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Ray Harrington




Location: Lodi CA
Joined: 24 Nov 2012

Posts: 13

PostPosted: Mon 09 Nov, 2015 2:53 pm    Post subject: Need info for cleaning mail         Reply with quote

I just got a Lord of Battles blackened mail and it came all greasy. What would be a good way to remove the grease?

Thank you
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Mon 09 Nov, 2015 3:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I used the search function and came up with a ton of topics covering this.

One of them is this: http://myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=17606

This was interesting, too: http://myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=5078

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Matthew Amt




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

Posts: 1,299

PostPosted: Mon 09 Nov, 2015 6:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I just degreased a mailshirt using ZEP Purple Degreaser, bought a gallon of it a couple years ago, probably at Home Depot or Lowes. Pour some in a bucket of water (okay, *measure* if you're finicky, ha!), drop the mail in, watch it foam. Pull it out every half-minute or so and drop back in to make sure everything gets treated. Three to 5 minutes, give it a thorough rinse, towel it off, and leave it in front of a fan or over the dehumidifier or out on the hot sunny deck until DRY. It'll probably pick up some surface rust, but after a couple wearings that wil mostly go away.

OR, just hand it to a class full of kids and watch them all turn gray as they (very energetically) try it on for an hour, and the mail will come back pretty much clean! Teachers and parents will hate you, but...

Oh, the degreaser bottle has all kinds of warnings about rubber gloves and goggles and fumes and such. Heed them. Mail is no fun if you're dead.

Good luck!

Matthew
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Harry Marinakis




Location: Kingdom of Ęthelmearc
Joined: 30 Jul 2012
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PostPosted: Tue 10 Nov, 2015 5:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Trust me, it's better to have greasy mail than rusty mail.

The grease (or oil) is part of life with mail. Wipe off the excess grease with a rag, but don't bother with degreasing.

Get a can of Fluid Film and spray down your mail after every use to keep it nice and oily.
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Jeffrey Faulk




Location: Georgia
Joined: 01 Jan 2011

Posts: 578

PostPosted: Tue 10 Nov, 2015 11:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Historic 'grease' would probably have been tallow (a fairly specific type of rendered fat). As mail was worn over a gambeson or other arming garment, the grease wasn't a major concern. Rust is worse than grease, as Harry says. If it's excessively greasy, throw a couple of old towels in it and dump the whole thing into a cloth bag and shake about a bit. That should do the job.
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Mikko Kuusirati




Location: Finland
Joined: 16 Nov 2004
Reading list: 13 books

Posts: 959

PostPosted: Tue 10 Nov, 2015 11:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Harry Marinakis wrote:
Trust me, it's better to have greasy mail than rusty mail.

The grease (or oil) is part of life with mail. Wipe off the excess grease with a rag, but don't bother with degreasing.

Get a can of Fluid Film and spray down your mail after every use to keep it nice and oily.

Yeah, this.

Otherwise, I believe the period method for cleaning mail was to tell your squire to do it. Big Grin

(He might do it by rolling it around in a barrel half full of sand, much like polishing rocks in a tumbler. You could get the same effect by tossing it in a cement mixer with a bag of sand.)

The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
Rush in and die, dogs -- I was a man before I was a king.
-- R. E. Howard, The Road of Kings
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Patrick Kelly




Location: Wichita, Kansas
Joined: 17 Aug 2003
Reading list: 42 books

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PostPosted: Tue 10 Nov, 2015 12:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Store shelves are full of grease removers, any one well work for you. You don't have to live with greasy or oily mail, or the greasy or oily clothing that results from it, if you really don't want to. When I was wearing mail on a routine basis I had two methods that worked well at preventing rust and avoided a mess at the same time. There first involved using floor wax. I'd dump a two gallon jug of industrial floor wax into a container, then submerge the mail in it. I'd then hang it up to dry. The end result was a good protective coating on the mail that worked rather well for some time before a rinse and repeat was necessary. Eventually, I decided that was too much mess and hassle so I started spraying it down with Krylon clear coat. The Krylon didn't last quite as long as the floor wax, but it was far quicker and less messy to apply. To the naked eye the mail looked no different, but there was no mess, or stink, associated with oil and grease. Another thing I found helpful was to spray the mail down with glass cleaner (for it's ammonia content) or straight ammonia after an event. The ammonia neutralizes the salts in perspiration and this went a long way towards preventing rust.
"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Dan Howard




