mail in Medieval Europe gives some clue to the variety in metallurgy and heat treatments used.

I'm not sure if this fellow is using tongs because the ring is hot, or to avoid hitting his fingers with the hammer. Wink One thing is certain, he can't flatten the whole ring that way.
http://manuscriptminiatures.com/4974/15434/

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Stanley Hauser





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PostPosted: Fri 20 Sep, 2013 4:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I can't seem to find a flat headed hammer...at least none that I wouldn't have to order online.

Yeah, as far as authenticity goes, I just try to be as authentic as possible and at least try not to create something that is outside the possibility of having existed. Unless I'm trying to recreate a specific piece I'm comfortable creating something that at least could be recognized as typical at that particular time.

Unless I'm willing to smelt my own bloomery iron I'm comfortable using rebar or, in this case, mild steel (though I have heard that some conquistador pieces were made of mild steel...but considering it is a different time period that is neither here nor there.)


Jonathan,

That site is amazing! I can't believe the condition that those items are in. And I never thought that mail rings were made so large. Unless it was made for a very small person, they seem to be around 14 gauge, watershed and all.
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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
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PostPosted: Fri 20 Sep, 2013 8:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jonathan Fletcher wrote:
Not much help with your project, not the correct period I know, perhaps of uncertain provenance but a must see for any maille lover...

Just over half way down.

http://www.bolk-antiques.nl/index.cfm?page=co...d%20Armour


Next, to find a spare 5000 Euros.

That doesn't look European to me. I would guess Russian and probably later than 16th C. Its dodgy provenance doesn't help. If it really is 16th C European in that condition, it would be a bargain at that price.
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Randall Moffett




Location: Northern Utah
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PostPosted: Fri 20 Sep, 2013 8:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Not sure I agree that wedge and flat replaces round and pin. There are many hauberks from this period of the 14th and 15th that are of this make. I do think the solid rings in general fall out of use.

Mail is one of the most diverse types of armour that has existed, even at any one point it was different.

RPM
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sat 21 Sep, 2013 12:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Randall Moffett wrote:
Not sure I agree that wedge and flat replaces round and pin.

Maybe in southern Germany - everyone else continued to use round and pin. But those towns exported lots of mail so it was pretty ubiquitous throughout Europe.
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Eric S




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PostPosted: Sun 22 Sep, 2013 6:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Jonathan Fletcher wrote:
Not much help with your project, not the correct period I know, perhaps of uncertain provenance but a must see for any maille lover...

Just over half way down.

http://www.bolk-antiques.nl/index.cfm?page=co...d%20Armour


Next, to find a spare 5000 Euros.

That doesn't look European to me. I would guess Russian and probably later than 16th C. Its dodgy provenance doesn't help. If it really is 16th C European in that condition, it would be a bargain at that price.
Something doesnt seem right about that mail, I cant remember seeing European mail that has the shape of those links and the condition seems to be to good for that age.




Here is an example which would be more like what I would expect to see. From a hauberk, outside and inside view of the links.

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Johan Gemvik




Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Joined: 10 Nov 2009

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PostPosted: Mon 07 Oct, 2013 12:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sweet pics Eric!

I've seen a very similar maille as the lower example in the Tre Kronor museum (in the Royal castle basement in Stockholm). That one had solids though, but the same round ring round head rivet. Dated to 16th Century.

"The Dwarf sees farther than the Giant when he has the giant's shoulder to mount on" -Coleridge
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Mart Shearer




Location: Jackson, MS, USA
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PostPosted: Mon 07 Oct, 2013 4:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Could their dating be suspect? Most evidence I have seen for European demi-riveted mail indicates that it's mid 14th century or earlier. Of course the attribution of it being European might also be incorrect.
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Stanley Hauser





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PostPosted: Mon 07 Oct, 2013 8:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I clearly see a watershed on the above example, something I believe was used exclusively on the later wedge riveted mail.
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Mark Griffin




Location: The Welsh Marches, in the hills above Newtown, Powys.
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PostPosted: Fri 11 Oct, 2013 10:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
http://www.bolk-antiques.nl/index.cfm?page=co...d%20Armour


considering their '15th cent' great helm is a fantasy modern item I wouldn't draw any conclusions from the mail.
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Jonathan Fletcher





Joined: 04 Mar 2004

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PostPosted: Fri 11 Oct, 2013 12:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

But still, got to love the black and white armour at the top of the page. And apologies for dragging this off topic.
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