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Michael A. H.




Location: Earth
Joined: 18 Feb 2015

Posts: 48

PostPosted: Mon 03 Sep, 2018 1:35 pm    Post subject: Helmet and Mail Advice needed         Reply with quote

I am thinking about putting together a working kit to represent a late 10th/ early 11th century Anglo-Saxon Norse persona of ”upper middle class” standing. So far I have (1) an Albion Reeve with fairly ”authentic” scabbard by Tod, (2) a Seax and axe from Damian Sulowski, (3) a home made longbow and arrows (with both small bodkin and broad head points) that comes in at 45 lbs draw weight - a new somewhat heavier version is in the works, (4) a spear with head from GDFB and home made ash shaft, (5) a large round shield that is way too heavy and will be replaced soon with a lighter version.

Clothes are planned as winter projects - my 9 year old daughter is keen on helping :-)

Right now I am looking at a helmet and mail armour (ringbrynia), and I was considering these items from this vendor:

Helmet: http://spqr.se/product/vikingahjalm-h076/

Mail: http://spqr.se/product/ringbrynja-ch003/

The helmet is listed as ”viking” helmet, and is not a reproduction of a specific find, but has elements that I ”think” would work for the time period, location, and persona imagined - the butted mail neck protection can be easily changed for riveted mail. The mail shirt is round ring riveted, and of unknown provenance, but looks a little what Ulfbert sells - my guess: made in India, but the price is reasonable, even if quality might be hit or miss. I am thinking round riveted is right for the period aimed for ...

My question is: are the helmet and mail shirt reasonably ”appropriate” for the the time period (late 10th century), and would they be something a person of mixed Anglo Saxon / Norse background might use. I am not attempting to be over the top 100% authentic (my time machine is out for service right now :-) so authentic will have to wait), but I want something that would not make professional historians slap me on the back of my head ;-)

Thanks for all your wisdom,
Michael

Michael

"Its just the laudanum speaking." Stephen Maturin
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Dan Howard




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

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PostPosted: Mon 03 Sep, 2018 4:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The mail looks nothing like medieval European mail. The links resemble soda can ring pulls. It is typical of the cheap mail coming out of Indian workshops.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books
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Michael A. H.




Location: Earth
Joined: 18 Feb 2015

Posts: 48

PostPosted: Mon 03 Sep, 2018 11:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

ok - so any suggestion where (in Europe preferably) I might find a mail shirt that is more ”accurate”, but does not cost an arm and a leg?
Michael

"Its just the laudanum speaking." Stephen Maturin
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Dan Howard




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

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PostPosted: Tue 04 Sep, 2018 1:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The only thing that is reasonably affordable would be mail made from alternating rows of butted and solid links. It looks far more authentic than Indian-made riveted mail.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books
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Stephen Curtin




Location: Cork, Ireland
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PostPosted: Tue 04 Sep, 2018 4:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

What strikes me as "wrong" about this helmet is that it combines features such as the check guards and half mask with a conical shaped skull. It just doesn't look right to me.
Éirinn go Brách
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J. Nicolaysen




Location: Wyoming
Joined: 03 Feb 2014
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PostPosted: Tue 04 Sep, 2018 5:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stephen Curtin wrote:
What strikes me as "wrong" about this helmet is that it combines features such as the check guards and half mask with a conical shaped skull. It just doesn't look right to me.


Totally agree. Better to go with a straight up conical spangenhelm following contemporary depictions. The mashup here looks off.

But a lot of what you have sounds like you are off to a great start! Good quality stuff from Tod and Damian and Albion. For your clothing, I'd do some research on embroidered designs since you can easily get some things mixed up from one stylistic motif to another (like ringerike/urnes styles for example. Good luck and keep us posted.
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Arne G.





Joined: 31 Jul 2014

Posts: 73

PostPosted: Tue 04 Sep, 2018 9:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stephen Curtin wrote:
What strikes me as "wrong" about this helmet is that it combines features such as the check guards and half mask with a conical shaped skull. It just doesn't look right to me.


I'll second this. The skull construction firmly belongs to Migration Era "spangenhelme" and is off by at least 3 centuries or so, the eye guard is loosely inspired by Gjermundbu (which is probably a century earlier), and the cheekplates maybe from the Coppergate/Pioneer helmets, which are about 2 centuries earlier than what you are trying to do (though the Middleton Cross, which dates to the 9th century, does plausibly depict a warrior with a conical helm that has cheekplates, though of a different shape than the earlier Coppergate style).