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

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PostPosted: Tue 10 Nov, 2015 12:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mikko Kuusirati wrote:
(He might do it by rolling it around in a barrel half full of sand, much like polishing rocks in a tumbler. You could get the same effect by tossing it in a cement mixer with a bag of sand.)

Sand doesn't seem to have been mentioned in the sources. The most common material mentioned in the texts for cleaning mail is bran.

Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books
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Harry Marinakis




Location: Kingdom of Ęthelmearc
Joined: 30 Jul 2012
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PostPosted: Tue 10 Nov, 2015 1:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Having grease-covered clothing from your greasy mail is MANLY. Nothing makes you look more like a sissy than clean clothes.

I have a large lapidary tumbler, and I tried to tumble the rust from my mail. I tumbled for hours and hours in sand, and it didn't work.

For cleaning rust, I use Evapo-Rust.

I degrease in a large metal container using gasoline ('cause it evaporates quickly), soak the mail overnight in Evapo-Rust, and then spray the mail down with Fluid Film again.
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Mikko Kuusirati




Location: Finland
Joined: 16 Nov 2004
Reading list: 13 books

Posts: 959

PostPosted: Tue 10 Nov, 2015 1:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Mikko Kuusirati wrote:
(He might do it by rolling it around in a barrel half full of sand, much like polishing rocks in a tumbler. You could get the same effect by tossing it in a cement mixer with a bag of sand.)

Sand doesn't seem to have been mentioned in the sources. The most common material mentioned in the texts for cleaning mail is bran.

Huh. My mistake, then.

Do your sources say why bran, in particular?

The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
Rush in and die, dogs -- I was a man before I was a king.
-- R. E. Howard, The Road of Kings
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Dan Howard




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

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Posts: 3,184

PostPosted: Wed 11 Nov, 2015 1:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mikko Kuusirati wrote:
Dan Howard wrote:
Mikko Kuusirati wrote:
(He might do it by rolling it around in a barrel half full of sand, much like polishing rocks in a tumbler. You could get the same effect by tossing it in a cement mixer with a bag of sand.)

Sand doesn't seem to have been mentioned in the sources. The most common material mentioned in the texts for cleaning mail is bran.

Huh. My mistake, then.

Do your sources say why bran, in particular?

It was an extremely common waste material and they tried to use it for pretty much everything.

Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books
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Ray Harrington




Location: Lodi CA
Joined: 24 Nov 2012

Posts: 13

PostPosted: Fri 13 Nov, 2015 9:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you everybody for the advice.
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Mark Griffin




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

Posts: 801

PostPosted: Sat 14 Nov, 2015 1:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I supplied 2 riveted shirts to The Tower a while back that are pretty much in constant use. I did nothing to take the grease off other than put them into a cloth sack and move them around a fair bit. Even in the UK's less than dry climate they have now lost their blackened surface and are nice and silver, plus the edges are wearing down nicely. As long as you keep them dry and wear them regularly that seems to be the thing.

As an aside I sooooo love being able to say I supply arms and armour to the Tower of London! :-)

Currently working on projects ranging from Elizabethan pageants to a WW1 Tank, Victorian fairgrounds 1066 events and more. Oh and we joust loads!.. We run over 250 events for English Heritage each year plus many others for Historic Royal Palaces, Historic Scotland, the National Trust and more. If you live in the UK and are interested in working for us just drop us a line with a cv.
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