So, yeah, avoid the helmet.
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Johan Thörnqvist




Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Joined: 23 Jul 2012

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PostPosted: Tue 04 Sep, 2018 10:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As previously said by others, stay away from SPQR's helmet, it's not good reproduction of anything. The company itself is also a bit dodgy if you ask me.

I would instead recommend that you check out "Helgi's True History shop" http://truehistoryshop.com/product-category/helmets/early/. Their collection of early medieval helmets is way better.
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Michael A. H.




Location: Earth
Joined: 18 Feb 2015

Posts: 48

PostPosted: Tue 04 Sep, 2018 12:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

ok - thanks all - back to the drawing board then. And thanks Johan for the heads up on SPQR - I had picked them mainly because of their location in Sweden (where I live).

So the consensus is a straight spangen helm with nasal guard (aka ”Norman” helm) would be more appropriate for a 10th century Anglo Saxon Norse ... are there any other scandinavian versions out there, i.e reproductions based on nordic finds that date to that era? Are there pics available?

Thanks for the link to the russian helmet source - they look fairly well made, and hopefully come with liners and adjustable straps.

Any suggestions on a chain shirt is appreciated.

So long for now

Michael

"Its just the laudanum speaking." Stephen Maturin
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J. Nicolaysen




Location: Wyoming
Joined: 03 Feb 2014
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PostPosted: Tue 04 Sep, 2018 3:34 pm    Post subject: Helmets         Reply with quote

Quote:
So the consensus is a straight spangen helm with nasal guard (aka ”Norman” helm) would be more appropriate for a 10th century Anglo Saxon Norse ... are there any other scandinavian versions out there, i.e reproductions based on nordic finds that date to that era? Are there pics available?


I'm getting hung up on "Anglo-Saxon Norse" and wish you would choose a side or just go Danelaw like I did Wink Laughing Out Loud

You probably know about the Gjermundbu helmet which seems a little early for what you are going for. There is also the Tjele fragment and the Gevninge fragment, both from Denmark and are really too partial for a good reconstruction.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gjermundbu_helmet
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tjele_helmet_fragment
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gevninge_helmet_fragment

There are a couple of other fragments out there from this time (800-1000 AD seems to be the consensus for dating all these fragments) but the Gjermundbu is the only one with enough material to reconstruct the actual helmet bowl, somewhat.

What I associate with the Norman helm is a raised conical one-piece helm with nasal, as distinguished from a spangenhelm with a nasal guard. The Norman helm is a little later and does not seem to show up before the 11 century, and the spangenhelm form of construction is much more long lived. Both seem to be shown in the Baueux Tapestry. I don't believe there are any surviving conical spangenhelms from the X-XI centuries found in northern Europe. Just some possible artistic representations and some eastern examples before and after this time.

So with that in mind, I went with a spangenhelm with nasal since it can be seen earlier than 11th century, from Royal Oak Armory of Canada: http://royaloakarmoury.com/portfolio/conical-spangenhelm/

He also makes a great gjermundbu and norman conical as well. Actually everything Jeffrey does is fantastic. But if I were to get something from Europe I would ring Patryk Nieczarowski here at myArmoury. I don't know his prices, but his work looks great. http://myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=16941

If you are on Facebook, Pustelak Brothers from Poland also do great looking helmets, although maybe they focus on Roman and late roman....Not sure about that.

All of these I would bet are close to the 1000 USD mark give or take a couple hundred depending on things like liners, chinstrap, finishes.

I think I'm forgetting someone else from Europe who makes helmets for a bit less than that...Thorkil does wonderful helmets of course, but he is also fairly expensive.

The above-linked Helgi certainly looks promising. Did not know about them before.


Last edited by J. Nicolaysen on Tue 04 Sep, 2018 3:56 pm; edited 1 time in total
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J. Nicolaysen




Location: Wyoming
Joined: 03 Feb 2014
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PostPosted: Tue 04 Sep, 2018 3:54 pm    Post subject: Byrnies, hauberks, etc         Reply with quote

I haven't taken the plunge for a hauberk or byrnie or mail shirt of any form. It's worse than useless to hold up any sort of modern made piece on this forum since there was apparently only one rarefied individual who seemed capable of making mail, and though I had given him a deposit on a bishop's collar, he quit the business after a year of signing on (although he refunded the deposit honorably.)

So no one likes Indian Mail, but no one ever offers alternatives. I feel your pain. If you are on Facebook, you might look at these individuals/outfits:

Heena Ahmad
Ashish Kumar
Armoured Up (Uk Vendor)
Thomas Blitzer aka Historically Patterned Mail who also has a website: http://www.historicallypatternedmail.com/

I only know a little bit about mail, since the various topics here always degenerate and bore me, so I can't give a personal recommendation on any of the above. But some day I'll probably work with one or two of these people. If you haven't already read Dan Howard's Feature, please start there: http://myArmoury.com/feature_mail.html

Good luck!
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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
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PostPosted: Tue 04 Sep, 2018 4:37 pm    Post subject: Re: Byrnies, hauberks, etc         Reply with quote

J. Nicolaysen wrote:
If you haven't already read Dan Howard's Feature, please start there: http://myArmoury.com/feature_mail.html

Then read this.
http://myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=19189

Quote:
So no one likes Indian Mail, but no one ever offers alternatives

I did so in this very thread. In fact you can make it yourself very cost-effectively with no tools except a mandrel (I used the shank of a screwdriver), wire cutters, and some pliers. The only materials required are washers and a spool of wire. Here is a patch that I made. The links have an ID of around 4-5 mm. It is a far better visual representation of historical mail than the Indian stuff. You have to get very close to notice that there are no rivets. The small size of the butted links and the alternating rows of solid links increase the strength of the mail considerably compared to regular butted mail. When abused it sheds far less links than Indian riveted mail.



It is the same patch with the light moved from one side to the other. One image emphasises the rounded butted links, the other emphasises the flat solid links.

Here is the solid link I used. It is the only real expense required to make the above construction. The wire and tools only cost a few bucks.
https://www.seastrom-mfg.com/washerdetails.aspx?productNumber=5702-476-30

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T. Kew




Location: Cambridge, UK
Joined: 21 Apr 2012

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PostPosted: Wed 05 Sep, 2018 4:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The best mail maker that I know of who's working right now is Isak Krogh Hantverk in Germany. Unsurprisingly, it costs - but if I wanted mail for jousting or the like he would be my first choice by a long way.

He (and several others) can do you tailored work with the Indian made links, but he can also do full reproduction work.

Instructor and scholar, Cambridge HEMA
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Michael A. H.




Location: Earth
Joined: 18 Feb 2015

Posts: 48

PostPosted: Wed 05 Sep, 2018 7:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for all the input - yes royal oak armories in Canada would be great but they have at least 1.5 years waiting time (not taking orders now due to length of the waiting list), and similar for Thorkil - he has some great stuff too, but only one helmet in stock for a reasonable price (around 350 Euro), but it is a little to ”slavic” for my aimed for persona
Gnezdovo helmet
http://www.thorkil.pl/Gnezdovo%20for%20sale.htm

Of course the ”narrative” of my imagined ”Anglo-Saxon Norse” persona could include some time spent with the Swedish Rus in the east :-). And thus bringing back such a helmet, but that might push it a bit too far ...

And yes, J. Nicolaysen, I should choose sides :-) but my targeted persona is a bit based on the story of Uhtred in the Last Kingdom series by Bernard Cornwell (the books, not the somewhat lame TV series), and the 10th century provided most likely some cross pollination of cultures in the British Isles during the close proximity of Anglo Saxons and Norse invaders - this, and the fact that Anglo Saxon and Norse cultures (incl some material culture) share a lot in common, including similarities in clothing styles, weapons, and even religion (before the evil Christians arrived).

In any case, I am still stomped in where to look for a helmet, the helmets on the Russian site (Helgi) look a little thin, and I find no info on material thicknesses used. Basically the consensus seems to be to look for a segmented spangen helm with nasal, or a type of Gjermundbu helmet (I would like both with aventail), but I am still looking for reasonable prices (no more than 500 Euro), and not extremely long wait times ...

Same for the mail shirt ... there seems to be either super expensive (and wait times of years), DIY - which is not an option right now with 3 small kids under 10, or crapy mail that falls appart when used, rips your clothes, etc ...

Frustrating ...

Michael

"Its just the laudanum speaking." Stephen Maturin
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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
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PostPosted: Wed 05 Sep, 2018 3:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

One of the benefits of the above butted mail construction is that it can be done in my lap at night in front of the TV. The main reason why I don't make a lot of riveted mail is that I have three kids and can't hide out in the workshop for required length of time. Butted mail can be done quietly in the house with minimal tools and work-space. Using solid links in the construction not only makes it look more authentic and increases its strength, but it seriously reduces the assembly time. It will take some time, but time spent watching TV is wasted anyway. May as well do something productive with your hands. Add up all of the hours that you have spent watching TV and surfing the net over your life and imagine how much cool stuff you could have made during that time.
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